Genre Gut Punches: Jamie Lloyd Never Stood A Chance

There is something about the HALLOWEEN franchise that just ignites an overwhelming mixture of feelings for me. I hold the original John Carpenter classic very close to my heart, and will go to my grave declaring it to be the best film of all time. With the amount of love and admiration that I have for the first film though, I,  like all fans, tend to get a bit nit-picky with the later sequels.  My previous Genre Gut Punches article dealt with the death of my favorite heroine of all time, Laurie Strode, and well,..what better way to follow that one up, than with what is the second most upsetting death in the series, the casual throwing aside of Laurie’s daughter, Jamie Lloyd.

While Jamie’s death is definitely worthy of being labelled as one of the genre’s biggest gut punches, the more I kept throwing the idea around and after revisiting the character’s entire journey in the series, it dawned on me that Jamie Lloyd never really stood a chance. She was doomed from the very beginning.


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Our introduction to the character of Jamie Lloyd came in 1988’s HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS.  In between the 2nd and 4th film, Jamie’s mom, HALLOWEEN‘s Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) was killed off in off-screen car crash, leaving her daughter to be taken in by foster parents. When we meet Jamie, she’s a scared little girl, and lives in terror due to who her uncle was. Bullied at school by quite possibly the meaning kids in horror, Jamie feels completely alone, as her foster sister, Rachel is more concerned with the love triangle going on throughout the film. While that character setup is one that is instantly identifiable, the fact that so much of Jamie’s survival depends on Rachel getting her shit together really showcases the fact that the character of Jamie really isn’t given much growth in the beginning of her character arc, pretty much during the film’s entire running time. Every time Jamie is close to being taken out by Myers, someone, whether it be Rachel or Dr. Loomis, shows up to save the day. Where so much of Lauire’s journey in the original film was about finding the courage to stand up and do whatever is needed to survive, Jamie was never given that touch in any of the films.

Though HALLOWEEN 4 is a very enjoyable film (minus the mask), the character development of Jamie doesn’t really hit until the film’s finale, which to be honest, just seems odd, given the film’s first half.  As viewers, we go on Jamie’s journey of facing the man who, for all intensive purposes, ruined her mom’s life, is an interesting journey to follow. Instead of fighting back though, Jamie’s being so young in the film really hinders her from that cathartic element of fighting back that made Laurie so easy to root for in HALLOWEEN, and just begins a long and confusing series of character choices that the series puts Jamie through in the fifth and sixth films. Giving fans a young, completely adorable character, and continually robbing her of any rich strokes of character development just robs fans of really being able to identify or connect with anything that she goes through, quite the difference from the last time we were given a lead character to follow in the series, with Laurie .

When all is said and done, and HALLOWEEN 4‘s cat and mouse story of Michael chasing Jamie and Rachel comes to an end, with Michael being shot multiple times by the police, instead of staying way the hell back from the carnage, Jamie does what, if you really think about it, makes complete sense. While a lot of fans have criticized the idea of the evil being passed from Michael to Jamie in the last few minutes of HALLOWEEN 4, I’ve never really thought of that scene in that way. While HALLOWEEN 5 definitely put out the idea that there was a psychic bond between Michael and Jamie, due to her grabbing his hand in HALLOWEEN 4, I’ve never bought into that for a second. When she grabs his hand, it’s not a psychic bond or the evil being passed on, it’s actually much simpler, yet emotionally powerful enough, to describe. Throughout the whole film, Jamie doesn’t feel like she belongs to anything. Her foster family doesn’t treat her like she’s an actual member of the family, her school is a god-awful place of torment for her, and the ONLY thing that she knows 100% that she’s a part of, is Michael. As a kid, I often felt the same, like I didn’t belong, and when Jamie hold Michael’s hand, he’s presumably dead, and it’s her only chance to feel like she knows where she belongs.

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HALLOWEEN 4‘s shock ending of Jamie donning the clown costume and mask, and stabbing her foster mother shocked everyone upon the film’s release, but still, it was that lack of fitting into anything that I feel drove her to do it. Her only certainty was her relationship to Michael, and the end feels to me, like Jamie isn’t feeling the evil being “passed” into her, but is embracing what she ultimately is. That character twist and development is actually very admirable and really gave viewers an ending that makes you think. The unfortunate part though, is that any good idea in the HALLOWEEN series is typically addressed in whichever film that follows, with a completely different explanation or approach to something that was at first, a great way to develop a character.

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When we catch back up with Jamie a year later, in 1989’s HALLOWEEN 5: THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS, she is mute, and resides at a special home for troubled children. That alone isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I mean why wouldn’t she be in some sort of place similar to that, following what happened the previous year? Where the film kind of makes a mistake, character wise, is making Jamie suddenly have a psychic link to Myers, leading to silent screaming when Micheal decides to wake back up and finish what he started in HALLOWEEN 4. Like the previous film, Jamie is practically ditched right from the beginning, as Rachel has pressing engagements to attend to, which eventually lead to her death, and Jamie to be watched from an arm’s length by the less likable Tina character.

