If there’s a film at the top of most horror fans’ ‘must see’ list it’s arguably the upcoming Halloween sequel. It’s hard to believe that almost a decade has past since ‘The Shape’ haunted our screens. Now, after anxiously awaiting any morsel of information, the official trailer has been released.
What Is It About and When Is It Coming Out?
Nearly 40 years after John Carpenter’s original Halloween film was released, Blumhouse Productions has slated the new Halloween for this October 19, 2018. Up until the last week, the only thing fans knew for certain was that this Halloween sequel would ignore EVERY sequel that followed the first film. Not even the direct sequel, Halloween II, will be referenced in this film. This immediately sparked debates about how the sequel would treat the relationship between Laurie Strode and Michael Myers. Early teaser information directly addressed the speculation – there is no relationship between Myers and Laurie Strode.
Another controversial tidbit that trickled out prior to the trailer debut was that this sequel would be retconning the original film’s ending. Horror fans will of course remember that Carpenter’s Halloween concluded with Myers’ body disappearing after being shot several times – his trademark breathing closed out the film’s final moment. This Halloween will begin with Myers re-institutionalized after being arrested immediately after his night of terror.
Now our first full synopsis for the upcoming sequel comes courtesy of USA Today:
A British documentary crew comes to the States to visit Michael in prison for a retrospective of the maniac’s night of terror – but their project becomes way more interesting Myers escapes custody, retrieves his signature mask and seeks revenge on Laurie, with others naturally being part of his impressive career body count along the way.
In the decades following the fateful Halloween night that forever altered the former babysitter’s life, Laurie has armed and prepped herself for Michael’s inevitable return – to the detriment of her family, including daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichuk).
Who’s Making It?
David Gordon Green is directing the sequel. To date, Gorden Green is mostly known for comedy having directed episodes of Eastbound & Down and Vice Principals as well as stoner comedy, Pineapple Express. The screenplay was written by Danny McBride with Gordon Green. While McBride is also primarily known for comedy the recent successes of Jordan Peele and John Krasinski in horror shouldn’t automatically dissuade fans. John Carpenter has given the sequel his full blessing, even serving as Executive Producer and composing the score. The sequel has also been developed by Jason Blum and his Blumhouse Productions.
Who’s In It?
Jamie Lee Curtis will reprise her role as Laurie Strode. This marks the fourth time Curtis has played the character since the original Halloween. Her involvement was absolutely essential for this direct sequel to have any legitimacy. In a nice touch, the original ‘Shape’, Nick Castle will also be back under the mask again, splitting duties with stuntman James Jude Courtney.
The rest of the cast is filled out with some strong character actors and new faces. Most importantly, the role of Laurie Strode’s daughter, Karen, will be played by the very underrated Judy Greer. Another familiar character actor, Will Patton, plays what the trailer suggests is the town sheriff. Relative newcomer, Andi Matichak, plays Laurie’s granddaughter, Allyson.
What Does the Trailer Tell Us?
Finally, the first official trailer for Halloween was released this morning. And it was worth the wait. Aside from verifying some of the plot points released by USA Today, the trailers gives us a little insight into David Gordon Green’s vision for Halloween.
The trailer’s opening moments show us the British documentary crew, confirming that Myers has indeed been institutionalized since the first film. These opening seconds also affirm that this sequel does indeed retcon the original film’s ending. Gordon Green and McBride’s inclusion of the documentary angle offers this sequel some potentially interesting subtextual commentary on public fascination with gruesome true crime stories. Most importantly, this brief portion of the trailer shows that this Halloween has got Michael Myers right – it treats him like the ‘Shape’, an entity, not a man. His impact on the patients around him and the tone for this brief portion are spot on.
One other thing this trailer confirms is that this Laurie Strode is a survivor. The ‘cat-and-mouse’ dynamics from the original Halloween, as well the ‘Final Girl’ slasher narrative are likely to be flipped on their heads. This adds a welcome change to what have overly familiar tropes of the genre as well as giving Curtis a little more to do this time around.
One of the other big remaining questions about this sequel concerned the tone and approach to violence. John Carpenter’s original Halloween was surprisingly light on explicit gore, emphasizing atmosphere and dread. In contrast, Rob Zombie’s remake was a visceral splatterfest. This trailer doesn’t give away too much. Yet it does tell us to expect a brutal Michael Myers. The bathroom stall scene with Myers dropping shattered teeth in front of his victim is absolutely chilling.
Most of the remaining bits from the trailer serve to just offer us quick glimpses into the chaos that follows Myers’ escape. One particular clip – Laurie spotting Michael in a window – once again suggests that Gordon Green understands the importance of treating Myers as the ‘Shape’. While it’s a quick flash of a moment, it does tell us that Myers will once again be a shadowy silhouette like in the original.
You don’t believe in the boogeyman … you should.
Lastly, the ‘go home’ clip with the closet at the trailer’s conclusion is just brilliant. It promises exactly what Halloween fans will want to see in this sequel. This may have been the perfect way to close out the first trailer.
Now that you’ve had a chance to see the trailer, what are your thoughts?