All the Ways ‘Halloween’ Pays Homage to the 1978 Original
By Rande Iaboni
Compass International Pictures / Universal Pictures
WARNING: The below article features major spoilers for Halloween (1978) and Halloween (2018).
It’s a movie reunion 40 years in the making: Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) comes to a final confrontation with Michael Myers (Nick Castle), the masked killer who hunted her and her friends on Halloween night four decades earlier.
The highly anticipated film has cleverly wiped out all of the other installments in the Halloween franchise -- a total of seven sequels and two reboots -- to be a direct sequel to the original 1978 film. From the opening credits, it’s crystal clear that director David Gordon Green and his co-writers, Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley -- all fans of the original -- are honoring John Carpenter’s classic in a way fans have never seen before.
“It is a retelling of Halloween 40 years later, done in a very interesting way,” Curtis told ET during a visit to the film’s set, explaining why she chose to return to the franchise: “It really had to do with the way the story is being told. It was the writing from the opening scene, just the way it opens.”
To Curtis’ point, Halloween is filled with nostalgia from beginning to end, and ET breaks down all of the best Easter eggs and references to the first film of the franchise:
The Pumpkin Resurrection
How the original did it: The opening title credits of Halloween are remembered vividly by hardcore fans, thanks mostly to their simplicity -- a shot of a carved jack-o’-lantern with the title appearing in orange font, paired of course with Carpenter’s now-iconic score.
How the new one does it: Once again, the opening title credits use that same unmistakable orange font beside a jack-o’-lantern. However, there’s one crucial difference: This time around, the pumpkin is completely rotted and smashed, and in a reverse playback, it reverts to being fresh. A fun wink to the audience, the opening credits suggest that a franchise that was once rotten is now alive again. Another throwback with a twist: Carpenter returned to the franchise to update his original score, giving it a more modern sound. It will give you all the feels.
The Wandering Madmen
How the original did it: Dr. Samuel Loomis (the late, great Donald Pleasence) and Marion (Nancy Stephens) are driving to meet Michael at the Smith’s Grove Sanitarium the night before he is to be transferred for a court appearance. Upon their arrival, they come across multiple patients aimlessly wandering the hospital grounds. “Since when do they let them wander around?” Marion asks. They don’t, of course, but Michael has clearly let them out in the process of his own escape.
How the new one does it: Scheduled to be transferred to a new facility on the evening of Oct. 30, Michael and a group of other patients are loaded onto a bus and shipped out. Cut to a young boy and his father who come across the crashed vehicle on a drive home from a hunting trip. Just like the original, freed patients roam the highway as Michael makes his own bloody escape.
A Quick Costume Change
How the original did it: Michael is synonymous with his famous white mask (a remodeled Star Trek-era William Shatner mask), but his costume wouldn’t be complete without the jumpsuit. In pursuit of his escaped patient, Dr. Loomis comes across a deserted pickup truck from a nearby garage, Michael’s hospital gown draped over the front door. Nearby is the driver of the pickup, dead on the ground, his outfit stripped from him.
How the new one does it: Podcasters Aaron (Jefferson Hall) and Dana (Rhian Rees) stop at a gas station outside of Haddonfield after a less-than-successful interview with Laurie only to find themselves in the path of Michael, on the hunt for his mask they had in their possession. In the process, Michael takes out a garage mechanic so he can complete his outfit. Similar to the original, the mechanic is killed offscreen, only to be found stripped of his clothes.
The Classroom Daydream-Turned-Nightmare
How the original did it: A daydreaming Laurie stares out her high school classroom window and unsuspectingly spots Michael creepily standing across the street, staring right back at her.
How the new one does it: A young Allyson Strode (Andi Matichak), Laurie’s granddaughter, similarly daydreams in her high school classroom. But when she looks out the window, it is not Michael she sees, it’s her grandmother.
Fun fact: In both scenes, the topic of discussion by the teacher is fate. Perhaps Carpenter and co. are hinting that it is fated for Laurie and Michael to confront each other. Additionally, in the 2018 version, the teacher is voiced by P.J. Soles, who played Laurie's best friend Lynda in the 1978 version.
The Babysitter Murders
How the original did it: Lynda (Soles), and her boyfriend, Bob (John Michael Graham), fall victim to Michael after a late-night romp in a house they thought they were alone in. Michael murders Bob by lifting him up and pinning him up against the wall with a butcher knife. Later, he disguises himself as Bob by wearing a bedsheet with Bob’s glasses on.
How the new one does it: Allyson’s best friend, Vicky (Virginia Gardner), and her boyfriend, Dave (Miles Robbins), fall victim in similar fashion, though the ways in which they die are creatively different this time around, Michael proves once again he has a taste for the theatrics when Officer Hawkins (Will Patton) discovers their bodies: Vicky is draped in a bedsheet and Dave’s pinned against the wall by a butcher knife.
