For the Love of God, Do NOT Make Halloween into a TV Show
Look, I’m incredibly protective of Halloween (1978) for a multitude of reasons. First off, it was released on October 25, 1978, and even though I wasn’t born yet, this is my birthday. Second, I’m also named Jamie Lee, but don’t you ever call me that unless you want me to go Michael on you. Third, THIS ENTIRE FILM. Halloween has given so much to the horror genre and pretty much everything you love about scary movies can be traced back to this film. There’s John Carpenter’s iconic soundtrack, which you probably started singing in your head the minute you saw this article. Halloween’s soundtrack has been imitated in nearly every slasher film since, and it is used perfectly throughout the film to heighten tension and add an extra jolt to each big scare. Then there’s Laurie Strode, everyone’s favorite original Final Girl because let’s be real, Sally (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre) just survives but it’s Laurie who fights back. Laurie cemented the status of the Final Girl (including some of the unflattering stereotypes) and without her we would never have progressed to kickass Final Girls like Clarice Starling (The Silence of the Lambs) or Sidney Prescott (Scream).
And that leaves us with the most important thing of all: the boogeyman himself, MichaelMyers. We’re never given a reason for Michael’s homecoming and, ignoring the ham-fisted twist in Halloween II, why he has fixated on Laurie Strode. It makes the scenes of him stalking her from behind a bush or outside of her bedroom window particularly chilling. We never hear him speak, we never really even see his real face. Instead, he remains a terrifying enigma throughout the film. As I said before, I’m biased when it comes to Halloween but for me it’s given us so much of what we expect and love about scary movies. It’s sacred territory, or at least it should be. This week, Fangoria published an article hinting at the possibility of a TV adaptation of Halloween. Last fall, Dimension Films lost the rights to the popular franchise and it was noticeably absent at the recent European Film Market. A filmmaker in attendance, who asked Fangoria not to reveal their name, told the magazine that this was because the franchise was going to get a small screen reboot. A TV series would allow a cleaner reboot than a theatrical one and the series would be a limited-run (similar to The Strain), which would prevent the need for expensive, long-term contracts. This all makes sense from a financial point of view but rebooting Halloween as a TV series is such a trash idea on so many levels that I don’t even know where to begin. We could talk about how this would just be Scream Queens featuring Michael Myers and how we deserve better after suffering through so much of Ryan Murphy’s bullshit. We could talk about how The Strain was terrible and shouldn’t be used as a model for anything except what not to do (am I right, Chico Leo?). But instead, let’s talk about Michael Myers and why a TV series focused on his
journey to murder would be a disaster.
We love a good backstory, whether its True Crime or fictional monsters, we want to discover the reasons that drive someone kills. And I think this is why shows like Hannibal and Bates Motel have been so successful. But to me, seeing the twisted relationship Norma Bates has with her son and understanding how it plays a role in his future works because Norman is human. And if the final scene of Halloween is any indication that is something Michael Myers really isn’t and shouldn’t ever be. Which inevitably leads us to the most cautionary tale of all, Rob Zombie’s Halloween (2007). Let me preface this by saying I am a big fan of Zombie’s work outside of these two films. But Zombie’s biggest misstep in his remake wasn’t modernizing the film or making it darker, it was making Michael human. Seeing Michael’s fucked up, white trash upbringing definitely gave me a viable explanation to his childhood crimes. But it also made him relatable. Sure, the kid showed anti-social tendencies, but it was also easy to feel sorry for him. And I certainly didn’t think that this Michael Myers would grow up to be the boogey man or even the stuff of nightmares. The only rampage this fat, white trash Michael seems capable of is a school shooting.
And that’s the beauty of the original Halloween. Our introduction to Michael is through an iconic first person sequence in which an unseen assailant in a creepy clown costume stalks and eventually murders a teenager. And it isn’t until we see two worried parents rushing up the stairs and yanking the mask off of the camera that we realize that our killer is in fact a six-year-old child. And then, without another word, the camera pans out, leaving us with nothing more than that sucker punch of a realization. It’s nothing short of brilliant. Sure, I could tell you that Michael was sexually fixated on his older sister, Judith, and that hecame back to Haddonfield to murder more surrogate sisters. The staging of Lynda’s body with Judith’s tombstone definitely supports this theory. Hell, I like this theory. But the movie never explicitly tells us this, because if it did, Michael wouldn’t be the boogey man, he would just be a serial killer. Boring. Serial killers don’t get sequels (unless you’re Ted Bundy), and they certainly don’t get franchises.
All this said, Hollywood definitely has a track record when it comes to Carpenter’s work and the recent green light on a Big Trouble in Little China (1986) remake proves that nothing is sacred, including our beloved Michael Myers.
This piece is written by Jamie Righetti, one of the founding members of FanBrosShow and an awesome person all by herself. You can follow her on Twitter here.