Some franchises deserve a do-over.
The night he came home lives in infamy. John Carpenter’s original Halloween is the perfect cinematic slasher experience. The film cares more about manipulating dread and the craft of the scare than it does with an ever-increasing body count. While filmmakers would return to Michael Myers over and over and over again, none captured the meticulous skill on display in the first film.
David Gordon Green (George Washington, Undertow) and Danny McBride (Vice Principles) believe they have cracked the code to replicating the terror of Carpenter. Step one, ignore every sequel that came after the original. Sorry, Josh Hartnett. Sorry, Busta Rhymes.
Jamie Lee Curtis returns as Laurie Strode, 40 years after Michael Myers stalked her and her friends through the suburbs of Haddonfield. While producers have kept the details of the plot tightly under wraps, this new trailer gives fans plenty to sink their teeth into. Let’s chow down.
We open on a CCTV system monitoring the courtyard of a mental asylum. Is this the same Smith’s Grove Sanitorioium that failed to house Michael in 1978? They’ll have as about as much luck containing The Shape this time around.
“Testing 1, 2, 3…” Rhian Rees and Jefferson Hall are processed through asylum security. They’re here to investigate the mute patient responsible for the murders of “three innocent teenagers on Halloween in 1978.” That means this film is ignoring every sequel after the first film including Halloween II which took place on that same night and resulted in several more slayings.
“He was shot by his own psychiatrist and taken into custody that night.” Nice to see this notebook sketch of Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence), gone but not forgotten. How was Myers recaptured? The original Halloween concludes with the killer’s body disappearing after being shot six times and falling from the Doyle house balcony. I’m betting for the purposes of this film; his re-capture really doesn’t matter.
Kudos to David Gordon Green, production designer Richard A. Wright, and cinematographer Michael Simmonds. There are a lot of stand-out frames in this trailer, but this faraway shot of Myers at the center of the sanitorium courtyard is delightfully unsettling. Rees and Hall keep their distance, testing their courage by being merely spitting distance from the haunted maniac. Why should they worry? Myers has been an ideal, silent patient for the past 40 years.
They should have read the signs. As Hall pulls the infamous mask from his knapsack, a guard dog whines a warning. Nothing good can come from this confrontation.
Fellow lunatics begin to cry out in dreadful anticipation. Only the insane can properly understand the inevitable doom of Hall’s hubris.
Hall lifts the mask to Myers, effectively shining a mirror in a demon’s face. Here is the inciting incident that will wake The Shape from his stupor. The time of hanging out with loonies is over; he’s got a mission to complete.
Universal and Blumhouse logos pop into picture, and we hear the first ping of John Carpenter’s iconic score. Cut to Haddonfield; the season is upon us. We see children running through the streets with pillow sacks full of candy. In voiceover, Allyson Strode (Andi Matichak) laments that “everyone in my family turns into a nutcase this time of the year.”
Just like her grandmother, Allyson has a core group of friends. Her pal Vicky (Virginia Gardner) sympathizes with the Strode family’s disdain for the holiday. Serial killers tend to ruin your appetite for candy.
Trapped behind barbed wire and signage warning “No Trespassing,” we get our first glimpse of the Strode Family compound. Lawn maintenance is not Laurie’s priority. The house is decked out with its special brand of security. I imagine kids now dare themselves to knock on Laurie’s door the way young Tommy was teased into doing back in ’78.
If Michael makes his way into this compound, I’m betting he’ll find a few surprises waiting for him. No booby traps glimpsed in this trailer, but we do see this rad secret entrance to Laurie’s basement bunker.
A quick flash of Laurie’s scars from that fateful night. Dave (Miles Robbins) asks, “Wasn’t it her brother that murdered all those babysitters?” Allyson rejects such claims as something that people made up. The darkest of family secrets is about to shatter a granddaughter’s world-view. I am curious to see how Laurie balances her desire for revenge with a shame at the blood that courses through her veins.
Some grandmothers tend to their garden, others blast mannequins with magnum shells. Laurie Strode has been practicing vengeance like some train for the Olympics.
Laurie Strode tells Sheriff Hawkins (Will Patton) that “I pray every night that he would escape…so I can kill him.” She’s locked and loaded with a mission of her own. Sure, she’ll feel a little guilty for willing another night of terror into existence, but as long as she gets her man, she’ll find peace.
Blam! Blam! Blam! This Laurie Strode is no terrified babysitter. Imagine Sarah Connors’ transformation from the first Terminator to Judgement Day. Full badass mode.
Not sure why Myers has been put into a sanitorium bus for transport, but obviously that was not the brightest idea. Crashed upon the side of the road, the mad contents spill forth upon the highway. A father and son nearly slam their car into the roving herd of mental patients.
Laurie gets word that Myers has escaped during the accident. She alerts her daughter (Judy Greer) and son-in-law (Toby Huss), but they seem to be completely unaware of the implications. We see a man with a rifle slowly approach the bus, good luck to that guy.
Hall and Rees track Myers to a gas station rest stop. Rees steps into the lavatory while Hall discovers a brutalized body on the garage floor. The mechanic is missing his overalls…
…and a set of teeth. Myers sprinkles the mechanic’s skull nuggets into Rees’ stall, and she appropriately goes full freak while the beast attempts to smash the door open with his head. She tries to escape, crawling underneath the stalls, but Myers will snatch her eventually.
Sporting some new duds, Myers retrieves his mask from Hall. Dressed to kill, now The Shape can get about his business. Carpenter’s score kicks into overdrive.
As he did once before, Myers walks the neighborhood freely. Bumping into unsuspecting children, he pays them no nevermind. He has eyes for only one girl.
“He’s waited for this night. He’s waited for me. I waited for him.” The Strode matriarch readies her family for war. While Halloween: H20 attempted to assert Laurie Strode as an ass-kicking mom, this Halloween will truly transform the final girl into her own agent of action. She’s here to take on the role that Dr. Loomis once held for her. Savior.
Who is stalking who? Laurie charges into the night, screaming at children to get off the streets. She spots The Shape in a bedroom window above. Blam! Instinct. Shoot first, ask questions later.
The boogeyman is up to his usual tricks again. Why not? The bedsheet ghost is a classic look, and perfect for terrifying…does that bald head belong to Will Patton? Toby Huss? Either way, he’s about 60 seconds away from getting stabbed in the gut.
Although, there appears to have been a struggle before this moment. We see a tipped over chair in the corner and a jack-o-lantern tossed in the fish tank. Is Myers under the bedsheet, or is some poor dead daughter hidden underneath?
This is the shot we’ve all been waiting to see. Forget Freddy vs. Jason. We want Laurie vs. Michael. Victim turned warrior, going toe-to-toe with the monster that forever altered her life. She got to decapitate the beast in Halloween H:20, so hopefully, David Gordon Green and Danny McBride have something special planned for this ultimate showdown.
The trailer ends with a perfect scare that manages to be totally aligned with the original film’s level of dread and still up the jolt ante. No kid likes going to bed with their closet ajar. The door needs to be sealed shut to keep Sully away. The Babysitter is happy to ease the child’s senseless worries, that’s her duty. She walks across to give it a simple close, but the door bounces open. Tries again. Bounces open. Tries again. Still won’t shut. The Babysitter opens wide to see what’s blocking the simple task, and she’s greeted by the giant Shape looming over her. Hack and slash. Run kid, run.
Halloween hits theaters on October, 19th.