"Halloween": 40 years ago, Laurie Strode got inside my head. She is still there.

adminOctober 18, 2018

Jamie Lee Curtis in a "Halloween" scene. (Ryan Green / AP)

The name says it all, is not it? Laurie Strode As in, "Laurie walked on purpose …" Laurie walked with confidence. . . "Laurie walked somberly, augmented by the burning fury of a thousand suns."

I loved Laurie Strode at first sight. Or, more specifically, he knew her: the 17-year-old high school student played by Jamie Lee Curtis in the 1978 horror classic "Halloween" ineffably came to terms with my own contradictory personality as a teenager growing up in a Midwest perpetually autumnal. . It was reasonably bright, but not annoying: it floated outside the cliques of my high school, as comfortable with drug addicts as it was with honor students. He had male friends, but he was not particularly interested in romance; I was not an addict to both shoes, but it affected the taunting mockery of a tomboy to divert sexual interest that I still found confusing and frightening.

Nor was he particularly interested in horror films. But Laurie Strode got inside my head. Like me, and like many other girls in the audience, I was not a superstar with great achievements, nor incredibly beautiful and popular. Like us, she was trying to succeed in school and get along with everyone. Like us, she earned a few extra dollars as a nanny, while harboring faint indications that she might be missing out on the fun everyone else was having beyond her reach.

So when things got terribly wrong on "Halloween," when the crazy killer Michael Myers started sending teenagers with increasing levels of psychotic creativity, the carnage hit home. Terms like "empowerment" and "agency" had not cracked popular popular language, let alone "me." But Laurie I was Me, at some cellular level. Or, at least, an aspirant to me, who longed for Laurie's competence and courage against pure evil.

The new version of David Gordon Green in 2018 of "Halloween" ignores 40 years of splits, resurrections and false endings, and is presented, with convincing authority, as the only continuation. During that interregnum, Laurie has been embraced by critical film theory, with author Carol J. Clover coining the term "final girl" to describe the archetypal role she and similar female characters play in slasher films. Along with Mari Collingwood in "Last House on the Left" in 1972 and Sally Hardesty in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", Laurie Strode personified the qualities and rhythms characteristic of the ultimate girl par excellence in her most admirable and frustrating: she was virginal, while her contemporaries were hormonal and crazed by sex (impulses for which they would be duly tortured and punished). She was sensible when everyone around her gave way to hysteria. She was fiercely protective of those she cared for, instead of just self-preservation. More importantly, she survived the villain, or at least was not allowed to die by his hand.

On the first "Halloween", Laurie was saved at the end by Michael Myers' psychiatrist, Dr. Loomis. As the new version gets under way, it's pretty clear that nobody will save it but herself. Living alone on a farm-cum-armament just outside her hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois, Laurie is isolated, traumatized and quietly rehearsing the un-smiling rituals of barely contained rage. At the limit of agoraphobia, she has sporadic contact with her daughter Karen (Judy Greer), a little more with her intelligent and intelligent granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak).

Now, Grayer, but still supernaturally, Laurie has entrenched herself against a hostile and unreliable world, distrustful of visitors and convinced that Michael Myers will return soon. Laurie is many things: brave, cunning, even supremely self-possessed. But, bitter and lonely in the surveillance state of a woman who calls home, she is for the most part tired. Tired of its own hypervigilance. Tired of being accused of projecting her neuroses and paranoia on everyone else. Tired of being told to get over it.

In other words, Laurie is the perfect avatar for an age that is immersed in the final girls, whether they are publicly opening their most primitive psychic wounds in the United States Senate, only to be ignored, mocked and denigrated, or endure the pathological misogyny, the atavistic hatred. and the sexual insecurity that is unavoidable in today's society. There is something strange, symbolically about to a post- # MeToo "Halloween" is a co-production of Miramax, the company founded by Harvey Weinstein. Whether it's a gruesome genre exercise or real life, you can count on Laurie to outperform Hollywood boogeymen.

The anguished realization, after all these years, is that she still needs to do it. In 1978, like most teenagers who embarked on a cautiously optimistic adult age, I spoke with confidence, with a purpose, assuming that the problems that afflict women at that time (inequality, marginalization, male impunity in all forms and forms) would be solved once everyone realized they were unproductive. Today, he is more likely to be walking angry, having witnessed four decades of intransigence and a backlash to more modest challenges to an unjust status quo. As Laurie in the new "Halloween", I greet each new but familiar sexist assault with a combination of resignation and "We are still doing this? "disbelief.

Curiously, however, the moral of the story of Laurie Strode does not reside in the revenge of the vigilant who drives it. He spends most of "Halloween" enraged and frightened, emotions that can be expressive, cathartic, even subversive, but that do not represent real power. For that, he needs to break with the archetype that has defined him for 40 years.

The truth and beauty of "Halloween" around 2018 can be found not only with Laurie but with her daughter and granddaughter, who honor the foundations of the franchise and give them a long-term touch-up. Alone and without commitment, it was once Laurie who was saved, if only to ensure a profitable sequel. Today, she can be saved in the safest way, and permanently, through a collective and multigenerational movement.

Now I am old enough to be a grandmother, and it turns out that Laurie Strode still has a strange ability to get in my head. This time he is telling me that singular survival is not equal to structural progress. Personal achievement is not a substitute for political change. On her own, the final girl is just a tropez. Pluralized, she becomes resistance. And she has an opportunity to fight.

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