While the 2018 Halloween remake did a lot right by the franchise in general, some audiences were turned off by the excessive violence, especially when compared to the original film, but the violence was a necessary vehicle to tell a very specific story.
John Carpenter's 1978 film has been frequently credited for creating the slasher sub-genre of horror. Even so, the original film wasn't extraordinarily violent, especially when compared to other slashers such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th. David Gordon Green's vision for the remake, which would follow the story of Michael Myers and Laurie Strode forty years down the road from their original encounter, introduced audiences to a more intensely violent version of Michael Myers. While it may have shown more restraint than other iterations, such as Rob Zombie's 2007 version of the film, it was still a more brutal, unhinged Myers that was even more of an unstoppable killing machine than the 1978 film portrayed.
The new film showed this new Myers as a force of nature, a man with a purpose and a goal that wasn't to be impeded by cat-and-mouse games like he utilized before, and some fans were far from thrilled. However, the 2018 Myers acted purposefully on and off screen, and the violence wasn't wholly for shock value.
Michael Myers Waited 40 Years For His Escape
Since other aspects of the Halloween franchise were eliminated in the 2018 remake, Michael Myers was a flesh and blood human once again. David McBride and David Gordon Green's story filled in the blanks of what happened in the interim, chronicling the events in bits and pieces from two ambitious true crime podcasters who wished to interview Michael and Laurie both to get to the root of the happenings that fateful night in 1978. During their confrontation with Myers at Smith's Grove Sanitarium, he is shown his old mask and seems not to react to it at all, almost as if he's entirely unaffected by his past, but upon his escape, a very different side surfaces.
This side is impassioned and dark, a man who can execute a plan just as effectively as he can create it. In the original film, Myers seemed to play with his victims, stalking them, hiding under sheets, using household objects as weapons, and analyzing the slain with his signature head tilt. He possesses something akin to childlike curiosity, but all that is stripped away with time. On his journey back to Haddonfield, Myers leaves behind a gruesome trail of bodies that includes a young boy and many innocent bystanders, almost as if he's no longer interested in planning his kills or being discerning with his victim choice at all.
Gore was a centralized feature in this sequel, showing the aftermath of Myers' unbridled ferocity. Here, we saw necks horrifically contorted, knives plunged through throats, skulls hollowed out and turned into human pumpkins, and victims who are, literally, crushed under Myers' heel. This side of him is, in many ways, the thrill of the kill increased exponentially after being in captivity for years, planning his time and no doubt dreaming of all the horrible things he might do upon his escape.
Violence Is A Necessity For Modern Horror Audiences
With the increase in special effects and a somewhat desensitized audience, gore has become common parlance in horror. The 'R' rating, which is no different than the initial rating on the surface, has different standards now. For example, movies that are similarly violent as Carpenter's Halloween have a PG-13 rating now. Some notable PG-13 horror movies include A Quiet Place, Happy Death Day, and Insidious. While gore and violence isn't the only aspect that makes a horror movie effective, and some movies are heavily successful with minimal, a slasher film has certain expectations from its audience. Though it was a bit over-the-top comparatively, it was a necessary change. Halloween delivered in such a way that it connected to the dark roots of its story and just made sense.