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Home > Halloween: Timeline Through The Years Part I

Halloween: Timeline Through The Years Part I

Halloween

Have a Happy Halloween...

Back in 1978, John Carpenter’s Halloween became a huge financial success and started the proliferation of the slasher genre that would begin in earnest in 1980. While you had the likes of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) and Black Christmas (1974) which could also be considered the genesis of that horror genre, seeing that Halloween grossed around $47 million in the box office (and was the 8th most successful film in 1978 despite its $300,000 production budget) made the prospect of sequels ideal for Compass International Pictures (later known as Trancas International). The Halloween franchise has spanned twelve films over the past 43 years and with the upcoming release of the newest installment Halloween Kills (2021), now would be a good time to catch up on the series as a whole. This will cover some of the brief points regarding the franchise, the changes in continuity over the years, as well as the offshoots that do not connect with the newest film.

The Origin – Halloween (1978)

Halloween opens on the night of October 31st, 1963, where we witness a six-year-old Michael Myers murder his teenage sister Judith, after which, the film jumps fifteen years on the night before Halloween, where psychiatrist Samuel Loomis (Donald Pleasance) and his associate Marion Chambers (Nancy Stephens) arrive at Smith’s Grove Sanitarium to take Michael to a hearing regarding his case. Unfortunately, they notice some patients walking about outside late at night, leading to Michael taking their car and heading towards his hometown of Haddonfield. 

The next day, we are introduced to the series’ primary heroine Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), who notices a stranger stalking her throughout the day. Loomis arrives at Haddonfield and warns the town’s sheriff Leigh Brackett (Charles Cyphers) about what kind of danger Michael poses for everyone that night, leading to them searching for him later that night. All the while, Michael stalks his way around town, eventually killing Laurie’s friends Annie and Lynda. This culminates in Laurie and the kids she’s babysitting that night, Tommy and Lindsey, being chased by the masked killer. While the kids get away (eventually alerting Loomis of what happened), Laurie fights off Michael before the psychiatrist shoots the killer six times and off the balcony. This does not prove to be the end of Michael, as when Loomis looks to see the body, it has already vanished into the night.

Given that this is the starting point of the franchise, as well as being the most highly regarded in most circles, most sequels will try to connect with this film in its continuity (and will try to ignore the preceding sequels). This is where we have many splits in the timeline, including the next film that functions as a direct continuation.

Halloween

More Of The Night He Came Home – Halloween II (1981) 

Following right after the ending of Halloween (1978), Halloween II follows Loomis searching for Michael while Laurie is taken to Haddonfield Hospital. Michael ends up following Laurie and murders most of the understaffed crew of the hospital before Loomis arrives to hopefully defeat the Shape once and for all. Prior to this, Chambers arrives to tell Loomis the reveal that Laurie is actually Michael’s younger sister, given up to adoption following the death of Michael’s parents. The encounter at the hospital ends with Loomis and Michael burning up in an explosion that was meant to be the end of the Myers story. 

The plot twist regarding Michael and Laurie’s connection would become a huge part of many of the sequels’ stories, only being taken out of continuity with the soft reboot in 2018. This plotline was even added onto the TV version of the 1978 film, with added scenes shot in 1981 to connect both films in that way. The deaths of Michael and Loomis at the end of this film was meant to be permanent, with the plans for future Halloween films taking more of an anthology angle, with a new story focused around the holiday each time. Following the under performance of Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982), the anthology plans were scrapped for bringing back Michael Myers. 

One thing to take note of is the difference in tone from the first Halloween and Halloween II, which was part of some controversy during the production of the sequel. Director Rick Rosenthal had intended to make the second film in the same style of Carpenter’s film while trying to stray away from the blood and gore that came from the slashers that followed the template of Friday the 13th (1980). Reshoots done by Carpenter were made to try and capitalize on the slasher boom, believing that the original’s rather tame and bloodless style would not be successful anymore. Whether the decision was the right one can be up for debate, as the movie did prove to be financially successful ($25.5 mil on a $2.5 mil budget). But now, we will skip past the third film and discuss the first sequel trilogy.

Halloween

Halloween (1978) Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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