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The New Halloween Looks Good as Hell

On Friday, the trailer dropped for the new iteration of Halloween. If you’re familiar with John Carpenter’s 1978 original, you know it as the story of Michael Myers, a homicidal escaped mental asylum patient who’s a remarkably good driver for having been locked up most of his life. Based on the trailer, the new Halloween, which is directed by David Gordon Green and co-written by Green, Danny McBride (yes, that Danny McBride), and Jeff Fradley, looks infinitely better than it has any right to.

Instead of a straight remake, this version serves as a true sequel to the original slasher flick and its narrative seems to erase every sequel and remake that followed. (Surely anyone who has seen Rob Zombie’s remake is fine with a little cinematic revisionism.) The film picks up 40 years later, with the once virginal, archetypal final girl Laurie Strode now a grown woman fueled by an internal cauldron of boiling fury. Even now, the genre tends to focus on the hunting of young, scantily clad women, so pitting a complicated, older protagonist against the human black hole responsible for decades of trauma feels fresh and vital.

What made the original so impressive was that Carpenter did so much with so little. He made the film on no money, and its lone marquee name, British actor Donald Pleasence, was only available for less than a week. While Carpenter didn’t have much in the way of resources, he did construct a stylized gem where the terror lies in mounting tension and anticipation. Although Myers is rarely on screen and there’s not much in the way of gore, his presence is felt, looming and stalking over Strode and her friends even when just out of frame. The new trailer contains a nice nod to the late Pleasence’s Dr. Loomis in the form of a courtroom drawing.

Save for Season of the Witch’s departure from the Michael Myers narrative, subsequent Halloween sequels managed to accomplish less with more, possibly because they were helmed by other directors and tried to ape Carpenter’s vision instead of coming up with new ones. But based on the trailer, Green does have his own vision—and it’s one that effectively incorporates more body horror than the original, manifested in the fistful of bloody teeth that shower over a bathroom stall door.

Halloween hits theaters October 18.

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