After months of teaser images and casting news the trailer for David Gordon Green’s Halloween has dropped, and boy is there a lot to unpack.
However, the most jarring thing the trailer has presented (besides being co-written by Danny McBride and directed by the guy who made Pineapple Express…oh, and those teeth!), is the way the film seems to have completely cast aside any and all lore from the Halloween film franchise, with the exception of the original 1978 film.
The most obvious retcon is the fact that Jamie Lee Curtis’ character, Laurie Strode is alive and well (mostly). In the original film franchise, Laurie meets her demise in the first act of Halloween: Resurrection (arguably one of the worst entries in the franchise). While this new retconned version of Laurie doesn’t seem to have quite gotten past the traumatic events of Halloween night forty years prior, she’s worked through enough turmoil to have a family and a life of her own -- along with becoming a tough ready-for-anything survivalist à la Sarah Conner in Terminator 2 or The Walking Dead's Carol.
This leads to another huge retcon, as the new film appears to be dissolving the long-established relationship between Laurie Strode and the iconic slasher Michael Myers. These two, back in Halloween II, were revealed to be biological siblings, a revelation long-time fans of the franchise have always debated. For some, it’s a twist that puts Michael Myers’ dark motivations into perspective, giving the character a certain drive in the first two films along with Halloween H20, em>Resurrection, and the Rob Zombie remakes.
But there is a school of thought that believes this was a huge mistake, something that basically strips Michael Myers of all his mystique.
One of the things that made the masked murderer so terrifying in John Carpenter’s original film is the ambiguity of his motives. The hulking maniac who stalked the streets of Haddonfield, IL all those years ago wasn’t looking for his long-lost sister. He just saw Laurie and decided, “Yeah, she’s next.” There is nothing else to it, or so the audience is led to believe. That ambiguity is what made it such a visceral experience. Suddenly, every audience member who watched the film had the fleeting thought of, “That could easily be me.” Michael Myers is seen as a creature of determination and iron will, but not necessarily in the unkillable super slasher sort of way.
Yes, there's a chance the line uttered in the trailer dismissing Laurie and Michael’s relationship could be simple subterfuge. Michael could still be Laurie’s long-lost sibling... but it seems pretty unlikely. David Gordon Green’s sequel to the original film would appear to focus more on the burning question of, “Why me?” Laurie must have dealt with for forty years. Her friends were killed, and she narrowly escaped, but the reasons for why it all happened have eluded her for decades, and thus, so has any sense of closure.
In this new continuity, Michael is said to have been apprehended the night of the first film, so Laurie never had to relive the nightmare all over again in the now non-canon sequel. This also means Myers has been contained in that terrifying asylum for forty years. If this film does lean into the iron will of Michael Myers, then his escape will prove just a terrifying this time as it was decades ago.
Yes, this is technically a sequel, but given Michael Myers’ history of killing someone for no defined reason, spending a long duration in some sort of mental health institute, and then escaping to kill again, this movie can almost be seen as a remake of the original sequel. But who knows for sure? We’ll all find out together when Halloween opens in theaters on October 19.