The Halloween franchise is a mess of retconned timelines, quirky standalone entries, and hillbilly remakes. However, upon viewing the trailer for Blumhouse’s new Halloween requel (part-reboot/part-sequel) I was struck by the new tradition: every 20 years, Jamie Lee Curtis returns to try and kill Michael for good. She first did it back in 1998 in H20, which saw her Laurie Strode protecting her teenage son (a messy-haired Josh Hartnett) and memorably choosing to stand and fight Michael rather than run and hide. She even chopped the dude’s head off. Now, for the franchise’s 40th anniversary she’s back again to, um, protect her granddaughter by standing and fighting rather than running and hiding.

Forgive me if it all feels a bit familiar.

The primary difference this time around is the timeline is completely new. This is a direct sequel to the first Halloween, meaning in this version Michael is not her brother, as the trailer playfully points out. Moreover, in this timeline Laurie appears to have had a daughter, not a son, substituting Judy Greer for Hartnett, which I’d call an upgrade. Although, isn’t that a retcon on a retcon since Halloween 4-5 focused on Laurie’s daughter Jamie, and then H20 just ignored all of that? Ugh. Halloween continuity.

Also, this is clearly not the Laurie we knew. Whereas H20 gave us a traumatized Laurie who had done everything to run from her past this new Halloween is giving us something far closer to Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2, a buff badass who has turned militaristic in anticipation of the oncoming and inevitable battle. One imagines Laurie’s daughter and granddaughter must struggle to carry on normal conversations with her just like John Connor does with Sarah in T2.

All of this must also mean Michael is in his 60s, assuming there isn’t some twist afoot. Gotta say, for a sexagenarian he’s looking damn good, as upright and supernaturally strong as ever.

Beyond all of the minutia, my main takeaway is that this looks like a Halloween movie. That might seem self-evident, but after Rob Zombie’s countrified take on the franchise it’s no longer a given that something bearing the title Halloween will actually resemble the franchise people grew up with in the late 70s into the 80s and 90s. Director/writer David Gordon Green and his co-writer Danny McBride have clearly gone back to the original formula, with John Carpenter’s blessing considering his involvement as Executive Producer and orchestrator (i.e., he’s composing new, original music for the movie). Goodbye trailer parks and stripper moms; welcome back, small-town suburbia and a bogeyman hiding in the closet.

Personally, as someone who never warmed to Zombie’s take I’m okay with the familiar, and as a Blumhouse fan I trust them to, at the very least, deliver something that doesn’t suck. And, hey, after Lin Shaye in Insidious 4 and Helen Mirren in Winchester Jamie Lee Curtis is going to close out 2018 as the year of older ladies getting shit done in horror movies.

Halloween is due October 19, almost 40 years to the day after the 1978 original.

Shameless self-promotion: If this trailer has you feeling nostalgic for or perhaps curious about the old Halloween movies I just happen to have a series of BTS trivia articles about the first 8 films.

Final thought: That poor British girl on the toilet. Michael didn’t need to kill/attack her, but since when has that stopped him?

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Posted by Kelly Konda

Grew up obsessing over movies and TV shows. Worked in a video store. Minored in film at college because my college didn't offer a film major. Worked in academia for a while. Have been freelance writing and running this blog since 2013.

14 Comments

  1. ‘Jamie Lee Curtis is going to close out 2018 as the year of older ladies getting shit done in horror movies.’

    That’s right!

    I actually like Zombie’s first Halloween movie. I fell asleep twice on the his Halloween sequel though, so there’s that.
    I also enjoyed the H20 version, and of course, the original movie is one of my all-time faves, so I’m looking forward to judging this new one.

    Reply

    1. “I actually like Zombie’s first Halloween movie. I fell asleep twice on the his Halloween sequel though, so there’s that.”

      To be clear, I wouldn’t regard Zombie’s first Halloween as bad movie so much as it’s simply a movie that’s not for me. Dude has his acid washed white trash aesthetic he carries to every film, and just like those people who just can’t get into a Wes Anderson or Paul Thomas Anderson movie I’m the same way with Zombie. For what it is, though, his first film is fine. The second one has a much darker heart and made me want to take a shower afterward.

      “I also enjoyed the H20 version”

      Same here. I remembered how oddly powerful (or at least just plainly fun) it was reaching the halfway point when Laurie has an option for a clean exit and instead turns to walk back into the shadows, axe in hand, Michael somewhere in hiding. “Kick his ass, Jamie Lee!”, someone shouted in the theater when I saw it.

      Reply

  2. If this is what it takes to have a good Halloween movie again, I’ll take it.

    Speaking of Halloween continuity, you ever see the Halloween 6 Producers Cut?

    Reply

    1. Oop, nevermind. I see from your Halloween lists that you did.

      Reply

    2. “If this is what it takes to have a good Halloween movie again, I’ll take it.”

      Same here. Jason Blum, Ryan Turek, and the Blumhouse people really want to do right by the franchise, and this trailer promises something watchable.

