A new Halloween film wrapped principal photography and is slated for a nationwide release on October 19th, 2018. Understandably, there will be some eyes rolling after learning of yet another installment in the fading Halloween (faded?) franchise. Who’s making it? And, uh…why…especially after the bad taste that ‘Halloween: Resurrection’ left the Halloween faithful?
The Halloween sequels have systematically gnawed away at everything that made the 1978 original so great by humanizing Michael Myers. Halloween 2 gave Myers a motive and a connection to Laurie Strode. Halloween 4 gave him the Jason Voorhees treatment (how the hell did he survive the explosion from part 2? Same goes for Loomis). This movie also gave Myers the absolute worst looking mask of the series by far. Halloween 5 had Myers living with a hermit for over a year (this is not a joke…) and entrenched us with the plot-hole ridden cult storyline. Halloween 6 made Myers out to be a mere pawn in the Thorn cult. Rob Zombie remade the entire series from scratch. So….where exactly do we go from here?
REASONS FOR OPTIMISM
Fans of the 1978 original rejoice: John Carpenter, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Nick Castle are all back. At first glance, that may not mean much as cynics can refer to Resurrection and H2O to nullify Curtis’s endorsement. One can further bolster their cynicism by referring to a quote in a Deadline interview Carpenter did back in 2014: “I didn’t’ think there was any more story, and I didn’t want to do it again. All of my ideas were for the first Halloween. There shouldn’t have been anymore.”
Carpenter has been noticeably mum on the many Halloween sequels. So why the sudden change of heart? Well, turns out he actually liked the script and the director — so much so that he signed on to complete the score, executively produce and offer consultation. Why did he like the script so much and who’s the director responsible for recruiting Carpenter to the 11th Halloween film?
Director David Gordon Green is captaining the ship and he co-wrote the screenplay with Danny McBride (Kenny Powers himself). Green & McBride are disregarding every film in the franchise other than the original — and they even tweaked the ending just a bit. McBride has classified this film as a sequel that takes place in an alternate reality.
One has to wonder whether the tweaks to the original ending were made to work around not bringing back Dr. Loomis’s character since his status within the new timeline is still unknown. It’s undeniable that the late great Donald Pleasance’s presence is as much a staple in this franchise as Michael Myers. Bringing his character back alongside the original cast would seem a bit odd unless done via a flashback (although Loomis’s age was never clarified, it’s safe to assume that he would have passed after 40 years since 1978).
Nonetheless, Green and McBride are intent on getting back to the basics: heavy emphasis on dread/suspense, zero characterization of Michael Myers, and bringing back the overall “feel” of the original. The dignified treatment of Laurie Strode’s character compelled Jamie Lee Curtis to reprise her role. All in all, it seems like this iteration of Halloween will be created with the love & respect that fans of the series deserve.
REASONS FOR PESSIMISM
Halloween fatigue. After so many iterations and alternate storylines, it may be asking a lot of fans to get excited for the 11th installment in the series. The fact that 9 out of the previous 10 films are being completely disregarded for this iteration is quite a telling sign. Will McBride & Green’s plan to stay true to the series’s roots simply result in a repackaged version of the original — much in the same vein as JJ Abram’s “The Force Awakens”?
It’s very difficult for sequels to recapture lightning in a bottle. The Rocky franchise successfully strung up 4 great films in succession and capitalized off their 6th and 7th installments respectively (CREED is still a Rocky film in my book). Terminator 1 and 2 were great films in spite of their differences — the same goes for Alien and Aliens. There are some exceptions with horror movies but for the most part, the candle tends to dwindle significantly with each sequel.
It’s reasonable to justify the hype for this film. McBride and Green understand what the sequels lacked and what made the original film work so well. Consequently, they’ve put themselves in an extremely favorable position to be successful in their endeavor. Halloween (2018) is set to premiere on October 19th, 2018 and we here at Talk Horror can’t wait.