The Return of the Retcon of the Return of Michael Myers
Anybody who really knows me knows that I love the Halloween film franchise. Michael Myers is the prototypical slasher killer, and no others who came after him can even come close.
But the franchise has had its ups and downs, from the jarring departure of the formula with Halloween III: Season of the Witch, (which is actually a fun film as long as you can get over your hangups about it having nothing to do with the previous entries) to the utter embarrassments that were Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers and Halloween: Resurrection. And we won't get into the absolute mess that was the Rob Zombie reboot films.
Then there are the fourth and fifth entries, the Jamie Lloyd movies, which strove to make Michael something more than human. Entries 4-6 made an absolute mess of Michael's mythology and motivations, and fans are usually pretty divided on how they feel about them. Personally, I've never cared for what has come to be known as "The Thorn Trilogy." Those films just do nothing for me.
And clearly I'm not the only one who feels that way, because they've been retconned out of the films' continuity not once, but TWICE. First was 1998's Halloween: H20 and now with this year's confusingly titled Halloween.
Really, guys? Why is this a thing. It pissed me off when they did it with The Thing, and... wait... Is this a John Carpenter thing?
Anyway, this new film goes alllll the way back to the drawing board, striking not just the divisive Thorn Trilogy from the record, but all of the sequels, including the one that takes place on the very same night as the original film: Halloween II.
It's no real secret by now that John Carpenter didn't want to make Halloween II. Hell, he wanted to make westerns. But the fans and the studio demanded it, so he reluctantly agreed, and they pulled the mask out of a box from underneath someone's bed (and it certainly shows). Now to keep things fresh, and to explain why Michael just can't let the wounded Laurie Strode get away, this film establishes that Michael has a younger sister, and that just happens to be Laurie. Thus, we realize that Michael is compelled to kill his family.
The new film erases ALL of that, and the trailer denounces rumors of familial ties between Michael and Laurie to be just that... rumors.
Now, I'm torn. On one hand, the family tie does feel hokey. But on the other hand, does it really? I mean, I suppose you could just say Michael's coming after Laurie forty years later because she's the one who got away, but as a moviegoer... I need more. We've been through four films with these two so far, and this makes the fifth. To suddenly reverse gears and just make them strangers seems... cheap?
When I decide to have a Halloween marathon, I watch three films: Halloween, Halloween II, and H20. I personally consider that to be the perfect trilogy. Hunter stalks prey, prey learns why, and prey kills hunter. It's circular, and it gives closure.
To me, Laurie's extreme paranoia, precautions, and survivalism in the new film seem a little unrealistic to me. Michael's apparently been incarcerated for forty years without incident. Without those added elements of persistence and the familial tie, Laurie's paranoia seems a little too extreme. I'm not saying a survivor couldn't act that way, but it seems a little much for me.
Bottom line, though... it's not a deal breaker for me. I'm still excited for the movie, and so far all indications are that this is the Halloween sequel we've all been waiting for. Nothing that has been revealed about the film so far displeases me... it's just jarring to go into a film knowing everything you think you know is wrong. I'm hoping for the best.
What are your thoughts on the upcoming Halloween sequel? Are you excited, or do you feel they should have just left the series alone? What about the retcon of Michael and Laurie's relationship? Let me know in the comments below.