I was 12 years old in 1998. My family rarely went to the movies, but I begged my mom to take me to see Halloween H20. Loaded up on popcorn and soda, I settled into my seat and readied myself for what was promised as the final showdown between Laurie Strode and Michael Myers. Even now, I can recall the swelling energy in the theater and the way everyone screamed and laughed in all the right places. And how the triumphant finale sent a wave of applause and cheers through the crowd. It was and is one of the most special theater-going experiences of my life. When Laurie chopped off Michael’s head, it was a victorious moment for the audience as much as the character. It was the definitive ending to a series that had lost its way.
Twenty-four years since its release, Halloween H20 remains the perfect ending to the Michael Myers trifecta: the 1978 original, 1981’s Halloween II, and H20. Even though Halloween Resurrection undoes every bit of good will of that ending, we don’t talk about Dangertainment and Busta Rhymes drop-kicking The Shape. Or the lead protagonist Sara (Bianca Kajlich) unable to scream on her own. Or that outrageous bit of exposition about Laurie Strode, the intuitive and strong Final Girl, killing the wrong man. We don’t talk about any of that. Halloween H20 is a fitting end to the story. The classroom scene, in which Molly (Michelle Williams) details how Victor Frankenstein “should have confronted the monster sooner” to save Elizabeth, is inherently Laurie’s entire three-film arc. To save her son John (Josh Hartnett), she finally recognizes that the only way to move forward is to defeat the monster once and for all. And she does so in one of the best third act showdowns in horror history. Her triumph is pure cinematic poetry.
With Halloween Resurrection turning 20 this year, we’re coincidentally getting another series ending. As a long-time franchise fan, I’ve been burned too many times to count, yet here I am failing to temper expectations heading into what should be the very last Halloween film. But I would be remiss if I didn’t express reservations I have about the final film in David Gordon Green’s legacy trilogy. Before I dive into my greatest hopes and fears, I should mention I had the great misfortune of stumbling upon rumors and/or potential spoilers for Ends. I won’t post those here; they’re all over the internet if your curiosity is piqued. Let’s just say I have qualms that we may have another Resurrection-level debacle on our hands. Now, I am in the minority in that I have come to only marginally enjoy Halloween 2018 and I *loved* Kills for how bonkers it was.
Halloween Ends looks cool on paper but could be totally botched in execution. With the release of the final trailer, we get a proper glimpse of the story and how Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell) fits into the overall picture. Dropped a mere 17 days before the film hits theaters, it’s very clear producers are keeping their cards incredibly close to the vest. It’s a far cry from the marketing campaigns for the 2018 and 2021 films. It both has me trepidatious and sufficiently intrigued about what Green has in store for this final chapter. In the trailer, Laurie considers that the only way for Michael Myers to die is if she dies, too, a possibility that circles back to the notion of fate in the original film. Answering her teacher, Laurie remarked that author Costain believed “fate was like a natural element, like earth, air, fire, and water.” Ever since Laurie stepped upon the front porch of the Myers house, delivering a key, her fate has been forever tethered to Michael’s, so it stands to reason that she is right in believing their deaths are bound together, as well.
The official film synopsis gives further context to the upcoming storyline. It reads: “Four years after her last encounter with masked killer Michael Myers, Laurie Strode is living with her granddaughter and trying to finish her memoir. Myers hasn’t been seen since, and Laurie finally decides to liberate herself from rage and fear and embrace life. However, when a young man stands accused of murdering a boy that he was babysitting, it ignites a cascade of violence and terror that forces Laurie to confront the evil she can’t control.”
My immediate concern is a four-year time jump. Questions running through my head: Why has Michael vanished? What has he been up to? And will Karen’s death have any impact on the present? Originally, David Gordon Green planned to have all three of his films set over the course of one night, which made the most logical sense from a storytelling perspective. However, it seems the Covid pandemic and mask mandates caused a ripple in plans and sparked rewrites to the story.
“So not only do they have their immediate world affected by that trauma, having time to process that trauma—and that’s a specific and immediate traumatic event in the community of Haddonfield. But then they also had a worldwide pandemic and peculiar politics and another million things that turned their world upside down,” Green told Uproxx back in 2021. He suggests that lingering pandemic effects, including masks, may influence the storyline.
