Halloween is ending, but will it stay dead forever? Following the incredibly successful retcon-reboot legacy-quel Halloween in 2018, Blumhouse is planning a two-part event that will bring the decade-spanning conflict between Laurie Strode and Michael Myers to a close: Halloween Kills on October 16 2020 and Halloween Ends on October 2021.
Without real need for elaboration, this is a very exciting prospect. David Gordon Green's Halloween was a scary, funny, atmospheric treat that managed to toss aside multiple detours in the series' history to function as both an earnest continuation of Laurie Strode's story and brand new tale of deep-seated family trauma. Knowing the entire team will be back for more, and that they'll be building to an epic finale, is all the marketing needed. But is it really the end? Franchise history says no.
Depending on how aggressively you count, Michael Myers' story has resolutely ended an impressive seven times before. In Halloween II, Michael was destroyed by a fire in Haddonfield hospital (later twisted to be a coma). Then he died after being shot and falling down a well in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, only to survive to be bludgeoned to death by Paul Rudd in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (ignoring the Producer's Cut). This was followed by Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, the series' first recton-reboot that brought back Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween 4 killed Laurie off-screen) to defeat Michael once and for all. Except it wasn't Michael she killed, leading to him instead finally being put to rest by Busta Rhymes in Halloween: Resurrection (yes, seriously). Halloween 2007, Rob Zombie's grim and somewhat maligned reboot, looked to be a one-off when it ended with the new Laurie shooting Michael in the head, but he came back one more time in Halloween II before being finally put down. This, of course, ignores the standalone Halloween III: Season of the Witch.
Every single word of that last paragraph was tossed aside by Halloween 2018, which picked up from the open ending of John Carpenter's original. But even if the reboot's narrative ignores everything in every Halloween timeline since 1978, from Laurie being Michael's sister to the Cult of Thorn, as audiences we can't escape the fact that the promise of finality is one Halloween has repeatedly and consistently broken.
Why Horror Movie Franchise Keep Ending... Over And Over Again
Halloween's problem is hardly unique in the slasher genre. Friday the 13th had two movies with "Final" in the title (Part IV: The Final Chapter and ninth entry Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday) that both directly led to sequels, while Jason was killed without direct resurrection in a subsequent movie in both Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan and Jason X. A Nightmare On Elm Street, a series that was impressive for its insistence of continuity, declared the sixth film Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, only for it to be followed by a meta New Nightmare and genuinely nightmarish reboot. More recently, Saw: The Final Chapter was undone by Jigsaw (and the series is now heading towards another reboot with Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson).
Naturally, there's a propensity for horror franchises to kill off their iconic villain to give the movie at hand real drama only to resurrect them in the next entry out of continuation necessity. That's short-term business thinking. But in these cases, each franchise marketed themselves on being the definitive end to the story, only for more to come. That's not to say the movies - either those making false claims or those undoing them - are intrinsically at fault, but it highlights a problem the genre has been it comes to ending the terror; potential financial gain always overtakes narrative tightness.
Halloween Now Has To Do A Proper Ending (Or Does It)
Halloween 2018 managed to effectively sidestep this almost-trope by playing into the ambiguity of Michael Myers' defeat. The finale of the movie sees a multi-generational overcoming of The Shape, but he's not actually seen amongst the flames in the final shot of Laurie's house, and the movie cuts to credits before showing any of the aftermath to his night of terror. Heavy breathing after the credits then all-but confirmed his inevitable return. After decades of franchise movies that never considered the franchise's future, here was an entry that managed to have assumed final victory without requiring a retcon to continue.
But now that's something that the filmmakers will have to take on with Halloween Ends in 2021. That title and the promise made by the announcement are highly prescriptive. Anything other than Michael Myers' unequivocal defeat will invariably be a letdown, but more importantly, it predicates there being no movies. By the title, there can't be a fourth entry in this continuity, nor can there be a reboot down the line, even a zanier take a la Zombie, without "Halloween Ends" becoming a throwback punchline.
And yet co-writer Danny McBride has hinted that exactly may happen. Which poses a question about what this entire reboot series is: it's secretly kitsch.
In many ways, there's something endearing about all of these franchises so blatantly tearing up what came before to make a quick buck. Indeed, that's what Halloween 2018 was doing; it may have a polish other sequels don't share, but right down to its title (it was both the third Halloween Part II and third movie to use the title Halloween) there was that same can-do spirit. It was even made by Blumhouse, a latter-day equivalent to Carpenter mainstay Larry Franco Productions.
And, extending that, there's something undeniably playful about the titles to the two-parter. Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends wouldn't have been out of place in a late-1980s marquee. If the ending is undone by 2025's Halloween Never Ends, it would line up to the humorous metagame at play.