John Carpenter’s Halloween is a hugely influential movie, and the horror classic was itself heavily influenced by others, including Black Christmas, The Innocents, Touch of Evil, and Psycho. David Gordon Green‘s new sequel, also titled Halloween, will not be quite so effective. And its own influences aren’t so apparent. Halloween 2018 just seems to be inspired by Halloween 1978 and the no-longer-canon sequels made in the last 40 years. Still, I’ve come up with a nice little bunch of recommendations for what you need to see after checking out the highly anticipated follow-up.
Add these 12 titles to your viewing list:
Titicut Follies (1967) and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
I’d planned on only recommending movies that were released after the original Halloween, but these two films are the best options for tying to the psychiatric facility scene in the new movie. Green has mentioned Milos Forman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest as one of his all-time favorites, and while the institution where Michael Myers resides is nothing like the mental hospital in this merry adaptation of Ken Kesey’s novel, it would seem the closest Green has gotten to paying homage to the Best Picture winner.
As for Titicut Follies, Frederick Wiseman’s controversial and impactful breakout documentary showcases a more similarly uncomfortable facility. As he told The Dissolve in 2014, he discovered the film later in life, and it became an important work at the time: “At 30, I was getting into Frederick Wiseman documentaries… I watched Titicut Follies over and over.”
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Even though the new Halloween has retconned all the other Michael Myers sequels, there is a reason to still see every other one of the previous installments (excluding the Rob Zombie remake and follow-up, I think) if you like Green’s follow-up: in order to get all the homages, including the cameo of three Silver Shamrock masks from Season of the Witch. But Halloween III (which features Jamie Lee Curtis’ voice in an uncredited cameo) is also the only one of the sequels that can still be considered canon, regardless of its never being linked to the others anyway.
With Green’s Halloween being the new Halloween II, Season of the Witch still gets to be Halloween III, so that’s to be watched next. Perhaps if Blumhouse is eager to make more Halloweens after the success of the latest, they can respect the intentions of Season of the Witch as the start of an anthology series and actually produce unrelated Halloween-branded features.
Psycho II (1983)
By ignoring the other Halloween sequels, the new movie is a direct follow-up to the original arriving a whopping 40 years later. And it’s the only Halloween besides the original to have a positive Rotten Tomatoes score. Similarly, Psycho II, which came out 23 years after Alfred Hitchcock’s original, is the only one of its franchise besides the first to have a positive Rotten Tomatoes score. Of course, much of its favor has come in the decades since its debut, at which time its reviews were mixed.
Unlike the new Halloween‘s return of Jamie Lee Curtis, Psycho II couldn’t bring back her mother, Janet Leigh, but Vera Miles does reprise her part as the sister. There is also a plot parallel with Halloween. This late sequel follows its serial killer’s reentry into the world — albeit through official discharge rather than a breakout — and a mother (Miles) and daughter (Meg Tilly) who aren’t so keen on that idea. Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) does mean to make good on his second chance, however, but can people like him really be cured?
Murder: No Apparent Motive (1984)
Although there’s no official acknowledgment of this, serial killer Ed Kemper is believed to have been an influence on Michael Myers. His story is definitely similar, having murdered family members as a youth and then killing a number of coeds after his release from a psychiatric hospital. And being a towering figure. Unlike Myers, Kemper has talked about his acts and why he committed the murders and did the heinous things to the bodies of his victims afterward.
You can see one interview with him in the more sensational and broadly focused 1981 documentary The Killing of America, and you can find even more of his confessions and story in this true-crime documentary about him and Ted Bundy and what the FBI has learned from them. That premise is, of course, dramatized in the David Fincher-produced Netflix series Mindhunter, in which Cameron Britton portrays the real Kemper.
Repo Man (1984)
Similar to the nods to The Thing From Another World and Forbidden Planet in the original Halloween, Green’s movie also features television sets airing a couple cult classics. One is the early ’80s sci-fi television series Voyagers!, which I can only hope means — as Carpenter did with The Thing — that Green means to remake the time-travel show. The other is this sci-fi movie, highlighted with the opening scene where a highway patrolman is vaporized by a mysterious light emanating from the trunk of a car.
Hopefully Green isn’t hinting at a desire to remake it, because that would be an unnecessary and likely unsuccessful idea — unless he somehow could do for Repo Man what Carpenter did with The Thing and create something totally its own and arguably even better. Some might claim that he’s done a good enough job respecting Halloween with his sequel that he deserves a chance with any other fan-favorite mythology.