Season of the Nietzche: Fear, Infection and Halloween Ends

I love HALLOWEEN ENDS. And it’s time to talk about it.

I want to start off firstly by saying that none of what I am going to write here is “THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE.” Meaning, I could be wrong. Completely wrong. I am not saying “you don’t get it” or that you are “wrong.” I am not saying you don’t have a reason to feel angry or let down. I am not saying anything to attack YOU. This is only my personal reception of the film and why it’s taken me over. So please respect me as I am trying to show you respect in saying this is only my view which is like all things, fallible.

I watched Halloween Ends 2 days after it debuted after seeing all of the responses. I saw mixed responses but the overall negative leaned more towards disappointment rather than just flat out hatred. Disappointment triggered by a film that was a total left turn and felt like the exact opposite of what a third act should be for a trilogy. What third act just introduces a brand new character and makes them the lead?

Perhaps David Gordon Green’s biggest mistake—which may or may not have been his doing—was bringing Laurie Strode back into this new trilogy. When announced, there was no talk of Curtis being back. That announcement came much later. It makes me wonder if she was involved from the pitch. Maybe so. I wasn’t there and spoilers are not my bag. But this series has been tied down to the Strode family for so long that it’s left filmmakers doing all they can to work within that cage.

In Kills, we finally got away from Laurie. As in part 2, Laurie spends the film in a hospital bed and we see Haddonfield itself dealing with the Shape. Well, really, in the 1981 film, we just see them at work where he kills them one by one. Oddly, that was more satisfying to audiences than a town of survivors hunting him down. But DGG in that film was turning the eye to the town itself—and the influence of fear that evil (aka The Shape) spreads to even the best of us.

Which makes me think, maybe Green’s trilogy (or at least the last two films) is a mirror of America (or the world, because hey, Americans like to suggest what happens here is more special, right?) Remember all of the attention to Michael looking at his reflection in the window. Looking in or looking out? The mirror.

Turn on the tv or look at your feed. We see a presence of evil all around us. And it’s turned normal, intelligent, rational and good hearted people into a community of hate and division fueled by endless injections of fear. Fear is why we are where we are. Everyone is afraid of what the other guy is going to do. How they will vote. How they will take away our freedoms. How they will cancel us. That fear has led most people to hate the other side, point fingers and has created a lack of empathy for our fellow man. But there ARE those in the middle who are not infected. Who can look inside or at themselves from the outside and see the mistakes made. Who can still see through the fear and hate mongering. Who still have sympathy (especially for those who have lived through their own trials) and can stop, breathe and try to cope or positively deal with the ugliness around them.

And that is who Laurie, Allyson and Corey represent in Ends. They are the people who are trying not to let fear control them. The film is all about trauma and control and our own personal responsibilities to choose how we deal with it and fear. How we deal with anger and hatred. And when we see others like us, we are magnetically drawn to them. Thank god, I’ve found someone who gets me. Or as Allyson says of Corey, “Someone else just trying to figure it the fuck out.”

Corey Cunningham is a good person. He’s a nice, good, kind and innocent young man who is on his way to school to become an engineer. He is a trusted, respected and liked person. But fear (Jeremy’s fear of Myers has him wetting the bed and hearing voices) has infected him. And perhaps evil has infected the child causing this tragedy to happen. Evil’s way of getting even to the best of us. The nice young man who has a bright future.

The Shape destroys Corey and ruins his life. Now trapped (he even looks through the stairwell bars of his cage when returning to where life ended for him—Jeremy’s home—as free minded Laurie Strode lounges back in her open chair) Corey is now the town outsider. The lost soul haunted by what he has done and labeled a monster, a boogeyman, based upon the grandfathered in fear in Haddonfield that Myers started in 1963. Evil wins.

The townsfolk, feeling victimized by the legacy of Myers, look for someone to blame. Why am I oppressed?! Why should I have to live like a victim? It’s because of Laurie Strode! She provoked him! She causes this! Or her granddaughter! She did it! Or Corey! He’s just like Myers! People read about tragedy or oppression and they have an opinion on it, even when they are not directly involved. Look at Jeremy’s father. He says the town took his pain and grief and made it about themselves. He didn’t hate Corey. He knew that kid. He knew it was an accident. He held no grudge. Because he chose not to let fear corrupt him and his view. People today are always stealing grief and oppression from others they don’t even know, and making it a thing. Only to feel better about themselves. To feel they are right and everyone else is wrong. Dumb even.

