Dracula (1931) Written by Garrett Fort Directed by Tod Browning
This was not the first vampire movie, but it was the first official adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel. F.W. Murnau had made Nosferatu nine years earlier, leading to a copyright infringement lawsuit from Stoker’s widow. The jumpstart of the Universal Monster movies began here and came under the hand of Carl Laemmle Jr. Carl’s father had founded Universal, and at the age of twenty, Junior became the head of production at the studio. How’s that for some nepotism? Carl led Universal at the dawn of the “talkies” and had no qualms throwing piles of money at movies that had no chance of earning it back. He seemed to genuinely love films and wanted them to look fantastic.
Halloween Kills (2021) Written by Scott Teems, Danny McBride, and David Gordon Green Directed by David Gordon Green
Trilogies are tricky things. Often a first film is made and, if it does well financially, then a sequel will be greenlit. There are rare occasions like Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings where the movies are shot back to back, but most trilogies happen because the first movie did well. David Gordon Green and his collaborators wanted to do a series of Halloween films but waited to see how their first entry was received before locking everything in for follow-ups. I am a fan of their take of the Halloween universe. As I said in my review of the 2018 picture, there’s some atmosphere lacking, but thematically I am right on board with the sort of story being told here. In some ways, it reminds me of my favorite comic books, where new creators build on old ideas to make new points. I prefer that much more than rebooting things and feeling as if you’re in stasis.
Halloween (2018) Written by Jeff Fradley, Danny McBride, and David Gordon Green Directed by David Gordon Green
It began with Rob Zombie stating he would not return to make another Halloween film. Halloween II (2009) was a box office success, and days after its release Halloween 3D was announced. That fell apart, and attention at Dimension went to a potential Hellraiser reboot (they never happened either). There were ideas tossed around like making a direct sequel to Halloween: Resurrection (god why?), doing a found footage film or mockumentary, and even an insane multiverse idea tossed around. John Carpenter returned to act as a producer and chose an unlikely duo to make a trilogy of films: Danny McBride and David Gordon Green.
Halloween II (2009) Written & Directed by Rob Zombie
Rob Zombie expressed extreme exhaustion from making his Halloween reboot. I think it was a task he put a lot of weight on his own shoulders because Zombie admired the original film. So, when talk of a sequel came up, Zombie was pretty much out. Instead, French filmmakers Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo were in talks to helm the follow-up. Eventually, the producers wooed Zombie back to write and direct Halloween II. Would he follow the first film by doing a remake of the original sequel? Kind of. There is a small portion of the movie with Laurie in a hospital, but this Halloween II goes in a very different direction. With the whole cast reprising their roles (sans young Michael as that actor had gotten too tall), Halloween II was a go.
For a minute, we almost had a Michael Myers vs. Pinhead (from Hellraiser) movie. With the success of Freddy vs. Jason, Dimension Pictures seriously looked at pitting those movie monsters against each other. I don’t think that would have been a great idea. An idea was pitched to bring back Jamie Lloyd. That didn’t go anywhere. This was around a time when reboots and reimaginings were becoming a hot thing. Texas Chainsaw Massacre had a moderately successful reboot based on its budget, and telling the characters’ backstory was the thing to do (see the Star Wars prequels, Batman Begins). Setting a standard that would be followed by Freddy and Jason a few years later, Rob Zombie was brought on board to flesh out the origin of Michael Myers.
Halloween: Resurrection (2002) Written by Larry Brand & Sean Hood Directed by Rick Rosenthal
Jamie Lee Curtis said she was done. So at the end of H2O, she beheads Michael, and the movie ends. But the producers wanted to keep milking the franchise. Moustapha Akkad, the producer who owned the Halloween film rights, provided a clause in his agreement with Dimension Pictures that Michael could never be killed. So when the inevitable sequel was announced, they went to Curtis and asked if she would play Laurie Strode again. Exasperated, the actress told them that if they couldn’t kill off Michael, they would have to kill Laurie in this next movie. So they did. The result is the worst entry in the entire franchise. It’s disjointed, with the first twenty minutes feeling like a short film with Laurie. Then the rest of the film is a poorly aged god-awful mess that completely misunderstands the entire series.
Halloween: H20 (1998) Written by Robert Zappia & Matt Greenberg (Kevin Williamson uncredited) Directed by Steve Miner
It was clear from the box office returns that the Thorns trilogy of Halloween was not a success, particularly the final butchered entry of The Curse of Michael Myers. It just so happened that the series’s twentieth anniversary was coming up in 1998, so it seemed appropriate to recapture some of the original film. Unfortunately, Donald Pleasence had passed away in 1995, so he wouldn’t be part of the story. This meant the producers would have to try and lure back Jamie Lee Curtis, who had distanced herself from the series. It also meant the last three films would be retconned out of the timeline.
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) Written by Daniel Farrands Directed by Joe Chappelle
One of the most infuriating things about the Thorns trilogy is how both Return and Revenge end on promising cliffhangers only to have them dashed with the next film in the series. Likewise, the Curse of Michael Myers takes all the character development of Jamie Lloyd and subsequently flushes it down the drain. For what purpose? To apparently introduce a whole host of new characters whom we never really care about and tangentially connected to Laurie Strode. It seems at times that this movie exists in the same universe as the previous two, and then at other moments, it ignores anything we might have learned during them.
Superman and Justice League America Volume 2 (2016) Reprints Justice League America #69-77, Annual #6 Written by Dan Jurgens (with Dan Mishkin) Art by Dan Jurgens (with Dave Cockrum)
For a collection with Superman in the title, he is gone from the book two issues in. This collection presents stories told just at and after the infamous Death of Superman storyline. We get a tie-in with the League attempting to fight and getting obliterated by Doomsday. That’s followed by a Funeral for a Friend crossover as the League, and other DC superheroes come together to mourn the passing of the great hero. From there, we have Wonder Woman coming onboard, and Dan Jurgens begins to wind down his relatively short-lived run on the book. Jurgens’s departure feels abrupt as he barely slides into home base to finish off the Bloodwyn arc, and then it’s over. There’s a strong sense of a lack of closure for characters that were personal additions like Maxima and Agent Liberty.
Halloween V: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) Written by Michael Jacobs, Dominique Othenin-Girard, and Shem Bitterman Directed by Dominique Othenin-Girard
So after leaving audiences hanging with a pretty great cliffhanger in Halloween IV, the producers decided to retcon it immediately and handwave it away as a dream. I wish I could say I was joking. Jamie Lloyd kills her foster mother in the final scene of Halloween IV, wearing a clown costume similar to her uncle’s. It was a daring, shocking frame to close the movie on, hinting at the hereditary nature of the evil within Michael. But then this movie opens by showing where Michael ended up after being riddled with bullets and proceeds to show that the whole foster mommy stabbing was a bad dream Jamie had. It was a clear sign we were bullshit territory.