Note: Contains major spoilers for Halloween (2018), including its ending.
It doesn’t take long to understand that the new Halloween sequel – which wipes out the previous nine movies – is made with a genuine affection for John Carpenter’s seminal classic.
In a change from its original opening that would’ve taken us back to 1978 and the end of the original movie, Halloween starts at Smith’s Grove Sanitarium as two podcasters attempt to interview Michael Myers (Nick Castle), 40 years after his arrest in the new timeline.
Even showing Myers his favourite mask doesn’t compel The Shape to speak, however, and we immediately cut to a faithful replica of the original Halloween‘s credits, only this time the pumpkin has melted and restores itself over the sequence.
But that’s just the start of the references to Carpenter’s original movie. We’re about to head into deep spoiler territory, so don’t read past the iconic credits sequence if you don’t want to be spoiled.
Even though the new Halloween brings back Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Myers, there’s one notable absence in the form of Dr Loomis.
Original star Donald Pleasence passed away in 1995 so, smartly, instead of recasting the role or killing the character off in the pre-credits sequence, we’re told that Dr Loomis has passed away by Myers’s new psychiatrist, Dr Ranbir Sartain (Haluk Bilginer). Later in the movie, Laurie even jokes that he’s the “new Loomis”.
We do at least hear Loomis as a recording is played of him in court arguing that Myers should be killed, rather than sent to Smith’s Grove. Original Halloween footage of Myers killing his sister Judith is also shown as any potential newcomer is filled in on his history.
It’s through Laurie’s granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) that we learn how they’re retconning the franchise as her friend asks, “Wasn’t it her brother who murdered all those babysitters?”.
“No. It was not her brother. That’s something that people made up,” Allyson replies, marking the sequel’s biggest direct link to the original movie. But what will really delight fans is the movie’s homages to numerous sequences and shots from the original movie, often subverting them in unexpected ways.
The earliest comes when Allyson is sitting in a classroom, being taught by none other than PJ Soles (who starred in the first movie as Lynda), as she stares out the window. Unlike Laurie seeing Myers in the original though, she sees Laurie standing there.
Shortly after, Myers escapes (unsurprisingly) when he’s being transferred to maximum-security facility Glass Hill and we see his fellow patients roaming around outside the crashed bus, echoing Myers’s escape in the original as we saw patients outside Smith’s Grove.
It’s here where we get the sequel’s most obscure Easter egg, which is also writer-director David Gordon Green’s favourite reference in the movie.
The bus is discovered by a father and his son, with the father foolishly getting out to help instead of just driving away. This just leads to Myers killing the father and then the son in order to steal their car, much like in the first movie.
But it’s the song on the radio that’s playing in the car that’s the niche reference. “The song, we made it as if it is 1978, and we had a band create a song that was inspired by Laurie’s muttering under her breath in one scene in the original film,” Green exclusively told Digital Spy.
“She’s kind of muttering. They couldn’t afford the rights to a song license at the time, so her and John just made up a verse of a song, ‘But I wish I had you all alone, just the two of us, so close to you’. And then we had a band take that melody and make a big song that’s playing on the radio.”
Green added that they tried to get the rights to a “more popular song” for the end credits, but couldn’t afford it, so they just used that made-up song again.
During the movie’s second act after Myers escapes, we also get the same long tracking shots as The Shape goes on his killing spree in Haddonfield, including the standard unfortunate babysitter – this time, Vicky (Virginia Gardner) – and her boyfriend Dave (Miles Robbins).
This sequence also sees Myers cover Vicky’s body with a white sheet, much like when Myers tricked Vicky by pretending to be Bob in the first movie.
Poor Dave gets stuck in the wall like Bob, too.
All the subversions of the original really come to life in the movie’s final act as Laurie takes on Myers at her house in a showdown 40 years in the making. And if you think it looks familiar, that’s because the set it was filmed on was originally part of the movie’s recreation of the 1978 ending.
“If you look at it closely, her bedroom is an exact recreation of the climax from the original film. And that was not the original intent, but a beautiful example of when a financial obstacle can become a creative opportunity,” Green told Digital Spy.
“Now, I don’t think people consciously would think that, but the closet related to the balcony, it related to the door. It was all the same as the house at the end of Halloween.”
The incredibly tense sequence sees Laurie try to track down Myers in her house, including a focus on ominous closets where instead of Laurie hiding from Myers, she thinks he’s hiding from her. A crowd-pleasing moment comes when Myers attacks Laurie and she’s sent out of the window to the ground, but when Myers goes to check on her body, she’s missing like Myers was at the end of the first movie.
However, unlike that movie, Laurie comes back with a vengeance and, with the help of her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and Allyson, traps Myers in the basement before setting the whole home on fire.
The hunter has officially become the hunted, so has the Boogeyman gone forever? While we don’t get a post-credits scene, we do hear Myers breathing as the credits end, so we guess it depends on how well the movie does at the box office…
Halloween is in cinemas now.
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