After 40 long years, She is coming home! Or is it 20 years?
After it was announced a few months back that the unlikely pairing of David Gordon Green and Danny McBride were teaming up to write and direct the new Halloween film for Blumhouse, die hard fans have speculated in what direction this franchise could go in and last night’s shocking news that Jamie Lee Curtis is reprising her role as Laurie Strode officially meant only one thing. They are remaking H20.
So after years of original films being remade, with Rob Zombie himself remaking Halloween back in 2007 and then destroying the franchise with a ghastly and horrific sequel, we are finally in the realms of franchises now remaking sequels. Yes when this film is released next year on October 19th, the title may as well be called H40 as that is what we are basically getting.
Now being HCF’s biggest Halloween fan (I will put on my painted William Shatner mask and fight any of my fellow critics who say otherwise), the news last night filled me with mixed emotions. At first I was delighted and jumped with sheer excitement. I mean Jamie Lee Curtis coming back to face her brother one last time, its fantastic…….brilliant……totally unexpected………but then reality kicked in and I was once again saddened by the state of Michael Myers and his timeline.
The original was so good, because it was simplistic. A man escapes from mental asylum, puts on a mask and stalks and kills some poor babysitters. With its iconic title and astute direction and music by John Carpenter, its a horror film that virtually gave birth to the slasher boom way in the early 80’s. Even though there were many films before that could and perhaps should have be credited for the Slash genre, with Peeping Tom, Black Christmas and Psycho itself, it was Halloween that struck box office gold that made the other studios look up and want to do their own. What happened after? The likes of Jason, Freddy and Chucky were born and the genre was changed forever.
While they all have had reboots themselves, apart from Chucky who is still going strong in his original timeline as lets be honest, you cant keep a good guy doll down, Halloween has suffered from too many changes to its story and I am guessing, once more, fans will have to suffer from yet another memory relapse to enjoy this new upcoming outing.
I am speculating here, but I am guessing that the film will carry on from the end of part 2 and ignore all the sequels that have followed. I mean with Michael’s head being chopped off and Laurie dying herself, this is the only way forward for the franchise, but by being so dismissive of the films that followed, we are back to the “What about Jamie?” moment of H20 and now when it comes to H40, we all be thinking “What about John?” as well!
I know the sequels have their critics, but I have to be honest and say that there is a lot to admire from them as well. Danielle Harris in particular is one of the main reasons why I love Part IV so much and why it works so well as a follow up to the last film. Playing Laurie’s daughter Jamie (as her mother apparently died in a car crash), Jamie’s fight against her Uncle contained some memorable moments, helped of course by the returning Donald Pleasance and the ending of that film was an absolute belter. A shock to the system for many fans watching that would have put the franchise on an unbelievable, exciting road that would have made it so different to the likes of Friday the 13th.
Sadly you can say this was the moment the series started to go downhill as much to the annoyance of everyone involved, including Pleasance himself who totally disagreed with the decision, the studio were not brave enough to follow the plan of having Jamie picking up the knife and follow in her Uncles footsteps and instead brought back Michael for a Part 5, the one in which he wore a stupid overlong mask, had stupid comical music special effects and of course that “WTF” ending that baffled many until Part 6 arrived.
By the time Ghostface arrived in 1996, bringing back slash to the box office, Halloween jumped on the bandwagon with its H20, bringing back Laurie in a sequel that I admit its good for that 90’s era, but more like a Scream film than the universe John Carpenter created. The trouble with that film is that it wanted us to forget everything that happened before it. Jamie had turned into Josh Harnett’s John and fans like myself were kind of furious that a much beloved character was erased from the timeline.
There are some who believe H20 does fit in with the sequels beforehand, they do explain how Laurie died and is now back alive, but for you to go with this, then you must accept that Laurie gave up her daughter and soon after got pregnant again with John but decided to keep this child. Sorry, but seeing Laurie so protective of John throughout H20, I refuse to believe she would not only do this but also leave her daughter behind in Haddonfield knowing that her psycho brother could come back one day.
