Halloween – Curtis Richards
Corgi – 1980 (First published 1979)
I wasn’t yet capable of deciding whether a film was bad or good when I first saw the original Halloween movie. It was a horror film that my parents didn’t know I was watching, and that was enough to make me think it was awesome. I don’t think I’ve ever rewatched it. I know I also saw Halloween H2O in a friends house when I was a kid, and I watched the Rob Zombie remake when it came out in the cinema, but I can’t pretend that I have ever been a dedicated fan of the Halloween series.
It might then seem strange that the first movie novelization that I would ever read would be Halloween. I had read about how rare this book was, and when I saw a copy going for a single dollar, I couldn’t resist. I quite enjoyed the book, but it’s not worth the $12,000 that some sellers are asking for. Do yourself a favour and download the pdf version that’s floating about the internet instead.
Part of this novelization’s appeal is its inclusion of background information and plot details that are not present in the movie. There’s a backstory here about the weird druidy-curse that is to blame for Michael Myers’ bloodlust. Most reviews praised these additions, but others claimed that they detracted from the mystery of the film. I thought they were fine. I haven’t watched the movie in almost 20 years, so I won’t try to lay out any comparisons here; there’s other reviews online that already do that. I had no real desire to rewatch the movie after reading the book either; it was enjoyable enough as a standalone text.
I finished reading the first Halloween novelization at lunch time last Sunday and then started listening to an audiobook recording of the novelization of the second Halloween movie only a couple of hours later. In a way it makes sense to do things this way; the second movie picks up directly where the first left off, but in retrospect, I think going directly from one to the other was probably a mistake.
Halloween II – Jack Martin (Dennis Etchison)
Zebra – 1981
The first fifth of the second novelization is basically the exact same thing as the last quarter of the first novelization. It retells how the first movie ends in order to set the scene for the rest of the book. This would be handy if you had taken some time between the two texts, but it made going directly from one to the other quite tedious. Although written by different authors, these parts of both books are based on the same part of the same movie, and this makes for a very boring start.
Things didn’t get much better. While the novelization of Halloween adds a new dimension to the story told in the movie, the second book is a more faithful novelization. It only briefly alludes to the druidic origin of the Myers’ curse, and this time round the reader never gets to see things from Michael’s perspective. Without these elements, the second book feels like a slightly different series to the first book.
Also, I haven’t seen it, but the second movie isn’t supposed to be as good as the first, and a straight novelization doesn’t make the story any better. There’s a lot of unnecessary character development and pointless crap in here. Why did Michael visit the school? Why the hell was that boring rubbish about the drunk trucker included? I was listening an audiobook version too, turning a dull 90 minute movie into a very dull 5 and half hour listening experience. Maybe it would have been more enjoyable if I had watched the movie beforehand, but I don’t honestly see how that could have been the case.
I was going to listen to the audiobook versions of Halloween 3 and 4 for this post, but I decided that it would actually make more sense just to watch the movies. Unfortunately, I didnt have the time. Also, the new Halloween movie comes out today, and it is supposed to be a direct sequel to the first film (even though it’s actually the 9th movie in the series, not including remakes). Halloween H2O and Halloween Resurrection, the 6th and 7th sequels, continued the story from the end of Halloween 2, ignoring the events of Halloween 3, 4, 5 and 6, but the new Halloween movie is going one step further than this, disregarding everything but the original 1978 movie. (So the 11th Halloween movie is technically the third Halloween 2. Complicated, right?) Well, if the people who actually make these movies are willing to ignore Halloween 3 and 4, I reckon I probably should too.
Have a spooky one!