After what felt like ages, Universal Pictures and Blumhouse Productions have finally revealed the first trailer for David Gordon Green’s Halloween. In the film, Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her iconic role of Laurie Strode, who comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago. Judy Greer plays Karen Strode, the daughter of Curtis’ character, and Andi Matichak (Orange Is the New Black, Underground) plays Allyson, the granddaughter of Laurie’s. Nick Castle returns to the role of Michael Myers, while stunt performer and actor James Jude Courtney has also been cast to play Myers.
The trailer runs just over 2 and a half minutes and is packed with details, scares, homages, and even some retconning. Inspired by Carpenter’s classic, filmmakers David Gordon Green and Danny McBride crafted a story that carves a new path from the events in the landmark 1978 film. Check out the trailer for Halloween below and prepare for a deep dive the size of Michael’s knife.
A British documentary crew comes to the States to visit Michael in prison for a retrospective of the maniac’s night of terror — but their project becomes way more interesting when Myers escapes custody, retrieves his signature mask and seeks revenge on Laurie, with others naturally being part of his impressive career body count along the way. It’s during these opening moments of the trailer that it’s revealed that Michael was taken into custody shortly after the events of Halloween night in 1978. We get a quick courtroom sketch of Donal Pleasence’s Dr. Sam Loomis, as well as some auditory cues of the final gunshots heard at the end of the 1978 movie (Carpenter had a very low budget and had to utilize stock sound clops such as the weak sounding gunshots heard on the audio recording).
This is also where we see that iconic mask again, being teased and trotted about as the other inmates start to go mad. Michael, all the while, stands perfectly still. Notice that pattern of the prison’s courtyard. An abstract checkerboard of grey and red concrete. It’s a striking image, one that feels grand in the best sense of the word.
Cut to: Haddonfield, present day, where we learn of some of the film’s intentions with the franchise’s sequels. That is…They are ignoring them all. The franchise has gone to some pretty silly places over the years (Cult of Thorn being a big one) so it’s refreshing to see that they are bringing things back to the essentials, making Michael an elemental figure devoid of a lot of backstory or even motivation (his one in this movie? Kill Laurie). We see Laurie’s granddaughter, Allyson, talking with her friends and essentially contextualizing the film’s narrative. Michael is not Laurie’s brother, that was a myth people made up. Ah, how legends grow!
That encounter decades ago has put Laurie on high alert. She’s determined to take him on and end this nightmare once and for all. We see her makeshift bunker constructed within her house, complete with surveillance equipment, as well as a hidden passageway that either houses weapons or a quick getaway. We also see that she can handle any caliber of gun. Curtis’ character was also unceremoniously killed off in Halloween: Resurrection in 2002, as well as appearing in four films in the series, including the 1978 original, its 1981 sequel, 1998’s Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, and Resurrection. She is more than back, and still reeling from the events 40 years ago. Universal unveiled some footage of this Halloween at CinemaCon, where they revealed that the film finds Laurie traumatized. That may be the case, but she also looks to be taking things into her own hands.
It was in the 1981 sequel, Halloween II that we learned of Michael and Laurie’s relation. Carpenter had a hand in the making of that movie (producing, co-writing, and composing the score) but has never harbored strong feelings for the film. Green and McBride have instead opted to write a sequel that both updates the franchise and reboots it. “We all came to the decision that remaking something that already works isn’t a good idea. So we just have a reimagining instead,” McBride said.
Michael makes his escape in a similar way to the ’78 original. The inmates have escaped after a bus crash and have scattered themselves aimlessly along the highway road with Michael probably already long gone. Judy Greer shows up as Laurie’s daughter Karen. Devotees of the Halloween franchise will likely know that Laurie already technically had a daughter – Jamie Lloyd, played by Danielle Harris, as well as a son, John (Josh Hartnett). But the new Halloween seems to be ignoring these characters.
