The Night He Came Home: A Comparison of the Halloween Movies

DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE FEATURES SPOILERS FOR BOTH FILMS.

 

October 31, 1963, Michael Myers commits his first murder – his sister Judith Myers. He is only six years old. Fifteen years later he comes back home with one thing on his mind: to kill Laurie Strode. Wearing a ghoulish white mask and a blue jumpsuit, Michael is evil incarnate. Halloween 1978 is a day that goes down in infamy as the day Laurie Strode escaped the clutches of evil by the skin of her teeth. Now on the 40th anniversary, Michael is back and he won’t leave until he gets what he wants – Laurie.

Now – I love the original 1978 Halloween. Let me put that disclaimer down. I adore the film and believe it to be one of the greatest films ever made. It is the original horror film and it coined the term “final girl” referring to Laurie being the last one standing. The original film was a feminist film whether John Carpenter realized it or not; Laurie is the only one who survives the film and she does it by using her brain. It shows the stereotypical dumb blondes, sure, but it always shows the female characters using their instincts better than the men. Additionally, the film showed the world a villain who has one clear objective without any reasoning. It lured the audience to want more, which spurred an incredibly agonizing franchise ranging from 1981-2009. None were directed by John Carpenter except for the first film.

The sequels created these ridiculous storylines that included this idea that Michael Myers was immortal and they brought in witchcraft and all this hocus-pocus. It annihilated the true brilliance of the first film and somewhere deep down I know John Carpenter felt the same way. That’s were Halloween (2018) comes into play.

Directed by David Gordon Green and written by Jeff Fradley and Danny McBride, Halloween (2018) takes place exactly forty years after the original Haddonfield Babysitter Murders of 1978. Claimed as the one true sequel of the original film, it follows Laurie Strode and the aftermath of those grisly murders. She is a twice-divorced, single mother of an estranged daughter, played by Judy Greer, and is haunted by the events that unfolded that Halloween night. Laurie has a granddaughter, Allyson, who is sheltered from the harsh reality of her mother’s childhood growing up with the paranoid Laurie. Laurie trained her daughter to be able to hunt and protect herself if Michael were to ever escape. When Michael escapes due to a bus crash during his transfer, the three women link together in order to hunt him down.

If you’ve reached this point without the film being ruined, I would stop now because spoilers will be spilled. The best part of the film is definitely the ending. Michael has murdered seventeen people by this point, including Allyson’s father, and it seems like Karen and Allyson are up next. Laurie has pulled a trick out of the original film and has gone missing after Michael pushes her out of a window. Michael stalks to the kitchen where Karen and Allyson are hiding. Karen is crying and saying that she can’t go through with killing Michael when he pops up out of nowhere and goes to kill them. She quickly stops crying and calmly aims her gun while saying, “gotcha”, and shoots. Laurie approaches from behind Michael, says “Happy Halloween”, and proceeds to stab him. It’s easily the coolest and most badass part of the entire film.  

Now here’s where the comparison comes in. The 2018 film takes a lot of iconic moments from the original and designs them to almost mirror the 1978 version. For example, Allyson’s two friends, Vicky and Dave, are canoodling while Vicky is supposed to be babysitting. While canoodling they get interrupted by the Boogie Man hiding in the closet which ends up being Michael Myers. Myers kills Vicky and shrouds her in a ghost sheet costume, then murders Dave and pins him to the wall by sticking a knife through his neck. Both gruesome homages to the original. Additionally, in the beginning, they show Michael attempting to visit the grave of Judith Myers but is blocked by the two journalists.

 

Both films are beautifully crafted, but I personally prefer the original film. The 2018 version is covered and splattered in gore and cheap jump scares; something attributed to its producers, Blumhouse Productions.  Additionally, the second film added a highly unnecessary romantic-interest-gone-wrong for Allyson, whose only purpose was to destroy her phone and cut off her line of communication to Laurie. I, personally, could’ve done without it. Furthermore, the new film makes Michael into a mindless killer who gets a thrill from each murder when in the first he was driven by obsession and only killed those who got in his way. Big no no.

Overall, did I like the new movie? Yes, of course. Any chance I get to see Jamie Lee Curtis play a genuine badass, I’ll take it. Did I have some problems with it? Yes, of course. The film ended on a cliffhanger that begs the question, “is Michael Myers truly dead?” which could be followed up by the answer, “probably not”. Why kill off your chance for another unnecessary sequel? If you’re stuck between watching only one, choose the original film because it’s a cinematic masterpiece. It’s the original horror film and one of my personal favorite movies ever. Watch the new one and see what you think. Was I completely wrong or was I incredibly right? You be the judge. But for now let’s let Michael Myers have his moment in the spotlight.