Halloween is one of the most iconic and beloved Horror franchises of all time, but the series’ complex mythos has been known to keep fans guessing.
With the new Halloween now literally months away, it got me thinking about the other films in the iconic series. As much as I love them, there are a few unanswered questions and confusing details that gnaw at most diehard fans.
With a very unclear Strode/Myers family tree, multiple storylines that don’t seem to connect, and more mystery than clarity around Michael Myers’ motive(s) for killing, it will be interesting to see how (and if) the newest film in the franchise attempts to address the following questions.
What exactly is the Strode/Myers family tree?
Let’s first look at what the Myers/Strode family tree looks like. In the first Halloween, a six year old Michael Myers kills his older sister Judith. Ok, off to a good start…easy, right?
Because the movie became so popular, fans and the studio demanded a sequel (Halloween 2). What John Carpenter begrudgingly came up with was the storyline that Laurie Strode was really Michael Myers’s sister. She became a Strode after being put up for adoption.
Part four comes out, and suddenly Laurie Strode has a daughter named Jamie. Although the father is never named, it is assumed that it was probably Jimmy. The fans never find out because Laurie and the father were “supposedly” killed in a car accident. Jamie is adopted by the Lloyd family.
In part five, Jamie’s adopted sister Rachel is killed off.
In the 6th installment of Halloween, the writers take the family tree and split it down the middle. Jamie is now grown and has a son (Steven Lloyd) of her own. Although, again, the fans do not know who the real father is. It is assumed that the donor was someone from the cult (or maybe even, sicker, Michael himself). Michael Myers catches up to Jamie and kills her, but her son ends up surviving with some help.
The writers also explore the Strode side. Laurie Strode’s adopted uncle has a daughter named Kara Strode. She in turn has a son named Tim Strode. Michael kills both Laurie’s adopted uncle and aunt. Ok, the tree is getting a little murkier. But now here comes the twist…
In Halloween H20, the fans find out that not only is Laurie not dead, but she has a son (John Strode).
Apparently, she faked her death and moved to California to become a school teacher. Again, we do not find out the father of this son. John survives the night along with his mother. No mention is made of having a daughter Jamie.
Part 8 of the Halloween series has the moment all fans had dreaded, Michael Myers catches and kills his sister Laurie at a mental institution.
Rob Zombie made only a few changes to the family tree outlined above. Right away, it is revealed that Michael Myers is Laurie Strode’s brother. In these versions, Michael kills both of Laurie’s adopted parents.
How do we connect the three current, separate storylines?
If one was starting off watching the Halloween series, most die hard fans would recommend watching them one of two ways first. The first would be to watch them in order and just deal with the inconsistencies. The second more popular choice would be to divide and conquer. Fans would say: watch Halloween, Halloween 2, Halloween H20, and Halloween 8.
It would then be recommended that you watch parts 4, 5, and 6 together.
If you are looking for an interpretation of the original storyline, it would be recommended that you watch Rob Zombie’s (somewhat controversial) Halloween movies.
Not many franchise fans would recommend Halloween 3 at all because it does not contain Michael Myers as part of its storyline. Although the original movie is playing on a television in the gas station, and Michael is seen on tv.
Halloween movies 1, 2, 7, 8 revolve around Laurie Strode evading Michael Myers. Michael has only one goal, and that is to kill Laurie (and anyone that gets in the way of that goal). As mentioned earlier, she has a son John, but in this world Jamie never exists.
The focus of Michael Myers in parts 4, 5, and 6 becomes killing Laurie’s daughter (Jamie). First, we see Jamie as a little girl having to survive the boogeyman. In part six, it is Jamie’s son that has to survive. Parts 5 and 6 include that idea that Michael Myers has protection from a cult. The cult’s motivation is to allow Michael to roam free to make human sacrifices.
The reboots of the Halloween franchise in the hands of Rob Zombie took a little different angle to the characters and story. Laurie is not some innocent, book nerd, but instead a witty, troubled girl. It also hints that signs of Michael Myers becoming a future serial killer were all around. Zombie also shows how Michael survives and thinks when he is alone.