This is when the trailer brings on its first horror set piece. Rhian Rees’s Dana (part of the British documentary crew that was filming Myers) is just minding her own business in a public washroom when who should walk in but none other than the Shape himself. The bit with the pulled teeth is a great, gruesome touch, one that reiterates that Michael Myers is not super powered or even supernatural but just a very capable, large dude out to get you.
Jefferson Hall, who plays the head of the British documentary crew, Martin, comes upon a brutalized body, one that has been stripped of his clothes. This is how Michael gets his signature mechanic’s coveralls, much the same way that Loomis pursued the escaped Michael to a garage on the outskirts of Illinois. We have a feeling Martin doesn’t make it out either. Remember how he had the mask? Well, sure enough, Michael gets it back, so we have to assume the whole British documentary crew is out of the picture. The Shape is now set to return to Haddonfield.
This is when Carpenter’s score pumps into overdrive. The iconic filmmaker agreed to return to score the new movie, riffing on his own compositions, probably even perfecting them. This is going to sound amazing in a big theater. Notice how one of the children out trick-or-treating hits Michael accidentally. That same Carpenter sting happens after Tommy Doyle is bullied to the ground, smashing his pumpkin. One of the little brats runs right into the imposing figure and, well… he’s set straight.
A rare homage to another entry in the franchise pops up around the 2 minute mark. We see Laurie frantically running around with a gun on Halloween night, and at one point she walks past a group of kids wearing the Silver Shamrock skull and witch masks from the once maligned, now-beloved Halloween 3: Season of the Witch. This was pointed out by John Squired, managing editor of Bloody Disgusting. It was during BD’s set visit that director and co-writer Gordon Green and McBride revealed they are huge fans of the entire franchise:
“Anyone who’s a fan of any of these films will find nice little Easter Eggs acknowledging our salute to the filmmakers that have preceded us,” Gordon Green told Bloody Disgusting. We want to start fresh for a new generation but with great appreciation for the previous [films].“
— John Squires (@FreddyInSpace) June 8, 2018
Never one for clever resourcefulness, Michael displays a knack for taunting Laurie in this trailer. Here, he positions a mirror to throw her off her aim. Shattered mirrors often reflect shattered psyches, not just with Laurie, who has endured PTSD for most of her life but of Michael Myers too. You really get anymore psychologically shattered than the William Shatner Mask-Wearing killer.
We also get a homage to the original ’78 film again with this shot of a figure (probably Michael) under a ghost sheet. Sitting ominously in a children’s bedroom, the scene harkens back to when Michael poses as Bob in a ghost costume and confronts Lynda, who teases him to no effect, and is later strangled to death with the telephone cord.
The final showdown is 40 years of pent-up trauma, rage, and preparedness coming to a boil. Curtis looks poised to deliver her defining performance, not only as Laurie, but possibly an entire aspect of her career (one of horror’s defining “Scream Queens”) and the two of them at odds with one another will be one of the joys of this film. The trailer nearly ends with another homage to the original. Laurie echoes the same lines spoken by Sam Loomis at the end of the Carpenter film.
The last shot is another extended horror set piece. It doesn’t get more primal than a monster in the closet and the visual gag is an effective albeit not entirely original one. but there’s just something about seeing Michael in full costume, lit just right, standing ever so still while brandishing a giant knife that really makes this feel like a Halloween movie we’ve been craving.
The cast also includes Virginia “Ginny” Gardner (Project Almanac, Marvel’s Runaways), Miles Robbins (Mozart in the Jungle, My Friend Dahmer), Dylan Arnold (Mudbound, Laggies, When We Rise), and Drew Scheid (Stranger Things, The War with Grandpa). They will be playing the friends of Matichak’s Allyson.
Can David Gordon Green, Danny McBride, and Blumhouse restore order and dignity to the Halloween franchise? We certainly hope so, and judging by this first trailer we are as excited as ever. Make sure you keep up with Everything We Know about the film. There are sure to be updates between now and its release.
Michael returns to Haddonfield in Halloween on October 19, 2018.
Images: Universal, Blumhouse