The Key To Understanding Halloween Ends Lies In Its Opening Credits

This article contains major spoilers for "Halloween Ends."

Over four decades since John Carpenter's seminal horror masterpiece, the "Halloween" series has finally been laid to rest with "Halloween Ends." In the world of slasher movies, labeling something as the "final chapter" is a nice gesture, but these franchises rarely ever stay dead. Although David Gordon Green's conclusion makes it explicitly clear that his Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney), the seemingly immortal villain, has taken a new shape in the form of literal mincemeat after the town exacts its pound of flesh once and for all.

It asks if "Halloween H20" had actually stuck by its ending, rather than disregarding its finality for "Halloween: Resurrection."

In the closing moments of "Halloween Ends," it's implied that Haddonfield, and by extension Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), can finally rest now that Michael has been put to pasture. But for the folks who have now seen "Halloween Ends," the harshly divisive reaction signals a long road ahead for the discussion around it. It's not unlike the divide that happened when "Halloween Kills" split horror folks right down the middle.

The only aspect of "Halloween Ends" that I could have remotely anticipated was a final showdown between Laurie and Michael, and it did that in spades. But what really made "Halloween Ends" something special was its initiative to take the series in a bold new direction rather than another Michael slash and dash.

The moment the opening credits came on screen, it became very clear that Green absolutely knew what he was doing.

David Gordon Green invokes the name of Halloween III: Season of the Witch

When I think of "Halloween," I picture the bold orange credits alongside a Jack-o'-lantern, which is often accompanied by John Carpenter's iconic score. Only four movies in the series have used this as their openings, but it's difficult to separate how deeply all of those elements evoke the haunting aura of Michael Myers lurking in the shadows. But once the opening credits for "Halloween Ends" got going, I noticed something very different.

Carpenter's music is front and center, as is the tradition of a new Jack-o'-lantern, but the font choice sent a clear message to those who have been following this series from the beginning; this was going to be a "Halloween" movie unlike any we'd seen before. The moment I saw those glowing soft blue titles, I got really excited at the prospect of Green invoking the spirit of "Halloween III: Season of the Witch."

Even though it has nothing to do with Michael Myers, barring a television commercial playing in the background, "Season of the Witch" is now regarded as a welcome adopted cousin to the "Halloween" family. It very much wasn't at first, which ironically is the same fate that "Halloween Ends" is bound to face. Deviation from the norm can ruffle people's feathers, especially fans with lofty expectations, but as "Season of the Witch" showed us, sometimes that's the best way to shake things up.

Halloween III was primed to take the series beyond Michael Myers

If you remember, Carpenter and producer Debra Hill wanted to take the series down a completely different path after "Halloween II." Michael had been burned to a crisp at Haddonfield Memorial Hospital, and it was time to move on. The "Halloween" name still brought in box office dollars, so "Season of the Witch" was released as "Halloween III." It would have been the first of a series of anthology films that used the "Halloween" name to explore different stories that take place on the infamous night of mischief.

While Carpenter returned for the score, the electronic synth of "Season of the Witch" differentiated itself from the pack. The film follows Daniel Challis (Tom Atkins), a doctor who is thrust into an underworld of Celtic sacrifice in the form of capitalistic greed. On Halloween night, any child wearing a Silver Shamrock mask while watching their explicitly timed television special would die a painful death. As Daniel uncovers the mystery, it's up to him to put an end to the sinister toy company's plans before the children of the world experience a nightmare they'll never forget. It's a weird and captivating flick about the deadly consequences that arise from exploiting the attention spans of children through mass marketing. 

Green has made his admiration for the formerly maligned sequel very clear, given that the Silver Shamrock masks are featured in both his "Halloween" and "Halloween Kills." "Halloween Ends" may not feature the presence of a character like Dan O'Herlihy's slimy Conal Cochran, but it accepts the idea that there's still room for ingenuity among the Michael prerequisites.

Halloween Ends is a fascinating blend of ideas

The biggest shift from "Halloween Ends" is the character of Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell), who is Haddonfield's new bogeyman after Michael's disappearance. A fatal accident involving the child he's babysitting makes him the town's social pariah, barring Allyson (Andi Matichak). But when Corey comes across Michael lurking in the sewers, the evil emanating from the iconic slasher binds itself with his frustration to introduce Haddonfield to a new monster.

Audiences hated "Season of the Witch," if only because it shared the "Halloween" moniker, but didn't feature Michael Myers, which effectively killed Carpenter's anthology idea dead in its tracks. In the decades since its release, the film has received a massive reappraisal, and I won't be shocked when it happens here too.

The concluding chapter of Green's trilogy plays like an intriguing blend of the kind of movies "Season of the Witch" was attempting to spin off, while still including Michael in the mix. It doesn't follow the beats of a traditional slasher, taking an approach that constantly keeps you on your toes as Michael's evil infects Haddonfield like a virus. "Halloween Ends" was a bold swing that I can't help but respect Green for taking. Michael may have reached his untimely demise, but the life of the movie that ended his reign has only just begun.

"Halloween Ends" is now playing in theaters, in addition to streaming on Peacock.