The Overarching Plot Of The ‘Halloween’ Movies Is Crazy AF

Keeping track of what’s “canon” in popular movie franchises can be a daunting task these days. The X-Men series only works if you skip over like half of them, Terminator Genisys nuked everything after T2, and presumably Disney will soon reveal that the Star Wars prequels were merely Lobot’s awkward attempt to write the great Bespinian novel

But arguably no other franchise is as hair-pullingly frustrating as the Halloween series. So with the season of Michael Myers upon us and recent revelations that an upcoming sequel will mess up the continuity yet again, allow us to guide you through the tangled ball of Christmas lights that is the Halloween series.

First off, there’s the original 1979 slasher movie, Halloween. Simple enough — if we ignore the fact that it began as a sequel to a whole other movie.

JM McNab/
It was originally called It’s A Wonderful Death, and he was going to be named Michael Bailey.

The story of Michael Myers’ fun-sized murder spree was soon followed by Halloween II. But as we’ve pointed out, it was actually more of a sequel to the TV version of Halloween. It introduced the twist that Myers’ target, babysitter Laurie Strode, was in fact his long-lost sister. So to make sense of an idea he came up with out of desperation and drunkenness, John Carpenter went back and George Lucas-ed the original, adding new scenes for the television broadcast.

So you can see already, our homemade map of the series is starting to look as even as the Hamburglar’s cardiogram:

JM McNab/

Complicating things further, the next movie, Halloween III: Season Of The Witch, abandoned the story of Michael Myers altogether, with the goal of turning Halloween into an anthology series. So instead of a murderous masked man, it concerned a deadbeat dad battling an evil businessman who’s using giant computers and a hunk of Stonehenge to magically kill children with an evil TV commercial. Seriously.

The only connection to the rest of the movies are a few fleeting glimpses of the original Halloween playing on TV. This would be like if The Empire Strikes Back was about a divorcee who watched 30 seconds of Star Wars.

Trancas International Films

So seeing as it doesn’t even take place in the same goddamn universe as the others, we’re going to put the third movie way the fuck up here:

For the next movie, producers hastily returned to the more successful (and decidedly less Irish-phobic) story of Michael Myers. With Jamie Lee Curtis unwilling to return to the role of Laurie Strode, her character was killed off, and Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers instead focuses on her daughter, named “Jamie”– probably so the producers could reassure investors that, yup, “Jamie” will for sure be in the movie.

Then there was Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers, which also followed Jamie, then Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers, which kills off Jamie and stars a fresh-faced Paul Rudd before he … damn, he still looks pretty fresh-faced.

Curse also introduced the idea that Michael has been possessed by an ancient Druid curse, which is why he’s seemingly allergic to dying. The only consistent element in this continuity is the presence of Donald Pleasance playing Michael’s nemesis, Dr. Sam Loomis — aka the worst mental health professional of all time.

Literally introducing magic into the Halloween verse was seemingly the death of the franchise, until the post-Scream, teen-friendly reboot Halloween H20: 20 Years Later. It marked the 20th anniversary of the series with a cool-sounding name that had nothing to do with anything. It would have been so easy to include a scene by a lake, or in a swimming pool, or to even simply have a character enjoy a glass of tap water to make the whole “H2O” thing make sense, but no.

With Jamie Lee Curtis returning as Laurie, filmmakers decided to make H20 “a direct sequel to Halloween II and scrap all those times Michael Myers kept returning and revenging. While H20 pays lip service to the old continuity, establishing that Laurie faked her own death, she seemingly never had a daughter — plus we learn that Michael hasn’t been seen in 20 years, and there’s no mention of Druid mojo.

Because H20 was a hit and Jamie Lee Curtis hadn’t yet figured out how to monetize enjoying yogurt, she returned for Halloween: Resurrection, in which she gets killed in the first 15 minutes.

The rest of the movie is about a group of college students livestreaming themselves taking an overnight trip to Michael Myers’ house — because it seems before Netflix was a thing, people had to settle for watching non-actors squat in serial killer’s childhood homes through a webcam. Now our map is starting to look like Dr. Seuss’ municipal subway system:

Like its Shatner-faced star, the Halloween brand keeps somehow coming back from the dead. It was recently announced that a new movie was being cooked up by Blumhouse for 2018, to be directed by David Gordon Green and written by Kenny Powers. Most exciting of all, Jamie Lee Curtis is returning yet again, 40 years after the original and 20 years after H20. Though to be fair, most of us don’t visit annoying relatives that frequently.

But wait, didn’t Laurie die? Twice? According to executive producer John Carpenter, next year’s entry will again rewrite the Halloween canon — it will be a sequel to just the original movie. Meaning every other movie is now out of the picture. This also implies that Laurie and Michael may not even be brother and sister going forward, ultimately leaving us with a film series that looks … well, like this:

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter, or check out the podcast Rewatchability. Special thanks to my son for allowing me to borrow his crayons.

Scrape the s–t off of the Halloween legacy created by John Carpenter by watching his impossibly great remake of The Thing!

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Halloween: 25 Years of Terror (2006) Documentary

©Hutchinson, Stefan, director. Halloween: 25 Years of Terror. Trancas International Films, Paranormal Pictures, MasiMedia and rehab54, 2006.

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