There has been much hype about the streaming release of the extended cut of Halloween Kills. Kills proved perhaps to be the most polarizing film in the entire series, and many wondered if the added material would do anything to improve it. Those expecting a drastically different experience like say, the extended cuts of Terminator 2 or Avatar will be disappointed. What we get is a brief four minutes and thirty seconds that, while short, nevertheless make for a more satisfying experience.
For those who have yet to see the film, there will be spoilers.
Added Gore Shots
The first thing added to the film are a few extra seconds of gore. These moments are seen during the attack on the first fireman at Laurie’s compound and the murder of Big John at the Myers house, where we now see Big John’s eyes fully gouged out of his head. There is also some additional footage during Michael’s frenzied attack on Tommy, Leigh and the rest of their mob, culminating in a shot where Michael breaks Tommy’s baseball bat against his head before stabbing him with it.
Out of all the additions to Halloween Kills, these are the least essential for the already gore-saturated horror film. While it may appeal to gorehounds, most won’t even notice the added bloodletting. The contributions that really make a difference in Kills are the few extra scenes that, while brief, nevertheless help the film build a little bit of mood and create an overall less jumbled feel to the story.
The Escaped Patient’s Arrival
One of the more polarizing parts of the film is when Tommy’s mob, out of control, ends up pursuing an escaped mental patient to his death. This scene is given an extension, but the extension does add a great deal of mood to the chase that follows. The sequence now begins with an extended POV shot, much in line with the opening of the original film. The POV shot drifts through the crowd as numerous people shy away from the unknown figure. The opening leads us to believe the POV is from Myers himself. It’s not until we see the man’s reflection in a window that we realize this is an innocent man.
One of the problems with Halloween Kills is its somewhat jumbled feel where new scenes will begin without a lot of lead-in. This new opening words for two reasons. One, it makes the transition into this sequence feel more natural, so everything that follows doesn’t feel quite so out of left field. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, this new opening actually tricks the audience into believing that perhaps Michael has come to the hospital. It fools us in the same way the mob is fooled, and that little touch adds just a little credibility to this very controversial sequence.
Karen Looks For Ray
One of the most unusual things about Halloween Kills was how it took the time to show the characters mourning those who didn’t survive the previous film. One such character who didn’t make it was Ray, Karen’s husband and father to Allyson. There were already a number of scenes devoted to the characters’ mourning, such as Karen seeing her wedding ring while washing her hands or she and Allyson mourning his loss in the hospital stairwell. This new cut adds an additional scene where Karen enters a morgue looking for Ray, only to be rebuffed by a burned-out mortician.
Does this scene contribute a lot to the movie? Not really. The film already devotes plenty of time to Karen and Allyson’s grief over Ray’s death, and this added beat isn’t entirely necessary. Out of all the new scenes, it’s perhaps the least effective. Still, there are some parts about this scene that work. It reminds us of the scope of Michael’s killing spree in the previous film, and also shows Karen’s attempt to make peace with Ray’s death rebuked, leaving her, and the rest of us hanging. This rebuke makes her eventual pursuit of Michael more satisfying, and the end to the film more devastating.
The last two scenes added to the film are without a doubt the best additions, and add a great deal to the atmosphere and tone of Halloween Kills. The first is an extension of Lonnie’s encounter with Michael during the 1978 flashback sequence. In the theatrical cut, Lonnie bumps into Michael very shortly after he’s told to return home. This new scene adds an additional bit of buildup to Lonnie’s encounter. While walking home alone, Lonnie spots The Shape peering at him from behind a hedge. When Lonnie goes to investigate, the figure is gone.
This scene is my favorite for a number of reasons. One, it’s a wonderful tribute to a similar moment in the original where Laurie spots the Shape on her way home from school. Two, this is the scene where Nick Castle returned to play Michael, and it’s always a treat to see him don the mask again. Three, and perhaps most importantly, this is one of the few examples of the film taking its time. This added beat brings a great deal of atmosphere to the scene, and makes Lonnie’s later encounter with Michael that much more powerful. Out of all the scenes in the movie, this is the one that captures Michael’s character from the original the best.
Laurie & Michael on the Phone
Perhaps the most noteworthy addition to the film is an extended ending. The theatrical cut of Halloween Kills ended up an abrupt and unsatisfying note where Karen is brutally murdered by Michael. The last shot of the film was him peering out over Haddonfield, having now fully conquered his hometown. The new ending continues on for an extra minute or so, but the extra minute vastly improves the finale.
In this new ending, Karen’s cell phone starts ringing. We cut to Laurie back in the hospital trying to call her daughter, and see her reaction when she instead hears Michael breathing through the line. In the space of a few seconds, Laurie displays shock, despair and finally a quiet, brooding rage. Now emotionally shut down, Laurie tells Michael she’s coming for him, fetching the kitchen knife Allyson left her and marching out of the hospital for revenge. It’s these shots of Laurie walking down the hall that we saw so frequently in the trailers, and as guessed in our earlier speculation about the movie, turned out to be the closing shots
Out of all the cuts made to the movie, this is perhaps the most baffling. The abrupt ending of the theatrical cut was a sloppy mess that left a bad taste in the mouths of many audiences, mine included. This new scene makes the ending. It not only recalls a similar scene where Laurie heard Michael through the phone in the original, but seeing Laurie learn of her daughter’s death is perhaps the best acting in the entire film. While the original ending to the 2018 film has yet to be released, it’s good to see the proper ending added back into Halloween Kills, ending the film on a high note, and leaving me excited for the next installment.
Small Touches Matter
I enjoyed Halloween Kills a lot more on my second viewing, which I kind of expected as it took the 2018 film some time to grow on me as well. What surprised me about this new cut was how much these short scenes made a difference. True, the added gore wasn’t necessary, but these added beats did make for a more organized and well-crafted film, with Lonnie’s encounter and the ending being not only the best additions, but also the best scenes in the movie. Halloween Kills is still a deeply flawed movie, and no amount of additions will make those issues completely go away. But for the most part, these scenes are really good, and stand as a lesson that sometimes it’s taking your time as opposed to rushing through a film that makes it more effective.
Like this article? Check out these similar pieces by some of our top contributors!