A GUIDE TO THE STRANGELY COMPLEX
By Lee Parham
As Halloween Kills slashes its way into theaters, we look back on the rather complicated history and canon of the franchise.
Michael Myers made his big-screen debut back in 1978 with the original Halloween from iconic director John Carpenter, who also scored the film and is a producer on the modern installments.
Despite its minuscule production budget, Halloween became a massive success at the box office en route to becoming a cultural phenomenon, establishing Michael Myers as a symbol of horror cinema.
Of course, as with any horror movie franchise with fabulous returns on investment, the studio was quick to make a plethora of sequels, leading to the creation of Halloween II in 1981.
Halloween II served as a direct follow-up to the original, with stars Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasence reprising their roles. Carpenter did not return to direct, but did conceptualize the story.
Despite the film's significantly worse critical reception and financial earnings, Halloween III was released just a year later, but did not feature Michael Myers as the villain.
Subtitled Season of the Witch, it remains the only film in the franchise not to feature Myers. It also became the lowest grossing of the series at the time, but has since garnered a cult following.
Halloween III is not included in canon with the other films. A direct sequel to Halloween II was created in 1988 called The Return of Michael Myers, which ignored the third film entirely.
A year later, Michael Myers returned once again, this time in The Revenge of Michael Myers. The film failed to live up to the hype and became the lowest-grossing film ever in the series.
Six years later, Donald Pleasence hopped back on the franchise train one last time in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. The film was mildly more successful than the prior few installments.
The previous few films were retconned in 1998 with the release of Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, which brought back Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode.
The film became the biggest success in the franchise since the original, forming an entirely new canon with its follow-up, Halloween: Resurrection, in 2002. Sadly, it failed to live up to the hype.
The franchise was rebooted again in 2007 with Halloween, directed by Rob Zombie. The first installment was a success, but the 2009 sequel Halloween II saw a massive box office dip.
At this point, the Halloween franchise remained stagnant for the first time in its history, going nearly a decade without a release. However, in 2018 a new Halloween film was released.
Produced by Blumhouse Pictures, Halloween was a direct sequel to the original film, ignoring all the other franchise entries. The movie became a massive hit, breaking box office records.
Director David Gordon Green planned that film as the first in a trilogy, and this year’s Halloween Kills will be followed by Halloween Ends in 2022.
From reboots, sequels, retcons, and more, the Halloween franchise has had its ups and downs throughout the years, but Michael Myers has proven to be one of the most consistent stars of horror cinema.