Halloween star Jamie Lee Curtis says Laurie Strode will reclaim her narrative as she faces masked murderer Michael Myers for a second time in the 40-years-later sequel, which is at its heart "a movie about trauma."
The scream queen's iconic Final Girl survived her encounter with Myers in the John Carpenter-directed 1978 original horror classic, but Curtis notes the babysitter-turned-survivor shouldn't be compared to "kick-butt" women like Ellen Ripley or Buffy Summers.
"I know it's the thing that people say about women who fight back, is that we kick butt — you know, if you look at the first movie, Laurie wasn't anything like those women," Curtis told Variety during San Diego Comic-Con.
"Laurie was a repressed, intellectual high school student with sort of romantic delusions. And she was forced, by circumstances way behind her control, to face her deepest fear, which is surviving a madman with a knife."
The meek Laurie Strode walked away with her life, but she didn't walk away entirely unscathed: she was left irreparably scarred after the events of October 31, 1978.
"And then the woman you meet 40 years later is a woman who survived that trauma, for 40 years, trying to convince everybody in her populace that [Michael Myers] was coming back. She only kicks butt when again she is forced to, by the confrontation with Michael Myers," Curtis said.
"And so it's tricky, because any woman who fights back is a survivor and a champion, and we have a world right now where women are finally saying, 'Enough is enough, Time's Up, #MeToo,' and Laurie Strode is one of those women. It's just she's not an ass-kicker, she is a survivor. And it's different, I think. I think it's a movie about trauma. I actually think surviving trauma is the sort of underpinning of the story."
Curtis said the 17-year-old was "forgotten" in the wake of Myers' murders, explaining she received no mental or emotional support to help heal the invisible damage caused by her attacker. In the four decades since, Laurie has "suffered many indignities in the process of surviving Michael Myers."
"No one paid any attention to the level of trauma and PTSD that she suffered," Curtis said. "That's who we meet 40 years later."
The actress added timing on the franchise revival coincidentally synchronized with the recent wave of abuse awareness and subsequent female empowerment in the film industry and beyond.
"I think somehow, the way all of it lined up, was this sort of perfect moment coinciding with #MeToo, Time's Up, and all of this female empowerment, where women are taking back their narratives and saying, 'Enough is effing enough, and it's my turn to write the narrative,'" Curtis said.
"And that's what Laurie Strode has been trying to do for 40 years, by saying, 'He is coming back, he is coming back, he is coming back.' And so, it feels like the confluence of that frustration and that rise of empowerment, has come together in this movie in a beautiful way. Simple, classic, scary as all heck, and yet very powerful."
Halloween opens October 19.