He's come home.
It's forty years later, and we're getting a direct sequel to John Carpenter's Halloween. David Gordon Green and Danny McBride have long maintained that their follow-up was going to ignore all of the other franchise installments up to this point, but that's not entirely true. What they've done instead is viciously kill them off, without mercy or remorse, while paying sly tribute to their ashes.
Let's get into it:
Welcome back to Smith's Grove Sanitarium. Forty years on, the place looks like there haven't been a whole lot of tech upgrades in the time since we last visited Haddonfield, Illinois. These security monitors are analog AF! Our hosts for this latest round of madness...
Dana (Rhian Rees) and Martin (Jefferson Hall): two individuals who have come to "investigate" a patient who killed "three innocent teenagers on Halloween night, 1978". They're obviously new players, and what capacity they're "investigating" is still up for guessing (I'm assuming they're academics of some sort). We get a few quick glimpses of their files on young Michael Myers, before hearing three familiar gunshots...
Hey! It's a sketch of the good doctor we all know won't be coming back. RIP Loomis (Donald Pleasence, 1919 - 1995).
We're then introduced to Smith's Grove's rather psychedelic courtyard, where Michael gets his own taped off square, and is essentially feared like a God by the other patients. The design work here is just out of this world.
And then Martin pulls a piece of iconography from his bag. The way the trailer teases the iconic Shatner mask is awesome, before displaying it in all its weathered, faded, murderous glory. Why Martin is trying to provoke a mass murderer is beyond me without knowing the context for this scene (if they're "investigating", maybe it's to see if Michael will still have a violent reaction?).
Smash Cut To: Haddonfield, Illinois. Fall is in full swing, and the jack-o-lanterns are on front porches. These moments feel the most like David Gordon Green's previous work, as Vice Principals DoP Michael Simmonds is getting the wet, earthy look of something like Joe or Prince Avalanche.
Then we meet Laurie Strode's granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak), with her two of her friends. "Everybody in my family turns into a nutcase this time of the year," she explains, and when her pals ask about her grandma's past, the biggest bit of franchise mythology reversal comes into play: "He's not her brother. That's something people made up."
Oh shit. So, they've completely confirmed that none of the other sequels play into this chapter at all. Everything we've come to know about the characters is completely tossed out the window.
Now, it's time to catch up with Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis), who's holed up in a new house that's got some, uh, security measures built in...
Security cameras on the chimneys. A hidden staircase leading to a secret basement. Laurie's a survivor now, more Sarah Conner than the young, fragile babysitter Final Girl we used to know. This shift in her personality is made all the more literal by the scarred, hard, target shooting grandma she's introduced as. She's even got a knife on her belt! This is a far cry from the PTSD suffering victim she was in Steve Miner's H20.
Laurie even admits to Deputy (Sheriff Brackett?) Hawkins (Armageddon's Will Patton*) that she's been waiting for the day Michael would break free..."so she can kill him." One could even read this as Green and McBride replacing Loomis with Laurie, as she's now the waiting Ahab, hoping her white whale will escape and swim back into her sea. (Un)luckily, she gets her wish, in a pretty sweet visual homage to Carpenter's original...
*Special shout to Brian Collins!
When Laurie gets word that Michael's transport bus "crashed", her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and Karen's husband (?) Ray (Toby Huss) seem rather incredulous. In this brief exchange, we're getting a hint at the central conflict that divides the Strode unit: Laurie is a haunted outsider, obsessed with this specter of doom who may return home.
However, Michael's free, and he's gotta get that mask and overalls back, in a teased scene that feels like a cross between Bill Lustig's Maniac and an expansion on how he obtained his trademark blue get up in the original...
First, off: holy shit the fucking teeth gag. That's one of the best slasher payoffs I've seen in forever. Secondly, I am finally sold on this mask. It's just the right level of tarnished to convey what Old Man Michael - who's played by a combo of Nick Castle (reportedly in only a few scenes) and stuntman/actor James Jude Courtney - would feel like forty years later.
Smash cut to: THE NIGHT HE CAME HOME. CUE THE FUCKING SYNTHS.
And now, the shot that made me literally squeal in my living room this morning...
Meanwhile, Laurie gears up, only to spot Michael in a window above (er, actually, that's a mirror, Laurie)...
The final thirty or so seconds are filled with slasher mayhem, promising that Green and McBride's Halloween is going to be a straight ahead throwback to the '70s and '80s gems. No Zombie backstory tomfoolery or bizarre auteurist acid tinged weirdness (thought I personally love H2). It all ends on a stinger involving a kids' closet that's note perfect, as Michael appears like the "shape" of evil that he is.
All in all, this is one hell of a trailer, and delivers on the promise of what fans wanted from Green and McBride (plus some nods to the sequels they omitted - see if you can catch the Silver Shamrock masks!). Will the final product be just as good?
Guess we'll all find out October 19th, when Halloween finally returns to the big screen.