The new Halloween was a big success this weekend, grossing an estimated $US77.5 ($109) million over its first weekend. It’s the 11th film in the Halloween franchise, but only the second in the story it’s telling, and that story has an explosive ending that we’re excited to dissect now that the film is out.
So at the end of Halloween (not to be confused with Halloween from 1978, Halloween from 2007 or Halloween II from 1981), Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), her daughter Karen (Judy Greer), and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) survive a violent encounter with Michael Myers (played here by both Nick Castle and James Jude Courtney). They lure him into an elaborate trap/cage Laurie has in her house, and then set the house on fire. The film shows the room light up and the house completely ablaze, but when it cuts back to show the room fully engulfed in flame, Michael is nowhere to be seen. Dun-dun! Then, once Allyson hails a passing driver to bring the victorious women to safety, director David Gordon Green pans over to Allyson holding Michael’s knife.
First things first: The obvious implication with this ending is that Michael got out of Laurie’s trap. Which, if we’re being honest, seems kind of ludicrous. The film does an incredible job of showing how overly prepared Laurie is for Michael, so for there to be any way out of that room would basically defeat the whole purpose of having it.
That said, it’s very important to remember this is a sequel to a franchise horror movie, something modern audience aren’t necessarily used to. Think about it. In the ’80s and ’90s, horror franchises like Halloween, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street had so many sequels bringing back their villains in so many ways, no one ever expected them to actually be dead. Whether it was by a bolt of lightning, being reborn in a dream, or resurrection via nano ants, the bad guy always came back for the sequel, even when the title promised that “Freddy’s Dead” or it was “The Final Chapter.”
This iteration of Halloween is cut from that ’80s cloth. It’s basically a new version of Halloween II in an era where these kind of movies are few and far between. The last Friday the 13th was in 2009 and the last Nightmare on Elm Street was 2010, both of which were reboots and not tied to their original iterations. The Saw franchise did this a little, but then went away for seven years from 2010 to 2017. The Texas Chainsaw franchise had some recent sequels, both in 2017 and 2013, but neither really gained any traction. Hell, even the last Scream, which was kind of the final form of those movies, was in 2011. That’s seven years ago. Unless modern fans were brought up on that other era, Michael’s disappearance here could be seen as problematic—a “plot hole” that could send fans to make videos about on YouTube. But this is a movie where we should basically expect the villain to come back, no matter what. To some, may feel a little dated, and that’s certainly valid. But personally, I love it.
To me, it doesn’t matter how it’s explained that Michael got out. It only matters that the door has been left open, figuratively. Yes, it seems like a cheat but that’s half of the fun. These movies aren’t airtight exercises in plot. They’re wild, fun, thrill rides and sometimes logic has to go out the door to keep things exciting.
Then there’s that final shot of Allyson with the knife. Your first thought is, “Are they saying Allyson could become the new Michael?” Obviously, that’s supposed to be your first thought—and, yes it’s possible. Michael is pretty old, after all, so why not a granddaughter of a trauma victim choosing to lash out and get revenge on the world? Plus, there’s precedent for it in the fourth movie where Michael’s niece becomes a killer at the end. Still, I believe there’s more to it than that.
To me, it’s less a tease for a sequel and more a symbol of empowerment. Michael Myers is two things: his mask and his knife. And the knife is almost phallic in a way, as Michael continually penetrates (mostly) women with it. Don’t forget, as a young boy he first murdered his highly sexualized older sister, which he has since been trying to duplicate with Laurie. Even in movies that have since been cut out of the canon, there was always a subtext that Michael has some kind of deep seeded hatred toward women. So, by Allyson taking control of the knife and making it her own, she’s taking his penis from him. She’s stealing his power. She’s grabbing him, metaphorically, by the balls and saying “It’s my knife now, it’s my power,” and whatever comes next, be it Michael Myers or just college, she’ll be ready for it.
That’s just my reading of it though. Like I said in my review, “Halloween isn’t just a really great horror movie, it’s a great movie, period.” And that’s because it lends itself to these kinds of recontextualizations and interpretations. Feel free to post some of yours below.
You left the theatre thinking it was Loomis’ protégé, Dr. Sartain (Haluk Bilginer) who helped crash the bus, right? And that maybe he even orchestrated this whole thing? The idea of Michael waiting 40 years to go after Laurie, and then magically having the perfect opportunity to do so on the eve of that anniversary, is way too coincidental to be a reality. It seems like Sartain probably put all these events motion a while ago. He could have set up the podcasters (including them getting the mask, and allowing them to taunt Michael with it), the patient transfer, the bus crash, the timing, who knows what else? It almost feels like that could be a plot thread moving ahead. What else did he set up for Michael? Is he like Jigsaw in that way?
For a woman who is so prepared, did you get the sense Michael got into the house a little too easily at the end? I know Laurie wanted to kill him but couldn’t she have done it without endangering her daughter and granddaughter? He got through that gate and her door so easily it was almost comical.