‘Halloween 4’: Uncover The Bizarre, Supernatural Version You Never Got To See
There have been almost as many completed Halloween sequels over the years as incomplete ones. Halloween 4 itself could have even gone a number of different routes, especially if John Carpenter had his way. That said, in 1986, the world was very close to encountering a very different form of The Shape.
In the 80s, horror writer Dennis Etchison was no newbie to the Halloween franchise. This established voice of terror had already been working with John Carpenter and Deborah Hill for years. They first collaborated via his extremely popular cinematic novelizations, which are famous for expanding on the worlds of their films. Etchison was first brought into the fold when he was hired to write a last-minute rework of The Fog novelization. Hill brought him back to pen official novelizations for both Halloween 2, and then again for Halloween 3.
When it came time to write Halloween 4, everyone behind the scenes had a different opinion on which direction the franchise should take.
Carpenter and Hill were only interested in reviving Michael Myers if they could do so in a totally unique way. Alas, after the critical failure of Halloween 3, executive producer Moustapha Akkad was much more interested in pursuing a safer and more familiar route back to the Myers house.
Still, Hill and Carpenter decided to hire Dennis Etchison to write the new film in 1986. Etchison was close with Carpenter and received a lot of feedback from the Master of Horror during the writing process. In January 1987, the original Halloween team loved Etchison’s final product. Unfortunately, spooked men in suits were not as pleased with the cerebral qualities of this first Halloween 4 draft.
Before you start blaming the suits, it’s important to note that this script was definitely anything but ordinary. Michael Myers was now a full-on supernatural force, able to shapeshift and teleport at will. He even had a Freddy Krueger quality now. Lots of his carnage took place in dreams and during surreal, heightened sequences of magical realism.
For instance, in the film’s climax, Michael absorbs the bullets shot at him by a hiring squad and begins to grow into a mammoth Shape nearly the height of a drive-in movie screen.
There was a lot of very outside-of-the-box content in this draft, and there was no way to be sure it would be a hit with horror audiences.
When producers refused to finance the Etichson script, Carpenter and Hill reached a breaking point. This was actually the catalyst for them to sell their stakes in the Halloween property once and for all. And who picked them up, you ask? Moustapha Akkad, of course. Once Akkad had nearly all of the chips in his favour he fired Dennis Etchison and quickly pursued the more typical sequel that we know and love today
Are you fascinated with the history of unmade Halloween sequels? Then check out Halloween is Canceled from Dread Central. It’s a brand-new limited audio series unearthing five of the most outrageous and never-made Halloween sequels of all time.
Check out the first episode right now to learn more about the lost Halloween 4 draft by Dennis Etchison.
Click to listen:
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