The Halloween franchise as a whole stands as a monument to the human capacity for rationalization, our need to explain the terrifying things that happen to us. To borrow Allyson’s words, it’s a way to make us feel better. The same impulse can be found in how we respond in the real world to real-life tragedies and horrors, always looking for that fundamental why. But the totality of the series, at the end of the day, only serves to strengthen the legacy of Carpenter’s indelible original, and makes it more timeless and impactful, even now, forty-five years later. For only 1978’s Halloween, the first, the best, has the awful and powerful wisdom to know that sometimes, there is no why. No reason, no order. Sometimes, bad things just happen. What could be scarier than that?
I saw this tweet last week:
It’s THIS IDEA that is the villain, not any faction: the idea that you can receive a moral blank check to murder children and hurt innocent people. It’s always wrong, and what’s worse, once people believe a moral blank check exists, they start looking for ways to manufacture one.
— Will Stancil (@whstancil) October 13, 2023
It was being held up for scorn, as an example of a left-wing, anti-Israel appeasement mentality. Stancil is certainly an orthodox leftist idiot, a fact I confirmed by scrolling through his Twitter feed to find this tweet again, but I hardly think this sentiment is particularly egregious. In fact, it’s just a paraphrase of what Solzhenitsyn, an unimpeachable source, said about ideology. Multiple things can be true at once. Why did the Hamas attack happen? There are plenty of particular answers — anti-Semitism, territorial disputes, religious differences, geopolitical maneuvering, an endless cycle of retribution. There are also particular answers to every similar atrocity you could ask about — Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia, ad infinitum. At some point, though, you may wonder if anything has truly been answered, or if evil is a convenient name for something that exists prior to, behind, and beyond all of our attempts to rationalize it. Maybe no amount of understanding or anticipation will ever banish it for long.