Oct 13, 2021

Halloween 12: This Time, We Won't Screw It Up (We Promise)

Halloween Kills
Regal Cinema - Hazleton, PA
My feelings leading up to the release of this movie tomorrow, and about the entire Halloween franchise, are complicated.  In fact, they're almost as messy and disjointed as the series itself.  To properly explain this, let's take a look at the series of events that led up to the making of Halloween Kills.

This chart from Adam Hlavac shows all thirteen Halloween movies and the multiple timelines that they fall into.  It breaks down like this:

Original Timeline
  • The original Halloween was released in 1978 and was a horror masterpiece with an iconic score and one of the most recognizable villains in the genre - Michael Myers.  As a six year old boy, Michael kills his sister, Judith, on Halloween night in the town of Haddonfield, Illinois.  Fifteen years later, a 21 year old Michael Myers escapes the sanitarium and returns to Haddonfield to go on a killing spree on Halloween night.  Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) manages to survive his attack with the help of Dr. Loomis, a psychiatrist who has come to Haddonfield to stop Michael.
  • Halloween 2 was released three years later, and it picks up immediately where the first movie left off.  In this movie, we learn that Laurie Strode is Michael Myers' sister.  Once again, Laurie survives with the help of Dr. Loomis, who seemingly kills Michael in an explosion at the hospital.
  • Skip over Halloween 3, which has nothing to do with anything else in the franchise, the story continues with Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers.  This is where it starts to get pretty stupid.  It takes place ten years after the events of Halloween 2, and by this time, Laurie Strode has died in an automobile accident and she left behind a young daughter named Jamie LloydMichael Myers comes out of his coma that he has been in since the explosion at the hospital, and he returns to reek havoc once again, just in time for Halloween, as he tries to kill his niece.  Michael is shot until he falls into a mine, but the big twist happens later when Jamie is found with a bloody pair of scissors that she used to attack her foster mother in a scene that mirrors her uncle's first murder at the beginning of the original Halloween movie.
  • In the train wreck that is Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers, we learn that Jamie's foster mother survived the attack at the end of Part 4Jamie is now institutionalized and has a psychic link to her uncle, who escaped the explosion after his pursuers threw dynamite in the mine (his "death" at the end of Halloween 4).  He was nursed back to health by an old hermit, who Michael repays by murdering him a year later to head back to Haddonfield to once again go on a killing spree on Halloween night.  Dr. Loomis uses Jamie's psychic link to Michael in an attempt to kill him, but he fails.  Michael is eventually arrested, but he breaks out with the help of a mysterious man in black.
  • It's hard to believe that a story that began with such a brilliant film could devolve into such a complete mess that gets progressively worse as it goes along, culminating in the 1995 disaster, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers.  This is the last film of the original timeline, and the plot is so sloppy that it's difficult to summarize.  The majority of the story takes place six years after the events of Halloween 5.  It involves a cult that had placed an ancient Druid curse on Michael which caused him to become an immortal killer who must murder their family on Halloween.  It also has Jamie being kidnapped and having a baby that is pursued by the cult, medical experiments, cloning, and of course, it ends with Michael Myers fate unknown.

The H20 Timeline
  • This timeline starts off with Halloween 1 and Halloween 2, but it throws out everything that happened after that.  Therefore, in this universe, Laurie Strode is still alive and is Michael's sister, but her daughter (Jamie Lloyd) never existed.
  • Halloween H20 was released in 1998 and is the third movie in this alternate timeline.  It's set twenty years after the events of the first Halloween.  In this film, Laurie Strode has faked her own death, changed her name, has a teenage son (Josh Hartnett), and works as the principal at a boarding school.  Michael discovers where his sister is hiding and pays a visit to the school to kill her.  This culminates in what should have been a definitive end to the series when Laurie traps Michael between a coroner's van and a tree and chops his fucking head off with an axe, but nope, the Hollywood studios weren't finished milking this cow, so we got...
  • Halloween: Resurrection - the 2002 sequel to Halloween H20 and the fourth and final film in the H20 timeline, and the eighth Halloween movie overall.  In this story, we learn what really happened at the end of the previous film.  It turns out that sneaky old Michael Myers crushed the larynx of a paramedic, swapped clothes with him and put his mask on him before sending him out to get his head chopped off.  He then went into hiding for three years, during which time he did god only knows what.  Meanwhile, Laurie is in a mental hospital suffering through the guilt and trauma after learning that she killed an innocent man.  Naturally, Michael shows up and finally succeeds in killing his sister.  Then, we fast forward another year to find that there's a reality game show hosted by Busta Rhymes that challenges college students to spend a night in the childhood home of Michael Myers.  It is every bit as stupid as it sounds.

