Halloween is a 40-years-later direct sequel to the 1978 John Carpenter-directed original — also titled Halloween — that starred Jamie Lee Curtis as a terrorized babysitter who narrowly survived a near-fatal encounter with escaped masked murderer Michael Myers.
Universal Pictures and Blumhouse’s upcoming revival of the long-running slasher franchise marks the series’ 11th installment, but de-canonizes everything except for John Carpenter’s Halloween — doing away with an unrelated anthology installment (Halloween III: Season of the Witch), six direct sequels, and both installments of writer-director Rob Zombie’s now-defunct reboot series.
The first timeline launched with Halloween in 1978 and was followed by Halloween II, taking place immediately after the events of the first film as Michael Myers continues to hunt sister Laurie Strode after she’s taken to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital.
Michael appears to be killed when he’s immolated by his determined psychiatrist, Dr. Samuel Loomis, who also seemingly perishes in the blaze.
1988’s Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers retcons both Loomis and Michael’s deaths, revealing the mute murderer has spent the past ten years in a comatose state at Smith’s Grove Sanitarium.
Curtis declined to appear, resulting in Laurie Strode’s offscreen death by way of car accident. leaving behind her eight-year-old daughter, Jamie Lloyd — Michael’s niece.
A newly awakened Michael then pursued Laurie’s eight-year-old daughter, Jamie Lloyd — Michael’s niece — in sequels Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers and Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, which revealed Michael to have long been under the control of the shadowy Cult of Thorn, who manipulated the serial killer by way of an ancient curse.
That timeline would be abandoned after Curse following the death of actor Donald Pleasance and Curtis’ desire to return to the franchise ahead of its 20th anniversary. In 1998’s Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, Laurie Strode is alive — having faked her death in a car accident — and living under the name Keri Tate in California, where she serves as the headmistress of a private boarding school attended by her 17-year-old son John.
H20 tells us Michael has been believed dead for the past 20 years — having been burned to death at the end of Halloween II — subsequently disregarding Return, Revenge, and Curse, all which featured a very active and conspicuous Michael Myers.
Michael returns to stalk and attempt to kill Laurie in both H20 and 2002’s Halloween: Resurrection, where he finally succeeded in his years-long mission to kill his sister by stabbing Laurie and dropping her off the roof of a sanitarium.
The second timeline was abandoned when Dimension Films opted to reboot the franchise entirely with 2007’s Halloween from writer-director Rob Zombie.
That film delved into the trashy past of a young Michael Myers before jumping to the present, where a hulking Michael (Tyler Mane) pursued beloved little sister Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton).
A 2009 sequel followed, with this Halloween II ending with the apparent deaths of both Dr. Loomis and Michael, who was brutally stabbed to death by Laurie — an experience that left the teen in a psychiatric ward.
Despite a planned sequel — originally dubbed Halloween 3D — the Zombie reboot ended up defunct and Dimension readied what was described as a “recalibration” under Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan.
That project, later known as Halloween Returns, was cancelled in late 2015 when Dimension lost the franchise rights.
Universal Pictures and Blumhouse — producers of the Insidious and Purge franchises — will resurrect Michael Myers this October in Halloween, erasing everything beyond Halloween 1978.
“There just felt like such a simple truth to the original. I think by the time you add Michael and Laurie’s relationship, being family, or he’s only hunting his family, it takes that ‘boogeyman’ out of it. I want everyone to be afraid of him,” director and co-writer David Gordon Green told EW of the decision to axe the Michael-Laurie familial bond established in 1981’s Halloween II.
“I just felt like that was an area where he wasn’t quite as scary anymore. It seemed too personalized,” co-writer Danny McBride said of the decision to return Halloween to its roots with Michael Myers as a crazed and elusive killer who inexplicably and relentlessly haunts Laurie Strode.
“I wasn’t as afraid of Michael Myers anymore, because I’m not his f—ing brother so he’s not coming after me,” McBride said. “So it just seemed like new territory to bite off.”
Four decades later, Laurie Strode — played again by Curtis — is a reclusive social leper with a militaristic mindset whose last 40 years of life have been defined by her Michael Myers obsession.
“We have so much respect for the entire franchise, and that went into what we’re trying to engineer; literally a love of horror movies and a love of every Halloween movie across the board,” Green told Halloween Movies.
“We were trying to come up with what our take would be and really just found an original path that more or less takes the first one as our reality, how we meet our characters in a different phase of their life under the reality of this traumatic event, and [how they] have to come to terms with some of these issues. Horrifically, in many circumstances, and that’s kind of the fun of how we launch off. There’s a lot of things that we haven’t revealed. Obviously a lot of the fun is [in] those reveals, and seeing how these things unfold, how these characters interact with one another and who they have become, and hopefully to honor the franchise in what we’ve painted in our very unique portrait.”
Halloween 1978 director and horror master John Carpenter is on board as executive producer, marking his first involvement with the franchise since his EP role on Halloween III: Season of the Witch in 1982.
“His advice was brilliant: ‘Make it relentless,’” Green said.
“He had notes, which is something I was extremely nervous about. We worked very hard on the script, and we were all very excited. It’s one thing for three movie nerds, me, Danny and [co-writer Jeff Fradley], to geek out over the opportunity of maneuvering within this property, another to basically go kiss the ring of the godfather and see how that goes. I was sweating bullets.”
While Halloween 2018 will erase everything beyond the original, Green said the sequel will pay tribute to other Halloween movies before it.
“Anyone who’s a fan of any of these films will find nice little Easter eggs acknowledging our salute to the filmmakers that have preceded us,” Green said.
“For us, it was a ‘clean slate’ type of opportunity, where if there was a little inspiration or mirror image of something, it’s very subtle in the movie because we want to start fresh for a new generation, but with great appreciation for the previous.”
Halloween opens October 19.