Warning: major spoilers for the new Halloween lie ahead.
If you love something… Let. It. Go.
In the middle of an already exciting month for horror fans, this weekend heralds the release of the latest Halloween sequel. A fresh take on the beloved franchise, the new Michael Myers chapter is presently holding an 81% on Rotten Tomatoes and has been excitedly praised by many film critics, including Mashable’s own Angie Han.
As a fervent lover of the entire slasher saga—shout out to the Busta Rhymes and Tyra Banks days—I naturally want to throw my own two cents in on the sequel assessment.
And while I cannot say enough about how much I really, really loved this movie, one small audio edit at the end of the credits has me more than a little angry.
No, I’m not nitpicking an acoustic faux pas. (The audio engineering throughout is masterful.) I’m talking about the literally last-minute post-credits audio clip that undercuts every moment of the film’s preceding 100 minutes of glory.
If you didn’t catch what I’m talking about, here’s a recap
Following an epic fight to the finish against Michael, three generations of Strode women (Laurie, Laurie’s daughter, and Laurie’s daughter’s daughter) climb into the back of a pickup truck and drive into the night, finally free of their terror. Michael has been captured in Laurie’s kickass bunker/basement and climactically burned alive. It is a rare moment of triumph in both this franchise and in the horror genre at large.
And yet, when the credits wrap up, the closing music cuts out and the dark screen is met with distinct, muffled breathing. It is a clear sign that behind that infamous mask, Michael Myers lives on.
The film never shows Myers’ dead body and upon first viewing that makes total sense, even in a world where the Strodes win. (The film is tactfully gory and a charred corpse isn’t really necessary to the finale pacing.) But this auditory Easter egg is clearly the creators’ wink-wink-nudge-nudge attempt at opening the door to a sequel—and that could not be a bigger mistake.
We’ve been down this path before – with discouraging results
What makes this rendition of Halloween so marvelous isn’t the throwback scares or the persistent threat of a deranged killer. 2018’s Halloween is fantastic because it constantly uses its own history to subvert audience expectation.
Turning trope after trope on its head, this reimagining of a 1970s classic puts the victims in the driver’s seat and the killer on blast. It is a grand exit that champions the final girl in all the right ways and manages a surprising reprieve for the rocky franchise’s mixed past.
Compared to the rest of the outstanding story, this been-there-done-that “the killer is still out there!” cliffhanger feels starkly predictable.
That being said, I am not oblivious as to why yet another Halloween follow-up is desirable. Plenty of fans, myself included, left theaters wanting more. Not to mention, any financially successful movie seemingly compels studio execs to trick it out for another payday.
This auditory Easter egg is the creators’ attempt at opening the door to a sequel—and that could not be a bigger mistake.
While all of that may seem tempting—I, too, want Jamie Lee Curtis to have so much money she can afford to dive into a pool of gold coins like Scrooge McDuck—Halloween, of all franchises, knows what a dangerous road this is to go down.
Each of the nine preceding sequels to 2018’s Halloween managed to more than make back their respective budgets at the box office. However, plenty of these revisits were also met with searing criticism from professional and amateur reviewers alike.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch was called “one of the worst films in history.” In a particularly scathing 2002 review, Halloween: Resurrection was dismissed as “flat, unfunny and less frightening than a Vanilla Ice comeback album.” And, in a burn that says, “I care so little about you I’m not even upping my word count,” one critic summed up his Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers experience by commenting, “The less said about this sixth entry in the Halloween series, the better.” Ouch.
If David Gordon Green can force himself and his Halloween creative team to take a walk down memory lane, a litany of horrific reviews will remind them that no amount of audience demand can make up for horrendous quality.
And, if that doesn’t do it, then I am asking personally: Mr. Green, you made a phenomenal movie. Please, please leave it alone.
All in all, this post-credits addition adds a small stain to an otherwise perfect film. So, what’s my recommendation?
When the credits start to roll at your viewing this weekend, get out of that theater as fast as you can. Linger too long and I promise a decades-old cinema killer will be back for one last scare.