Halloween (2018) Beat Sheet
The eleventh film in the Halloween franchise was released on October 19th, 2018. It not only garnered favorable reviews as a “return to form sequel,” but it also smashed all box office records, becoming the highest-grossing slasher film of all time at $255 million worldwide. The film ignored the sequels, instead being a direct sequel to Halloween (1978). However, the movie contains many visual Easter eggs to all of the Halloween films to the watchful eye.
Jamie Lee Curtis returned as the tormented Laurie Strode and Nick Castle, who played the original Michael Myers, also appears as The Shape in several scenes. Director John Carpenter also returned to executive produce and to write a new, hypnotic soundtrack based on the score of his original film. The film will have two sequels, Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends, to be released in October 2021 and October 2022, respectively.
Genre: Monster in the House (Serial Monster)
Logline: Laurie Strode confronts her long-time foe Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.
MITH Cousins: Halloween (1978), Friday the 13th, Halloween II, Black Christmas, Texas Chain Saw Massacre, April Fool’s Day, Happy Birthday To Me, Slumber Party Massacre, Peeping Tom, Silent Night Deadly Night, Psycho, Scream, Terror Train, The Prowler, The House on Sorority Row, The Burning, Sleepaway Camp, My Bloody Valentine, Alice Sweet Alice, Maniac, Madman, Wolf Creek, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Peeping Tom, The Final Girls, The Town That Dreaded Sundown, Prom Night, Hell Night, Urban Legend, Hatchet, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, Silent Scream, When a Stranger Calls
Written by: Jeff Fradley, Danny McBride & David Gordon Green
Based on the characters created by John Carpenter & Debra Hill
Directed by: David Gordon Green
1. Opening Image (1): Various images inside Smith’s Grove Sanitarium: a ticking clock, laughing mental patients. All housed within the confines of cold brick and steel bars. The time is October 30th, 2018.
2. Set-Up (1-10): Dana Haines (Rhian Reese) and Aaron Korey (Jefferson Hall), two investigative journalists, meet with Dr. Ranbir Sartain (Haluk Bilginer). Sartain was once a student of Dr. Loomis and studied mass murderer Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney) since he was brought back in after his escape and spree killings 40 years ago. The journalists want to get any answers they can from Myers before he’s transferred to a new facility, Glass Hill, which is described as the “pit of hell.”
From a safe distance, Korey attempts to reach the looming Michael Myers, who stands catatonic in a courtyard, chained and still. The journalist asks Myers about the night 40 years ago when he slew five people and terrorized Laurie Strode. From his satchel, Korey pulls out Michael’s old Halloween mask. The other inmates in the courtyard go wild. Korey demands that Michael speaks and answers him, but Myers, the incarnate of evil, remains silent.
3. Theme Stated (7): The credit sequence begins. Thanks to reverse photography, a decomposed pumpkin returns to its former, fresh shape as a lit jack o’ lantern with John Carpenter’s classic theme on the soundtrack. The sequence suggests that malevolent forces will rise from their slumber, that darkness will rise from decay. Evil never dies.
4. Catalyst (10): Unsuccessful getting any answers from Michael Myers, Dana Haines and Aaron Korey travel to Haddonfield, Illinois, to see if the counterpart to that historic night 40 years ago, Laurie Strode, will answer some questions. Could it be that one monster, Myers, created another monster, Strode? They arrive at a rusted gate with security cameras. They try to buzz in via a mounted intercom. Strode isn’t interested in talking to them until they offer her $3,000. The electric gate rolls open.
5. Debate (10-25): Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) lives in the middle of nowhere in a compound that’s armed like Fort Knox—security cameras, barred windows and doors, and plenty of firepower. They ask Strode some questions about that fateful night. Korey is flippant with Strode, not believing in “the boogeyman.” (Ignorance will be the transgression that kills him.) We learn, mostly from the journalists, that Laurie’s life has been a wreck since the event in 1978. Not only does she have severe PTSD, but she’s also had two failed marriages and her child, at 12 years old, was taken away from her due to Laurie’s deranged state. They want Laurie to meet with Michael to free herself from the past. Pained by bringing up the past, Laurie tells him they should go. She takes her fee.
