The Next Halloween Movie Doesn’t Need Michael Myers

The idea of an anthology series was played with in 1982. In the climate of today’s film industry, it should be considered again.

Photo: Universal Pictures

This past October, when Blumhouse released Halloween, it was met with critical and commercial success, boasting the biggest opening weekend for any Halloween film. It brought back Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode for a “final” showdown with The Shape. Of course, the word “final” means nothing when it comes to the horror genre (just ask Jason Voorhees), and Blumhouse announced they were considering a sequel shortly after the success of their sequel/reboot. But does the sequel to their sequel have to feature Michael Myers?

In 1982, Tommy Lee Wallace, who had worked as a production designer and editor on John Carpenter’s Halloween, took on both the writing and directorial duties for a third installment of the recently revived franchise. Halloween III: Season of the Witch was a movie that confused audiences, mainly due to its lack of Michael Myers and disassociation from it’s namesake original film. Because of this, it flopped. It’s the second lowest box office draw of the Halloween franchise, (Halloween 5 is the only one that did worse). The franchise was quickly redirected back to its Michael Myers roots, and has stayed with them ever since.

The problem is, that’s not what John Carpenter intended. Carpenter never wanted to do a sequel to Halloween, and his uninspired script for Halloween II proves that. If his movie was to become a franchise, he wanted it to be an anthology series, films that were set on or around the titular holiday, but told a variety of stories. Halloween III was supposed to be the start of that.

Now that we have a satisfying conclusion to Laurie Strode’s story in David Gordon Green’s 2018 film, why continue down this path? Michael Myers is my favorite horror villain, and one of my favorite cinematic villains of all time. I love the Halloween movies, even the ones that sink to the single digits on Rotten Tomatoes. But we have ten movies now featuring Michael Myers. We’ve seen him turned into a supernatural force controlled by a cult; we’ve seen him be an abused and traumatized kid who finally just snaps. The more Michael’s story is elaborated on, the less effective he becomes.

Blumhouse was right to follow their instincts and retcon all the sequels to create a companion film to Carpenter’s original. It brought the fanbase back to the theaters in droves, and was a massive success. Now, it’s time to try something different.

It was reported yesterday by Collider that upcoming screenwriter Scott Teems is in talks to pen the sequel based on a treatment he pitched Blumhouse. That may be surprising, as David Gordon Green was originally favored to continue the franchise. He and frequent collaborator Danny McBride wrote the script to Halloween together, and I expected that they would be brought back. After all, Jason Blum had expressed interest in continuing the franchise with them. And Green and McBride had originally wanted to shoot two entries back to back before scrapping the idea to see how the first one panned out. Since it panned out rather nicely, I assumed they would come back for at least one more. Now, it’s hard to say if Green will be back.

With fresh blood penning the script, however, there is a chance for Blumhouse to do something different. Something Carpenter had wanted to do for a while: make an anthology. The new Halloween movie doesn’t need Michael Myers. The holiday is ripe with urban legends and spooky old traditions that could make some compelling stories. Not to mention, audiences these days are much more open to things like shared universes and anthology series. The Marvel Cinematic Universe tells many interlocking stories in which their movies are essentially television episodes. J.J. Abram’s Cloverfield series has been successful (for the most part) with its related-yet-separate installments.

Anthology films have been set during Halloween (Trick ‘r Treat and Tales of Halloween are excellent examples), but these are comprised of short segments. Imagine the possibilities of a series of feature length films set around Halloween, using lore, folktales, and urban legends to bring something new and creative to the theater every October. The idea gives me literal goosebumps. That could be due to my drafty South Dakota apartment, but I only think that’s a small part of it.

Maybe in another forty years, Andi Matichak can come back for her “final” showdown with Michael Myers. I would love that — she was a fantastic final girl. But the truth is, there aren’t many horror films that truly capture the spirit of Halloween, and that’s a damn shame. Halloween was made for horror fans. It’s about time we had a franchise that truly dug into the myriad of possibilities the holiday presents.

What do you think the Halloween franchise should do next? Should it stick to Michael Myers or should it do something different?

A film critic with a taste for genre fare, living in Sioux Falls, SD. If you love movies, we’ll get along just fine.

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