Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Audiobook Review: Halloween

Halloween Kills, the sequel to Halloween (2018), is now in theaters and available to watch at home on Peacock. If you haven’t already done so, read (and watch) my review here. The audiobook adaptation of the novelization of Halloween Kills is now available too, as an Audible exclusive for the first 90 days. I’m currently listening to that audiobook, so, in the meantime, I’m going to share with you my review of the one that preceded it, written by John Passarella and performed by Emily Sutton-Smith.

Publisher’s Summary

An Audible Pick for New in Fiction

Finalist for the 2019 Scribe Award for Best Adapted Novel

The official novelization of the highly anticipated revamp of the classic horror film Halloween.

In 1978, Laurie Strode survived an encounter with Michael Myers, a masked figure who killed her friends and terrorized the town of Haddonfield, Illinois, on Halloween night. Myers was later gunned down, apprehended, and committed to Smith’s Grove State Hospital.

For forty years, memories of that nightmarish ordeal have haunted Laurie and now Myers is back once again on Halloween, having escaped a routine transfer, leaving a trail of bodies in his wake. This time, Laurie is prepared with years of survival training to protect herself, her daughter Karen and her granddaughter Allyson, a teenager separated from her family and enjoying Halloween festivities.

My Thoughts

This is the first Halloween novelization since Halloween IV. I love novelizations of movies, video games, or any other medium in which an artistic endeavor originated. So, I eagerly picked up the eBook and audiobook versions of Halloween by John Passarella, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Authors who are tasked with writing a novelization are provided with a script to do so. However, it isn’t always a finalized version of the movie that is eventually released because there my be last-minute changes that take place before, during, or after filming. Another thing to consider is that novelizations are significantly longer than their source material. For example, this Halloween audiobook is a little more than nine hours long. However, the movie is one hour and forty-six minutes. That’s more than seven hours of additional content that needs to be written (and read) for the novelization.

This is what I love about novelizations: they provide the reader, and, in this case, the listener, with a more substantial and comprehensive take on something they love. It allows you to further immerse yourself in whatever particular fictional universe you’re seeking to explore. In this case, Haddonfield. And John Passarella does a wonderful job of expanding on the popular movie that launched a modern-day trilogy of terror.

As for the narrator, Emily Sutton-Smith, she’s very pleasant to listen to throughout the entire audiobook. She doesn’t get in the way of the story being told, and her voice is clear, measured, and a perfect fit for this book focusing on three generations of empowered women. I’ve listened to this audiobook twice, so far, and it was equally enjoyable both times.

Halloween (2018) is a great movie, and its novelization is a wonderful opportunity to take a deeper dive. What I particularly adore about this book are the moments of inner monologue for characters that you simply don’t get in the movie. This enhanced character development makes for a better story. With this in mind, I highly recommend picking up this book, in whichever format you prefer. Just know that the audiobook is no trick, just treat. Happy listening, and Happy Halloween!

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