They're Making a New One? Good!
About that Halloween Reboot
A little while back I lamented the fact that MGM is moving forward with plans to make a Child's Play reboot despite the fact that the original series of films is still going strong (with another sequel as well as a TV series in development). In other slasher movie news, there's a new Halloween movie coming out and, yes, it too is a reboot. How do I feel about that? Well...
Okay, so here's the thing about the Halloween series: it's continuity has long since been screwed up, to the point that they can pretty much reboot the series as many times as they want and it really won't fix anything. I can say this because, seriously, various studios have tried. All the problems with the series started with the third film in the series.
For those that don't follow slasher films with anything near the fanaticism I have, the first two Halloween flicks -- creatively titled Halloween and Halloween II -- both take place, effectively, on the same night. In the first film, the killer (called simply "the Shape" at this point) comes back to his hometown, Haddonfield, stalks some babysitters, and then kills them one by one until he's thwarted by Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis). Then, in the second one, he continues his rampage, stalking Laurie at the hospital she was taken to. He's eventually stopped after it's revealed that he's actually Laurie's older brother, Michael Myers. He dies, she lives, case closed.
After that, it was decided to make the films into an anthology film series featuring different takes on Halloween horrors. Michael was dead, so instead the third movie, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, focused on an evil corporation making magical masks to turn all the kids in the world to piles of insects because druids or something. It's a stupid, stupid movie. And, surprise, it made nowhere near the kind of money the studios were expecting. It was thought that the franchise still had life in it if only there was a solution on how to move forward...
Six years after the spectacular failure of H3, Michael was back, stalking Haddonfield once more. How is he back if he died at the end of the last film? Well, he really didn't die, wouldn't you know? Laurie is dead, though, having died off-screen between films. Thankfully, for the sake of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Laurie had a child before dying, little Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris). Since Michael can't go kill his sister, taking out his niece is the next best thing. Of course, he fails, but then he gets right back up and tries again a year later in Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers. This time he has a psychic bond with returning niece Jamie, but even that doesn't help him stalk and kill her. So he dies again. And then comes back six years later to stalk a then grown-up Jamie (and her baby). And then he dies. Again.
Really, the sixth movie, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers is most famous for both explaining what's up with Michal Myers -- he's actually part of an evil cult's plan to spread evil on Samhain (because druids and Halloween and whatever) -- and also for having a young Paul Rudd being really confused as to why he has to be in this crappy movie. Were it not for Halloween III, Curse might have gone down as the worst of the Halloween movies. And both feature druid curses to boot, so there's that.
At this point, the whole film series was in dire straits. Something had to be done to lift the series up and make it work once more. The solution was a soft reboot. Essentially: you know all those movies that occurred after Halloween II? Yeah, those never happened. After seemingly killing Michael at the end of Part 2, Laurie went on the run, changing her name and hiding far from Haddonfield. If you didn't know this seventh movie, Halloween H20 (because it came out 20 years after the original), was a reboot you'd be really confused. "So Laurie had a kid, Jamie, ditched her, went on the run, and started a new franchise family somewhere else? What a terrible mother!" At least, that's what I thought the first time I watched the film. Still, it was one of the more competently made movies in the series (and that's a backhanded compliment) and made a good bit of money. So of course they had to make another one.
Picking up sometime after the seventh film, where Michael seemingly dies after Laurie cuts his head off with an axe (a pretty final ending to the character, you would think), we find out in Halloween Resurrection that, nope, Michael faked that and he isn't dead after all. Then he kills Laurie before going to his old house and killing all the various people that have setup in the shack to do a web-video stream. Honestly all those people were awful and Michael killing them was the highlight of the film. This is a terrible movie. It basically killed the franchise.
Hollywood, though, hates to let go of a franchise. Thus, after five years, Rob Zombie came out with a full reboot of the original movie. New cast and new story exploring Michael as a boy, an up-and-coming serial killer, before giving us a shortened remake of the original film. While it wasn't the best (we certainly didn't need a huge explanation about why Michael was a psycho), points at least had to be given for not only doing something new but also wiping away all traces of Curse and it's stupid druid plotline in the process. There was, of course, a sequel that didn't do as well, and then the franchise lay fallow once more.
Now however, the studios are back with a new reboot. Instead of just retelling the original story again, though, this reboot throws out everything except the first film from 1978. Michael is back, and so is Laurie (again played by Curtis). However Michael is no longer Laurie's brother (as that was introduced in the second flick), and everything else that happened (Laurie's first kid, Jamie, her second family in H20, and everything from the Rob Zombie reboot series) is wiped away. So yes, technically that makes five continuities for the series:
- Continuity 1: Halloween > Halloween II > Halloween 4 > Halloween 5 > Halloween 6
- Continuity 2: Halloween > Halloween II > Halloween H20 > Halloween Resurrection
- Continuity 3: Halloween III
- Continuity 4: Halloween (2007) > Halloween II (2009)
- Continuity 5: Halloween > Halloween (2018) > Halloween Kills > Halloween Ends
By Hollywood's logic, this new reboot should make a bunch of money before going right off the rails. And then, five years or so from now, we'll get to find out which of the Halloween movies are actually in continuity again once they decide to find some new way to reboot once more.
We're here not to just recap the series, though. The question was "how do I feel about a Halloween reboot" and, honestly... I dunno how I feel. At this point they've rebooted the series so many time (five different continuities for only 11 flicks, remember) that it's hard to care too much about which version of the series we get anymore. That said, they're bringing back Curtis's Laurie once again and yet they're throwing out Halloween II. As you'll note from the list I made, whenever they go back to the original series, both the first and second films have always been included. Halloween II is sacrosanct by the franchise's own logic, and yet it's now been tossed.
So yeah, I just don't know how to feel about this. I mean, clearly I care way too much about a series of slasher movies, but Halloween is one of those classics of the genre, the high bar so many other slasher flicks are compared to. When some director lists the films that inspired their latest B-grade slasher flick, Halloween is always listed. I do hope that the new movie is good (Editor's Note: It was okay), and that their tossing Halloween II onto the trash heap (with all the other, vastly less watchable films in the series) was a good idea. They can get rid of Halloween III, and the three flicks from the Jamie saga. Hell, I'll pay them to never mention Resurrection again. But don't touch Halloween II guys.
I'll still go see it, though. I like slasher movies too much not to.