Opinion, Reviews

The Halloween franchise: A confusing history

This October, “Halloween” returns with another reboot of the classic horror film. Simply titled “Halloween,” this newest version seems promising, featuring the return of lead actress Jamie Lee Curtis as franchise character Laurie Strode, and John Carpenter, who directed the original.

Released in 1978, the original “Halloween” followed the mysterious killer Michael Myers, who is sent to an insane asylum after killing his sister for no apparent reason one Halloween night. After he escapes, he returns on Halloween night to his hometown to stalk a group of babysitters. The movie strongly hinted at Myers not being human. In the credits, the stuntmen who played him aren’t listed as playing Mike Myers, but The Shape.

The movie is a classic horror film with a great villain and a chilling soundtrack and is known for its quality despite being filmed on a small budget. It did great at the box office, making it one of the most successful independent films of all time. Its success helped pave the way for the slasher genre during the 1980s with another successful horror film, “Friday of the 13th.” But, sadly, like the “Friday of the 13th” franchise, “Halloween” was followed by a ridiculous amount of unnecessary sequels. This recent reboot is only one in a long line of “Halloween” movies, some of which were also reboots.

There are eleven movies in the franchise. I’ll try to keep it simple.

The “Halloween” franchise has a long and confusing history. Ironically, Carpenter never thought about making a sequel. He thought the story completed itself. “Halloween II” actually takes place the same night as the original, and it was revealed that Laurie is the baby sister of Michael Myers, which is why he wants to kill her. The movie ends with Myers being burned alive, and it was intended to be the end for the series – but that didn’t happen.

“Halloween III” does not feature Myers at all. The filmmakers created a completely different horror story also centered around Halloween night, intending to make the franchise into an anthology series revolving around the holiday. The movie received backlash from audience members expecting to see Myers, and it didn’t do very well. However, over time, the movie has developed a cult following.

After that, the filmmakers decided to just bring Myers back to life in “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers,” and this happens in almost every other movie. To the filmmakers’ credit, they did try to come up for a reason Myers keeps reappearing, but the movies didn’t really make much sense.

They usually involved Myers somehow being resurrected from the dead and killing a bunch of people, just to be killed again. I don’t understand why he always had to be killed in the end. After all, fans of slasher films don’t come to watch a “Halloween” movie to see a people survive and see Myers be defeated. They come to watch Myers kill a bunch of people in brutal fashion. So why couldn’t he just kill everyone in the movie and do the same in the next movie? But I digress.

“Halloween 4” was followed by “Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers” and then “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers.” And, when it seemed like the series was finally over, it came back, with “H20: 20 Years Later.”

And to make matters more confusing, the “Halloween” films were notorious for ignoring continuity, with several sequels pretending previous sequels never happened. And that is exactly what this new reboot is going to do.

In “Halloween 4,” Laurie Storde is dead and series followed her daughter Jamie Lloyd. Then in “H20: 20 Years Later,” the movie ignores the past four sequels and Laurie Strode is alive, until she is killed off again in the follow up “Halloween: Resurrection” in 2002.

But we’re not done yet. Director Rob Zombie made a remake of the original in 2007, called “Halloween.” It was initially received negative reviews, but I have heard some defend it. Zombie later directed a sequel, “Halloween 2.”

2018’s “Halloween” is apparently supposed to be a direct sequel to the original. It will ignore other past sequels, even “Halloween 2.”

And there you have it, the confusing history of the “Halloween” franchise. Regardless, the impact of these movies is undeniable. Mike Myers is one of the most iconic slasher villains alongside Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees and Chucky.

Now I have to be honest, I’ve only seen the original “Halloween.” That said, “Halloween” is one of my favorite movies. It has a chilling atmosphere and is more suspenseful than many big budget horror films. John Carpenter is a great filmmaker, one of my personal favorites.

While Carpenter is only returning as an executive producer and composer, I hope this “Halloween” is going to be really good. I’m not expecting for it to be as good as the original, because that may be impossible due to nostalgia. Despite everything, it can’t be any worse than the other sequels.

If you are still confused or want to know more about the “Halloween” franchise, check out the YouTube channel Cinemassacre hosted by Angry Video Game Nerd. He has extensive videos about the movies and this is where I learned most of my information.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to include the link to the Cinemassacre YouTube channel.

One Comment

maggie keffeler

You do a great job of writing, Still have the
Westerns you wrote while visiting us! Love you and keep up the good work!

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