PS Picks: A New 'Halloween,' as Fresh as the Original

PS Picks is a selection of the best things that the magazine's staff and contributors are reading, watching, or otherwise paying attention to in the worlds of art, politics, and culture.
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"Suburbia is supposed to be safe," filmmaker John Carpenter said in a 1997 interview. "Your house is supposed to be a sanctuary. Nowadays, maybe because of conditions beyond our control, there is no sanctuary." Carpenter's landmark horror film Halloween trades on the particularly American fear of danger in the suburban home, which is perhaps why a new sequel, out October 19, feels just as fresh in concept as the original.

The new film, directed by David Gordon Green and written by Green and Danny McBride, will acknowledge the myriad sequels and spinoffs produced over the last three decades while building its own universe, jumping forward to the present day and featuring several actors from the first film, including franchise star Jamie Lee Curtis. Green and McBride are longtime collaborators—most recently on HBO's Vice Principals and the HBO cult favorite series Eastbound and Down—who have used their work to explore the anxieties of modern suburban life. Eastbound and Down, in particular, poses a question not unlike that posed by the first Halloween: Can you ever really make it out of your hometown alive?

While Green and McBride are primarily comic writers, it's easy to imagine they'll build on the silent, terrifying meditation that is the original film's final scene: suburban living rooms, bedrooms, and front yards devoid of human life or movement, haunted by the now-famous score and the heavy breathing of the ultimate bogeyman.

A version of this story originally appeared in the September/October 2018 issue of Pacific Standard. Subscribe now to support independent journalism in the public interest.

"Suburbia is supposed to be safe," filmmaker John Carpenter said in a 1997 interview. "Your house is supposed to be a sanctuary. Nowadays, maybe because of conditions beyond our control, there is no sanctuary." Carpenter's landmark horror film Halloween trades on the particularly American fear of danger in the suburban home, which is perhaps why a new sequel, out October 19, feels just as fresh in concept as the original.

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