If rumors remain true, we are soon to be graced with not one, but two new Halloween sequels. With Halloween Kills releasing in 2020 and Halloween Ends slated for a 2021 release, audiences will see Michael Myers and the Halloween franchise continue to cement their place among horror movie royalty. While some may wonder why a sequel to this franchise would matter, given that there have already been 6 sequels (sorry Season of the Witch, not counting you) and a 2 movie reboot, they would be discounting the significance of the Halloween film released in 2018.
Rather than classify the 2018 film as a sequel to the franchise, it is better when viewed as a reset. This film did not pick up where the 2002 Halloween Resurrection ended, instead the viewer is transported to an alternate reality of sorts. In this new reality the events of Halloween II didn’t occur. Also gone is the implication that Michael and the series main protagonist Laurie Strode are related. (Note: This writer just recently discovered this fact conforms to the original films release as the connection between Michael and Laurie was not shown until an additional scene was shot for NBC which had acquired the rights for the television release.) While this change does bring the franchise back into alignment with John Carpenters original vision, it also brings about some complications.
Law and Order: Haddonfield
Most people you talk to would say the original Halloween ends with Dr. Loomis turning to discover that Michael had vanished. He would reappear at the hospital Laurie was taken to for her injuries sustained earlier that evening. However, the 2018 Halloween film suggests Dr. Loomis shot Michael, while not fatal it did serve to subdue Michael who was then taken into custody. He was also again taken to a psychiatric hospital rather than prison. While it is easy to accept that 6-year-old Michael may have needed some counseling, 21-year-old Michael would have certainly faced a tougher judge and potential jail time for his actions on that Halloween night. It also asks us to believe that for 40 years there was not one outburst or homicidal act committed by Michael. The audience is asked to entertain the suggestion this juggernaut, this unstoppable killer was the model patient/inmate. Until…
I Need A Doctor
While the phrase “first do no harm” isn’t part of the Hippocratic oath, society seems to have unconsciously added this expectation to all who practice some type of medical care. We could argue that Dr. Loomis attempted to honor this oath during his time treating Michael. Often tasked with the capture or potential elimination of the threat posed by Michael, Dr. Loomis was sympathetic of the plight of his patient. Faced with seeing the young man in his care having committed horrible acts of violence, Dr. Loomis still pleaded with him calling out his name, “Michael”, in a fatherly manner. Loomis seemed determine to identify what compelled Michael to commit his acts of violence in order to eliminate those behaviors. The new Halloween finds Michael no longer under Loomis’ care, the doctor having passed away. Michael now finds himself in the care of Dr. Sartain. Unlike Loomis, Sartain seeks to bring out the homicidal tendencies which had been suppressed for 40 years. Samadan orchestrates the events of Michael’s escape so he may witness and study “The Shape” unleashed, leading him back to Laurie Strode and her family to “finish” what he started that Halloween.
Body Count Like ???
The Halloween franchise contains one of the most iconic horror movie characters. Michael Myers has served up terror and slasher frights for generations of audiences. However, the reset drops his kills from 80 plus to below 10 at the start of the 2018 film. While in the real world that number would be shocking, for a horror movie that number of kills is best classified as minimal. This new Michael doesn’t seem fit to stand beside other iconic horror villains such as Freddy or Jason given his new number of kills.
Another consequence of this reset is that we are left with a much more subdued Michael. Apart from time spent in a coma between the events of Halloween II and Halloween IV, Michael has been either killing or stalking his victims wherever they may be hidden. While Freddy and Jason have both faced death of some sort, Michael remained unstoppable and somehow indestructible. Now we are faced with a Michael who has been a patient of a psychiatric facility for 40 years with no indications of violent behavior. It is only after being prodded by reporters and tempted by his therapist that he decides to don his mask once again and stalk “the one who got away”. The argument could be made that once he killed Laurie, he would allow himself to be captured and locked away for another 40 years, having completed his mission.
So, while audiences await the next two installments the question to be asked is, even if this is Halloween…Is this Michael Myers?