I might be going to Halloween Hell for this but you have to hear me out here before throwing me down a well while I wash away in a river only to end up at some hermit’s shack. Rachel Carruthers is the true answer to the Halloween heroine series and 30 years later I’m still fairly pissed about how dirty they did her in Halloween 5.
Now, I know what you’re saying, “Excuse me, but what about Laurie?”
A very valid question and I’ll give a simple answer. Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) was at her best in the original 1978 film and honestly, I just didn’t register her as anything special or in fact relatable in any way whatsoever. She’s likable just enough in the original film but in a very generic sense as the character barely has any depth and some very corny one-liners to boot in the first few films. It wasn’t until H20 that Laurie’s character came out of her shell and gave us more than a shy girl next door- which is my favorite version of her mind you. That persona continues on in the current Halloween films (2018, Kills, and Ends), skipping over Resurrection as she was just outlandishly cartoonish; but the damage has already been done for me whereas she just ain’t hitting those notes like another has for me. Plus, I have a little bone to pick with someone who claims that parents who watch Halloween with their children are “the worst human being(s) on the planet.”
Look lady, most of us that grew up in the 80s and 90s did exactly that and watched these films as kids; renting them from our local mom-and-pop video stores. So just settle down there JLC and realize you have a fan base because of US and insulting parents who choose to share their passion for the genre and the Halloween films with their crotch fruit is no one’s business. Parent shaming is so gross.
That being said, Ellie Cornell who plays the “new and improved” girl-next-door type, Rachel Carruthers makes her first appearance in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, and oh man she came in swinging right away with that part. She just felt REAL. As if Ellie WAS Rachel and we weren’t watching an act.
Aside from my opinions, Cornell had some pretty big loafers to fill when stepping up to be the fresh face for Halloween after JLC’s role in the series was presumably over, and she delivered a powerhouse final girl performance to become the now, unsung heroine of the entire franchise.
Rachel was the epitome of a typical high-school girl in the 80s but with a lot more to offer. Beyond watching her figure, (she didn’t want her mom to have an oinker for a daughter) and daydreaming of her future with Haddonfield hunk Brady, Rachel had a lot on her plate to deal with for a teenage gal. Taking on the role of older foster sister to Jamie, (Danielle Harris) who is now deceased Laurie’s daughter, she is wise beyond her years in offering advice to the young troubled, and also, hunted girl. She also, at first begrudgingly, is willing to give up her “engagement, marriage, and children” all to babysit on Halloween night just to help out the family, taking it a step further and taking Jamie out for ice cream costume shopping after school. What a gal. Of course, some of this may have been due to guilt after throwing a tad of a hissy fit, but she IS a teenager, and most girls her age would be annoyed at this task. She, of course, shows maturity and rights her wrong which is commendable.
Ok, so we know Rachel is a down-to-Earth good girl. But she’s also a mega-badass.
When faced with the threat of Michael Myers hot on the sisters’ tail on Halloween night, Rachel goes from teenage dynasty to full-blown survival final girl mode. This young girl with boy troubles and a thrust-upon role model for Jamie becomes a fighter with every inch of her being by night’s end and does everything in her power to keep her foster sister safe from harm. She carries Jamie on her back onto a roof escaping from the Meeker’s house and MacGyvers’ the shit out of some rope to make an escape ladder all while Myers is flailing his knife around at them.
Fun fact: The badassery spills over into reality as Ellie did ALL her own stunts on that roof. No, it wasn’t a set folks. They actually filmed on top of a house for that scene and it was pretty high up. The crew wouldn’t let her do the free-fall but everything else is Cornell and not a stuntwoman.
Shortly after an incident with Loomis, Myers, and Jaimie at the school, Rachel pops up like mother fuckin’ Rambo with a fire extinguisher and gives the sisters a chance to get away. They escape with the redneck Haddonfiled lynch mob in a truck and it seems as if their night of hell has come to a close as they drive away from Haddonfield to a safe place.
Ugh. How boring would that be! As Michael was hiding somehow underneath the truck the whole time just waiting for the perfect moment to make an appearance. After killing off every vigilante, Rachel is now tasked with saving her and Jamie from imminent death.
The whole scene is badass but not over the top where it isn’t believable. These girls have been through one traumatic night, Rachel snapping into murder mode by plowing into him with the truck instead of just driving off showcases the evolution of her character from the Rachel we got at the beginning of Halloween 4, and the end of the film. You’re goddamn right; Rachel went full Heisenberg.
Rachel Carruthers deserved better than that bullshit death in Halloween 5 and certainly warrants more recognition for her achievements in breathing new life into the Final Girl persona of the genre. She’s just so damn likable. You may disagree with my thoughts here and you’re welcome to tell me I’m wrong- but first let me get that coffee for you.