Where the hell is the Halloween franchise headed?

halloween-david-gordon-green

David Gordon Green and Danny McBride talked at length leading up to Halloween about their decision to erase all of the previous sequels out of canon. But did they ever think for a minute about how the franchise actually got to the point that this move was necessary?

It wasn’t because things got too “convoluted” or that there were simply too many sequels for another film to be welcoming to newcomers. It was because the original series was created one installment at a time with absolutely no overarching plan, resulting in an unholy mess full of retcons, resurrections, and unneeded plot twists, much of which could have been avoided had each installment’s ending had any regard for what came next. Killing off Michael and Loomis in Halloween II, for instance, turned out to be a disastrous move that forced Halloween 4 to heavily retcon much of that film’s ending.

Based on the ending of Halloween, it appears Green and McBride learned very little from their predecessor’s mistakes.

*SPOILERS FOR HALLOWEEN TO FOLLOW*

So let’s talk about that ending, shall we? I was very curious going in how the heck this film would manage to find a satisfying conclusion without killing Michael or Laurie. I assumed they wouldn’t want to anger the fans by killing Laurie once again, and they couldn’t kill Michael, seeing as there is sure to be a sequel, and to kill him again would be just to repeat the exact same mistakes as Halloween II and get the new series off on the exact same wrong foot as the original.

But it turns out, that’s sort of what they did. The film ends with Laurie killing Michael Myers, and he seemingly dies in literally the exact same way as in the original Halloween II: by burning alive, this time in a trap Laurie built for him.

It was only after I saw the film and began discussing it with others that it occurred to me that we don’t actually see Michael’s body during the brief shot of the basement burning, and sure, we hear him breathing at the end of the credits. But it really does seem like we’re supposed to come away from the movie believing that Michael is dead; even the shot of the burning house with Michael not in view doesn’t play ominously at all like the ending of the original movie does.

This all but guarantees that this film’s final act will be completely undermined by the beginning of its sequel, and I’m having a hard time imagining a second movie that doesn’t ruin some of this one in the process. Just to illustrate that, let’s run through some possible scenarios for where things may be headed.

Scenario 1: Michael returns, but Laurie doesn’t

It what seems like the most likely outcome, it will be revealed in Halloween II (or whatever the hell they’re going to call it – maybe they’ll just call it Halloween for the fourth time) that Michael escaped Laurie’s house and therefore survived the fire.

But this implies that Laurie completely dropped the ball on building the trap for Michael after an entire film was spent hammering home how unbelievably prepared she has been for this very night. I mean, what, she had 40 years to get ready, and she didn’t absolutely make sure there’s no way out of this foolproof trap? Plus, it will completely destroy the emotional impact of Laurie saying goodbye to Michael if he just immediately returns, and he returns because of her incompetence. Basically, if Michael escapes the trap, and he keeps killing people, it will be Laurie’s fault.

In this scenario, I’m imagining that Jamie Lee Curtis does not return as Laurie, but Andi Matichak returns as Allyson and Judie Greer returns as Karen. In that case, it seems to me like the only way to write Laurie out of the story would be to kill her off, which would be incredibly unsatisfying and probably just make us wish they had let her sacrifice herself in Halloween 2018 instead. I can’t think of how to get Laurie’s family to return but not her, while still having the character be alive.

Scenario 2: Michael returns, and so does Laurie

But wait, Jamie Lee Curtis has said she would return for another outing if David Gordon Green is involved. So could the sequel see Laurie come back? Not just in a cameo role, but as the full star once again?

It’s possible, but in that case, Halloween 2018 would lose a lot of its impact upon rewatch knowing that it isn’t actually the final confrontation between Laurie and Michael as was promised beforehand, similar to how it’s so annoying that Disney is making a fourth Toy Story after the third one already provided the perfect ending, or similar to the way Ressurection made it so that H20 was just another sequel rather than Laurie’s definitive sendoff.

In this scenario, Michael would presumably get out of the trap again. Circling back to Michael’s survival, the only way I can think of that this wouldn’t be stupid is if he has help. The new movie already introduced a character who is obsessed with Michael and wants to help him, so maybe there’s someone else like that who is a devoted Michael follower and who breaks him out of the trap. Making this work would be a bit of a stretch — this person would have to have been following the action of Halloween the whole movie and slip into the house right after Laurie, Andi and Karen leave to quickly open up the trap – but this would at least be a way to get Michael out of there without having Laurie be incompetent. But we don’t want a repeat of Halloween 6, with Michael now being a servant to this person, so he should then just kill the guy immediately.

Scenario 3: Michael returns, but the rest of the cast doesn’t

I have a hard time seeing Blumhouse go with this route, but it’s worth considering the possibility of another movie where the only returning character is Michael.

Sure, Halloween set up a whole new cast of characters, and I wouldn’t mind seeing Allyson again. But one of the issues with the original series was that making Laurie Michael’s sister established a pattern whereby every movie had to include someone related to her that Michael was going after. It quickly became that Michael only seemed to be interested in pursuing members of his family, something the 2018 version wanted to do away with in order to make Michael a more random force of destruction and imply he could go after anyone, whether or not they’re related to him.

But if the sequel sees Michael going after Allyson, does that not put the series right down the same path again? Sure, Michael wouldn’t be pursuing Allyson because she’s related to him personally, but the sequels would fall into the same basic problems in which Michael is obsessed with this one family; it’d just be that this time, he has no real reason.

So what if the next sequel features an entirely different cast? Michael returns, but he goes after new characters in a town that Laurie and her family aren’t even in. Maybe it’s Haddonfield, but the Strodes have moved away, or maybe it’s somewhere else. Either way, this would freshen things up and give the sequel a good excuse to not have Laurie in it. We can just assume she’s retired on a beach somewhere, and Halloween 2018 really was her final confrontation with Michael, even if he ended up surviving. Fans can at least assume that Laurie saying goodbye to Michael in the way she did allowed her to personally move on, and now, any more destruction he causes is someone else’s problem.

In this scenario, my personal recommendation would be to make use of the “someone broke Michael” out idea. There’s still some crappy retconning going on, but by moving the story in a new direction, Halloween 2018 can still bring some sort of closure on rewatch.

Scenario 4: Michael doesn’t return, and neither does Laurie

There’s basically a zero percent chance this happens, but I thought it’d be worth tossing out there as a possibility. What if the sequel doesn’t even have Michael Myers as the villain?

That thought occurred to me during the scene in which Dr. Sartain, having been revealed as a psychopath, puts on Michael’s mask. Although Sartain ended up being killed pretty soon after, and Michael took back the mask, could this be foreshadowing the idea that anyone could assume the Michael Myers identity? What if Michael really did die in the fire, and the sequel is just a copycat?

There’s almost no way this happens, as Michael has become too much of a box office draw, and I don’t know that Blumhouse would risk the same fan revolt that happened after Friday the 13th: A New Beginning. But think about how much this scenario would preserve Halloween 2018’s effectiveness: Laurie really did kill Michael, that really was their last confrontation, and she really can safely go off into the sunset, having defeated her boogeyman once and for all. And having a new killer from now on, Scream-style, can prevent this series from getting too stupid and having to pretend “kill” Michael every time, only to bring him back.

Basically, it’s probably the best possible solution, which, of course, means something much dumber will happen instead.

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