Halloween Ends (2022) has been a talking point among fans since its release on October 14. While negative criticisms are still likely to draw in cinemagoers out of curiosity, it doesn’t change the fact that Halloween Ends is the most controversial entry in the entire Halloween franchise.
This is really saying something when you have Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982), a sequel that doesn’t even feature Michael Myers, and Halloween: Resurrection (2002), whose Michael Myers (Brad Loree) gets roundhouse-kicked by Busta Rhymes (Freddie Harris).
There are some minor spoilers ahead for Halloween Ends.
In fact, Halloween Ends has become so hated by many fans, that some have launched a petition to have the film rebooted (whatever happened to hating a film and moving on?). Not only that, but even some Halloween actors themselves aren’t overly impressed with the film.
But why is Halloween Ends being slaughtered? Well, the main criticisms are around the fact that Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney) is relegated to a weak background character, while the film focuses on newcomer Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell), an imposter-like version of Michael.
The film was also heavily marketed as a final Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) vs. Michael Myers showdown. And though they do both enter the ring one last time, whether you like the film or not, it is something that feels a little shoehorned when it does finally happen.
Now, director David Gordon Green, who also helmed the previous two movies, Halloween (2018) and Halloween Kills (2021), has responded to some of the negative criticisms. In an interview with MovieMaker, when asked how he responds to backlash, Green said the following:
“It’s funny, when someone says, “Build your dream house on this real estate using this title and these characters,” everybody is going to find a different little thing that’s meaningful for them and they’ll make it their own. That’s what I did. For every bit of backlash, you also get people that are thanking you for taking it to a new place and keeping it alive and full of love.”
In addressing the fact that audiences expected a showdown between Laurie Strode and Michael Myers, Green explained how he, along with the rest of the crew, decided to be a bit more ambitious with the latest sequel. Here’s what he said:
“Honestly, we never once considered making a Laurie and Michael movie. The concept that it should be a final showdown-type brawl never even crossed our minds. I wanted to see where it would go. I wanted one to win, one to die. But we were always more ambitious with that. So how did we want to go out? By doing what no one except us would do: make a love story. It’s our version of going out with a bang and opening our hearts to this community and these characters.”
Green’s answer is all well and good, but it’s contrary to how Halloween Ends was marketed. And though the Halloween franchise is certainly no stranger to taking risks, it seems that the new film inexplicably takes inspiration from a previous entry that stands out like a sore thumb.
While Green hasn’t been shy about the fact that Halloween Ends draws inspiration from the horror film Christine (1983), which is based on the Stephen King book of the same name, it seems Halloween III: Season of the Witch also had a lot of influence over the latest sequel.
In the weeks leading up to Halloween Ends‘ release, Green admitted that the film’s ending kept “changing every day”. Whether or not we’ll see one of those alternate endings on the home release remains to be seen, but one which was never filmed was a huge nod to Season of the Witch.
“There was an ending I wrote that we never filmed,” the director revealed, “and it takes place at Silver Shamrock factory as it was spitting out witch, skeleton, and jack-o-lanterns masks… and then it started spitting out Michael Myers masks. I had a temptation to go there, but at the end of the day, I thought that’s just fan service for people who know what Silver Shamrock is. It was in every draft of the script ever published, but we never filmed it. “
While Green’s ambition is admirable, it seems the filmmakers were experimenting with Halloween Ends right up until the eleventh hour, which might suggest a serious lack of direction with the latest sequel (although, ultimately, the film does serve as a satisfying conclusion).
This lack of direction might also explain the film’s supernatural elements, which raise more questions than they answer. But maybe there is no answer, because it sounds like the filmmakers considered with many possibilities behind why Michael Myers is an unstoppable force of evil.
As for the fact that the film revolves heavily around Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell), Green was asked how original Halloween (1978) director John Carpenter responded when he realized the film’s main character is the plot device to get Laurie and Michael in the same room together.
“He was cool with it,” Green said. “He’s like any skeptic, “What are you going to do? Write the same thing over and over?” When he wrote Halloween II, he was like, “Oh, we didn’t know we were gonna go here.” That’s where Season of the Witch comes from. It’s him saying, “No, no, guys, we’re not going to just make Michael Myers and Laurie Strode movies all the time, we’re gonna mix it up, do a little anthology.”
Subverting audiences’ expectations can, of course, be a good thing. After all, who wants to have a film spoiled for them by the trailer? With that said, the trailers for Halloween Ends did reveal a bit too much, showing the fleeting fight between Laurie and Michael almost in its entirety.
Halloween Ends is one of the more interesting entries in the Halloween franchise, and though it isn’t consistent with the previous two films structurally, tonally, or narratively, it does continue with themes of trauma, this time casting over them an even bigger lens than before.
On the other hand, maybe the concluding chapter in a trilogy wasn’t the time or place to start experimenting. Either way, this isn’t how Halloween ends, because, as you know, there’s always another sequel.
As per Universal Pictures, here’s the official synopsis for Halloween Ends:
Four years after the events of last year’s Halloween Kills, Laurie is living with her granddaughter Allyson and is finishing writing her memoir. Michael Myers hasn’t been seen since his last brutal rampage. Laurie, after allowing the specter of Michael to determine and drive her reality for decades, has decided to liberate herself from fear and rage and embrace life. But when a young man, Corey Cunningham, is accused of killing a boy he was babysitting, it ignites a cascade of violence and terror that will force Laurie to finally confront the evil she can’t control, once and for all.
— Universal Pictures
Halloween Ends stars Jamie Lee Curtis (Laurie Strode), Andi Matichak (Allyson Nelson), Will Patton (Officer Frank Hawkins), Omar Dorsey (Sheriff Barker), Kyle Richards (Lindsey Wallace), and James Jude Courtney (Michael Myers).
Newcomers are Rohan Campbell and Michael O’Leary, who play Corey Cunningham and Dr. Mathis, respectively.
Are you happy that Halloween Ends subverted expectations, or would you have preferred a more traditional sequel? Let us know in the comments down below!