Ryan Green / Universal Pictures
The trauma is not clean and nice to deal with; It is not easily diagnosed, it does not disappear on its own and its persistent effects can affect those around us. In the last sequel of the long and sinuous. Hallowe'en series, the trauma plays an important role in the narrative arc of the famous final girl Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis). You may remember her from the original John Carpenter movie of 1978, which saw her shouting, running, discovering her brutally murdered friends and then defending herself against a serial killer to protect the children she cared for.
The sequel to 2018 begins several decades later and, while largely fitting the retro emotions of the subgenre "serial killer on the loose," makes Laurie Strode's previous experience interesting. In this film, the trauma and guilt of the survivor are not swept under the carpet, as often happens in the aftermath. Instead, Laurie's experience determines her behavior and her relationship with her loved ones and with the world in general.
Horror movies have played lightly with the trauma of a character to achieve a dramatic effect before. In Neil Marshall & # 39; s The descent, Sarah (Shauna Macdonald), tries to cope with the loss of her family in an accident by meeting friends and taking a girl's trip. Things go terribly wrong in the group's cave diving adventure, and the memory of her daughter, as well as the guilt of her survivor, torments her as she fights the cannibal monsters. From Wes Craven Shout Presents Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) struggling to face the murder of his mother. When a similar murderer begins to attack his classmates, his worst fears return to his door.
But on this present day. Hallowe'enDirected by David Gordon Green, the trauma is not a mere plot device, it is the explicit theme of the film. Laurie has become a virtual hermit, moving away from a world that saw her more as a strange spectacle than as a survivor. He hastens to leave aside journalists who seek to make a sensational story of their experience. In this timeline, which skips all other sequels, Laurie is armed in case serial killer Michael Myers returns. She teaches her daughter to survive, to shoot and when to seek refuge in the family panic room. She is trying to inoculate her daughter so that she does not completely inherit her trauma, like when young girls are taught to walk to their cars with the keys between their fingers. Is Hallowe'en It is proposed to explore the emotional cost of seeing a monster in each shadow.
Laurie's insistence that her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) learn to protect herself and check each corner causes a break in their relationship: Karen suffers from her mother for survival training and for exposing her to second-hand paranoia. She is content with a passive husband and refuses to train her own daughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) the way her mother raised her. She naively believes that her mother's trauma is his alone and actively tries to separate Laurie from spending time with her granddaughter. In the film, trying to break the cycle of fear leaves them vulnerable to the man who put them there in the first place.
We see why Karen has pushed Laurie so hard in an especially tense dinner: a visibly shocked Laurie arrives late to meet the family in a restaurant, bothering superficial jokes. Granddaughter Allyson tries to calm her down, while daughter Karen confronts the confrontation, angry that her mother has shown up. The performance of Jamie Lee Curtis here is moving; It is clearly uncomfortable within a few seconds of sitting at the table. She keeps looking at others nervously, while Karen's body language telegraphs her frustration at the challenges of caring for someone who has mental health problems.
Trauma manifests itself in ways we can not control, often when it is not appropriate to cry or scream. Laurie's instability at the moment is palpable, and helps explain why she took such drastic measures against a murderer (probably supernatural).
Laurie's story could have been in many ways. She could have buried her trauma, reliving it only in nightmares. She could have moved to another part of the world. If it is disappointing to see Laurie Strode converted, here, into an armed survivor in a standard revenge plan, the actress' own words may shed some light on that decision.
Last month, at the screening of the Austin Fantastic Festival, Curtis told the crowd: "Laurie Strode returned to school on November 1 with a bandage on her arm She left school on the 31st, this dreamy, intellectual girl She went to the university and returned on November 1st, a phenomenon in which everyone talked about her, nobody helped her, and that is the reason why I went back to the original trauma. "
It would have been nice if more women had had something to say in the narrative trajectory that Laurie has taken, instead of the trio of writers David Gordon Green, Danny McBride and John Fradley. However, this Hallowe'en It highlights a question that horror films often ignore: How does a genre that unleashes so much violence in its characters deal with post-traumatic stress, trauma and pain? The horror filmmakers will always terrorize their characters at the moment, of course, but we hope that we will start to see more films willing to explore the persistent costs of alive With fear, every day.
Although the latter Hallowe'en He may not achieve everything he sets out to do, amply demonstrating how difficult it can be to go from the ghosts of past traumas.