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?