Film Review: Happy Halloween

A still from the fan film Happy Halloween.

(Spoilers ahead, if you haven’t watched this yet, which you should!)

What a time to be alive for some great kills, huh? As a huge horror fan, and someone who dreams of making a horror film (and even unsuccessfully tried as a 15-year-old), there are quality fan films out there. I’m not even grading on a fan film scale, albeit, it’s worth pointing out that this was done on no budget; on their own merits, these are solid films. I recently reviewed the Friday the 13th fan film, Never Hike Alone, and lo and behold, a Halloween one dropped on Oct. 16: Happy Halloween.

For those of us who can’t get enough of Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers, these fan films do a commendable job of whetting the appetite (now where’s Freddy Krueger?!).

At about 12 minutes, this film is not only accessible, if you’re looking for exactly that “whetting of the appetite,” but also, it’s freaking free on YouTube, folks!

The fan film was written and directed by the duo of Courtlan Gordon and Jimmy Champane. The synposis reads:

In this lost scene from Halloween 2018, a police officer, a trick-or-treater and three high school friends have a deadly encounter with THE SHAPE.

Something I’m particularly impressed by is that with 11 films in this franchise across sequels, remakes and reboots, people sometimes say, “What more can you do differently?” A lot, as it turns out, even the little things, as evidenced by this fan film.

The ones I noticed include:

  • Michael Myers kills a kid, and brutally at that by severing his body in half, and in one of the coolest visuals I’ve seen from films in the canon or otherwise, he carries his half body out of the cornfields and dumps it on the ground. As far as I am aware, Michael Myers has never killed a kid. There are two exceptions that might jump out to you: a.) his first kill was of his teenage sister, Judith Myers, but I would contend, since Michael Myers was a kid himself, it doesn’t count; and b.) he obviously spends three films trying to kill a kid, his niece, Jamie, so the desire is there, but he doesn’t actually do it until she’s an adult.
  • Even though Haddonfield makes me think of cornfields and the country, Haddonfield instead, inasmuch as it’s existed as a “character” in the franchise, has been depicted more as a sleepy suburban town that one day became Michael Myers’ murder playground. To my knowledge, there’s never been a scene in any of the films that took place in the cornfields. But what a great and natural setting to create horror with Michael Myers. That happens here when the kid tries to run from Michael Myers through the cornfields.
  • Another innovative idea we’ve never seen, again to my knowledge, is a scene of Michael Myers healing himself. We’ve certainly seen Michael Myers take all kinds of attacks, whether it’s being shot, clubbed, knifed and so forth, but we’ve never seen him actively heal himself. Michael Myers has already been shot in the left shoulder area, and so he uses a hot poker to close up the wound. I thought that was quite neat to see.
  • Finally, whether it’s this particular franchise or horror in general, we usually don’t see realistic kills. In my estimation, we not only get a realistic kill here, but an innovative one: Michael Myers stabs the sheriff’s deputy’s brother through the neck, but given the muscles and such in the neck (not to say nothing of Michael Myers’ strength), the knife breaks off. That leaves us with a gruesome visual of the brother still alive with a knife sticking through his dang neck.

Overall, this is a fun watch for any fan of the Halloween films. Again, for only 12 minutes of runtime here and the fact THAT IS FREELY AVAILABLE, Gordon and Champane offer up new ideas we’ve never seen before with The Shape to gruesome visual and storytelling effect. On a technical level, I thought the shots through the cornfield, and then when we went back in time to the little brother coming upon his older brother with the eye hole perspective was well-done.

Also, re-watching that scene, when the teenager who is dressed as the vintage Michael Myers (from the 1978 film) goes to take a pee, the real Michael Myers (in the 2018 mask) comes to the forefront. That’s subtle background work.

If you’re looking to whet your bloody appetite, too, then there’s no reason not to give this a look. It’s short and brutal fun.

What a shot this is! And even more reason to put Michael Myers in cornfields.

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