I love movie novelisations, though they don’t always make it easy for me to do so. Lumpen prose and slavish adherence to the source material can make for a frustrating and, frankly, boring read.
I’ve seen the film. I want something different.
Curtis Richards understands. He knows that a lot of the power of John Carpenter’s Halloween comes from the synthesis of the music and imagery. He knows that not a lot really happens for the first half of the story. Curtis Richards understands, and he knows exactly what to do about it.
Thankfully, Curtis Richards is also utterly bonkers.
This is a fascinating book to read for slasher fans, as it pretty much imagines an alternate reality in which Halloween was made by New York Ripper-era Lucio Fulci rather than Carpenter. Richards seems hell-bent on turning Halloween into a blood and boobs filled exploitation romp, and for that, I loved it.
We all remember the classic opening of Halloween, yeah? You know the one, that prologue set during ‘the dawn of the Celtic race’, with the attempted rape and double murder that sets the whole story in motion?
Yeah, you read that right.
Richards set out to explain why Michael Myers kills, in the most spectacularly wrong-headed way imaginable. You see, it turns out that Michael is a descendant of Edna, the deformed rapist from the prologue. We learn from Michael’s granny(!) that his grandfather was the same, driven to kill by voices in his head. There’s a hysterical scene where Loomis and the sheriff figure out that Michael and his gramps were possessed by the same evil celtic spirit…
Like I said, Curtis Richards is insane.
To make up for the lack of violent action in the screenplay, Richards has Laurie fixate on the death of Judith Myers, endlessly replaying the murder over and over in her head, always making sure to mention that she was stabbed in the crotch.
But my favourite part of this book – this absurd book – is what Richards has done with Michael Myers.
He’s turned him into a raging horny pervert.
I’m not joking guys, check this out.
But then, everyone seems to have sex on the brain. Check out Loomis describing Michael’s killing of his sister, and see if you can spot the slightly extraneous bit of information.
‘I’m told she just had panties on’. Gee, okay Loomis, I don’t see how that’s relevant, you old creep, but thanks for bringing it up.
Thankfully, Laurie manages to finish Michael off by, ummm, stabbing him in the crotch.
And at the end of the day, this sort of nonsense is why I enjoyed the book so much. It’s Halloween, but not as we know it. It takes a classy movie and turns it into a demented bloodbath with a bigger crotch fixation than a Richard Laymon novel.
This is how you do a novelization.
Curtis Richards knows.
Curtis Richards understands.
WHAT BORIS THOUGHT: There is a scene where a dog dies. In keeping with the spirit of the book, it’s much more graphic than in the movie. Boris did not like this.
THIS EDITION: Bantam, 1979
OVERALL: 3 paws out of 5