Jeremy’s mother chose to let evil win. Her grief channeled to hate, and perhaps alcoholism. She blames Corey and that event destroyed their marriage and home.

Laurie ruined her life letting fear consume her. She ruined her daughter’s life with fear. And it got her killed. It nearly got Allyson killed. Allyson gave into fear in Kills and nearly died. Karen wasn’t as lucky. So Laurie has decided, made a choice, to change. She is not letting fear control her life any more. She is trying to rebuild and correct her mistakes with Karen through Allyson.

Karen was a good person who was trying to not let evil control her. Fear. And in Ends, she makes all the right choices to not give in to hate. To not let it cloud her judgment. But in the end she has a choice. Empathy or revenge. She chooses revenge and evil claimed her.

Everyone is given a choice. Corey is prime meat for complete radicalization. He’s an outsider who is constantly beaten down by everyone he knows. His step father shows him kindness and Laurie and Allyson do as well. They are the light in his life and he for once thinks maybe things could get better. Until he is taken in by evil itself. And evil infects him. He murders a man in defense. But maybe it felt good. Maybe it gave him power. Power can have a dramatic effect on the powerless. It can feel good. It inspires revenge. I’ll get back at those who oppress me. I feel stronger, confident and it’s delicious. Tempting. Corey allows it to infect him.

But he still has a conflict. He loves Allyson and knows to be happy, they need to get out. He talks about burning it all down and leaving. Allyson thinks he is speaking figuratively. As in burn your bridges and never look back. But he means literally and she realizes this when she sees the radio tower literally burning. Burning a symbol of Haddonfield and silencing the contaminated, fear mongering voice of the DJ.

Allyson spoke of feeling being drawn to Corey. When she heard about the accident. Like she’s been looking for him these last 3 years. Something linking them. The evil at work? Is The Shape trying to still get to Allyson and Laurie in another way? The two are living a fear free life but no one gets out of this influence.

The Shape seems to make things happen. He’s not just physically destroying people. His terror is felt throughout every inch of Haddonfield. He’s infected it all. Ever present. I think it made Jeremy’s accident happen. It made Myers Murder his sister. It’s always out there. It’s not a man—as Loomis told us countless times. It’s an elemental force, contaminating all in its presence. Those in tune feel it heavily.

When the podcasters present the mask to the evil (Myers) it is released. It permeates out of him. The dogs feel it. The patients feel it. Sartain feels it. Even the podcasters sense a change in the atmosphere. Laurie sees it at the prison and it terrifies her. She sees it in Corey’s eyes.

Corey’s hand heals the closer he gets to the Shape. He takes the mask as it is the source of it, but he also dresses as Michael to carry out his plan.

I am not sure Corey has been turned into The Shape. Myers is the Shape. In an interview, Rohan Campbell said the evil is not transferred to him. Corey makes the choice to do what he does. I think that’s accurate. Because Corey’s victims are chosen. Pre-meditated. That’s not The Shape. Another thing he mentioned was that Corey’s mind snaps because he can’t wrap his head around why he was spared. That’s what messes him up. Everyone knows Myers is a killing machine and yet when face to face with him, he spares him. The hobo tells him he’s never let anyone go before. He wants the mask and wants Corey to go back in. He asks Allyson if Myers spared her too. It’s his first question after surviving. Did you escape or did he let you go? Her mom saved her. He doesn’t get his answer. Why him? Why not kill him? Is it because Myers sees himself in him? Is it because he has a calling? What makes me special? Why give me this…power? It is healing my hand and it feels good. I came face to face with death incarnate and it let me go. The why, messes him up.

Fear and power and being beaten down can make people make very bad choices. I think that’s what happens to Corey. He sees power over the Shape. Perhaps The Shape is even manipulating Corey in pretending to be weakened. Making Corey think he is better or stronger than Myers. That he is just a man in a mask. It’s this confidence that makes Corey do what he does. It’s all a trick. People forget the Shape is a trickster. He toys with people. Is The Shape’s transcendence a matter of becoming physically stronger or is it his abilities to create chaos and trauma go beyond the physical? Has the evil taken shape beyond the flesh?

