Late last night, the first official images from Blumhouse’s 2018 production of Halloween were released. A sequel to John Carpenter’s seminal classic, the 2018 film was directed by David Gordon Green, and saw the return of Carpenter as a producer and creative consultant, Jamie Lee Curtis as the leading lady, and Nick Castle as the notorious slasher, their first collaboration since the original. What do these pictures reveal about the film?
For one, we get to see Jamie Lee Curtis back in action. Her performance of an aged Laurie Strode is captured in this tense still, showing Michael breaking through a window behind her while she desperately tries to hold a door shut.
Images like this recall the original classic very well, much of which featured star Curtis dodging the killer’s deadly clutches. Michael’s mask can be faintly seen through the window, glaring at the woman who escaped him forty years prior. Punctuated by the flying glass frozen in the air, it really is an impressive moment that shows after all these years, the bitter rivalry between the two is still fresh.
Not only that, we’ve also at long last received our first clear look at the Michael Myers character. Previously only seen as a close-up of his famous mask, we’ve now seen these images Carpenter’s favorite son in the flesh and on set. Michael shows his age, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The mask worn by the Shape in the new film is not in terribly good condition. The paint on the mask is scuffed, chipped, and even appears yellowed in a few places, far from the clean, new mask we saw in the original film. It recalls the stitched, almost Frankenstein-esque look the mask had in Rob Zombie’s 2007 remake.
The filmmakers choosing this look is actually a pretty interesting stylistic choice. Not only does it reference the Zombie film (Green stated there are references to all previous Halloween sequels in the new one), but it actually shows the age of the Michael Myers character. Michael was twenty one in the original film. As this film takes place forty years later, that will make him sixty one. Nick Castle, the actor playing him, is in his 70s.
The mask reflecting Michael’s true age is a unique choice in the annals of the franchise. Previously, masks had tried to keep the man underneath as vague as possible, and aside from some flashbacks and a brief glimpse in the original film, we never saw anything of Michael’s face in the original series. The mask in the original looked twenty one. The new mask looks sixty one.
There’s also a very special reason for that. Though it’s not the original prop, this mask in the new film is indeed meant to be the one Michael wore during his first killing spree.
In most of the previous sequels, Michael simply replaced his mask when it got too damaged or decayed to be of any use. The idea behind this new film is that after he was recaptured, Michael’s mask was taken away by the authorities and kept in storage. Latex, as most people know, is a very fragile material, and will decay no matter how well people try to keep it.
According to summaries of the new trailer, set to be released this Friday, Michael reclaims his original mask when a film crew, making a documentary on his killing spree, meets Michael at the sanitarium he’s housed at and presents him with it in an effort to get a reaction. When Michael escapes, he takes the mask with him and once again goes home.
This is not just a mask. This is the mask. This is the same likeness of latex and white paint that has haunted Laurie Strode for the last four decades. It’s as much a character as the man wearing it, and like Michael, the mask shows its years. Better yet the mask appears quite accurate to the original. In spite of the chips in the paint, it is unmistakable as the likeness of William Shatner used in the original movie, making this the most true the mask has appeared to the first film since the first sequel in 1981.
That the mask reveals Michael’s age also goes back to previous statements made by Danny McBride when the film was in development. Green and McBride, unsatisfied with the almost comical indestructibility of Michael in later sequels, desired to bring the film back to the spirit of the original and create a more flesh and blood, believable character that you might meet in the real world. And that character is getting old. This is not the college aged slasher we remember. This man is older. He’s decaying. But he’s still relentless enough to try and finish what he couldn’t back in 1978.
I for one am very excited to see how this older version of Michael will play onscreen, and we will be seeing more of it soon when the trailer is released.
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