Halloween trailer breakdown

The Halloween reboot trailer is finally here, and it doesn’t disappoint. From the look of things, David Gordon Green has found a way to inject new, exciting life into this troubled franchise. Our Halloween trailer breakdown studies the info gleamed from the new footage.

The first few shots of the Halloween trailer establish where we are: in a maximum security mental asylum, the current home of Michael Myers. We hear a voice with a British accent giving us the backstory: “We’re here to investigate a patient who killed three innocent teenagers on Halloween in 1978.” The voice belongs to the leader of a British documentary crew. They’ve come to America to do a retrospective on Michael Myers’ killing spree from the original Halloween. Right away, the trailer is tipping us off to the fact that this new Halloween will ignore all the other sequels. Only three murders are mentioned – the people Michael killed in the original film. None of Michael’s various kills from the many sequels are brought up.

Director David Gordon Green and co-writer Danny McBride have already gone on record as saying the new Halloween is ignoring every other sequel. “I would rather have that approach to Michael Myers than everyone just continuing some storyline and just trying to regurgitate these things,” McBride said. “I think it’s more interesting to have someone like David or Rob Zombie, these filmmakers that just come and put their own stamp on it for better or worse. I think that’s a more interesting way for a franchise to stay alive than to just continue to beat the same drum over and over again.”

Another thing that becomes apparent from all this: not only is the new Halloween ignoring the sequels, it’s also retconning the original film’s ending. John Carpenter‘s Halloween ends with Michael being shot multiple times by his psychiatrist, Dr. Loomis. Michael falls off a balcony, and we presume he’s been killed. But when Loomis looks over the balcony, he (and we) are greeted with the sight of an empty lawn. Michael has vanished, and we hear his heavy breath on the soundtrack. He’s still out there…somewhere.

But since Michael is in an asylum in this film, that indicates that he was caught at some point.

Quick flashes of crime scene photos come next, featuring the famous butcher knife Michael used. There’s also what appears to be a courtroom sketch of the late Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence). This is a great way to insert Pleasence – who appeared in every Halloween film (except Halloween III) until his death – into the film.

Our first look at the older Michael Myers is handled perfectly. He’s chained up in a courtyard in the asylum – first we see his cuffed hands, then we see him standing, isolated. The checkerboard pattern of the courtyard is an incredible touch – as if the film is setting up a game that’s about to begin.

This British documentary crew must have a death wish, because the director (or host, or whoever he is) decides to pull out the famous Michael Myers Shape mask and show it to Michael. For old time’s sake.

Here’s my favorite shot from the entire trailer: the mask being held up like a severed head, waiting for Michael to turn around and notice it.

The mask is on full display now, and all the other patients in the asylum are in a frenzy. The guard dog is barking. The soundtrack is going crazy. Panic is setting in. The only calm presence here…is Michael Myers. Who remains perfectly still…waiting.

Jump cut to Haddonfield, Illinois. It’s Halloween – children roam the streets in costume, and Jack-o-lanterns peer out like silent sentinels. One observation here: I love that Green has an autumnal color color palette going here. As much as I love Carpenter’s original Halloween, one thing that always bothered me about the film was how green everything looked. Carpenter shot the movie in the spring in California, and it shows – all the trees are in full bloom. Green has wisely gone out of his way to get that fall feeling going here, and that’s great.

Three youths are strolling home. “Everyone in my family turns into a nutcase this time of year,” one of them says. This is Allyson (Andi Matichak), granddaughter of original Halloween final girl Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis).

The mention of Laurie is the trailer’s cue to check in with her. She’s living isolated somewhere, with security cameras and big KEEP OUT signs. She also has a hidden room (complete with secret counter top that swings away to reveal a staircase). We get a quick glimpse of the scar on her arm – the scar from where Michael slashed her in the first movie.

