Keeping the past in the past is advice that the new Halloween film is taking to heart in this first trailer. John Carpenter’s legendary horror franchise has seen more than a couple deviations in canon over its 40 years as direction and production changed hands. Halloween (1978) and Halloween II (1981) were directly related, and Halloween III (1982) was its own thing (briefly re-imagining the Halloween brand as an anthology series). Halloween 4 (1988), 5 (1989), and The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) took the premise of I and II further, constructing a backstory for Michael Myers’ existence through a cult. That trio of films were immediately retconned with Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), which saw Jamie Lee Curtis return to the series for the first time since 1981, and its direct sequel Halloween Resurrection (2002).
Then, shortly after Resurrection‘s release, another horror franchise would set the industry tone for remakes. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), a re-imagining of the 1974 horror classic, hit theaters and reignited the need for slashers at the box office. Platinum Dunes, Michael Bay’s production company, created the foothold, subsequently releasing the wildly successful Amityville Horror remake. Other studios took notice, and soon a remake of Halloween was in the wings. Heavy metal rocker Rob Zombie had recently changed mediums from music to film, writing and directing the horror shocker House of 1000 Corpses (2003) and its sequel, The Devil’s Rejects (2005), and was tapped to helm the remake of Halloween (2007). Zombie brought a more gritty, realistic vibe to the original story, painting Michael Myers as nothing more than a troubled child. While the film itself wasn’t well critically received, it was a big financial success. It’s still a contested topic for fans of the series, but I personally enjoyed the remake. It wasn’t such a dramatic deviation from the original, but it explored Michael as a sympathetic character, and it worked well enough in my opinion. Its direct sequel, however, deviated a little too far for comfort. Right around its release, 3D films were thrust into the spotlight with both the novelty factor and inflated ticket prices. A Halloween 3D was flirted with for many years, but production never got off the ground.
The great thing is, with this new soft reboot of Halloween, you can ignore all of that. It is a direct sequel to the original, even throwing out II. In-universe, all the proceeding film plots are (low-key brilliantly) explained as mere stories and local folklore about what happened. In fact, Laurie doesn’t even appear to be related to Michael anymore. She was just a random victim in his murderous rampage. I think it bodes well for the series – it returns Michael Myers to a glaring “unknown” entity behind his iconic mask. The tone of the trailer fits well with the current upward trend in mainstream horror, and is intriguing enough to make even the most critical fan interested. It may be that the stars are finally aligning on a cold Halloween night.
Halloween is set to hit theaters on October 19th, 2018.