- Halloween: H20 (1998)
I know I’ll catch some flak for H20 being so high on this list, and I understand that criticism. It’s only like 80 minutes long, and it’s clearly trying to Scream-up the franchise. I don’t care. Laurie is back, and this time she’s ready for Michael. I love it.
As H20 celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the original film, references and callbacks abound. Donald Pleasence had passed away shortly before, so we have his nurse who started off the first film, along with Curtis’ own mother, Janet Leigh (of Psycho fame) making a cameo. Plus, LL Cool J plays a security guard trying to write a romance novel in his spare time — that’s good stuff!
So, it turns out that Laurie faked her own death and abandoned her daughter Jamie (though they retconned Jamie out of the film, I’m keeping her in because she’s awesome — let me!). She’s now a barely functioning alcoholic (that would make even Tom Atkins’ Dr. Challis take a step back) and Headmistress of Hillcrest Academy in Summer Glen, CA, and has changed her name to Keri Tate. Josh Hartnett (this is how you know it’s a 90s movie) plays her son John, who tends to his mother as she regularly wakes up from nightmares (understandable, no?). However, he’s done with this whole nightmare-ridden, controlling mother situation and wants to be rid of the specter of his uncle — it’s even a bit unclear whether or not he believes her story.
What makes this entry great is the moments. I know that the story doesn’t entirely work because of their attempts to retcon things, but Laurie is back in a claustrophobic setting (Hillcrest is a gated academy, and of course Michael finds his way in), but unlike the last time we saw her, scrambling through a hospital away from Michael, she busts open a glass case containing an ax, shatters the controls to the gates, sealing herself inside the campus, and goes on the hunt for her big brother. It’s so good.