Embrace your inner bad girl with Movie Bad Girl of the Week.
The character of Laurie Strode has appeared in more than one “Halloween” film. This article is focusing on Laurie Strode in “Halloween (H20) Twenty Years Later”
On Halloween night 1978 in Haddonfield, Illinois a teenage girl named Laurie Strode was stalked by a madman named Michael Meyers. He killed her friends and most of a hospital staff trying to end her young life. He would have succeeded had it not been for Dr. Sam Loomis (Michael’s psychiatrist) Dr. Loomis saved Laurie’s life twice that fateful night and this horror changed her life forever. You see kids, it turns out that Laurie was adopted by the Strode family after her parents were killed in an automobile accident and Michael Meyers, who is so determined to kill her, is her long lost brother.
Laurie faked her own death and went into hiding, convinced deep down that her brother is still alive and is hunting her like an animal. Laurie now lives under the assumed identity Keri Tate. She is the headmistress at a very exclusive private school in California. She is a single mom of a teenage son, (from a failed marriage to a man who is a drug addict) is plagued by nightmares that she controls with medication and is a functioning alcoholic. When we catch up with Laurie it is October 31st and the students and staff of the school are preparing to leave on a camping trip that evening. Her stress levels are high. It is Halloween and she is lost in the fear she has lived with since that night in 1978. Her son wants to go camping with his fellow students and friends and Laurie is dead set against it. She is overly-protective of John not wanting him out of her sight knowing as surely as death, taxes and too many reruns of “The Golden Girls” (on several channels at the same time) that her brother, one day, will come calling. After a couple of heated debates with her son (he tells her that her brother is dead, she is alive and they need to live a typical life without fear) she relents and gives him permission to go. She knows he is entitled to lead a normal teenage life and she needs to give him a little space . What she is unaware of is, after their last debate about the trip, is that her son has made other plans. John having found out that his girlfriend is not allowed to go on the camping trip has decided (along with their two best friends) to stay behind at the school and have a private Halloween party of their own. That night as Laurie is at home (it is a boarding school and as headmistress she and John live on campus) she confesses her past to her co-worker (and boyfriend) about her past because this year she has been haunted by the specter of her brother more-so than usual. Through a series of events she realizes that her brother has come for her as she knew he would. She also discovers that John did not go camping with the rest of the students. It now becomes a race in which Laurie needs to find her son to save his life and her own. She knows that she cannot hide anymore and she needs to face her brother in a final showdown. Laurie is going to escape her personal hell and end her brother’s life, killing the evil once and for all. The hunter is about to become the hunted.
Now let’s break this down and see what we can learn from Laurie Strode.
Laurie is living under a fake name and is the headmistress of an exclusive boarding school. She holds the school, students and staff to the very high standards set forth by the school itself. She is an alcoholic but it does not interfere with her daily duties. She is in a relationship with a co-worker and it is on the down-low.
Let’s say that Keri Tate is our work persona. At any job we need to be professional at what we do. We have been hired to complete certain tasks on a daily basis and we are given money for doing so. Each company and job has certain standards and part of the agreement in having the job is adhering to these standards. Our appearance should comply with the dress code set forth and we need to do what is asked of us. We should always hold ourselves to the highest standards possible. It does not matter if you are the chief executive of a bank or if you stock shelves in a Circle K. We need to have pride in the work that we do and should try to go above and beyond the performance expected of us. Remember that your work ethic is a direct reflection of who you are. If you don’t feel this way it might be time to find a different career path. Whatever you do in your own life should not interfere with your daily duties. If you go out for a night of heavy drinking and are hung over the next morning it is not your company’s problem, it is yours. Pop some Advil and go to work. You are an adult and you chose to drink. You also chose to accept your job and need to fulfill what is expected of you. If you are having problems with relatives it is sometimes better to not tell everyone about it. Some things need to be left outside of work. It is okay to tell a couple of close friends about if you need to vent, however (and this sounds heartless and cruel but is a fact) many jobs are not concerned with whatever problems you are having. They have given you a job to do and they expect you to do it….period. Also if you are involved romantically with a co-worker it might better benefit you and your relationship to be subtle about it. I ran into this problem myself with my husband (back when we were dating) and we were given the choice of which one of us was to remain at the company we worked for at the time. Managers and employees were not allowed to be involved. I chose to find a new job.
