How ‘Halloween’s Ending Puts the Franchise In a Tricky Place

     October 23, 2018

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The Halloween franchise is back and bigger than ever. With The Shape back behind the mask and Jamie Lee Curtis‘ Laurie Strode back to battle him, Blumhouse’s sequel set the stage for the ultimate showdown between the iconic slasher villain and his equally iconic final girl. And boy did Halloween deliver on that front.

The film’s final act follows Michael Myers to Laurie’s house, where he comes up against all three Strode women and learns that surviving a final girl is one thing, but surviving a final family is a lot harder. After a stressful battle to survive, including some great “gotcha” moments from Laurie and her daughter Karen (Judy Greer), we learn the the house was built to be a trap for Michael and watch as the walls fall around him, locking him in Laurie’s homemade tomb.

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Image via Universal Pictures / Blumhouse

Once he’s trapped, the Strodes set the house on fire and flag down a passing car to get the hell out of dodge, where we see Allyson (Andi Matichak) holding on tight to a big knife as they pull away. When the camera pans back to the house, it’s a split second shot and Michael isn’t there. Or is he? It’s impossible to say, but what we’re given at face value is a satisfying conclusion, one that gives Laurie and her family the catharsis they so desperately needed at the end of this film, but there’s no way it’s going to stick.

Naturally, this will not be the end of Michael Myers. Blumhouse has money to make and coming off a $77.5 million opening weekend, you can bet your bottom dollar that the studio is making a sequel a priority. What’s more, director David Gordon Green has already expressed interest in returning for the sequel, and Jason Blum, naturally, has said he hopes this is the first of many Blumhouse Halloween films. Then there’s the matter of the end credits stinger, which takes a cue from John Carpenter‘s original ending and features heavy breathing to suggest Mr. Michael Myers might just be alive after all.

Which puts the franchise in a tricky spot; at least if you want this film to hold any meaning. 2018’s Halloween is a film that is often at war with itself, especially when it comes to conflicting tones, but through press, publicity and practice the film purports to be about Laurie Strode, her trauma, and how it affects her family. The ending, in turn, is clearly designed to give her and her family catharsis. For Laurie, and for the franchise, it’s a moment forty years in the making. it’s what she devoted her whole life to. It’s why she ruined her relationship with her daughter, cut herself off from society, and spent her days alone at the creepy mannequin shooting range. Laurie sacrificed a lot for that moment, her whole life after high school, which means it’s a bit strange and disappointing move to immediately undermine it. It’s also little bit cheeky and fun; after all, that’s just how slashers are — the killer always lives on, no matter how much he’s shot or burned or decapitated.

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Image via Universal Pictures

What we know for sure is that Hollywood is a business above all, there’s another Halloween movie coming even if it hasn’t been announced yet, so that puts Halloween in a tough spot. What story do they tell from here that won’t 1) undermine the integrity of the story they just told, and 2) repeat what they just did? If Laurie gets killed off in the sequel, it will unwrite her as the ultimate survivor and turn her into a victim, once again. If she doesn’t, then we’re poised to watch these two at war forever. So where does the franchise go from here?

My not-a-joke suggestion is that they remake Halloween III: Season of the Witch, a tragically underrated Halloween movie that doesn’t feature Michael Myers, but a new story about some haunted Halloween masks instead. Of course, audiences nearly rioted when they got a Halloween movie without The Shape back in 1982. So, as much as I’d love to see that, it’s probably not a good idea from Blumhouse. There’s also the option of removing this film from the continuity, just as it removed the existing Halloween sequels from the timeline, Blumhouse and Green could be so bold as to say this film stands on its own, outside any other sequels that came before or after. Whatever they’re going to do, it needs to be handled in a way that respects the character of Laurie Strode as much as we do, and with Green in the mix, it’s probably not going to be what we expect.

“You want to be audacious. You want to be bold,” Green said about his sequel plans in an interview with Collider. “Do you give [the audience] what they’re expecting or do you challenge them and give them something totally radical? That’s what I’m always thinking of. How do I meet my own personal desires to do something innovative and kind of fucked up and fun and energize myself with the narratives and the stories I’m telling, versus appeal to something that an audience has proven to like or dislike? Do I respond accordingly or do I just surprise everybody? That’s a fun way to think about it; what if you retconned it again? What if you did something totally radical? What if it was all – you did a sequel that was one shot like Russian Ark, or something totally bizarre? Or do you fall into your own – do you bring back the successful characters that survived and give everybody the one ups?”

What do you want to see in a sequel. Do you want to see full on 80s slasher, with bigger kills and bloodier bodies? Do you want to see a return to the Strode family? Do you want to see the film removed from the timeline, where it can sit on its own untouched? Or something else entirely. Sound off in the comments with your thoughts.

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