Halloween 2018, which I watched through my fingers on Tuesday, is getting some praise from the right-wing media for depicting just the kind of world conservative voters feel they live in: where danger lurks everywhere, evil is absolute, the news media have an effete mindset that threatens to soften us to death, and where safety comes from a hard-as-nails attitude that makes skill with a gun or a knife more important than feelings.
All you need to know about the story: Laurie Strode, the nurturing babysitter from the original 1978 Halloween, deploys an arsenal of weaponry to defend her family from escaped serial killer Michael Meyers, back for revenge after she defeated him long ago.
The atmosphere of fear and the rootin’ tootin’ frontier attitude of the heroines make for a pleasant enough couple of hours. But Haddonfield, the little town where both Halloweens are set, is–thank God–not a place any of us actually have to live. In the real world, being a “good guy with a gun” isn’t as morally clear or as emotionally satisfying as the movies make it seem. And raising our children and governing our nation in an atmosphere of terror is corrosive to both mental health and democracy.
So let’s all enjoy a few scares in this season of horror films and ghost stories. But when we vote, let’s make sure we’re living in reality, not fantasy.