Now let’s call Laurie Strode our regular self. Outside of work is your own time. Drink it up, go to movies, cut loose and do something wild. Keep in mind though ( I had to with my last job) that you never know who might see you in public. I got called into the office one morning because somebody saw me having fun on my own time and they thought my behavior could be a bad reflection on the company. I thought to myself “Isn’t that some shit.” Whatever your enjoyments or pursuits are on your own time should be just that “on your own time” Do not allow certain things to bleed over into your work life. You work is your work and home life is home life. Some things should never be allowed to cross over.
Through the course of the movie it is obvious that Laurie is very protective of her son. She knows in her heart that one day her brother will find her and if John is with her that makes him a target as well. She doesn’t like not knowing where he is and doesn’t want him going on the school camping trip because she will not be there to protect him. She finally does concede after heated debate and trusts that all will be well if he goes.
This one is for all you parents out there. When a child comes into your life you love them with all your heart and you don’t want to see your kids suffer or make the same mistakes you made in your life. Hopefully none of you reading are worrying about a sibling that failed to kill you on “insert holiday here” and may come again to finish the job. However there is a point where we can be too protective with children and that is not a good thing. Kids do need room to make mistakes and learn from them. How many of us, as teens in particular, had arguments with our own families because they would not let us go and do certain things? We thought they were being awful to us when in fact they were showing love. If a parent is too protective one of two things seem to happen. Either the kids are not well adjusted in social situations because they have not socialized enough or they will suddenly (and this happened to me) run wild. As adults we need to look back and realize we did make bad judgments, we did make mistakes, we did get hurt emotionally and physically at times, we did things we should not have and we most certainly got in trouble. All of this was a learning experience that helped shape who we are today. It is nature and love to want to protect the kids, however they need some space of their own and need to be allowed to make some of their own decisions. Let them learn that some decisions come with accountability. They need to spread their wings now and then just as we needed to when we were their age.
In the finale of the film Laurie’s worst fear comes true and she realizes her brother, after 20 years, has found her and is lurking in the shadows of the school grounds. Her horror escalates when she realizes John did not go camping and is somewhere on the campus. She begins a frantic search for her child. She saves his life with seconds to spare when his uncle has him cornered like a rat. John asks his mother in a panic who the man is. In a deadpan, no non-sense tone she simply says “My brother.” Through quick action she gets her son and his girlfriend into her SUV and speeds off. At the gate she tells them to go up the street and call the police (all the phone lines at the school have been cut) Laurie then closes the gate behind them and breaks the control box so no one can get in or out. She grabs a fire axe and with the determination of a wild animal protecting its young goes on the offensive to find her brother and end the nightmare once and for all. In this battle she attacks with an axe, butcher knives and an ambulance. The time for hiding is over. She gains self-empowerment over fear and keeps attacking until she is the lone survivor.
We all have an inner voice that sometimes fills us with dread. We need to listen to that voice. Many times it is dead-on. Trust your instincts when you have a bad feeling about something. It just may save your ass. Also there comes a time in all our lives where we have two choices, succumb to our fears and wither or stand on our own two feet and not only face but conquer our demons. Hopefully that demon is not a knife wielding psycho. The choice is ours. Do not let your fears paralyze you. You are stronger than you think and with a little confidence in your abilities you can conquer anything.
A last thought about Laurie. Many of us have terrible things happen in our lives. In Laurie’s case barely escaping a brother who plans on killing her. It could be rape, abuse, divorce or a death that may occur in our lives. These things cause incredible post-traumatic stress. This can lead to so many problems. In Laurie’s case it was a marriage in which she and her husband were both addicts. The marriage ends and Laurie for nearly 20 years is a functioning alcoholic. In the case of something in my life (which will be a different column) caused me to become someone who drank too much and had lots of reckless sex. I have gotten therapy since that time and now identify this destructive behavior in myself. What I am trying to get at is this: If you have had something terrible happen to you in your life, please, please, please seek help whether it is with a psychiatrist or a support group of some sort. There are plenty of options available for you to utilize. The sooner you act the quicker the healing can begin.
Until next time Embrace Your Inner Bad Girl because being bad feels so damn good!