|Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later|
|Directed by||Steve Miner|
|Produced by||Paul Freeman|
|Starring||Jamie Lee Curtis|
|Music by||John Ottman|
|Editing by||Patrick Lussier|
|Distributed by||Dimension Films|
|Release||August 5, 1998|
|Running time||86 min.|
|Gross revenue||$55–85 million|
|Preceded by||Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)|
Halloween II (1981, H20 Timeline)
|Followed by||Halloween: Resurrection (2002)|
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later is a 1998 slasher film directed by Steve Miner and starring Jamie Lee Curtis. The screenplay, based on a story by Kevin Williamson further developed by Robert Zapia, was written by Zapia and Matt Greenberg. It is the seventh installment in the Halloween series.
The film is set twenty years after the events in the original Halloween and centers on a post-traumatic Laurie Strode living in fear of her murderous brother Michael Myers, who attempted to kill her all those years ago.
The pre-credits sequence, beginning with the accompanying tune, "Mr. Sandman," opening in Langdon, Illinois on October 29, 1998. Marion Whittington, the nurse of Doctor Sam Loomis, who had died in 1995, drove up to her home, where she was shocked to see it had been burglarized . Next door, she alerted some neighboring teenage boys, and after one of them, ice-hockey attired Jimmy Howell, called the police, he went back to her house alone to check it for intruders, with his hockey stick for protection.
When he found nothing, other than a ransacked home office and bottles of beer (to steal) from the refrigerator, Miss Whittington was given an all-clear signal to return. Now dark outside, she discovered the power was out, but searched with a flashlight in her office, where there was an empty file folder labeled "LAURIE STRODE."
The masked killer Michael Myers was in the house behind her. Sensing trouble and a presence, she raced back next door. In the living room with the TV airing Ed Wood's Plan 9 From Outer Space, she found Jimmy murdered in an easy-chair - his face was diagonally stabbed from forehead to chin with the blade of an ice skate stuck into his face. The second teenage boy, Tony Allegre was also discovered dead, standing up at a side door with a knife in his back, and he fell on top of her.
Myers stalked after her as she valiantly fought him off with a fireplace iron poker. She broke a window with the poker, and screamed at the police, who had just arrived: "IN HERE, GOD DAMMIT!!," but went unheard. Myers murdered Miss Whittington by slitting her throat with a butcher knife. Police were entering her home as she was being murdered only a few feet away. Myers drove off in the neighbor's car as the two officers noticed the broken neighbor's window, jokingly calling the dual B & E "the Daily Double."
The next day, Halloween Eve, two detectives (Detective Fitzsimmons and Detective Matt Sampson) investigated the three gruesome killings, finding evidence that Loomis (who had spent his life "tracking down that Halloween guy who butchered all those kids up in Haddonfield...they never found his body...that was like 20 years ago") was obsessed with Michael Myers. Newspaper clippings from the Haddonfield News lined two walls of his bedroom ("CHILDREN FOUND BRUTALLY MURDERED ON HALLOWEEN") as well as other sketches, pictures of murder victims, and articles. They notified Haddonfield to warn of Myers' possible threat.
The camera panned over the bulletin board contents as the credits were played. Other headlines, filling in the back history of Myers, read: "Local Boy, Age 6, Kills Sister With Knife," "Child Murderer Sent to State Hospital," "Dr. Sam Loomis - Past Obsession?", "Laurie Strode Sole Survivor of October Mass Murders," "Babysitter Killer on the Loose," "Headstone Stolen From Area Cemetery," "Child Murderer Escapes Mental Hospital," "Is Michael Myers Still Alive?", "Survivor of Halloween Murders Killed in Auto Accident." In voice-over, Loomis (voice of Tom Kane) narrated: "I met him 15 years ago. I was told there was nothing left. No reason, no conscience, no understanding, even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face and the blackest eyes - the devil's eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized that what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply... evil."
