‘Halloween’ Succeeds With One Foot in the Past and One Toward the Future

The legendary horror franchise received an upgrade, but also pays homage to the past.
Halloween Jamie Lee Curtis
By  · Published on October 17th, 2018

David Gordon Green and Danny McBride have made their own Halloween for sure. The new film mixes horror elements the series has been known for over the last 40 years while tossing in some ridiculous humor at the same time. It’s as though Green and McBride realize the absurdity of it all, but were drawn to the potential of a franchise re-imagining for some time. This new adaptation works because Green and McBride have not only added their flair to the proceedings but capture what made Halloween special all those years ago.

The most significant way Green and McBride have managed to do this by bringing the idea of a legacy sequel to the legendary horror franchise. We’ve talked about the legacy sequel countless times before, and Hollywood continues to use them for updating old franchises. None are more successful than The Force Awakens which used actors from the original Star Wars trilogy with new actors to push the franchise in a new direction. Other franchises like Rocky, Blade Runner, and Tron have all used the idea to varying levels of success. It provides a hook to bring people back for a sequel years later while creating a new series of movies.

This isn’t the first time that Halloween has called back Jamie Lee Curtis to do another go around as Laurie Strode. They attempted in 1998 to bring the franchise back from the dead with Halloween H20. That film took place, you guessed it, 20 years after the events of the original Halloween. It was well received, most would say it was the best Halloween sequel. It was made the most money in franchise history. No one could keep well enough along, and Jamie Lee Curtis had to do a sequel. Halloween: Resurrection is one of the low points of the entire series and derailed everything.

The Halloween franchise had nowhere else to go except to start over. Rob Zombie tried to bring the series back, but both of his films failed to have the same level of admiration that the originals had. That’s where Green and McBride step in. Now we’ve seen what they had it mind; it makes sense. Curtis has a significant presence in the Halloween (2018), but they give a lot of attention to Allyson (Andi Matichak). Allyson is the granddaughter of Strode and has a group of friends that are the perfect fodder for Michael Myers. Bringing these characters into the series, also given Myers a reason to recreate many of the signature kills.

That’s where this Halloween borrows a lot from the original. Green and McBride have taken recognizable camera movements and lifted shots from the original, all while adding a twist to the proceedings. Michael Myers escaping prison? Check. Myers praying on babysitters? Check. An obsessive doctor that will do anything to protect Myers? Check. There isn’t much that we haven’t seen before. That makes some of these moments sound tedious, but they are not. Not only do the twists work as callbacks to the original film, but humor plays a large part in this entry.

There might be complaints that Halloween (2018) is too funny. There are moments of laugh out loud humor that take too much of the tension away from the terror on screen. But that is the infusion that the series needed. One of the standout characters, Julian (Jibrail Nantambu), could’ve just been a less significant presence. Instead, he has some of the best lines in the film. Some humor comes from the characters dumb decisions. I will not pretend to be a horror expert, but a lot of times the genre takes these kills too serious. The characters in these films seem to exist in a world without horror movies. Green and McBride are all-in with the hilarity of these decisions, and the audience can react in kind, laughing at the stupidity on display.

Halloween (2018) has taken a legacy sequel formula and used it to great success. There is little doubt that Blumhouse will make a killing off of this new entry in the never-ending slasher franchise. There is an equal mix of horror and comedy that should excite even the most jaded Halloween fan. Given the history of sequels, the best question is where does Halloween go next?

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News Writer/Columnist for Film School Rejects. It’s the Pictures Co-host. Bylines Playboy, ZAM, Paste Magazine and more.