Fun fact: Vicky’s T-shirt pays homage to little Tommy Doyle’s (Brian Andrews) yellow and white pajamas, which he was wearing the night Laurie babysat him all those years ago.
The Final Girl’s Footsteps
How the original did it: Laurie is the last one standing after all of her friends have failed to escape the clutches of Michael. Ultimate final girl Laurie, however, doesn’t go down without a fight. She manages to get away from Michael and make it to a nearby neighbor’s house, where she frantically bangs on the front door, begging for rescue. Sadly, the neighbor sees Laurie through the window and chooses to turn off the lights and close the blinds, ignoring our final girl.
How the new one does it: Allyson, the new generation’s final girl, similarly finds herself the only one left standing from a group of disposable friends. After she escapes Michael’s clutches during her first encounter with the masked killer, she makes her way to a nearby home and similarly bangs on the front door, seeking a savior. Thankfully, this time around the neighbors open up.
Fun fact: Laurie and Allyson’s outfits are incredibly similar, with Allyson’s button-down collared shirt and pants for her Halloween costume (a clever gender-switch on Bonnie & Clyde) looking almost identical to Laurie’s collared shirt and pants look in the original.
Do as She Says
How the original did it: Laurie is the ultimate final girl for a reason: She escapes the killer by using her intelligence, and anyone would be wise to follow her orders on a night like Halloween. After fending off Michael and protecting Tommy and Lindsey Wallace (Kyle Richards), she instructs the two children to go down the street to their neighbor’s home and have them call the police. When they attempt to argue, she simply says, “Do as I say.”
How the new one does it: Michael has escaped, and at the moment, only Laurie, her daughter Karen and the police are aware of it, leaving Allyson completely defenseless on the streets on Halloween night. Unable to be reached on her cell phone -- Allyson’s boyfriend threw it into a questionable bowl of dip -- Karen (Judy Greer) is forced to leave a frantic voicemail begging her to come home to safety. Grabbing the phone from her daughter, Laurie utters the same words to her granddaughter: “Do as I say.” Allyson never gets the message, but she uses her own smarts to do just as her grandmother wanted.
The Closet Bait & Switch
How the original did it: This one almost doesn’t need a refresh. Arguably the most iconic scene in the original, a terrified Laurie hides in the upstairs closet as a menacing Michael stands just outside it trying to reach her. He eventually does, but Laurie manages to cleverly use a clothes hanger as a weapon before getting hold of Michael’s butcher knife.
How the new one does it: There is more than one nod to Michael’s love of closets in the new film, the first involving Vicky, who surprisingly finds him hiding in one before he slaughters her. Later, the real closet nostalgia comes when Laurie stalks her own home looking for Michael. In a twist on the original, Michael is the one hiding this time around, and the look in Laurie’s eyes when she stares at the closet tells us she still has nightmares of that moment from four decades ago. When she finally opens the closet, Michael is nowhere to be found, but there is a lone clothes hanger dangling inside.
Fun fact: The way in which Laurie discovers best friend Lynda’s body in the upstairs closet in the original film eerily mirrors the way she comes across the body of her son-in-law, Ray (Toby Huss), both of them lying horizontally behind a closed door.
The Disappearing Act
How the original did it: The final moments of Halloween are hard to forget. Just as Laurie is being strangled by Michael and we think it could be over for her, Dr. Loomis arrives, firing multiple shots at our killer, causing him to stagger backward over the balcony, falling into the backyard. Loomis only looks away for a moment, but when he looks back, Michael is suddenly gone.
How the new one does it: This time around, there is no Dr. Loomis to save Laurie; it’s all up to her. As she and Michael go at it in her upstairs bedroom, he violently throws Laurie off her own balcony, causing her to land on the lawn the way he did decades prior. But fear not, this was part of her plan. When Michael looks down below, our final girl has disappeared, using his own tricks against her.
The Stairway to Hell
How the original did it: Before Laurie escapes Michael’s clutches after finding her friends dead in the neighbor’s house, she has a frightening encounter with him. As she stands at the top of the stairwell crying, Michael slowly emerges from the darkness behind her (incredible directing on Carpenter’s part). He attacks her, sending her over the bannister down to the bottom of the stairs; it’s a nasty fall that dangerously injures her leg.
How the new one does it: Following in the theme of flipping Laurie and Michael’s roles, this time around, it’s Michael standing atop the stairwell at Laurie’s house, and she emerges from the darkness behind him. She sends him down the stairs, returning the favor from 40 years ago.
Fun fact: In the scuffle following Michael’s fall to the basement, three generations of Strodes take on the killer as he tries to make his way back up the stairs. While he has his hold on Karen’s leg, Allyson gets her final girl moment, grabbing hold of his butcher knife and stabbing him with it, freeing her mother and sending him back down the stairs to meet his demise. The similarities between Laurie using his knife against him in the closet 40 years ago and her granddaughter fighting back now are impossible to miss.