Horror

You Can’t Kill the Boogeyman: What’s Next for the ‘Halloween’ Franchise After ‘Halloween Ends’?

It’s hard to keep a good Slasher down. With the cyclical nature of these movies being part of their appeal, it’s rare for studios to greenlight a definitive end to their popular franchises. For every Final Chapter and Final Nightmare, there’s a Jason Lives and New Nightmare to undo the conclusions of the past. Now that David Gordon Green’s Halloween Kills is bringing us one step closer to Halloween Ends, I’d like to take this opportunity to talk about what could be next for the Halloween franchise once this new trilogy is complete next year.

While I’ll always prefer original ideas and characters when it comes to horror (and I also appreciate it when long-running franchises recognize that it may be time to stop), it’s naïve to assume that Halloween Ends will really be the last time that we Michael Myers on the big screen. Even if the character does end up meeting his demise in that film, we’re always a simple reboot/remake/retcon away from a new entry in this 43-year-old series, and it wouldn’t be the first time that the William-Shatner-faced killer evaded death.

The real question here isn’t if we’ll be seeing more Halloween films in the future, but how these films might continue a story that seems headed towards a decisive finale. Personally, I think the answer lies in the franchise’s origins at the hands of John Carpenter. Nowadays, the original film’s ambiguous ending is often interpreted as an iconic case of sequel-bait, but the director never really intended to continue the story of Michael Myers. The killer’s unexplained disappearance was actually meant to imply that the boogeyman will live on forever in people’s minds, not that Michael would continue to stalk Laurie, though it was clear that audiences wanted more.

When approached by the sequel-hungry studio, Carpenter and producer Debra Hill originally pitched the idea of turning Halloween into an anthology franchise. With the 1978 film being modeled after the classic urban legend about a lunatic escaping from an insane asylum and proceeding to murder unsuspecting babysitters, it’s not that much of a stretch to imagine the franchise moving on to other horrific legends that might happen on All Hallows’ Eve.

Halloween is more than just Michael Myers!

Unfortunately, the studio would only try the anthology approach with Tommy Lee Wallace’s controversial Halloween III: Season of the Witch. The film has been re-evaluated over the years, but its off-beat story of pagan rituals and pumpkin-spice automatons was a bit too much for general audiences who just wanted more Michael Myers. This unconventional approach didn’t work back in 1982, especially when compared to the eerie simplicity of Carpenter’s original, but I think that that contemporary audiences are much more accepting of aging franchises experimenting with new formulas.

A completely unrelated story might still be a hard sell, but keeping a few familiar faces and locations could help to win over audiences. To me, a Trick ‘r Treat styled anthology flick with interconnected segments taking place in Haddonfield on Halloween Night seems like the most entertaining route that a future installment could take. Michael Myers wouldn’t even have to be completely removed from the picture, as the producers could have one of the stories still focus on the iconic killer or the aftermath of his murderous rampage. This would allow for a series of original Halloween yarns without completely alienating die-hard fans, and I wouldn’t mind watching several more sequels if they all presented us with new and exciting stories.

There is a small chance that Halloween Ends will kill off Michael for good, but there’s another option for potential sequels that might not want to veer too far from the traditional path. In the 2018 film, it’s revealed that the villainous Dr. Ranbir Sartain had become pathologically obsessed with Michael after attempting to analyze him, going so far as to commit murder in order to further his own studies. This twist may have been a little controversial, but it seemed to suggest that the killer’s madness is somehow contagious, kind of like that Friedrich Nietzsche quote about gazing into the abyss and having the abyss gaze back at you.

One of the best moments in the entire franchise!

Not only is this a fascinating concept in and of itself, but it also means that the franchise has opened the door for copycats and a possible next generation of boogeymen and women. There’s already a precedent for this in Halloween 4, with Danielle Harris’ Jamie Lloyd ultimately suffering from the same psychotic impulses as her murderous uncle and being set up as the family’s next killer. While that film’s sequels failed to deliver on this undeniably interesting premise, a replacement for Michael Myers is still on the table in David Gordon Green’s new mythology.

Of course, the most obvious (and arguably the easiest) approach for future sequels would be to simply refuse to explain Michael’s inevitable resurgence, ditching most of the established lore and fully embracing the killer’s status as the legendary boogeyman. Filmmakers could just assume that he’s a cyclical evil that has to be defeated again and again by different sets of unsuspecting characters, staying true to Carpenter’s original urban legend inspirations.

Michael’s questionable mortality has always been one of the most compelling aspects of the franchise, and focusing on his ambiguous nature would make it easier for him to once again become an unstoppable killing machine with no discernable motives. It would also eliminate the need for plot contrivances to explain how he’s still alive or why he’s hunting the new protagonists, allowing for more streamlined stories in a series that already has way too much baggage.

At the end of the day, there’s no real way of knowing which direction the franchise will take once this incarnation of the Myers story is over, but it’s fun to speculate about what might happen to Haddonfield and its unlucky denizens as we wait for Halloween Kills and its eventual sequel. After all, no matter how the story ultimately ends, we all know that there’s no stopping the boogeyman, and The Shape will keep getting up no matter how many times you shoot him.

HALLOWEEN 1978

Halloween Lives

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