The next scene was introduced with the camera tracking through school corridors into a classroom, where a nameplate read: "HEAD MISTRESS Keri Tate." At 12 midnight, signaling the arrival of Halloween on October 31, Laurie Strode, now assuming the name 'Keri Tate', was still haunted by her teenage years, as she struggled to recover and overcome her life experiences after Michael Myers attempted to kill her 20 years earlier in Haddonfield, Illinois [she had been identified as the killer's sister]. She woke up screaming bringing her 17-year-old son John Tate to her bedside. She was attempting to live a normal life (but under the pretense of an assumed false identity to escape her past), while she was heavily medicated and experiencing frightening nightmares and paranoid visions of Michael appearing everywhere - she saw the killer in her dreams, in window reflections, and in her mind.
A graduate of the class of 1979 in Haddonfield, she had relocated to Northern California, where she became successful as the headmistress of the secluded private prep boarding school (behind wrought-iron gates) called Hillcrest Academy, in Summer Glen, although separated from her husband (an "abusive, chain-smoking, methadone addict"). At 37 years of age, she lived on campus with her student-son.
It was October 31, Halloween. When John asked permission to go on the annual school camping trip to Yosemite during Halloween weekend with the other students, his over-protective, overly-cautious single mother was unwilling to allow him. He was frustrated by her denial and confronted her: "your over protection and paranoia is inhibiting my growth process...I need a little more open air. I've earned it." When John's girlfriend Molly Cartwell was also forced to remain on campus due to problems with her financial payments, their two friends - sex-obsessed Charles Deveraux and Sarah Wainthrope also planned to remain behind (with made-up excuses - a late history report, and a 102 degree fever) to hold their own private Halloween party on the almost-deserted campus.
On Highway 139 in northern California, a mother named Claudia and her young daughter Casey pulled into an empty rest area for a bathroom stop. They walked by Myers' vehicle that he had been driven from Illinois, with a flat right front tire. Forced to use the men's room, Claudia was spooked when her handbag (with her car keys) was grabbed and she saw a masked figure through the toilet's door. Outside, the strewn contents of her handbag led to her car - now driven off and stolen by Myers.
At the school, Miss Tate was involved in a semi-discreet affair with her love interest suitor, the school's guidance counselor Will Brennan, who claimed he was "attracted" to her issues and problems. Other staff members included Laurie's busy-body secretary Norma Watson, and the school's security guard Ronald Jones, an aspiring writer of semi-erotic novels. John convinced Ronny to let him leave the locked and gated grounds during lunchtime, with Charlie, to go to town to get a gift for his girlfriend. At the same time, Miss Tate was having a 1 pm lunch date with Will in a downtown restaurant. She opened up, describing her fears of losing her son, while Will expressed his loving support and believed that she could recover from her problems and her mysterious "back story." She claimed that she had tried everything to heal: "Twelve steps, uh, self-help, group therapy, shrinks, meditation - everything."
When he left for the men's room, she revealed that she was a functioning alcoholic when she gulped down her first glass of Chardonnay while hurriedly ordering a second one from a startled waiter. The two boys were caught wandering in downtown (after Charlie had shoplifted a bottle of wine for their party) by John's enraged mother and reprimanded. John assertively shouted back at his mother that she must responsibly move on from her haunted past: "Michael Myers is dead...It's over...We should try to get on with some attempt at a happy existence...I can't take it anymore." He reminded his mother of the 20 years that had passed: "You told me yourself you watched him burn...20 years. Don't you think he would have shown up by now? What's he waitin' for, huh?" He finally ends the conversation by telling her "Mom, I can't live like this anymore" When she asks him what he means, he tells her that "If you want to stay handcuffed to her dead brother that's fine but you're not dragging me along, not anymore." The stolen vehicle followed them back to the gated campus entrance, where Ronny was scolded for letting the boys leave the grounds.
