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Watch ‘Halloween,’ Then Watch These Movies

We recommend 12 movies to seek out after you see David Gordon Green’s new horror sequel.
Universal Pictures
By  · Published on October 20th, 2018

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Terminator Linda Hamilton

Much has been written on how James Cameron’s The Terminator is just a slasher film with a sci-fi twist, and there’s a Couch Tomato video highlighting the 24 ways the 1984 time-travel classic is basically a remake of Carpenter’s Halloween. So, it’s only logical that the new Halloween, as a direct sequel to the original, should just be a remake of the Terminator‘s first follow-up. That’s not quite the case, but there is the link of the final girl of the original now being a militant badass.

From the first look at Jamie Lee Curtis’ gun-toting grandma in images from Green’s Halloween, people have been comparing her transition to that of Linda Hamilton’s between her damsel in distress role in The Terminator and her action heroine evolution in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. If only Green had made Michael Myers a goofy good guy in his movie, protecting Laurie Strode’s daughter and granddaughter from an even worse killer. Yeah, that would have been bad, like old-canon Halloween sequels bad.

Man Bites Dog (1992) and Natural Born Killers (1994)


I thought about recommending Arthur Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde due to the gender-swapped Halloween costumes worn by Andi Matichak and Dylan Arnold. But that’s a little on the nose, so I’m following a throughline to Oliver Stone’s controversial and highly stylized serial killer thriller, which the director has said was heavily inspired by Bonnie and Clyde. Of course, it’s also co-written by Quentin Tarantino, who’d clearly still been influenced by the Starkweather/Fugate murder spree-inspired Badlands — the debut of Green’s idol, Terrence Malick — that also inspired the Tarantino-scripted True Romance. Also, Natural Born Killers features a sensational documentary crew, led by a tabloid journalist played by Robert Downey Jr., entering the prison to interview the main characters and winding up provoking inmates and inadvertently helping to instigate their escape. Spoiler alert, as in Halloween, the journalist doesn’t get any reward for his assistance.

As for Man Bites Dog, the mockumentary thriller following a serial killer on a murderous robbing spree, there’s a documentary crew that winds up actually allying with their subject, more akin to Dr. Sartain (Haluk Bilginer) trying to team up with Myers, and of course their lives aren’t any better for their very direct aid. 

Panic Room (2002)

Panic Room

Throughout her 40 years planning for the return of Michael Myers, Laurie Strode appeared to be overly paranoid, but as we see in the new movie all her efforts — and her prayers — were satisfied with the actual return of her assaulter. If you build it, they will come. That’s a rule for movies. If you construct or buy a place with a panic room, for instance, that shelter will wind up coming in handy. Jamie Lee Curtis and Judy Greer (eventually joined Matichak) as a mother-daughter duo hiding out in Laurie Strode’s hidden basement as Myers stomped around reminded me of Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart’s dual-generational hideout situation in David Fincher’s Panic Room.

The difference is they don’t know their intruder, and here it’s a trio of robbers (Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto, Dwight Yoakam). Maybe in a few years, someone will make a sequel to Panic Room where Whitaker’s character gets out of prison and for some reason has another change of heart and goes after the Altman women.

Stronger (2017)


David Gordon Green has had an eclectic career as a filmmaker, yet Halloween is his first horror movie. There’s not much he’s directed beforehand that obviously relates. Sure, in name The Sitter would seem to have a connection to a sequel to a movie once titled The Babysitter Murders, but there’s not really one other than the fact that both have babysitters. Green’s previous feature, though, does have a link to Halloween in that the underseen drama from a year ago apparently led the director to his next project.

“For Halloween, I was coming off of making Stronger, which is about the Boston Marathon [bombing],” he told amNewYork, “and in many ways I was exploring post-traumatic stress in a narrative and random acts of violence but then this seemed like a way to segue into a movie that felt more ‘genre.'”

He elaborated further in a recent interview with The Wrap: “A lot of [Stronger] dealt with randomness of violence, and in a way, that was a horror film, so it wasn’t such a huge narrative leap. In some ways, that project informed our approach to Michael’s narrative drive. What’s scary in the real world is what you don’t know, and random acts of violence get under my skin rather than something that is motivated or supernatural.”

According to Curtis (via Variety), it was also Stronger star Jake Gyllenhaal, her “unofficial godson,” who convinced her to work with Green and return to the Halloween franchise.

On Her Shoulders (2018)


When the character Dave (Miles Robbins) says that Michael Myers’ handful of kills is nothing compared to all the other horrors of the world today, he has a point. But there’s global terror and there’s personal trauma. For recent Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad, the mix of the two drives her in advocating for the safety and preservation of her people, the Yazidis. Murad (whose memoir is entitled The Last Girl, calling to mind the horror trope of the “Final Girl”) is a survivor of the Yazidi genocide being committed by ISIS in Iraq and of being personally raped by ISIS terrorists while enslaved in Mosul four years ago.

Murad has turned her experience and the plight of other Yazidi refugees into a human rights campaign, and On Her Shoulders — released the same weekend as Halloween — follows her in her political pageantry and her leadership and her induction as a UN Goodwill Ambassador. Unlike Laurie Strode, she’s not isolating herself and packing heat awaiting the day she can have direct revenge on the men who traumatized her, she instead works with such international legal figures as Luis Moreno Ocampo and Amal Clooney.

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.