What You Need To Know Before You See Halloween

Photo: Ryan Green/Universal Pictures.
For some, Halloween is about free Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkins, Hocus Pocus, and finding the perfect pop culture-inspired party costume. Then there are those of us who want their Halloween to be not merely spooky, but downright horrific. It's those people who should head to the theater on October 19: Michael Myers is waiting for you.
The Halloween franchise — which originated with John Carpenter's film of the same name in 1978 — is back, with leading lady Jamie Lee Curtis once again returning to portray so-called "Final Girl" Laurie Strode. Will Laurie finally take down the man who killed her friends in a horrific spree coined "The Babysitter Murders"? Or will Michael succeed in offing Laurie this time around?
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While I won't spoil the ending of 2018's Halloween for you, I am happy to prepare horror fans for the mayhem ahead — and answer some burning questions you may have about this installment. Here's what you need to know.
What should I know about the original Halloween before going into this movie?
This Halloween, which was directed by David Gordon Green, fills in plenty of backstory. Mostly, though, you need to know that Michael Myers was a child who murdered his sister one Halloween night. After the brutal, unexplained killing, Michael went to an insane asylum, only to escape decades later and kill a whole bunch of people in the town of Haddonfield. (While wearing a very creepy, all-white mask, naturally.)
Though Michael never speaks, he seemed specifically interested in Curtis' Laurie and targets her friends.
Is this film a reboot or a sequel to the original movie?
Technically, this is a sequel to the original film, and the original film alone. It's complicated.
What does "it's complicated" mean?
The Halloween franchise has a long history and extensive collection of sequels. The 1978 film was followed by a 1981 sequel, Halloween II, which picked up immediately after the first film left off. Halloween III: Season of the Witch, which hit theaters in 1982, is not a continuation of the first two films. Halloween 4, Halloween 5, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, Halloween: H20, and Halloween: Resurrection did, however, expand upon the original Halloween story.
The new iteration of Halloween is a sequel to the 1978 film which ignores all the previous sequels, including the second film which takes place on that same Halloween night. This is significant because it discards things that were previously canon, such as that Laurie is really serial killer Michael's sister. There's even a joke about that in the movie, in which Laurie's granddaughter (Andi Matichak) says that the sister thing was a rumor that some people "made up."
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I vaguely recall another Halloween movie from a few years ago. What's the deal?
Ah, right. In 2007, Rob Zombie rebooted the franchise. The first film acted as both a prequel (which detailed Michael' backstory, before he returned to Haddonfield) and a remake, with Scout Taylor-Compton as Laurie. A sequel was made in 2009, with Laurie again revealed as the sister of Michael.
But, as I said, this movie has nothing to do with the Halloween of 2018... so, moving on!
If we're ignoring all the sequels, what's Laurie doing these days?
Without giving too much away, let's just say that Laurie has not forgotten about Michael Myers — even though, in this version of the franchise, he was locked up for 40 years after the brutal babysitter slayings.
How scary is this version?
While your own scare-meter may vary, this is definitely an R-rated horror movie, and Michael has gotten extra creative at killing people, while still maintaining some tried-and-true methods. One disturbing moment involves Michael with a handful of human teeth.
That being said, this film was written by a group of screenwriters that include Eastbound & Down star Danny McBride. Expect some laughs as well as plenty of screams!
Why did Jamie Lee Curtis return to this Halloween film, specifically?
Curtis has appeared in multiple sequels, but in a phone interview with Refinery29, she cited the throwbacks to the original film as the reason for signing on:
"David Gordon Green wrote a script, and on the second page or third page my granddaughter [in the film] was running around her neighborhood, just on a jog. And she went up into her bedroom and she opened the sliding closet door and pulled a light that’s barebulbed... Revisiting that closet, so beautifully done 40 years later — in that moment, I was sold. Because I was going back in the closet 40 years later, but here was a brand new way of getting into it."
Happy Halloween!
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