Reflections of the Halloween (1978) Legacy

Let's go back to the early 1980's.  It was 1982 this vintage nerd was about 6 years old. I was not allowed to watch horror movies on my mothers watch (after she passed horror movies became a thing my older brother and I shared together) so I never saw the movie Halloween (1978).  So here I was with my brother and the neighbors kids in the kitchen with their little tv on their table and Halloween (1978) was showing. Thank goodness for the moms being distracted because that was the first time I had a glimpse of Laurie Strode and Michael Meyers. That music and those images imprinted in my little mind and it made trick or treating about 1000 times scarier that year. Halloween was never the same for me after that.

Halloween (1978) and the story that John Carpenter and the late Debra Hill created changed the landscape of so many things. It changed how horror movies were made (they had a very small budget), it changed how women were viewed in horror, it changed the horror movie industry, and it changed the Halloween season. The film about the boogeyman and his final girl literally altered the way my generation saw the event of Halloween with its costumes, pumpkins, and masks. 

 Jamie Lee Curtis portrayed Laurie Strode for 44 years and in eight Halloween movies. Halloween (1981) was a great continuation, Halloween III (1982) was what Carpenter and Hill intended the franchise to be which was a series of films about Halloween, Halloween H20 (1998)-Halloween: Resurrection (2002)-have interesting cast but it only got more confusing because of the prior Halloween 4,5, and 6 films. After Jamie Lee Curtis did Halloween: Resurrection there were two remakes by Rob Zombie.

Then comes a brave and perhaps mad idea. Blumhouse Productions decides to try to continue the story of Michael and Laurie with the type of intentions that Carpenter and Hill originally had. Jamie Lee signed on for Halloween (2018), Halloween Kills (2021), and Halloween (2022) but this time Jamie Lee would be an executive producer and John Carpenter would come back to compose the soundtracks for the films. 

To ignore 9 films and continue the story where it left off for Laurie in Halloween (1978) after her friends were killed and she was left fighting for her life, was a huge risk and pure genius. The storyline was tight, there was nostalgia, they gave homage to those 9 films of the past, and characters were fully fleshed out and realistic. Some might say that these last three films were too realistic and not enough of that mysterious, boogeyman vibe but Halloween (1978) was not about a mystical monster but rather about a monster that was just a man. 

These last three films gave the Laurie Strode character a chance to come full circle and answer the question, how do we live our lives carrying such deep trauma? Laurie was shown as broken and slightly mad by the living through the pain of losing her best friends by a crazed boogeyman. These films showed that the final girl can live but asked whether she could have a life. We learn of Laurie's daughter Karen and her granddaughter Allyson, and the trauma of the events of October 31, 1978 that impacted Laurie so much that she inadvertently passed it down to her own child and then to her grandchild. 

In Halloween (2018) we see where Laurie is after 1978, what her relationships are like, who her family is, and how she is existing in the town of Haddonfield, Illinois. In Halloween (2021) we see how the town is affected by the brutality and violence that Michael's senseless murders have caused. That film also brought to light how people as a collective handle trauma and how many times communities lean towards violence instead of healing. But it is in Halloween (2022) that we see what can happen when people make choices for themselves on how to live their lives despite experiencing trauma. We see characters attempting to heal and find joy, characters leaning into the hatred and evil in the world, and characters just trying to move beyond the pain and find their place in the world.

Halloween Ends (2022) gives us everything we needed and didn't think we needed in a horror movie. There are scares and frights but there is also depth and wisdom. Laurie Strode proves she isn't just a girl who survived a horrible night of babysitting on Halloween but that she could rise above the pain of her experiences and embrace it as part of who she is. Her trauma no longer defines her but it helps her to become the person she wants to be. Laurie doesn't want to be known as the final girl or the victim of the boogeyman but rather a person who is living with their suffering by embracing her past to finally find peace in the life she has.

John Carpenter and Debra Hill created some iconic characters in Halloween (1978). Jamie Lee Curtis gave us a strong, brave, and vulnerable character in Laurie Strode. She reminded us that bad things don't go away overnight but that we need to acknowledge them for what they are and accept them as part of our story. A story that has marked and molded an entire generation with scares to last us for a lifetime.

Outfit: Halloween (1978) themed tee from Spirit Halloween, 1960's Orange Cardigan is vintage, Jeans are thrifted, Orange Beret is from Amazon, and my special guest is my youngest son as Michael Meyers

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