Rob Zombie Timeline
  • Generally, I tend to have a negative view of modern remakes and reboots.  There are some that I think are enjoyable, like The Blob (1988) and Little Shop Of Horrors (1986), but many of them strike me as pointless cash grabs that felt like a complete waste of time, like Charlie & The Chocolate Factory (2005) and A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010).  Most of them fall somewhere in between, and end up being movies that I've completely forgotten about a week after I see them.  In 2007, Rob Zombie remade the original Halloween which, for me, was the exception to the rule.  I think that Zombie's Halloween may even be better than Carpenter's 1978 original.  The story humanizes Michael Myers and makes him feel a lot more real than the previous movies, while at the same time making him feel more menacing and dangerous.  It also had an ending that was absolutely perfect.  So, naturally, they couldn't leave well enough alone, and they just had to make a sequel.
  • Two years after Rob Zombie paid the ultimate tribute to Halloween, he released his version of Halloween 2, which is so ridiculous that it's barely worth commenting on.  I can't put into words how much I hate this awful, self-indulgent mess of a film.  I watched this movie once, and only once, at the Garden Drive In in Hunlock Creek, and I'd sooner watch The Curse Of Michael Myers on a 24 hour loop than subject myself to Zombie's sequel again.

Blumhouse Timeline
  • Whereas the H20 Timeline incorporates the first two Halloween movies, the Blumhouse trilogy begins as a sequel to the first Halloween movie from 1978 and disregards every other films in the franchise, including Halloween 2 (1981).  This means that Laurie Strode (again played by Jamie Lee Curtis) is not Michael Myers' sister.  Michael's rampage on the town of Haddonfield, Illinois was limited to a single Halloween night in 1978.

    The first Blumhouse sequel to the original Halloween is called... Halloween.  The story takes place 40 years after Michael Myers went on a killing spree in 1978.  Quite frankly, that's all I can tell you about this movie because I haven't seen it.  It's the 13th Halloween movie, and part of the fourth separate timeline that they've established through reboots and retcon sequels that erase other movies.  At this point, they're beginning to make the Star Wars franchise look like they're holding back.

    If I'm being completely honest, I've gotten pretty sick of Michael Myers.  I'm sure that the 2018 Halloween movie is pretty good, but how many times do I have to see the same guy in a mask go on a killing spree?  After 43 years of seeing slight variations of the same story over and over again, I'd prefer see a bad original horror movie than a good Halloween movie.  But, since movie franchises like Halloween have a built-in audience, producers will give them more financial support than they'd give to a writer or director who comes up with a new horror villain and an original story.  In fact, there's two more movies to go in the Blumhouse Timeline, and one of them hits theaters nationwide tomorrow.
  • Halloween Kills is the latest chapter in the Blumhouse Halloween saga.  According to what I've read online, this story picks up immediately where the 2018 movie ends.  They've hyped the heck out of this thing, including at least half of Joe Bob's segments during The Last Drive-In Halloween Hoedown special.  I'm going to see it tomorrow, and I'm sure it'll be enjoyable in the same way that a Big Mac, large fries and a Coke are, but I'm not sure what I'm looking forward to more - seeing the movie, or being able to go 24 hours without seeing or hearing something about it.
  • And, of course, it won't end there because they've already announced that the next movie in the Blumhouse Halloween Timeline.  It's called Halloween Ends (yeah, sure it does buddy), and it's scheduled to be released on October 14th of next year.
Who knows.  Maybe Michael Myers will do something that completely blows me away, and I'll rush back to my laptop and write a glowing review of Halloween Kills and start a countdown clock to the next movie, but I'm thinking the chances of that happening are about the same as the chances that Halloween Ends will really be the final Halloween movie.  We'll see.