While Kills didn’t include any explicitly political aims or subtext, the Tommy Doyle-led riot at the hospital did strike eerily similar to the January 6 insurrection. Even more, Michael Myers himself embodies white male fragility and violence against women, and through her own trauma and turmoil, Laurie Strode emerges as a defining Final Girl with real Good for Her energy at every single turn. Otherwise, the franchise has largely skipped socio-political topics and themes, letting the story and characters sink into subtext and deeper personal readings. Ends involving a pandemic-related storyline raises an eyebrow at the very least.
And the biggest fear I have is the film not giving the audience a definitive answer to the fates of Laurie and Michael. Where the previous two entries gave us heavy breathing over the end credits and a surprise attack, respectively, there needs to be nothing to indicate Michael could still be alive and kicking. Whether Laurie lives or dies could carry weight either way, as long as there is reverence for both characters as the horror icons they are. In previous timelines, the franchise has a way of unceremoniously killing off its Final Girl within the first 20 minutes of a new film to make way for fresh characters. Halloween 5 killed off Rachel with scissors to the collar bone; Halloween 6 filleted Jamie on farm equipment; and Resurrection tossed Laurie off a building. Stop with the madness. Let’s give these characters the care they deserve. No heavy breathing, no eyes opening, no hand twitching, and absolutely, unequivocally no mysterious disappearance. Michael Myers needs to be sent to hell where he belongs.
That brings up an important question: how do you kill Michael? You can’t very well chop off his head again. So what do you do? Here are some options: sever all his limbs; drowning (ala Friday the 13th Part VI); a pendulum or rack torture device; crucifixion (the Biblical imagery practically writes itself); blowing up with explosives attached to his body; cryogenically freezing his head (remember what Randy said about trilogies in Scream 3?!?); lethal injection; electric chair; extreme bloodletting (think: Mrs. Alves in Halloween II); and both Laurie and Michael dying by an all-consuming fire. The optimist in me hopes for any one of these to be the final blow, to be the thing that destroys evil for good. (I’m currently leaning toward blowing him to smithereens.)
And Laurie needs to be the one to do it. She deserves to pull the proverbial trigger on killing The Boogeyman. This final reckoning requires balls-to-the-wall action; a real Halloween H20 on steroids moment. Judging from the trailers and TV spots, David Gordon Green appears to be heading in that direction. I’m hoping there’s drawers full of knives and fire extinguishers and axes and flag poles and a smorgasbord of other random objects. Anything can be a weapon.
With this final chapter, all bets are off. Here are a couple other things I’d love to see, including some good ole fashioned stalking sequences, blue-tinted lighting, and a reliance on shadows. But more importantly, Allyson should have a leading role in the story. She got ample screen time in Halloween Kills, but take that one step further, as she teams up with Laurie one last time to hunt The Shape. Perhaps there’s rumors of Michael reappearing in a ghost-like form on the outskirts of Haddonfield (drawing upon John Carpenter’s original vision for Halloween 4). Even in the trailer, Laurie claims he was watching her one evening but quickly evaporated. Let that be the guiding force behind Laurie’s growing paranoia, eventually leading Allyson to finally believe her. They grab a couple shotguns, hop into a truck, and head off to kill Michael, Kill Bill-style.
Regarding Allyson, what’s the emotional toll been like for her, having not only lost three close friends but both parents? What’s her mental state? Has she recovered? Or does she find herself cold and detached from others in her life? Is she broken and barely getting by? We’ve seen what 44 years of trauma has done to Laurie Strode, transforming her into a shell of her former self, and maybe Allyson has, in fact, moved on with her life. She’s made a determined effort not to repeat cycles of behavior handed down from her mother and grandmother, and instead, she lives a fulfilled life. These character beats, as they did with Halloween 2018, could really boost the usual slasher ho-hum.
Above all else: give us a finale worthy of this franchise, and let Laurie Strode give Michael Myers hell until the bitter end. Halloween Ends has the opportunity to be among the best in the series, and already, the sense I get from all the promo materials is the creative team taking this final chapter seriously. That’s a good sign. Coming off Kills, and how it was eviscerated by critics and fans, David Gordon Green certainly has his work cut out for him. Having grown up with this franchise, and endured some terribly grim lows, I have sky high expectations 一 and I just hope they get this right. Halloween H20’s Laurie Strode deserves it.
Halloween Ends is coming to theaters and Peacock on October 14, 2022.