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Green’s ‘Halloween’ Follows Godzilla’s Playbook

Continuity can be both a blessing and a curse. Sometime franchises use an intricately-laced story (and characters) spanning multiple films to great effect (i.e. The Fast and the Furious), while others are collapsed under the weight of it (i.e. Bourne). Some take a looser approach to things (i.e. the first 20 James Bond films*) and some are just all over the place (i.e. Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Highlander). Thus far, the Halloween franchise has fallen in to the latter category. Not counting Rob Zombie’s remake duology, there are currently two separate continuities in the Michael Myers-centric franchise. There is now about to be a third.

Late last week, it was announced that Blumhouse and John Carpenter had finally zeroed in on a creative team for their Halloween film: writer/director David Gordon Green and writer Danny McBride. The latter spoke to Cinemablend over the weekend and clarified their upcoming entry’s place in the continuity…

“You know, it’s not a remake. It’s actually, it’s gonna continue the story of Michael Myers in a really grounded way. And for our mythology, we’re focusing mainly in the first two movies and what that sets up and then where the story can go from there.”

Just to lay things out in regards to the two current Halloween continuities (which I’ll refer to as H1 and H2), they are as follows…

  • H1 (Halloween, Halloween II, Halloween 4, Halloween 5, and Halloween 6)
  • H2 (Halloween, Halloween II, H20, Resurrection)

To simplify things for those not familiar with the franchise, 1998’s Halloween: 20 Years Later rewrote the timeline by eliminating the events of Halloween 4-6 out of the continuity. It didn’t do it in any fancy time travel way ala X-Men or Star Trek. It just simply took the old fashioned route of outright ignoring what happened in those movies and forged ahead on its own path. As for Halloween III: Season of the Witch? Well, that film is it’s own thing entirely and within the context of its world, the original Halloween is simply just a movie.

Based on McBride’s statements, the untitled Halloween movie slated to hit theaters on October 19th, 2018 will be pulling an H20 and ignoring the events of films 4-8. This honestly doesn’t come as much of a shock. None of those sequels had the involvement of John Carpenter, who directed the original and produced Halloween II and Halloween III. As a result, Carpenter ignoring the events of the ones he didn’t make was downright expected, as far as I was concerned.

Will the new film take place in the 1970s or 1980s not long after the events of the first two? Or will it be some sort of modern day sequel? We have no idea, but those speculations are best left for a future discussion when we have more information to go on.

I mentioned Godzilla in the title of this piece and with good reason. The creation of this third continuity strand very much reminds me of the overall Godzilla franchise. Why? Because it also has three separate continuities, outside of American remakes. The original Godzilla franchise ran from 1954 to 1975, spanning a whopping 15 core films and numerous spin-offs. This is commonly known as the Showa era. It was very much Toho’s version of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in that regard. After diminishing returns, however, the series stopped a little over 20 years after it began. Still, you can’t keep a good franchise down.

Cut to 1984 and Toho, the studio who owns Godzilla and his pals, decided to resurrect the Big G. The resulting film, The Return of Godzilla (aka Godzilla 1985), ignored all of the films in the original series, save for the 1954 original. This revival series (the Heisei era) ended up spanning 7 new films from 1984 to 1995, at which time they decided to kill Godzilla off. At least for awhile, anyway. After all, you can’t keep a good franchise down.

Cut to six years later and, after an American film in the interim (1998’s Godzilla), Toho brought the King of the Monsters back once more with Godzilla 2000 (1999). Once again, all previous films but the original 1954 feature were ignored. Commonly referred to as the Millennium era, this one has a less defined continuity than the two previous eras, with a few random standalones tossed into the mix. It ultimately ran from 1999 to 2004, with a tally of 6 new films.

Last year, Toho revived the big beastie once more for Shin Godzilla, but it was a Casino Royale-style hard reboot. This year an anime film is arriving, which I’m assuming will also be its own thing. Whether or not we get a Shin Godzilla II seems up in the air at this point, although that film ended with a tease for future outings.

My point? Like Godzilla, Halloween is about to create yet another timeline within the franchise that calls back to the original films and ignores all other sequels made in the interim. It’s more of a fun observation than anything. I’m sure a sizable chunk of fans are disappointed by this, of course, but it is what it is. No doubt some were hoping it would pick up the story left hanging at the end of Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers. No doubt some others were hoping for a film that picked up after the events of Halloween: Resurrection. Shoot, I’m sure even a few were hoping it might be the third film in the Rob Zombie remake continuity.

None of those subsets of fandom will be getting what they wanted. Such is life, but I can understand any disappointment that they might be feeling right now. I’m actually incredibly excited myself. Why? Because the sky is the limit. Without David Gordon Green and Danny McBride being anchored to any of the previous eras of the series, they can take the Halloween films and Michael Myers himself in almost any direction they want to. That’s an incredibly exciting prospect, especially if they can manage to effectively strike the same tone and atmosphere as in John Carpenter’s Halloween and Rick Rosenthal’s Halloween II.

Will the resulting film be a better follow-up to the first two films than Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers or Halloween: 20 Years Later? Who knows! It could end up being the best film in the franchise since 1981. It could also end up being a lesser film than either one or both of those 1988 and 1998 outings. The point is that they are free to do as they please and that they have the support of Carpenter, as well as a production company that will afford them more freedom than anyone has had on a Michael Myers film in 36 years.

*  – Yes, whether some fans want to believe it or not, Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, and Pierce Brosnan are all playing the exact same character across 20 films. Sorry you “it’s a codename” enthusiasts, but your preferred conspiracy theory is not canon. Daniel Craig is an entirely different incarnation of 007, however, as 2006’s Casino Royale was the start of a new Bond series, not a continuation of what came before.

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