Sick, but Not in a Good Way

Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween Kills (Universal Pictures) Halloween Kills offers too much violence and virtually no wit.

I know I sound like I’m writing speeding tickets at the Indy 500, but Halloween Kills is too violent. I should clarify that I’m a fan of sickmovie violence and often find it hilarious. But, sheesh, did they have to ram a fluorescent light bulb through the throat of that nice old black lady? Yuck.

To be enjoyable, movie violence has to have a point: It’s cathartic (bad guy gets what he deserves), it’s ironic, it’s so absurd that it’s funny. In the slasher movies of the Seventies, the gore was easy to take because it was both unreal (the color of the blood was always off) and it was in a sense justified. We never cared about the dumb-bunny victims, who existed only to be slaughtered. They were targets, not human beings. Anyway, most of them were so silly and obtuse they deserved it. The link between sex and death in teen-facing movies — make out and get taken out — was less a moralizing warning about the dangers of copulation than it was a simple

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