Breakfast in Haddonfield: Bacon with a side of hate

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Halloween II — Courtesy Universal Pictures

The slasher formula is fairly basic, but there’s at least one thing no one talks about: the Halloween franchise’s seemingly deliberate proclivity for rough breakfast scenes.

“Enough, alright? Can we just eat in peace for once?” Breakfast is a dish best served cold.

Maybe it’s unintentional, who knows? For whatever reason, virtually every Halloween movie has a breakfast scene or two. Is it realistic? Yeah, I guess, but wouldn’t it be nice to see characters get along for a change? I’m not hating on these scenes, I just wonder if anyone’s noticed how often miserable breakfasts are used to establish the relationships characters have with one another.

The Halloween franchise isn’t exactly known for having exemplary ethos, pathos or logos, but for what credibility, logic and emotional impact it does overall provide, do these scenes add or take away from their appeal or effectiveness?

1. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers  (1988)

The matriarch of the Carruthers clan, Darlene, did not get her beauty sleep because of Jamie’s nightmare. Her husband, Richard, blames her for dunking his tie in his coffee and seems to not know where his other ties are. Adding to her stress, a babysitter cancelled and her oldest daughter.

Rachel, is equally cranky. Darlene should’ve had a run-in with Michael in this movie, because she wouldn’t have backed down. In almost the way she tells her daughter, “That’s not the only thing you’re eating, Rachel,” she could’ve told Michael, “Son, unless you’re gonna do the dishes, you best put that knife down, or else imma give you a Halloween treat you won’t soon forget.”

The best line in this scene is, “Mom, I’m on a diet. You want an oinker for a daughter?” Rachel’s annoyance with Darlene doesn’t end there. Not only did she copy her daughter’s haircut, she decides her plans are more important and demands that she stays with Jamie. Funnily enough, Rachel could’ve actually made it work, if she was going to sneak Brady over. Just think about it.

Rachel has the impression that, by breaking her date with Brady, she’ll not be carrying his child(ren) or wedding him anytime soon. Jamie enters the room, overhearing the argument and feeling sorry she was ever adopted. Don’t worry, the scene ends with the promise of double scoops from the Dairy Queen.

2) Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

This scene sets up the family dynamic and gives us an idea of which character has what personality. The mother, Debra Strode, is sympathetic. Her son, Tim, is moronic and probably isn’t a good role model for his innocent nephew, Danny, but at least he stands up to the father, albeit briefly when shit hits the fan. The two strongest characters in this breakfast scene are Kara — who’s trying to better herself for her son — and John, the abusive father.

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. Courtesy of Dimension Films.

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Whenever he’s not throwing money at his wife or calling Danny a “little bastard,” he’s b*tch-slapping Kara. The two have a relationship straight out of a country song: The only daughter is held to a higher expectation than the son and, when she’s knocked up and comes back with her son to live with her family, she ain’t Daddy’s little girl no more. Striving to be a good Mom, she stands up and stares directly into her father’s eyes and says, “I see only one bastard in this house.” He slaps her so hard her nose bleeds. It’s a messed up moment and from then on, you’re just waiting until Michael catches up with him. Everything calms to a halt as soon as Danny pulls a knife, though.

When Kara’s friend Beth arrives, she asks what happened and Kara replies, “Another episode of Father Knows Best at the Strode House,’ implying he’s done it before. The one head-scratching thing here is in the producer’s cut when Kara kneels to face Danny and says, “You know grandpa didn’t really hurt me, right?” I understand she’s trying to make sure her son isn’t worried or frightened, but he saw what happened. I was just waiting for her to say, “We were really just putting on a show, like The Three Stooges.”

3) Halloween: H20  (1998)

Laurie’s son, John, makes himself breakfast and she enters the room, seemingly oblivious to the fact that it’s Halloween. John receives a late birthday card from his father and wants to use the money for a trip. During the talk of his father’s addiction, John casually quips, “And just think he left you.” The slightly heated exchange of words is because John wants to go camping at Yosemite with his girlfriend Molly, but she’s not willing to let him go.

The deuteragonist is already likeable enough, but he was relatable from the moment when Laurie (or Keri, whatever) says, “You wanna go camping, I’ll take you camping,” to which he replies, “I don’t want to go with you.” It’s one of the more tamer disagreements between characters during a breakfast scene in this franchise, and although it’s not in Haddonfield, it features a character who originated from there, so it counts.