It all started in 1978, the night he came home. John Carpenter brought his vision of Michael Myers to the silver screen. The first slasher icon was born into greatness and into our homes. Everyone knows his story so I won’t bore you with details. The instant success spawned a sequel 3 years later in 1981.
After that is where the story gets a little tricky. As a youngster getting into horror for the first time and seeing 3 Halloween movies in the video store, I rent all 3 expecting to have a full day of Michael Myers mayhem. Well, about 5 hours worth anyway. I quickly watch the first 2, getting caught up and then I put in the 3rd installment, Halloween III Season of the Witch. My first thought is "that’s an odd title. Is Michael Myers a witch?" I start watching it. "Umm that’s a mask but not a Michael mask". "When is Michael appearing?' "Where the hell is he?" "Did they give me the right movie?" "Why is this even called Halloween III?" Remember, this is the days of VHS. No making of featurette, no commentary, no documentary, no internet to find out that happened. It wasn’t until years later upon Blu-ray releases and special editions, etc that the concept was going to be a series of Halloween anthology films and the Myers storyline was supposed to be finished. Because of this error in judgement, this film is often treated like the redheaded stepchild. If they had released it simply as Season of the Witch, it could have stood on its own. But the Halloween brand was owned and identified with Michael Myers, like Jason Voorhees is associated with the Friday films even though he wasn’t the original killer in the first installment.
This had to be reconciled. So enter Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers in 1988, 5 full years after the fiasco of part 3. This gives the fans what the want. A little more slashing and dashing. A quick return a year later for part 5 Revenge of Michael Myers, a direct sequel, picking up exactly where part 4 left off. We would have to wait until 1995 for Part 6 Curse of Michael Myers. That is an extended story and needs its own section.
The first version you would see in 1995 would be pretty straight forward. Then, years later, thanks to the internet rumors and stories circulate demanding what the fans call the Producers Cut of the film with about 45 minutes of alternate footage. Color me intrigued. The hunt begins and eventually I track one of these down and watch it. They try and add a lot of depth into the backstory and reasoning, and the whole Cult of Thorn, and runes, etc. Just a touch of that was hinted at in the original cut. Then the whole ending takes a huge left turn and the last 30 minutes is completely different. It’s much easier to track down now since it finally got an official release in 2014. With all the stories and changes made from production, edits, different cuts, etc, this movie seriously needs its own full length documentary! The whole franchise does too. Much like Elm Street did with Never Sleep Again, and Friday did with Crystal Lake Memories, this needs the same kind of treatment! C'mon guys, somebody get on it!
Retcon 1: 1998 Halloween H20 20 Years Later. Turns out the last 4 movies never happened. This is a direct sequel to 1981's Halloween II. Ummm, ok, sure. Why not? I'll buy it and go along for the ride. Laurie Strode's character is back so all is well. Well, not for long as you can imagine. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be much of a movie. And not well for Laurie either as she ends up in a mental hospital in the next one, where Michael finally succeeds in killing her.
Enter the Rob Zombie era. Halloween 2007, the remake. Rob Zombie had the idea to delve more in the psyche of Myers with this movie. It had more about Michael's childhood and the time Loomis spent with him. Because of this, it had an added lull in the horror story pacing before picking up on his adult life and escape from the institution. I tend to keep an open mind when it comes to remakes. Instead of the usual "it’s not needed" outlook, I try to watch it independently rather than compare the two and saying it sucks. It was a fresh look at the story. A bit more gore and updated but a good addition. Two years later, he made a sequel to his story. This is another movie where the DVD release has a director’s cut and alternate ending. So buyer beware, there is a theatrical cut and a director’s cut. My person opinion is I prefer the theatrical. I usually go for the director’s cuts of films for the extra footage but when I bought this, and saw a different ending entirely, I have to admit I was a little disappointed. I had to hunt down a theatrical version for the original ending. They were originally planning a 3rd movie in the Zombie trilogy but that was cancelled.
Retcon 2: Fast forward about 9 years to 2018. Another movie in the series franchise with the title Halloween. This makes the 3rd one. Come on! Please give us a real title? Can you imagine looking for this in a store or even searching a website? Search for Halloween Blu-ray and seeing 3 different movies pop up, probably with about 15 different covers for various releases and special editions. You would have scan all the info on them hoping to find the release date and make sure you buying the right one! *exhale* OK, I'll breathe again and move on. Laurie Strode is back. Didn’t she die? Well, its ok, Michael died a few times too so why not? Well, guess what? All of the other sequels never happened. This is a direct sequel to the 1978 movie it negates everything after that, even the story that Laurie is his sister. According to this, Michael has been locked up for the last 40 years after his initial killing spree in Haddonfield.
So the story of Halloween is a long one that gets a diluted, retold, erased, retold again. Watching it all play out over the years was stressful and a bit nerve-racking. In the end, its most enjoyable, except maybe a few hiccups along the way. Until next time, Musers, catch ya on the flip side.
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Dave Christy loves horror, music, documentaries and more. He is also the co-runner of several fan based groups including Morningstars (THE Lucifer fan group also run by Melanie), and now also writes guest articles for Melanie's Muses. Other than "In The Spotlight" Features - watch for the upcoming "31 Days Of Halloween Movies"