Much like Michael Myers himself, the Halloween franchise simply can't be killed. Though it's been a full seven years since the last time we saw Myers ruthlessly murder a bunch of people at the hands of director Rob Zombie in Halloween II, the future of the classic horror franchise has remained pretty up in the air following the mostly tepid reception to that 2009 reboot sequel. However, by the grace of
god Blumhouse Productions, Halloween may finally be set to right the wrongs (soooo many wrongs) of forgettable sequels with the help of one very important dude: John Fucking Carpenter.
Blumhouse, the same horror-minded studio that brought us Paranormal Activity and the forthcoming The Purge: Election Year, announced Monday that it had secured the rights to the franchise and had even enlisted Carpenter himself to guide the series back to its former glories. "Halloween needs to return to its traditions," Carpenter, who will serve as both executive producer and creative consultant on the new film, said in a press release. "I feel like the movies have gotten away from that. Michael is not just a human being; he's a force of nature, like the wind. That's what makes him so scary."
Though categorizing Carpenter's comments as full-on shade might be a reach, the Halloween creator's insistence that the revived franchise go easy on the "human being" aspects of the Michael Myers character certainly brings to mind Zombie's pair of Halloween films. Zombie's 2007 reboot followed the basic story of Carpenter's 1978 original, with a controversial eye toward the inner workings of Myers' psyche. In his review of Zombie's reboot, New York Times film critic Matt Zoller Seitz highlighted the key problem with this approach: sheer incompatibility.
"Unfortunately, the spook tale and the case study are incompatible storytelling modes. Mr. Zombie’s movie, which he wrote and directed, wants us to care about Myers — who busts out of a mental institution 17 years after murdering most of his family and goes home to reconnect with the baby sister he spared — even while it depicts him as a mute, literally faceless grim reaper. The two impulses cancel each other out."
No offense to Zombie, as exploring the psychological issues that might inspire someone to become a serial killer is certainly admirable artistic work, but the criticism is apt. After all, what could possibly be scarier than someone who kills for seemingly no reason at all? Humanizing Michael Myers strips the character of his most menacing quality, damaging his reputation as a ruthless murderer with no relatable motive for his madness.
"We made the original Halloween for very little money," Carpenter recalled when announcing the Blumhouse partnership. "At its heart it's just a good, scary story, and that's why it works. 38 years later, I'm going to help to try to make the tenth sequel the scariest of them all." Carpenter, who is also expected to provide the score on this untitled Halloween revival, is clearly aware of both the strengths of the oft-imitated 1978 original and the shortcomings of subsequent sequels and reboots.
Given Blumhouse's track record (an impressive catalog that also includes the underrated Shia LaBeouf gem Lawless and the critically revered Whiplash) and Carpenter’s dedication to not only protecting but restoring the franchise's legacy, things are looking quite good for the future of Michael Myers. After all, humanizing an iconic fictional murderer is so 2007. Let's get back to the mindless monster ways of yesteryear.