There’s no denying that the infamous Michael Myers (or “Shape of Evil”) has made his mark in the horror genre, and remains a staple of horror fans’ favorite holiday. And after appearing in 10 films (12 if you count the upcoming Halloween Kills and Ends), it’s no wonder why he’s had such staying power.
When we think of the Halloween franchise, images of this masked, emotionless killer come to mind, as he stalks babysitters and anyone who happens to get in his way. But this iconic horror series almost played out vastly differently. And in many ways, it would have been much better this way, despite the objections of many horror fans.
The Most Underrated Sequel
We could have devoted this entire piece to the sole argument that Halloween III: Season of the Witch is underrated and deserves far more credit than it receives. But to do so would only belabor a point, that’s already beginning to take hold in the horror community.
Upon its release, there was a massive fan backlash, as people were expecting to see Michael Myers again, only to be treated to a techno-thriller involving cursed masks and Stonehenge. But this debacle wasn’t the fault of the film itself. Rather, it was a simple mistake of the studio that the second film in the franchise was a direct sequel to the original.
Per the original plan for the franchise, Halloween was only over meant to be an anthology series, with each film dealing with a different aspect of the holiday. So the issue wasn’t so much that this was titled Halloween III.
Instead the issue was that they did a direct sequel first, only to go with this anthology idea for the third film, and not bother to tell the fans. So while their negative response wasn’t entirely fair to the film, it’s also not entirely fair to blame them for something they weren’t aware of.
Returning To Form
Following this backlash, the studio took a six year hiatus and brought back the iconic slasher villain with Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (emphasis on the “Return” part). And while it remains a solid sequel, and even introduced us to the future horror legend Danielle Harris (who acted the hell out of this film at age 11), it began a trend of diminishing returns which continues to this day.
Now some sequels have been better than others, but by giving fans more of Michael Myers, all that the studio ensure was that each film would play out pretty much the same, as is the case with most slasher sequels. There’s a reason that so many of them have a first film that beloved by all, but by sequel 4 or 5, it’s become a parody of its former self, and Halloween was no different.
Because fans had been given more of the same with Halloween II, and then were surprised by the new plot in Season of the Witch, it made them dig in deeper with simply wanting more of the same. But the original anthology concept would been something extraordinary.
The Amazing Franchise That Never Was
The most frustrating aspect of this entire Season of the Witch “controversy” was that we never got any more standalone films that dealt with Halloween itself. As the holiday embodiment of horror itself, it’s amazing how few films in that genre actually take place on or have to do with Halloween.
Had this anthology concept really taken off, we could have gotten about 10 films celebrating the spirit of the Halloween season, but dealing with an entirely different aspect or plot. We already had a slasher and the techno-thriller, but we could have also gotten films dealing with aliens, ghosts, demonic possession, zombies, monsters, vampires, and so many more.
Each could have had the potential to be a unique classic in their own right, and each could have been part of a this loosely connected franchise that could have very easily have been the American Horror Story of 80’s film. But alas, this idea would never come to fruition, and instead, we audiences, would be doomed to watch the same repetitive plot over and over for 40 years.
However, it was the fans who demanded more of the same, so perhaps we got the franchise we deserved, despite knowing that it wasn’t the best thing for us. Perhaps in some alternate universe, they can enjoy this brilliant anthology franchise and they wonder what it would be like if the whole series was nothing but Michael Myers!