Corey knows Laurie no longer trusts him. She will get in his way. The way to his only option of happiness and freedom from his BARS (this conversation happens with him looking through them in the stairs (railings). Laurie needs to go for him to get his happy ending. To free Allyson of all ties to Haddonfield.

Corey starts his plot by calling Allyson playing scared victim telling her he believes Laurie is going to kill him. Now it’s time to set her up or take her out. But he can’t do this. He will get caught. Someone else needs to be framed—same way he was for Jeremy’s death. He has to pose as Myers and go on a killing spree to trick everyone and get away with his crime of getting Strode.

But he must go on a spree. So he chooses those he is oppressed by to be his victims. The Shape randomly kills. Corey’s spree is a revenge spree. He targets. He is making conscious choices.

When his plan is ruined by the arrival of Allyson, he knows happiness is no longer on his table and chooses to go out but also one last trick—like was done to him in 2019–making Laurie look guilty, knife in hand, so Allyson will not stay with her—because “if I can’t have her…”

Why Marching Band bullies? We’ve seen jocks and hoods but really, anyone can be a bully these days. Armchair bullies for example? But I also think it’s yet another example of how evil has infected literally everyone in town to some extent. Last night my nephew laughed saying he is a grown man being bullied by teenagers. Well, 17-year olds and with numbers, targeting a benevolent, peaceful guy who wants to avoid trouble. He’s not a violent person and age really doesn’t factor into it. Adults are often jumped by groups of youths often. Is it their packaging that is the issue? If they looked like hoodlums would it be more acceptable? Violence inspires violence and Tramer’s father is seen bullying him. You don’t have to be the obvious alpha male dude bro to be an asshole.

Yes. The film feels a lot like Christine (Green admitted that a year before its release). He borrows from My Bodyguard and other 80’s teen films where guys get a motorcycle (Grease 2) and buy a brown leather jacket (Lost Boys) and win the girl. The copycat or “possession” thing we saw in Friday 5 and Elm Street 2. The feeding on souls for power and death by mob ending in an auto yard is right out of Elm Street. But that’s not enough to deter me from the film. Every sequel is derivative. But people want self plagiarism instead.

Which brings me to the film we didn’t get and what I guess most fans wanted. The advertised final fight between Michael and Laurie. (Which isn’t false advertising as we DO get that ending)—Honestly—been there, done that 6 times already. I have little interest in seeing a 2-hour movie based around Michael stalking and attacking Laurie Strode once again. I’m not saying Corey being the lead was better, but certainly more interesting than the last ten minutes of this film being the whole film.

It’s an out of place, odd left turn of a finale. No doubt about it. Is it a great film? I don’t know about that. It’s the 13th entry of a slasher franchise—not exactly ripe for GREAT FILM territory. But for some reason, it clicked with me.

I watched it two days after release and wasn’t sure how I felt but I for some reason REALLY wanted to watch it again. So I did. Twice in one day. Not something I ever do.

Then I watched it the very next morning. I just felt like I really wanted to. Partly for prep on the podcast but also because it left me thinking so much about it. I watched it a 4th time before seeing it a 5th time at the drive-in. 5 times in one week and I never got tired of it. And I am still thinking about it. I just bought the novel and look forward to getting even more perspective.

As I said. This is only my view. And my view keeps changing as I keep thinking about details. You may never like this movie and think it’s terrible. That’s fine. That’s your choice. I just genuinely really like it.

Kills and Ends seems to have been attempting to free the franchise of its demand for Myers to be the source of the evil itself (he’s going to age out after all) and free it of both Strode and the family link to his motives. This franchise needed Corey Cunningham. But perhaps needed him sooner than Ends.

So that’s my two cents. No need to laugh at me or call me a chump or not a real fan. I am a very dedicated Halloween fan. I just took the time to compose this write up because I am. But no more a bigger fan than others. Just one who has chosen to not let hate in for this one. I think I see myself in Corey in some way (the actor reminds me of a friend of mine) and I really like him. Even if he had no business being the main focus of a third act trilogy.