The one thing H20 done right is kill off Michael Myers for good. The ending, while I hated it back then as I knew that a sequel was impossible, brought closure to the long running franchise. Michael was not a Jason or Freddy who could rise from the dead. You could shoot both his eyes out, burn him, shoot him numerous of times, but chopping his head off, well there is no coming back from that, unless you decide to do a Scooby Doo moment, which unfortunately a further sequel, Resurrection did. Not content of having Busta Rhymes kung fu all over our Michael, they also killed off Laurie in the process and the whole film left such a bitter aftertaste that the only way Michael could come back was by remaking the whole thing all over again.
After the Rob Zombie fiasco, there was no where left for Michael to go! The original timeline was ruined and the remake had gone into a path that saw a Final Destination sequel kill it at the box-office, so I admit that it makes sense that we are heading back into the reboot land. But why from the timeline of Part 2? Why not from the original itself?
When Dr Loomis shoots The Shape and then looks down and he has gone, the film we about to see then shoots off onto a different murderous path. Maybe jump on the 80’s bandwagon after IT and have it set a year after. This way there is no backstory for Michael, no sister to hunt, just a psycho in a mask with no motive, just a thirst for blood and babysitters. This would not only make him believable again but remove the baggage that the franchise has suffered over the years.
Does that mean not including Laurie? Well sadly yes, I mean her story is told, so I can’t see what H40 can bring to the table that we haven’t’ seen before. After the mass hysteria of the news of her coming back to the franchise died down from within me, I suddenly began to think does the new sequel really need Jamie Lee Curtis to come back to the fold! How will it be different to Halloween 20 years later which was released in 1998. Does this mean that after we had to forget about poor Jamie in the that sequel, does that mean we have to do he same about John?
I guess we have to do! I am only speculating here, but I can’t see those sequels being referenced at all. Will there be a scene of Laurie talking to a new character and saying thinks like
“After 20 years my brother tracked me down to a school in California where we fought once more. That time I won by chopping his head off only for the police to take off the mask and discover he swapped bodies with an ambulance guy. I later ended up in a mental home where he found me again, only this time he stabbed me and I fell to my death, but somehow I managed to survived……”
Perhaps they will! But if Green and McBride’s main attempt is to remake H20 then they have to learn from the mistakes that the film made.
1: Make sure the film is set in Haddonfield! H20 suffered from the different setting, in which it made the overall tone not feel like it was Halloween or an Autumn night! The sunny background of California robbed the essence of what makes the Halloween films so special.
2: Make is scary and not a homage. H20 was too busy sending out love letters to the fans, by recycling old dialogue and kills that it forgot to create its own memorable scene. The closest we got is where Laurie was hiding underneath the desks with Michael above her, but as that scene was originally written for Part 4, with her daughter Jamie hiding instead….we can’t really credit H20 for that!
3: Have a supporting cast we can actually care for! Lets not just rely on Laurie for the sympathy. IT works because we cared for those kids, so lets hope the genre has learnt that lesson and not have dumb people doing stupid things.
4: Make it creepy and not just a gore fest for the sake of it. The original Halloween relied on Michael staying in the shadows and when he killed it weren’t for the gore sake. Its surprising just how effective, but low key the kills actually are in the original.
5: No CGI Mask……….
6: Don’t kill off Michael! I totally understand why H20 done it, but if you do it again, then you have to make sure the character stays dead this time, which Blumhouse really can’t do! Horror icons like Michael, Freddy and co don’t stay dead, trust me, they’ll be a new Friday and Elm St film one day, but don’t end with a cheap scare as well. Leave it open ended but in a smart way.
Its not hard to make a good Halloween film. If you check around, you’ll find loads of fan made films over the years that has won acclaim from fans (trust me a few are quite good), as they are simply made by people that understand the franchise and what it needs. Halloween is my favourite horror franchise so the news that Michael is coming back to Haddonfield fills me with joy. Have they wasted the opportunity by bringing Laurie back? Most probably, even though her presence is guaranteed to bring back those fans who washed they hands with it after the Rob Zombie diabolical sequel..
I just hope they get this right. When Michael returns next year he will be the grand age 0f 61, so if this Halloween is a huge success, any other sequels and he’ll be approaching 70. This guy already walks slow so I can’t imagine it being a thrill, watching him walking around Haddonfield with a walking stick, still trying to kill Laurie. That may be Dangertainment for some, but all I want is one last hurrah of this timeline, until we eventually get another remake in a couple of years.
H20 was good, but I want H40 to be fantastic………………