Before the school buses departed at 4:15 pm, Miss Tate taught an English literature class on Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein. Molly noticed the masked figure lurking and staring at her from outside the classroom behind a locked door-entrance, before prophetically responding to a question about the book and fate: "I think that Victor should have confronted the monster sooner. He's completely responsible for Elizabeth's death. He was so paralyzed by fear that he never did anything. It took death for the guy to get a clue." She also explained why Victor finally confronted the monster when he "had reached a point in his life where he had nothing left to lose. I mean, the monster saw to that by killing off everybody that he loved. It was about redemption. It was his fate."
Miss Tate was awakened from deep thought about the response when the bell rang. At the end of class, John's mother surprised him by permitting him to attend the camping trip, although he had already decided to remain behind with his friends for their planned Halloween party. As she watched the buses leave, she spoke to Secretary Norma - who startled her: "It's Halloween. I guess everyone's entitled to one good scare." Acting maternally, Norma advised Miss Tate, making reference to the troubles that they have shared: "I don't like to see you like this. I've seen you like this before, and, we've all had bad things happen to us. The trick is to concentrate on today!"
Michael enters Hillcrest
Later that evening, Ronny was distracted at the gate by the arrival of Myers' stolen vehicle parked at the gate, and as he turned off the car's engine, the killer slipped onto the grounds behind him. The phone lines were cut, and he suspected something was amiss. On his rounds throughout the school, Will checked on Molly and Sarah, and then joined Miss Tate for company in her home, to carve a jack-o-lantern together. The four teenagers snuck away and gathered leftover food from the school's kitchen for their candle-lit dinner party. Charlie left to find a corkscrew to open the stolen wine bottle.
In a moment of complete self-revelation, Miss Tate told Will the "truth" about her past history, as they kissed each other (although at first he thought she was joking): "I'm not who you think I am...My name's not Keri Tate...Laurie Strode...I changed my name when I went into hiding...My brother killed my sister when she was 17...With a really big, sharp Kitchen knife...They locked him up for a long time, but he got out and he came after me, but I got away. But he killed a lot of my friends. It happened on Halloween. Finally, he recognized her ghastly, infamous tale of Michael Myers from 20 years earlier. She explained more about how Laurie Strode "faked her death and now she's the headmistress of a very posh, secluded private school in northern California...hoping and praying every year that her brother won't find her."
After sitting for 15 years in the sanitarium, one rainy night, Myers murderously decided "to go trick-or-treating" when she was seventeen years old in 1978. Suddenly, Laurie feared for the life of her own 17-year-old son John, and tried to call Yosemite to talk to him, but her phone was dead. Then she discovered her son's camping gear in the closet, realizing he hadn't taken the trip. She grabbed a handgun from under her pillow in her bedroom, telling Will she was going to find John. At her door, Ronny told her that there was a "strange car" parked at the gate, but there were no signs of trespassing.
Sarah found Charlie searching for a corkscrew in the kitchen, without any luck. He took the dumb-waiter to the next floor up, where Michael Myers confronted him and slit his throat with a newly-found corkscrew - after some suspense when the corkscrew dropped into the garbage disposal. When Sarah followed after him, she found his bloodied corpse in the dumb-waiter. Myers chased after her and slashed her in the right thigh as she fled into the dumb-waiter up to another floor. As she was climbing out, Myers cut the conveyor's rope, causing her leg to be crushed by the dropped dumbwaiter door. He then approached, held her neck to the floor with his foot, and stabbed her multiple times in the back with the butcher knife. When John and Molly went looking for their friends, they found a blood trail on the floor and Sarah's body hanging from a light fixture in the pantry. They fled for their lives after a glimpse of the killer. Myers stabbed John in the leg - although Molly fended him off as they both ran to a locked gate outside his mother's residence. The two were cornered, trapped and threatened by Myers' slashing knife between the locked gate and the doorway, until Laurie and Will opened the door behind them. Laurie came face-to-face, momentarily, with her own evil nemesis, through the door round window. As she grabbed for her hand-gun, Myers disappeared.