Back with the youths again, one asks: “Wasn’t it her brother who murdered all those babysitters?” “No,” Allyson shoots back. “It was not her brother. That’s something people made up.” Once again, Green and company are going out of their way to make sure we realize this new Halloween is ignoring the sequels. In Halloween II, Carpenter’s script revealed that Laurie and Michael were siblings. Carpenter later admitted that he made this up at the last minute, and didn’t put much thought into it.

“I was pushing for [the sibling] removal right off the bat,” Danny McBride said. “I just felt like that was an area where he wasn’t quite as scary anymore, it seemed too personalized. I wasn’t as afraid of Michael Myers anymore because I’m not his f***ing brother so he’s not coming after me. Also you’ve seen it, so wouldn’t it be interesting just to see what would happen if it wasn’t that, and what does that open up for us if it wasn’t this random killing that has affected this character, so it just seemed like new territory to bite off.”

Laurie talks to the town’s Sheriff, played by Will Patton, telling that she prayed every night for Michael Myers to escape. “What the hell would you do that for?” the Sheriff asks. “So I can kill him,” Laurie says.

This cuts to Laurie firing a rifle at a target, firmly establishing Laurie’s character in this new film. Laurie is now the new Dr. Loomis. Loomis was Michael’s doctor, and he became so convinced of Michael’s absolute evil that he was determined to stop him once and for all. Now, Loomis is gone, and Laurie’s traumatic experience has transformed her into a survivalist. She’s ready to take Michael down, because she might be the only one left who knows what Michael really is: an inhuman killing machine.

At some point in the film, Michael escapes during a transport. We get a shot eerily reminiscent of a scene from the original film, with asylum inmates roaming around like zombies.

“The bus crashed!” Laurie says. “Mom, what bus crashed?” asks Laurie’s daughter, Karen (Judy Greer). “Michael’s escaped,” says Laurie. Because of course he has. We wouldn’t have a movie without that.

I have nothing specific to say about this shot, I just wanted to include it because it’s gorgeous. Cinematographer Michael Simmonds has brought a unique visual style to this film, and I can’t wait to see the rest of it.

Michael has to get his famous overalls somehow, which means he has to head to a gas station and bump off a mechanic. As an extra bonus, the British documentary crew just happens to be at this gas station as well.

Another personal favorite moment from this trailer: Michael’s bloody hand reaching over a bathroom stall and dropping a pile of teeth onto the floor. There’s something so incredibly disturbing about this – it speaks to the brutality of Michael Myers as a character. He’s not just stabbing and strangling people this time – he’s obliterating them, to the point where he’s pulling a fistful of teeth from their heads.

Michael finally puts on his iconic mask. I appreciate how this scene takes place in broad daylight – we’re so used to seeing Michael stalking around at night that it’s extra creepy to see him so casually out in the sun.

Michael returns to Haddonfield on Halloween night. It’s almost like he’s a time traveler, dropped back into the past. Everything has come full circle again.

Despite all her claims about being prepared for Michael’s return, Laurie is freaking the fuck out that he’s back in town. This gives way to a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reference to another Halloween sequel.. As Laurie frantically warns townsfolk to get out of the way, waving a gun around like a lunatic, we see a quick shot of some trick-or-treaters wearing the famous Silver Shamrock masks from Halloween III: Season of the Witch.

Laure spots Michael in a window, and takes aim.

This gives way to your standard trailer montage of shots – a “ghost” chilling in a bedroom, directly calling back to the moment in the original Halloween where Michael dons a ghost costume; Michael’s famous silhouette wandering through the darkness; and Michael appearing in a doorway.

And here’s the money shot. The moment we’ve all been waiting for. Laurie, butcher knife at the ready, about to face down Michael Myers.

The capper on the trailer is an expertly handled moment where a babysitter – who is also one of the teens seen walking with Allyson at the start of the trailer – attempts to close a closet door. The door refuses to shut properly, causing the babysitter to open the door entirely. And there’s Michael, ready to strike. It’s perfect.

I was already hyped for this film, but this trailer has put me over the moon. Based on the footage here, it’s clear David Gordon Green and company have created something special – the Halloween sequel we’ve all been waiting for.

Halloween opens on October 19, 2018.

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