“Halloween” star Jamie Lee Curtis is politicizing the 2018 followup to the original film. For Curtis, the life-and-death struggle between her character Laurie Strode, who has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder for the last 40 years, and the newly released serial killer Michael Myers (the film is vague on why Myers was released from the mental institution) represents a form of female empowerment in the age of Harvey Weinstein and worse.
According to Curtis, the film is more than the jump scares and jetting blood that are staples of the genre. “Halloween” is about women “trying to take back the narrative in their own lives from men who have abused them, in myriad ways,” she said.
Curtis is a liberal in a tinsel town dominated by them. She was a fervent Barack Obama supporter, once tweeting “bravo Obama” 15 times in response to Obama’s 2012 State of the Union speech, and has indicated support for socialism. But one issue separates Curtis from the liberal herd: her support for the Second Amendment. She is no Liam Neeson, who got a career boost from the high body count in the “Taken” series but wants the same weaponry he glamorizes on screen to be banned in real life.
Curtis’s character in “Halloween” stockpiles her survivalist compound with guns (along with booby traps) in preparation for the day Myers begins hunting her again. She supports the movie’s message that having weapons for self-defense is essential.
Although she makes the standard liberal noises about banning assault weapons, Curtis does support the Second Amendment: “I have absolutely no problem with people owning firearms if they have been trained, licensed, a background check has been conducted, a pause button has been pushed to give time for that process to take place.”
It is this message of women needing guns for protection that makes “Halloween” more than a by-the-numbers slasher film. The jump scares are as predictable as ever, and Myers’ motivations remain elusive. But refreshingly there is no “babe-in-half-naked-peril” in the film.
The movie also eschews the view that all is right again when the babe murders her assailant. By casting the fully dressed 59-year-old Curtis, the film-makers show the debilitating after-effects of these battles. Damaged, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Curtis has let Myers define her for four decades.
Added to this complexity is a mother-daughter conflict. Curtis’ daughter escapes from her survivalist childhood and, unlike mom, wants to embrace optimism and a belief in the goodness of humanity. So the daughter raises her own daughter in this atmosphere. But when Myers starts slashing and stabbing, both realize that mom had a point about the need to make an armory out of her house.
The film broke box office records last weekend, and Curtis recognized it as unique in the babe-dominated Hollywood: “OK. I’m going for one BOAST post. Biggest horror movie opening with a female lead. Biggest movie opening with a female lead over 55. Second biggest October movie opening ever. Biggest Halloween opening ever.”
Clearly the idea of female empowerment has box office appeal even when practiced by a 59-year-old. This exposes another weakness of the feminist movement. Liberal feminists support anti-predator laws and seek to limit, if not eradicate, the right of everyone, women included, to bear arms.
Curtis is more consistent on this matter, by acknowledging feminist empowerment is about more than “reproductive rights” and the Equal Rights Amendment. It is also about individual rights, and women being able to protect themselves is an ultimate expression of those rights.