      “Speaking of Halloween continuity, you ever see the Halloween 6 Producers Cut?”

      Oh, boy. Halloween 6. In some way, producers cut or not, Halloween 6 represents the conclusion of the franchise’s defanging of Michael. The idea of continually explaining Michael to us and telling us more about him started with Carpenter’s Halloween II twist and continued all the way through 6, and it’s the logical next step to take. After all, the bogeyman can’t remain mysterious forever, not in a franchise that goes for over 10 movies. I get that, and I can go along with Halloween 2’s “he’s her brother!” explanation. Once we get to 6, though, and the cult and rituals and whatever else, it feels like the franchise has strayed too far from its core. I appreciate that the producers cut is at least more coherent, and also that the screenwriter was a Halloween superfan who came at this with the best of intentions. But neither version of the film really works for me.

      Still, I’ll grant them this – bringing Tommy back from the first film was such an obvious and good idea I can’t believe it hadn’t been done before, not that they didn’t try at least once (see the original version of Halloween 4).

      Reply

  3. It doesnt look bad actually although its hard to forget janie lees previous efforts in h20 and even more damaging in halloween resurrection. Not sure they need her back but hey i get it. Its a reunion and looks pretty eary. Especially the closet bit at the end. I hope it sails. Might wake up other horror icons too. Hey maybe we will get that crossover movie finally. Nah.

    Reply

    1. What’s amusing me is looking at all the mainstream articles about the trailer, in places like Huffington Post, and seeing just how many writers seem to have no idea this ISN’T the first time Jamie Lee has come back to the franchise to stand up to Michael.

      But, it’s fine. It works pretty well in the trailer, and I’ll absolutely be there opening night. This at least looks like it will be more enjoyable than some of the other movies to drop big trailers this week.

      I’m not sure what kind of crossover we can expect. Jason’s locked up in a legal battle between Sean Cunningham and Victor Miller. Platinum Dunes seems newly emboldened post-A Quiet Place to move on from its remake properties and leave Freddy behind, though I gather Jackie Earle Haley’s technically still on the hook to return. At this point, a team-up movie might be the only way to make something truly happen. Out of curiosity, who would you want Michael to go up against, regardless of legal feasibility?

      Reply

      1. MM vs Jason Vorhees would be interesting but that would be a silent movie but I dont know A Quiet Place seems to have reassured me that it isnt a problem. Freddy is a bit of a cliche of the 80s but you could have a threesome. I doubt it though if they go to this much trouble to make a decent sequel that they would risk a vs film. As David S Goyer said for Batman vs Superman the Vs films are kind of last chance saloon options for franchises that have worn themselves out. Anyway will watch Halloween H40 when it comes out but will have to divorce my memories of the previous one and even the Jamie Lloyd sequels which werent all that bad either (come on 4 and 5 was entertaining if only for Donald Pleasance getting all wild eyed and chewing all the scenery with gusto.

      2. “MM vs Jason Vorhees would be interesting but that would be a silent movie”

        LOL. Who knows – they might at least grunt at each other.

        “I doubt it though if they go to this much trouble to make a decent sequel that they would risk a vs film.”

        Oh, Halloween is with Blumhouse now, and it has a new movie out. It doesn’t need a Vs. now. Blumhouse can happily keep the franchise going post-Laurie Strode. It’s more the Freddys and Jasons I was referring to. Since the rights kinda, sorta belong with the guys who now want to be slightly more serious filmmakers post-A Quiet Place it will take something really commercially tempting, like a team-up, to bring them back to the old 80s icons.

        “Anyway will watch Halloween H40 when it comes out but will have to divorce my memories of the previous one and even the Jamie Lloyd sequels which werent all that bad either”

        Part of me wants to say they could have easily cast Danielle Harris to play Laurie’s daughter instead of Judy Greer, but that was likely out the window the moment they chose to toss out all the sequels. Also, thanks to Rob Zombie Harris already got her second tour of duty with the franchise and had fun with it. Either way, I still quite like Halloween 4. Less so with 5, although Pleasance’s hammy acting is certainly fun there as well, but 4 is a legit awesome slasher movie.

  4. “That poor British girl on the toilet. Michael didn’t need to kill/attack her, but since when has that stopped him?”

    And not just kill but sadistically toy with her. The teeth thing was all kinds of messed up.

    Reply

    1. How did you know she was british? Was the teeth reference an in joke to british people? 🙂

      Reply

      1. Her “excuse me, somebody’s in here” line in the trailer certainly sounds like it’s being delivered with a British accent.

    2. Yeah, the “teeth thing” – that feels a bit more Rob Zombie than John Carpenter. Even though Carpenter is the one who recut and reshot Halloween 2 to add more violence, I don’t remember his version of Michael ever being that sadistic.

      Reply

      1. I thought the rob zomboe toilet scene was effective and better explains how he got a jumpsuit. More typical of Myers too

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