40 Years Later: “Halloween” is Back
By Adriana De Santiago
Horror films have mostly moved away from slasher and gore to suspense and dread. Nonetheless, “Halloween” (2018) brings slasher and gore back to the big screen. The film has already grossed over $172 million, making it the highest grossing film in the entire franchise.
This film ignores all nine sequels released after 1978, picking up 40 years after the events that occurred in the original movie. In 1978, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) was babysitting when Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney and Nick Castle) stumbled upon her and she became his prey. In the original film, Myers was six when he stabbed his sister to death; he was taken away and in 1978, he escaped the sanatorium. By 2018, Strode has been waiting for Myers for 40 years to finally go after him.
Two journalists visit Myers to try to interview him, and then go to Strode’s house to do the same. They receive very little information from both Myers and Strode and decide to move on. Shortly afterwards, Myers is being transferred from Smith’s Grove Rehabilitation Hospital to a new facility when the bus crashes and Myers escapes. Strode, now a grandmother, is estranged from her daughter Karen (Judy Greer), son-in-law Ray (Toby Huss) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak). Still living with the trauma from 1978, Strode taught Karen how to use guns and watch out for the ‘boogeyman’ (Myers) as a child. Karen resents Strode for this and considers her mom to be mentally unstable. Throughout the duration of the film, both Karen and Ray do not want Allyson to be near her grandmother. Strode does not care that her family thinks she is paranoid; she firmly believes that she is prepared them for their encounter with Myers.
After his escape, Myers terrorizes Haddonfield, Illinois, killing anyone in his sight. Myers breaks into two homes in his first few minutes out in the town, killing two women. He continues to roam the streets until he encounters Allyson and her friend. After her boyfriend cheats on her at the school dance, Allyson walks home with one of her friends. He attempts to take advantage of the situation and tries to kiss Allyson. She becomes obviously upset and leaves him, storming off into the night. Myers kills him, just in time for Allyson to come back and see her friend dead. Thus begins the chase after Strode’s family.
Strode, Karen, and Allyson are in a final showdown with Myers. He pushes Strode out of a window and presumes her dead. When he looks again Strode is gone and the music by John Carpenter begins. This is the exact ending that happened in “Halloween” 1978. Myers is thrown out a window by the late Dr. Loomis shooting at him. Strode and Dr. Loomis believe Myers is finally dead, but when they look, he is gone. In the ending scene, Myers is trapped in the basement and Strode sets the house on fire. Myers is dead, presumably, but the audience does not know for sure.
The director, David Gordon Green, used numerous scenes to create connections between the original film and the new release. In both films, the main characters are seen before Halloween night walking down the streets of Haddonfield. In the original film, it was Strode by herself and later with friends. In the most recent version, granddaughter Allyson is walking with two of her friends. After Myers escaped the Sanitarium in 1978, Strode was sitting in the back of her classroom looking out the window when she saw Myers standing on the other side of the street. In 2018, Allyson is doing the same when she sees her grandmother waiting for her.
“Halloween” (2018) explored the effects trauma imposes on a person and gave Strode an alternate ending than in all the previous sequels. Although, whether or not a sequel will be produced, Green might have created the best “Halloween” sequel to date.
Director: David Gordon Green
Written By: David Gordon Green, Jeff Fradley, and Danny McBride
Release Date: October 19, 2018
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Virginia Gardner
Duration: 1 hour 44 minutes