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REVIEW INDEX

HALLOWEEN *

The Official Novelisation.

Written by John Passarella. RRP £7.99, 376pp. Out now from Titan Books

 

Film novelisations were once an integral part of a film’s promotion. Before DVD special features and internet spoilers, novelisations offered a glimpse into aspects of films such as deleted scenes. In the early days of home video, they were also one of the few ways that a fan could claim ownership aside from owning an edited version on 8mm. Or in my case, the nearest cinema was over a hundred miles away, so it was the way that I kept abreast of the latest genre releases.

 

In the 1970s and 80s, genre novelisations were best sellers in their own right. The adaptation of The Omen sold millions of copies spawning its own print franchise. In today’s digital age, film novelisations seem anachronistic, published after the release of a film to avoid spoilers leaking. This is quite evident in the case of John Passarella’s tie into the recent release of David Gordon Green’s Halloween sequel. Green’s loving tribute to John Carpenter’s original was fast paced and over and done within a hundred odd minutes. Passarella's novelisation stretches events out to over four hundred pages.

 

On the plus side, even at north of four hundred pages, it’s a quick easy read. It has a level of detail, dedication and commitment to the characters that differentiates it from other soulless and cynical tie-ins.

 

Taking into account the amount of improvisation that Green and his co-screenwriter Danny McBride encourage in their film making, remarkably Passarella, more than likely working from an early version of the script, has managed to capture the overall tone of the film.

 

The book however is also often at odds with the film. The surprising amount of humour that came across on screen falls flat on the page. The babysitter scene has none of the spark or tension that the actors brought to their characters with their witty dialogue. The earlier scene of the father going hunting with his dance preoccupied son coming across the transport bus has none of the characterisation or dialogue that served as one of the wittier highlights of the film. It often misses the point with regards to characterisation, especially at crucial points in the story. The cunning trained hunter aspect of Laurie’s daughter Karen, when confronting Michael in the basement is also handled in a different way here.

 

There is also not much to explore in the way of scenes cut or detailed back stories for the sizeable cast of characters. Orson Scott Card did this with his weighty and excellent adaptation of James Cameron’s The Abyss. Passarella only uses the most basic, over descriptive prose that doesn't reveal any hidden aspects of the film.

 

For those reading this before watching the film, they would not feel the need to see it afterwards. Where the film moved along at a fast pace, the novelisation gets bogged down with lengthy flat prose. On screen performances were fleshed out and communicated their own stories and histories. In the book, these aspects are often mishandled, especially in the case of Michael Myers himself.

 

“It’s not as good as the book” is one of the most common complaints of a book to screen adaptations. But it is a sentiment you will never likely hear here. Stick to the film. It honoured John Carpenter’s original film and characters in a way that this novelisation does not even bother to try.

 

Iain MacLeod

 

This web site is owned and published by London FrightFest Limited.

FrightFest is the registered trade mark of London FrightFest Limited.  © 2000 - 2018

HALLOWEEN *

The Official Novelisation.

Written by John Passarella. RRP £7.99, 376pp. Out now from Titan Books

 

Film novelisations were once an integral part of a film’s promotion. Before DVD special features and internet spoilers, novelisations offered a glimpse into aspects of films such as deleted scenes. In the early days of home video, they were also one of the few ways that a fan could claim ownership aside from owning an edited version on 8mm. Or in my case, the nearest cinema was over a hundred miles away, so it was the way that I kept abreast of the latest genre releases.

 

In the 1970s and 80s, genre novelisations were best sellers in their own right. The adaptation of The Omen sold millions of copies spawning its own print franchise. In today’s digital age, film novelisations seem anachronistic, published after the release of a film to avoid spoilers leaking. This is quite evident in the case of John Passarella’s tie into the recent release of David Gordon Green’s Halloween sequel. Green’s loving tribute to John Carpenter’s original was fast paced and over and done within a hundred odd minutes. Passarella's novelisation stretches events out to over four hundred pages.

 

On the plus side, even at north of four hundred pages, it’s a quick easy read. It has a level of detail, dedication and commitment to the characters that differentiates it from other soulless and cynical tie-ins.

 

Taking into account the amount of improvisation that Green and his co-screenwriter Danny McBride encourage in their film making, remarkably Passarella, more than likely working from an early version of the script, has managed to capture the overall tone of the film.

 

The book however is also often at odds with the film. The surprising amount of humour that came across on screen falls flat on the page. The babysitter scene has none of the spark or tension that the actors brought to their characters with their witty dialogue. The earlier scene of the father going hunting with his dance preoccupied son coming across the transport bus has none of the characterisation or dialogue that served as one of the wittier highlights of the film. It often misses the point with regards to characterisation, especially at crucial points in the story. The cunning trained hunter aspect of Laurie’s daughter Karen, when confronting Michael in the basement is also handled in a different way here.

 

There is also not much to explore in the way of scenes cut or detailed back stories for the sizeable cast of characters. Orson Scott Card did this with his weighty and excellent adaptation of James Cameron’s The Abyss. Passarella only uses the most basic, over descriptive prose that doesn't reveal any hidden aspects of the film.

 

For those reading this before watching the film, they would not feel the need to see it afterwards. Where the film moved along at a fast pace, the novelisation gets bogged down with lengthy flat prose. On screen performances were fleshed out and communicated their own stories and histories. In the book, these aspects are often mishandled, especially in the case of Michael Myers himself.

 

“It’s not as good as the book” is one of the most common complaints of a book to screen adaptations. But it is a sentiment you will never likely hear here. Stick to the film. It honoured John Carpenter’s original film and characters in a way that this novelisation does not even bother to try.

 

Iain MacLeod

 

This web site is owned and published by London FrightFest Limited.

FrightFest is the registered trade mark of London FrightFest Limited.
 © 2000 - 2018