The One Shot That Could Have Saved ‘Halloween Ends’

Halloween Ends

Michael Myers means different things to different people. To some, he is simply the Boogeyman, the abstract shape (literally, the shape) of evil, the source of all things terrifying. To others, Michael Myers is more corporate, a slasher IP with thirteen feature films to his name. Michael Myers is also that “guy in the white mask who walks around and stalks babysitters.” Halloween director John Carpenter certainly intended for him to be something, namely a combative force against hegemonic suburban opulence. Masked maniacs with sharp weapons didn’t just exist on the periphery—gentrified spaces and sprawling developments were no less susceptible to their wrath.

In the decades since, several filmmakers have tried their hands at making Myers something different, whether that’s a grunting wrestler (Rob Zombie’s Halloween) or a weird baby-snatcher (Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers). David Gordon Green’s recent Halloween trilogy, interestingly, was closer aligned to Carpenter’s original conceptualization than most. There, Myers was less a slasher and more an idea, a thread fully seen through in the capstone entry Halloween Ends. Myers means a lot, but so does Laurie Strode, posing an interesting theoretical question: What if she had died in Halloween Ends?

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As is, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis, just in case) has already died. Twice. Off-screen via expository dialogue at the start of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and off-mental asylum roof (literally) in Halloween: Resurrection. Ostensibly, Green’s new trilogy was principally an opportunity to center arguably the most famous final girl of all time, to send her off with grace in a way 40 years of franchise entries have failed to do. Sure, Halloween H20 did, in fact, have arguably the strongest Strode ending there is. But canonically, its connection to Resurrection reasonably sours it in the minds of many fans.

Broadly, Halloween Ends does that, whether one likes the movie much or not. Michael is defeated, and the entire town of Haddonfield gathers to watch his body as it’s lowered into an industrial shredder. Otherwise, some errant teens might accidentally bring him back (see: the plot of almost every later Friday the 13th sequel). Allyson (Andi Matichak) apologizes for branding her grandmother as the Candyman and leaves town as Laurie finishes her memoir while concurrently spicing things up with definitely-should-be-dead-but-isn’t Deputy Frank Hawkins (Will Patton). It’s cute, but several fans have reasonably posited that it’s too easy an answer, too convenient a wrap-up, especially considering the tonal and thematic shifts Green had taken with his concluding chapter. Instead, fans wonder: what if Michael had dragged Laurie into the shredder with him?

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Green’s trilogy might well have had the Alien vs. Predator tagline “Whoever wins, we lose” on account of how often both Michael and Laurie, in their perennial fight, endanger the lives of those around them. First entry Loomis-riff Dr. Sartain (Haluk Bilginer) posits an admittedly interesting theory. Laurie and Michael are symbiotic, and the enduring hunt-fight-retreat nature of their relationship is the core impetus for either to keep going. Without the other, neither has much of a reason to live. The omnipresent threat of one gives life (and meaning) to the other. And, sure, Halloween Kills quickly does away with that, almost cruelly suggesting Michael doesn’t care about Laurie at alllllll. But retconned or not, it’s an interesting idea.

Following Sartain’s theory, an interesting Halloween Ends might have ended with both dying at the others’ hands. Fan speculation leading up to release was almost certain that would be the case, with almost every franchise fan all but assured Laurie would be killed there. That was not the case, though Paul Brad Logan’s movie novelization does end with a compelling suggestion. After Michael’s death, Logan scraps the meet-cute between Hawkins and Strode. It’s still there, but Laurie isn’t receptive at all. Instead, she disappears into the house, and in literary form, Logan recreates the first film’s ending. Laurie is nothing but a shape as heavy breathing is heard from somewhere. In effect, Michael’s evil, once passed to Corey, has now been transferred to Laurie.

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It’s certainly spicy, though almost distinctly less cinematic (and a bit of a downer), so I understand why Green and Company went in a different direction. Killing Laurie would be one thing, but cursing her with Michael’s legacy would reasonably be too much for audiences to handle. Halloween Ends is already the most divisive Halloween movie there is—could you imagine if it had the novel’s ending?

Conversely, killing Laurie via the industrial shredder would have been considerably more poetic. Not to side with the people of Haddonfield too much, dolts that they are (Kills’ wrongful hospital death still rattles me for all the wrong reasons), but Laurie is, in some sense, no less a curse on that town than Michael was. She abandoned her family, traumatized two generations of Strode women, and never accepted anything remotely close to accountability for it. Instead, it was Michael. Don’t believe me? Just check out the on-screen excepts from her Halloween Ends memoir.

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Evil this, evil that, yeah, but the legacy of Michael is just as much the legacy of Laurie Strode. Is that to suggest Laurie would have deserved dying by Michael’s hands as he yanked her into the shredder alongside him? No. The gun-toting, strawberry-milk-drinking final girl still doesn’t deserve to die. But, in terms of shocking poetry, it might have worked. It might have worked really well. Still, we’re left with what David Gordon Green delivered. I liked it, though I respect that many, many people don’t.

As the meaning of Michael and Halloween as franchise more broadly are set to change (the rights are presently being shopped around), it’ll be interesting to see what direction the franchise heads in next. Almost assuredly, there will be no more Laurie Strode, but Michael might be out, too. Will it be an anthology matching Carpenter’s original vision, something else entirely? Who knows, but I for one am excited to find out.

What do you think? What would you have thought of seeing Michael drag Laurie to her death with him? Let me know over on Twitter @Chadiscollins.



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