Franchise Expansion (Or Implosion) – ‘Halloween: Resurrection’
by Ben Martin
Franchise Expansion (or Implosion) is a column that looks at franchises that have new installments or releases forthcoming. In looking at a franchise, each entry in a franchise will be given a review and then be examined as part of the bigger franchise. (i.e., Was this sequel a worthy expansion of this franchise or was it an implosion of sorts?)
Most folks, myself included, go to certain movies around the holidays. However, my favorite holiday of Halloween did not gain a film that genuinely celebrated it until 1978’s Halloween. John Carpenter’s classic slasher flick is rightfully considered one of the best horror movies ever made. It gave us an icon of modern horror in Michael Myers. More than that though, it created a franchise that spanned 11 movies, 5 continuities, and 40 years With the upcoming 11th entry, Blumhouse’s Halloween, set to be released on October 19th, I’ll take a look back at the Halloween franchise. In doing so, I’ll trace precisely how one of the most convoluted movie franchises in history got to the already divisive entry and why we need it. This time around, we look at the film that despite its title ironically sank the original iteration of this franchise, Halloween: Resurrection!
For all its flaws, Halloween H20 (1998) was the perfect way to end the Halloween franchise. Not only from a logical standpoint; but also based on audience response to the picture. Alas, a successful franchise can never die; and if it does, it won’t stay buried long. Producer Moustapha Akkad would make sure of that. See, Akkad went so far as to have Jamie Lee Curtis’ H20 contract include the stipulations that Michael Myers cannot be killed. Furthermore, the agreement stipulated that Curtis was required to make an appearance in whatever the sequel to H20 would be. As you can imagine, the actress did not care for these contractual obligations; but agreed to them in order to get H20 made.
Surprisingly, Dimension Films and the Weinsteins were content with continuing the franchise sans Michael Myers. Perhaps doing something in the vein of Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982). The Akkads however, demanded that Michael remain the villain of this entry. As did the fans in an official poll used by the franchise’s distribution and production companies to gauge the appetite of its audience. Once the decision was made to resurrect everyone’s favorite boogeyman; what was then titled Halloween: Homecoming was fast-tracked.
Screenwriters Larry Brand and Sean Hood began working on a screenplay for the film; while producers sought out a director to bring Michael Myers into the 21st century. Looking to quickly cash-in on the success of the previous entry; it was thought that dipping back into the franchise’s well to bob for a director would be the best approach. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) director Dwight H. Little turned down the opportunity direct. Thus, the producers recruited the director Halloween II (1981), Rick Rosenthal to take the reins on this eighth entry. Rosenthal jumped at the opportunity, feeling that this new film’s script would allow him to take the Halloween movies in an innovative direction.
Given the new title Halloween: Resurrection (2002), the film in review attempts to bring this series into both the found footage and internet age. Freddie Harris (Busta Rhymes) is the founder and owner of Dangertainment, the newest reality show production company on the block. The edge this company is that it live streaming its content to its website in real-time; no commercials, nor censorship. On this particular Halloween, Dangertainment will put a cast (all outfitted with cameras) in the childhood home of Michael Myers (Brad Loree). Unfortunately for this cast of wannabe reality superstars, Michael has also returned home; just in time for Halloween!
Does that plot synopsis sound silly to you; If you responded with a resounding, “YES!,” you would be correct. Such a story is just another example of this franchise following trends. Much like it did back in 1981 with Halloween II, not wanting to miss out on all that blood money generated by the slasher subgenre. Halloween: Resurrection is a direct response to the hit that was The Blair Witch Project (1999) just a few years earlier. Moreover, The Blair Witch Project finally outgrossed Halloween (1978) as the most successful independent horror film ever made. Thus, The Akkads wanted to reclaim their throne.
Not that the producers’ attempt worked, of course. To the contrary, as this eighth entry reeks of greed and desperation. Not only did Halloween: Resurrection attempt to cash-in on the trend of reality shows; it features Busta Rhymes as its leading man! A clear shot at capitalizing on the raper/“actor”’s popularity at the time. Which, I should mention fizzled out more quickly than jack-o’-lanterns that are thrown out on November 1. This ridiculousness of this plot which is only amplified by Busta’s performance. A plot which could barely worked at the time of Halloween Resurrection’s release. Heck, back in 2002, it took an hour to download a theatrical trailer. So tell me, how in the world could a live stream had occurred?!
Even if you’re able to suspend your disbelief; I assure you that this flick’s tech-based plot holds as much water and holds up as well as The Net (1995) does. That is to say, not at all. Thus, any innovation that Rosenthal was hoping to bring to this lazy and opportunistic narrative does not exist. Don’t get me wrong; this movie is competently made. At the same time though, it was made in Canada on the cheap. (Go look at Season 1 of The X-Files (1993) as a prime visual example.) Therefore, anytime the film tries to be cutting-edge with its webcam aspect it fails. Much like an English major who has no understanding of the language’s Latin roots.
Other than being competently made, the only other aspect of Halloween: Resurrection that works is its cast. (Outside of ol’ Busta, of course.) The scream queen of this picture, Bianca Kajlich and her fellow cast of victims do perfectly well here. Although, it doesn’t help that except for Sara Moyer (Kajlich) you want Michael to slaughter everyone else merely so you can get this movie over with! Alas, even with a scant 89 minute-runtime, this flick is an interminable slog.
Beyond being a terrible film, Halloween: Resurrection undoes everything that H20 did right. Aside from its opening prologue, this film has absolutely nothing to offer. Despite this being a bit of a spoiler, I feel that this eight entry is the worst in the Halloween franchise. Halloween: Resurrection is, without doubt, the definition of a Franchise Implosion, and one that should be avoided at all costs. This film is so bad in fact that it destroyed this movie series as we knew it, up to this point!
Join me next time to find out what happens when this franchise receives the remake treatment with Rob Zombie’s Halloween (2007)!
In the meantime, you can also treat yourself to the other Franchise Expansion (Or Implosion) Reviews in the Halloween series-
Halloween II (1981):
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982):
Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers (1988):
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989):
Halloween 6: The Curse Of Michael Myers (1995):