The connection between Halloween 1 and 2 was perfect. The third installment should have been made, but never named after the Halloween series. Parts 4-6 would have worked fine had Laurie not returned in Halloween H20. If they really wanted to readdress only the Laurie story, then the Jamie Lloyd character should not have been created.
The roll over from 7 to 8 was fine, but the story completely takes a left hand turn once Laurie is killed.
Rob Zombie’s vision for the remake was modern and worked, but he should have left remaking the original alone.
The new movie has a chance to clean up everything that is messed up, lost, or confusing in the storyline and fix it, but the writers have already said they are ignoring every movie in the series except for the original. Good luck trying to figure out which storyline is the correct one.
What drives Michael Myers to kill?
The first movie plays on the urban legend of what happens to the children when the babysitter puts her own desires in front of her obligation to keep watch over the children. Director John Carpenter spins this urban legend, and puts the lives of the babysitters in jeopardy. Michael’s driving force for part 1 appears to be killing babysitters that fail to do their job.
In part 2, John Carpenter needed a tie to Laurie Strode, so he spun it that Michael Myers wanted to kill off his sister (or bloodline). He even includes flashbacks to Laurie going to visit a young Michael in the asylum. It is during this movie that Dr. Loomis references Samhain, and maybe this is why Myers has returned home to kill.
Halloween 3 does not directly include Michael Myers, but does maybe explain what motivates him to kill. It makes a reference that every hundred years the Druids believed that human sacrifices needed to be made to appease the gods.
The driving force for killing in Halloween 4 and 5 appears to be only killing off his niece (Jamie), which is part of his bloodline. At the end of part 4, it appears that once Jamie touches her uncle’s hand the drive to kill is transferred to her. She makes an attempt on her adopted mother’s life. In part 5, Jamie is no longer trying to kill, but she sees what Michael Myers sees. Michael Myers escapes his jail cell at the end of 5 and does not make an another attempt on Jamie’s life that night.
Part 6 takes the reason for killing in two different directions. First, Michael Myers kills off Jamie, who is one part of his bloodline. Michael then spends the rest of the movie attempting to kill off the last member of his bloodline, Jamie’s son. In a side twist, the writers attempt to explain Michael being motivated by the sign of Thorn, Samhain, and human sacrifice.
In Halloween H20, Laurie is once again alive and Michael is again driven to kill her. Laurie has a son John, but Michael’s attempts on John’s life are only made because he is in the way of his quest to kill Laurie. At the end of this movie, it looks like Laurie actually kills Michael Myers. But, according to part 8, that never happens.
Michael not only comes after Laurie in part 8, but he actually succeeds. He appears to retire from killing after getting Laurie by giving up his knife to one of the asylum patients. The movie series could have ended right there, with Michael Myers returning to the Myers house to live out his retirement. However, when a group of reality tv stars happen upon his house, Michael once again resumes killing.
Once Rob Zombie decided to tackle a remake of Halloween, it was interesting to see how he would motivate Michael Myers. His approach was in your face. Right off the bat, he makes no secret that Michael is trying to kill off his sister and anyone that got in the way.
Part 2 of Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake pulls away from the idea that Michael is only trying to kill Laurie. He actually shows Michael’s mother leading him to kill through visions.
In the end of this one, Zombie makes a reference to part 4 by allowing Jamie to touch Michael and plunge a knife into the chest of Dr. Loomis. This would show that killing is a family business, and not just a Michael Myers killing thing.
Where do we go from here?
Since this is John Carpenter’s long awaited return to Halloween series, it will be interesting to see how he handles continuing the series. Even though he wrote the original Halloween 2, he said he only did it as a money grab and not really what he wanted to do. Now he gets to do it the way he’s always wanted to, and with some of the original cast.
He has the opportunity to clean up the genealogy or ignore it. It will be interesting to see if he makes Laurie Michael’s sister or just someone who survived his attack that Halloween night. It will be interesting to see if he touches on the fact that Laurie had two kids, Jamie and John. It will be interesting to see if he addresses some of the issues and stories that were brought up in the other movies — or if the rumors will hold true that Carpenter plans to take this Halloween in its own direction.
Will Michael Myers be a random killer, will he be killing to end his bloodline, or will he be focused on making human sacrifices? So many questions, and all the answers will be coming this October. I can’t wait, and my guess is that neither can may of you!