Does Continuity Matter Anymore?
For me, last couple days have been all about the new Halloween trailer. I’ve always been a fan of the series and for not being much of a horror guy, I can’t seem to explain the level of attachment I have to this particular brand of slasher flicks. It’s weird but if I’m seeing a scary movie in the theater that doesn’t feature Michael Myers, it’s usually one which has transcended the built in horror audience or is something too unique, too original, to pass up. A Quiet Place would be the best, most recent example. When it’s Halloween though, guaranteed I’ll sitting in Cinemark opening weekend.
As of now, not including the David Gordon Green, Danny McBride project (coming out October 19th), there are ten Halloween movies. With the exception of Season Of The Witch (the third one) each film features Michael Myers. Then to break it down further; Halloween one, two, four, five, six, seven, and eight follow some resemblance of a cohesive story thread. Each being a continuation of John Carpenter’s 1978 classic. Believe me, I’m using the word “cohesive” very loosely here. Finally, the remaining installments were directed by Rob Zombie. I was never able to tell if these were supposed to reboot the whole franchise or just be a special two and done project.
Either way the torch has been passed to a pair of very unlikely candidates with Green and McBride. In an attempt to make their project stand out amongst the others, they announced this Halloween movie would be direct sequel to the first one, completely ignoring close forty years of filmmaking. It took a minute but in the end I guess I really don’t have a problem with it. It’s not like all the sequels were God awful but none of them even compare to the original. So I’ll admit the Halloween series is ripe to be rebooted but I just wonder why they are going the direction they are? Couldn’t you just hit the restart button entirely? And if this movie is good, it asks a much larger question regarding continuity; does it even matter anymore?
When talking horror, especially the slashers, continuity is a very interesting element of discussion. In many ways, you don’t need it. All you need to do is create a situation with a bunch of people for your masked or burned bad to guy to kill, then let him kill them. Jason X being a great example. “Let’s just put Jason Voorhees in space!” Had to be the pitch. The characters in these stories seem to be a secondary to the antagonist. We may have a relationship with Laurie Strode because the role is historic and she’s been on the big screen a few times but I guarantee the average horror fan couldn’t tell you the name of Busta Rhymes’ role in Halloween: Resurrection. Even though his performance was captivating.
My favorite thing the slashers do to at least create the allusion of continuity is when we’re about two thirds in to the movie and they reintroduce a character left over from a previous installment who is incredibly traumatized years after their encounter with our masked bad guy. These people are usually referenced early on, then our leads wind up finding them institutionalized or living alone in a fortressesque domicile. They wind up being a crucial element to the plot as they often provide vital information which helps the central protagonists later on. Or the audience gets to see exactly what Michael Myers can do to someone even if they live. My personal dream is that David Gordon Green and Danny McBride convince Paul Rudd to reprise his role as Tommy Doyle. Yes everyone Paul Rudd was in a Halloween movie. And yes, by having him in the cast, it throws the sixth installment out the window. But at this point who would even care.
With Donald Pleasence’s passing in 1995, the corral of returnable roles is a little slim. I’m expecting some salute to Dr. Loomis but it’s not like we’ll meet his son or anything. So maybe Green can use the parts of the setting make a connection to the original. I’m assuming we’re going back to Haddonfield. Not the “same” Myers house, but the house is important. Maybe the prison Michael breaks out of is called Smith’s Grove. The writers could borrow certain things from the other movies and incorporate them. Depending on what they choose, it might work. Just stay away from the Thorn Cult B.S. featured Halloween six.
There are a bunch of horror movies that have kept continuity though each film. But when people pay to see the bad guy, it’s easier to do. When you watch Godzilla v King Kong, nobody is sitting in the theater for the token family whose having marital problems while two giant Kaiju are destroying half of Tokyo. People want to watch James Bond save the world, it doesn’t matter if he’s constantly getting younger and better looking.
However, when you’re building a large scale universe like Marvel, DC, and Star Wars… continuity matters a ton!
You know what I mean… stupid internet Fanboys.
When I first heard the 2018 Halloween would be a direct sequel to the original, I was a agitated that Green and McBride are ignoring everything in between. It’s not like the previous movies are classics but there’s a couple things I feel could be expanded. If this one serves as a sequel while also rebooting the franchise I have no problem welcoming Michael Myers to a new generation of viewers. I just hope the production staff went out of their way to do it right.
So far I’m impressed!
By Adam Chmielewski
Photo Credits- Blumhouse/Disney
Do you think continuity matters in film? Let Nerdbot know in the comments!!