John Carpenter’s Halloween is a horror classic to say the very least with an onslaught of sequels, prequels, remakes and rip offs it’s easy to see how Halloween is one of the most influential horror movies of all time. No Country for Old Men on the other hand is a gem of the thriller genre that reignited critical acclaim for The Coen Brothers, sky rocketed the career of a Mister Josh “Thanos” Brolin, launched the American career of Javier Bardhem and was arguably the start of Tommy Lee Jones’ physical metamorphosis into a Basset Hound. However, these films couldn’t be more different. Or are they?
Yes, despite their differences I’d say that Halloween and No Country (as the cool kids say) are very similar once you break them down. The biggest similarity I feel is the dynamics of their characters and their arcs. Firstly, I would say that Llewelyn Moss would be the middle age male equivalent to Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode as they’re both Hitchcockian everymen/women completely unprepared for the insanity and death that lay before them. Next, I would say that Jones’ Ed Tom Bell would be a reinterpretation of Doctor Samuel Loomis as they’re two both moral characters living in an increasingly immoral world that they can no longer understand. Finally, that leads us to our main villains Michael Meyers and Anton Chigurh which are the embodiment of the United States’ biggest phobias at the time.
This can be seen in Meyers as he’s the boogieman next door. Halloween came out during the seventies, when the crime rate was continually going up in the states and the news was filled with stories on serial killers such Charles Manson, The Zodiac Killer, John Wayne Gacy and more. However, those killers operated mostly in large cities, they couldn’t possibly be IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD…or could they? That was the fear that Halloween exploited with Michael Meyers.
Fast forward to 2005 when No Country for Old Men was published and what was America’s biggest national fear? Foreign terrorism, which Chigurh is the complete embodiment of, an enemy not from our neighborhoods, but one from an unknown foreign land sworn to destroy American lives and to be an agent of chaos. Granted the film is set in the 1980’s and if you want to get technical Chigurh is professionally a hitman for the cartel. However, multiple times during the film he’s shown a love for being loud and bombastic with his terror and lethal methods and if that’s not terrorism I don’t know what is.
They also have very all-American settings as if to highlight said fear’s corruption of Americana. Halloween has a very all-American setting of a warm and peaceful suburb near a school no less as if to highlight that not even innocent children are safe from Michael. No Country for Old Men on the other hand is set primarily in Texas which given most folks think Texans are all cowboys (a specifically American role) that gives No Country for Old Men a distinctly Americana feel as well. So, those are all the reasons why I feel that No Country for Old Men is a spiritual remake of John Carpenter’s Halloween, what do you think?