Ray Nelson (Toby Huss) talks about murdering an entire family and he sets some mousetraps. (It seems that Michael Myers isn’t the only bloodthirsty killer.) He annoys his wife, Karen Nelson (Judy Greer), who’s Laurie’s middle-aged daughter, and Allyson Nelson (Andi Matichak), Laurie’s granddaughter. Allyson is having an honor’s dinner tonight and asks her mother if she invited her grandmother. Karen says that Laurie is agoraphobic and turned down the invite. Later, walking to school with her friends Dave and Vicky, Allyson says that she called her grandmother and that she wasn’t invited. Her mother lied. Her mother is trying to keep Laurie away from her granddaughter. The Halloween trauma has defined Laurie’s life and Karen, raised by Laurie, doesn’t want her daughter to deal with Laurie’s craziness, especially when it’s the Season of the Dead, which is when Laurie gets the most anxious.
6. B Story (20): Laurie meets with Allyson after school and offers her the $3000. Allyson says that her fear of Michael has cost her everything—her friends and family. Laurie waits for Michael to be transferred from one institution to another, and it has her on edge. Allyson tells her to get over “The Boogeyman” and move on. Allyson’s journey is the B Story. Through her grandmother, she will learn that fate is real and evil never dies; it just lies dormant until it has its opportunity to rise again on another Halloween night in Haddonfield. The Boogeyman is real.
Debate (cont’d) (10-25): Back at her compound, Laurie blows holes in mannequins with rifles, pistols, and shotguns. She’s ready for Michael if something should go wrong with the transfer. Dr. Sartain climbs onto the Smith’s Grove bus with all of the other patient transfers. Laurie watches from her truck, clutching a pistol and sipping booze like water to steady her frayed nerves.
6. Break into Two (25): Laurie shows up at the restaurant meeting with Karen, Ray, Allyson, and Cameron Elam, Allyson’s boyfriend (Dylan Arnold). It doesn’t go well. Laurie cannot get over the past, despite this being the night for her to do so.
8. Fun and Games (30-55): Karen tells Allyson that she’s still trying to get over the hell Laurie put her through—teaching her to shoot when she was eight and to fight, building boobytraps for the Boogeyman. She was taken away by the state at age 12. Karen has her own trauma due to Laurie’s trauma.
A boy and his father, two hunters, drive along in a truck along a country road. They come upon the crashed bus. State mental patients wander around. The man gets out to investigate. He’s killed, and later, so is his son, by Michael Myers. The killer takes the truck. Dr. Sartain, who was accidentally shot by the boy, is wounded and bleeding.
Officer Hawkins (Will Patton) is called to the scene. He finds the wounded Dr. Sartain, who’s unconscious. Working with Sheriff Barker (Omar Dorsey), they learn that Michael Myers is loose on Halloween. Oh shit.
Dana Haines and Aaron Korey continue their research of the Myers story, even going to Judith Myers’ grave (Michael’s sister he killed when he was six). They stop at a gas station, unaware that they’ve been followed ever since visiting the grave. Michael kills all the gas station attendants, removes his hospital garments, replaces them with his trademark dark overalls, and then kills Haines and Korey in the restroom. They didn’t believe in the Boogeyman as Laurie warned, and it cost them. Michael then goes to their car, dons his old, time-worn pallid mask, and heads into town for more carnage. (Talk about promise of the premise!)
Seeing the news reports, Laurie prepares for what she knew would come for 40 years. She breaks into Karen and Ray’s house, fully armed. She tells them that they need to hunt Myers down and that they’re not safe. They negate her “paranoia” and make her leave.
Halloween night. The Shape (Michael Myers) walks among trick or treaters. He starts his random killings. (In a Halloween II-inspired sequence, he kills a woman with a claw hammer and then takes the chef’s knife she was using to make a sandwich. Easter eggs aplenty to Halloween film fans throughout.)
9. Midpoint (53): False Defeat: Allyson and Cameron are cross-dressing Bonnie and Clyde at the high school dance costume party. Vicky, who’s babysitting, calls. As she’s on the phone with her friend, Allyson gets a call from Grandma Laurie; she declines it. Then Cameron and her get into a fight, the phone rings again (Laurie), and Cameron drops it into nacho cheese dip. (For screenwriters, this is a creative way to get rid of a cellphone that can mess up a thriller.) This crosses A and B Stories as Laurie tries to protect Allyson from evil incarnate. It also raises the stakes and gets the clock ticking (it’s only a matter of time before The Shape finds Allyson.)
10. Bad Guys Close In (53-75): Like teenagers in any slasher movie, Vicky and Dave smoke weed and make out on the couch, while she’s supposed to be watching young, spirited Julian (Jibrail Nantambu). Vicky and Dave die horribly.
