Carl gets his knife into John Passarella’s Halloween novelisation for this KILLER Review
Now THIS is more like it!
I’m constantly let down by movie tie-in novels nowadays. In its heyday of the 1980’s, the movie tie-in novel was a staple. A new movie came out, the book of the film either preceded or followed it. If the film was based on a book, the original novel was re-released. If it was an original film, a writer was hired to adapt it for book form. Most were just random cash grabs, designed to get your money in the register and for you to take home and read an immediately forgettable book. There were some diamonds amongst the coal. Gremlins, Star Trek II and III spring to mind, enjoyable to read, fleshed out the films narrative and were pretty rewarding. Others like Predator bore no resemblance to the film and Beverley Hills Cop II (yes, there really was one written) was a soulless affair.
Halloween | The Official Movie Novelisation by John Passarella
Now we come to the novelisation of this years Halloween reboot. As an avid Halloween movie fan, I was intrigued to read John Passarella’s take on it in novel form. I deliberately didn’t read the book until I’d seen the film so as not to spoil it. I wanted to see Michael Myers’ return clean. And apart from a few issues I had with it, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. So, the question is, could the novel do it justice. The answer is yes and then some. Passarella has not only adapted the film perfectly but has fleshed it out so much more to the extent that some of the film that was slightly off or didn’t make sense is now crystal clear. Parts of the film that seemed to skip over parts of the story now are revealed on the written page.
I’m not going to spoil the film or book by revealing any of the action apart from a brief synopsis. Michael Myers is incarcerated in the Smiths Grove Mental Hospital after his killing spree on Halloween night 40 years ago. Two English podcasters have been given permission to attempt to talk to Myers and elicit a response from him, neither of which is successful before he is transferred to another facility for the rest of his life. Meanwhile, his final attempted victim from that night, Laurie Strode is waiting for him. She believes he will escape and has spent the past 40 years preparing for the day he comes back for her. An emotional wreck with two failed marriages behind her and a strained relationship with her daughter who was taken from her care when she was 12, Laurie spends her time either locked in her heavily fortified home or practising her marksmanship for the day she knows is coming.
Of course, Myers escapes and comes home to Haddonfield looking for the final showdown between himself and Laurie. It’s here where the book eclipses the film. Many things in the film that seemed too contrite or rushed are allowed to breathe here. The story is fleshed out in greater detail, things are explained better and it makes the film make more sense. Whether some elements of the plot from the book were filmed but edited out in post-production is unknown but it would be fantastic if they were shot and edited back into the film on its eventual home entertainment release. If this was to happen, then the film and book would make a perfect partnership.
What’s even better is Passarella writes pieces of what Myers (or The Shape as he’s referred to during the course of the book) is thinking and seeing and feeling. You can’t get that kind of insight watching the film so here it makes the novel so much better. We get to know what The Shape is made of, what his thought patterns are. Finally, we get a glimpse inside the monsters psyche. After 40 years of wondering but not knowing, a glimpse is about all we can take without riling him up and putting ourselves at his mercy.
The book has nailed the film perfectly and then some. This is the kind of film tie-in that I’m pleased has been released. It’s rich narrative and attention to even the smallest detail leaves us wanting more. I have to admit that I hadn’t heard of John Passarella before this book was released. Now, after reading this, I intend to search out any other novels he has written and immerse myself again in his rewarding and gripping words and worlds.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, The shape is calling for me to read about him again. It’s the kind of call you can’t refuse. After 40 years, he has come home and deserves to be read and to scare the world again. Thanks to John Passarella, Michael Myers will be heard again.
Halloween: The Official Movie Novelisation by John Passarella is published by Titan Books and is available to buy from all good retailers NOW.
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