We spend most of HALLOWEEN 5 with Jamie not speaking, and being put into even worse situations than the series’ previous entry, all while Loomis is trying to talk Sheriff Meeker into believing that Myers is still alive, and while Tina and her friends plan on attending a costume party at a farm.  The odds look pretty slim for Jamie pretty much throughout the entire film, as she’s constantly being harassed by townspeople (throwing bricks through her window), stalked by Michael, and not only paired up with a little boy that doesn’t really bring anything to table in survival odds, but used as bait by Dr. Loomis. It’s clear as water in HALLOWEEN 5, that there really isn’t a single character who really cares about her survival or well being, it’s as if nobody knew where to go with the character and said, “well, here’s a character that we hit a creative spike with in HALLOWEEN 4, what do we do now?…make her mute, alone for the most part and…?”, and was just thrust into trouble after trouble.

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When practically nobody is left to aid Jamie, and she’s trapped in the old Myers house with Michael doing his absolute best to help her meet her maker, she’s stuck in a laundry chute in what is probably one of the most terrifying sequences in the series’ history, and it really gives off a very nihilistic, all bets off attitude. HALLOWEEN 5 feels extremely darker than the previous film, and that eerie and almost gothic at times feeling seems to have been the focal point of where director Dominique Othenin-Girard wanted to go, spending more time on tone and on design than on further developing a character that should have been explored internally more, following the shocking end of the fourth film.The stabbing of the foster mother by Jamie really isn’t addressed too much in HALLOWEEN 5, and that great turn for the character is discarded, in favor of a silent and hopeless one. When there IS a small scene involving Jamie getting into a coffin and trying to appeal to Michael, she mentions that he’s like her, and for that small amount of time, we’re taken back to the feeling of Jamie actually WANTING to be close to Myers, something that comes and goes almost immediately. If the film had really developed that idea, the character would have been so wonderful to follow, not as a sidekick to Michael, but as a young girl who has found her place, with it unfortunately being the dark role of someone who is ultimately, evil.

When Loomis comes to the rescue of Jamie just before Michael does his work, all seems well, with Loomis dropping a heavy amount of chains on top of him and beating the living hell out of Myers with a piece of wood. Naturally, with HALLOWEEN 5‘s mass confusion of who the mysterious man in black also roaming Haddonfield was, the film’s end would ultimately aid in the downfall of Jamie. When Myers, stuck in a holding cell at Haddonfield’s police station, is broken out of jail by the now machine gun-toting mystery man, viewers are left to wonder what would come next for Jamie Lloyd, for a good six years, when 1995’s HALLOWEEN: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS would tie up Jamie’s journey once and for all.

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Our last journey with Jamie Lloyd begins and ends with a short series of scenes in HALLOWEEN: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MEYERS.  Having been kidnapped by a cult led by Smith Grove’s Dr. Wynn, following the events of HALLOWEEN 5,  Jamie gives birth to a baby, after being impregnated by Michael himself (off-screen and before the film begins). The baby, prepared to be the cult’s last sacrifice to Thorn (the druid symbol on Michael and the man in black’s wrists in HALLOWEEN 5), is secretly given back to Jamie, by a nurse, leading to their escape just before Michael slaughters the nurse. Jamie takes her baby, calls Dr. Loomis, and hides in an empty bus station before secretly stashing the infant there and using herself as a diversion to get Michael away from the child. When she leaves in a truck, and is ran off the road, she hides inside of a nearby barn. Faster than you could say, “wait..”, Michael appears, and impales Jamie on a machine that is typically used to thresh corn. Jamie, dying from her wounds, reaches for Myers, and he reaches his arms out…and turns the machine on. Goodbye Jamie.

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What’s the interesting part of the scene, is how Jamie, despite everything that she has been put through by Michael, still tries once more, to be close to him. Despite the many attempts at killing her, actually succeeding at killing anyone semi-close to her, and even with impregnating her (?!), Jamie still just wants to feel like she’s a part of Michael. For three films, we as viewers have followed the character of Jamie, through being a scared and alone little girl in HALLOWEEN 4, a traumatized and fragile girl in HALLOWEEN 5, and a young woman who no matter what, would eventually meet her end at the hands of the one person she for three films, tried to be closest to. The one person whose sole focus was on Jamie through her entire journey, would always be Michael Myers. She never had a fighting a chance, and though shades of some good character development came sporadically, she ended up being just another character, recast by a studio who didn’t care about maintaining a great character’s arc. It’s almost heartbreaking, as a viewer, to think of the little girl character who we followed for two films, being casually tossed aside in her third outing, as if she hadn’t done her best to make it through a life of not having a single thing going for her, except her inevitable meeting with death, a death caused by the person she wanted to know more than anyone.

 

Comments
3 Responses to “Genre Gut Punches: Jamie Lloyd Never Stood A Chance”
  1. Sky Commander says:

    I consider Jamie’s death to be the most tragic death in horror because Michael did so much worse than simply kill her. He destroyed her childhood, killed anyone she dared to care for, then she’s kidnapped, forcibly impregnated,he even deprives her of a single moment of joy with her son.

    • SMITH says:

      I agree. They set the kid up as a staple of a character to follow and by the 6th film, they tossed her aside like she wasn’t important and hadn’t had a sad arc before. It’s depressing.

      • Sky Commander says:

        They could have at bear minium had her go out towards the end of the 6th film in some heroic fashion stopping Michael. Instead of the undignified send off they gave her. Hell even Laurie Strode went out with a bit more dignity in Halloween Resurrection and I consider that to be the worst film of the franchise.

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