Officer Hawkins and Laurie converge on the murder house at the same time, seeing The Shape. He escapes. Now it’s a full-blown search to find him. With Sheriff Barker, Dr. Sartain is out of the hospital, and like his predecessor, Dr. Loomis, explaining the psychopathology of Myers. Laurie reveals that she prayed every night for Myers to escape so she could kill him. She and Myers are the flipside of the same obsessive card.
Leaving the party, Allyson and Oscar (Drew Scheid) take a short cut across a fenced yard with motion-detector lights. Oscar makes a pass at Allyson now that she and Cameron are broken up. Allyson rebuffs the awkward nerd, leaving him. The Shape appears and kills Oscar. Hearing his screams, Allyson finds Oscar impaled on an iron-wrought fence. Now she knows what her grandma said was real. Laurie takes Karen and Ray back to her domestic fortress. She leaves a voicemail for Allyson to have the officer waiting at her parents’ house to bring her out there. Laurie prepares. She has a basement arsenal with a secret entrance. She’s been waiting for this moment for four decades.
11. All Is Lost (75): Officer Hawkins finds Allyson. He puts her in the back of his SUV. Dr. Sartain rides with him, talking about his obsession with Myers. They see The Shape and run into him, knocking him out. Hawkins wants to kill The Shape, but Dr. Sartain intervenes, killing Hawkins in a whiff of death moment. The mad doctor drags Myers’ unconscious body into the backseat—with Allyson—and drives to Laurie’s. Allyson is locked in the back with the serial murderer; what could be worse?
12. Dark Night of the Soul (75-85): Dr. Sartain drives to Laurie’s. Allyson tries to bargain with him to let her go. The Shape awakens, killing Dr. Sartain (obviously there’s some doctor-patient animosity there). This allows Allyson to escape. She runs through the woods to grandmother’s house, hopefully not running into the Big, Bad Wolf. Myers kills two officers guarding Laurie’s house then storms Laurie’s compound using the cruiser. Ray goes outside to check it out. It’s a creepy ruse from The Shape. (He made a jack o’ lantern with one officer’s hollowed-out head and a flashlight.) He kills Ray.
13. Break into Three (85): The Shape and Laurie make eye contact. It’s on. The Shape breaks through the door, trying to crush Laurie’s head. With her shotgun, she manages to blow off the fingers of one of his hands. Escapes. Laurie goes down into the basement with Karen. The Shape enters the house. Laurie says that “she has to finish this,” and goes upstairs. This ties A and B Stories together and raises the personal stakes as she must protect her loved ones from evil.
14. Finale (85-100):
— Executing the Plan, Laurie must Defend the Castle, her castle, from death itself. (The Gathering of the Team occurred earlier.) She stalks the house for The Shape in a suspenseful cat-and-mouse sequence.
— High Tower Surprise: The Shape, among mannequins that Laurie will use for target practice, attacks her. And in a reversal from the original Halloween, Laurie tumbles off the veranda.
— Dig, Deep Down: Allyson enters the house. Karen coaxes her downstairs into the hiding place. They wait, trying to be silent. Somehow, The Shape knows they’re there. He rips the cabinet away that hides the hole in the floor. He has them now. Karen grabs her old rifle, the one with her initials on it, feigning weakness and fear, drawing The Shape to the entrance of the stairs. She shoots him.
— Executing a New Plan: Laurie appears behind The Shape. The two struggle in hand-to-hand combat. Laurie smashes his face with a cast-iron skillet. The Shape tumbles down the stairs. Karen and Allyson run up the stairs. The Shape grabs Karen’s leg. Allyson slashes her mother’s assailant with a knife. Laurie pulls a lever. The entrance to the cellar closes with iron bars. It was a trap the entire time. Laurie pulls four levers. Her whole house has natural gas spigots—they hiss. Laurie lights a road flare and throws it down into the cage pit. “Goodbye, Michael.” The Shape looms there, looking up, not moving. Like a statue. The entire house burns up. Laurie, Karen, and Allyson make their way outside.
15. Final Image (93): A pick-up truck drives by. Bloodied and battered, the three women climb into the back. They roll off into the night. For 40 years, Laurie waited for Michael Myers’ return to kill him and keep her family safe at the same time. She’s done both. She’s the victor. She can now rest, having forged a new relationship with her daughter and granddaughter.