The two teenagers were barricaded and locked in one of the rooms, as Will and Laurie searched for Myers in the hallways. Upon seeing Ronny, a dark figure in the hallways, Will mistook him for Myers and shot him down. As they panicked, Myers appeared and stabbed Will to death in the back - holding him up by the knife-point as his body trembled. Laurie was pursued, and defended herself by bashing Myers in the head with a fire extinguisher, before running outside with the two teens to her vehicle.
Brother vs sister
At the school's front gate, she left them to "drive down the street to the Becker's," a mile down the road, where they were to call the police and an ambulance, while she returned (after breaking the gate mechanism with a rock) to the school to battle Myers herself. She grabbed an emergency fire axe, and challenged Michael by calling out his name several times as she stalked him! Laurie wounded him with the axe, while her arms were slashed. With his butcher knife, he stalked her under table-clothed tables in the school's dining room, until she impaled him with a wooden flagpole. He pursued her into the kitchen, where she heaved knives at him, and then stabbed him repeatedly in the chest, sending the unstoppable killer off a balcony into a dining room table below. He appeared to be dead after the fall but to make sure, she decided to stab him more times, but Ronny, who survived his shooting, stopped her, thinking Michael was already dead.
The police arrived at the school, where Ronny's and Laurie's wounds were bandaged, as the stretcher carrying the supposed Michael in a body bag was loaded into a coroner's vehicle. Wielding a gun, Laurie drove off at high speed in the coroner's vehicle, and steered down the winding mountain road, all the while the real Michael Myers has switched clothing with a paramedic (as revealed in the following film) and watched as the van drove past him and slipped off into the woods by the school, as the paramedic woke up inside the body bag behind her.
When he emerged, she slammed on the brakes, propelling him through the windshield and onto the ground. Then, she crashed the van into his body, and steered the van off a cliff side. In the accident, the van tumbled over and over, and the paramedic found himself helplessly pinned between the vehicle and a tree. Although thrown from the vehicle, Laurie recovered and saw who she believed was her brother entreating her with an outstretched hand. Seeming to pity him, she touched her fingertips to his, but then decapitated him with one swing of the large fire axe.
- Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode/Keri Tate
- Josh Hartnett as John Tate
- Adam Arkin as Will Brennan
- Michelle Williams as Molly Cartwell
- LL Cool J as Ronald Jones
- Chris Durand as Michael Myers
- Adam Hann-Byrd as Charles Deveraux
- Jodi Lyn O'Keefe as Sarah Wainthrope
- Janet Leigh as Norma Watson
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Jimmy Howell
- Nancy Stephens as Marion Whittington
- Branden Williams as Tony Allegre
- Beau Billingslea as Detective Fitzsimmons
- Matt Winston as Matt Sampson
- Larisa Miller as Claudia
- Emmalee Thompson as Casey
- Lisa Gay Hamilton as Shirley Jones (voice)
- Tom Kane as Samuel Loomis (voice)
- John Cassini as Officer Andy
- Jody Wood as Officer Bobby
- Charles Deveraux (Deceased)
- Detective Fitzsimmons
- Jimmy Howell (Deceased)
- John Tate
- Judith Myers (mentioned)
- Laurie Strode/Keri Tate
- Marion Whittington (Deceased)
- Matt Sampson
- Michael Myers
- Molly Cartwell
- Norma Watson
- Paramedic (Deceased)
- Ronald Jones
- Sam Loomis (Deceased)
- Sarah Wainthrope (Deceased)
- Shirley Jones
- Tony Allegre (Deceased)
- Will Brennan (Deceased)
John Carpenter was originally in the running to be the director for this particular follow-up since Curtis wanted to reunite the cast and crew of the original to have active involvement in it. While it was believed that Carpenter, himself, opted out because he wanted no active part in the sequel this is not the case. Carpenter agreed to direct the movie, but his starting fee as director was 10 million dollars. Carpenter rationalized this by believing the hefty fee was compensation for revenue he never received from the original Halloween, a matter that was still a bit of contention between Carpenter and Akkad even after twenty years had passed. When Akkad balked at Carpenter's fee Carpenter walked away from the project.
Writer/Producer Kevin Williamson was involved in various areas of production on this particular sequel including coming up with the treatment that the film was based on. Although not directly credited, he provided rewrites in character dialogue, which is seen heavily throughout the teen moments. Miramax/Dimension Films felt his involvement as a co-executive producer merited being credited. The original working title for the film was Halloween 7: The Revenge of Laurie Strode.
The original music score was composed by John Ottman, but some music from Scream was added to the chase scenes later on during post-production. John Ottman expressed some displeasure about this action in an interview featured on the Halloween: 25 Years of Terror DVD released in 2006. Ottman's score was supplemented with Marco Beltrami's scores from Scream, Scream 2 and Mimic by a team of music editors as well as new cues written by Beltrami during the final days of sound mixing on the film. Dimension Films chief Bob Weinstein demanded the musical changes after being dissatisfied with Ottman's score.
The song "What's This Life For" by hard rock band Creed was featured in the movie during a party sequence and is also heard during the credits of the film.
As said on Halloween: 25 Years of Terror, Halloween H20 had many scenes especially close-ups, re-shot due to complaints of the Myers mask used in the film. A scene that could not be re-shot had a CGI mask replace it frame by frame. Besides the CGI mask, 3 masks including a recast Halloween 6 mask, were made for the film. Chris Durand, who portrayed Myers for H20, stated that everyone was stunned at the announcement of changing the mask, as they were already half-way through principal photography, and Miner had specifically chosen the mask they were already using after doing test shots with all of the masks from prior sequels.
The critical reception for H20 was mixed, with a rating of 50% on Rotten Tomatoes; the site's general consensus is that it is the finest of the sequels. In terms of total gross, Halloween H20 is the third highest-grossing film in the Halloween series, behind the 2018 sequel and the 2007 remake. It was released on August 5, 1998 in the US and later in many other countries. H2O cost $17 million to produce and gross $55 million in the United States. However, some critics say it gross $30 million internationally for a worldwide gross of $85 million in domestic box office sales. As for DVD/Video rentals, the film grossed over $21 million.
It received a warmer response from fans. In all aspects, the character development of Laurie Strode was praised.
As originally conceived, the plot device in which Laurie had faked her death was written explicitly to account for her reported "death" in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, and the original story treatment for H20 acknowledged the events depicted in the fourth through sixth films in the series, including the existence and death of Laurie's daughter, Jamie Lloyd. However, the filmmakers ultimately chose to not mention the events that we see transpire in H4-6. Although Laurie's faked death remained in the script, the scenes mentioning Jamie were removed from the story.
As an alternate continuity, Michael's 20 missing years are explained in the comic book series Halloween: Sam, which also explains what happened to Dr. Loomis in the new continuity and further goes on to explain that Loomis and Laurie both knew he would return and she was placed in a witness protection program. The new continuity explains that Michael's body was never recovered from the hospital.
Halloween H20 also features the return of Nurse Marion Chambers-Wittington (Nancy Stephens), who appeared in the first two films as an associate of Dr. Loomis. In Halloween, she was the nurse who drove with Loomis to the asylum when Myers made his escape, and she resumed her role in Halloween II.
The Chaos! Comics Halloween series, published by Chaos! Comics in 2001, attempted to bridge the continuity between Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers and Halloween H20, but in doing so made the plot of Halloween: Resurrection (unreleased at the time) incompatible. It is worth noting that Laurie Strode's "fate" is to encounter her brother once more in both versions, showing that it was truly bound to happen no matter what different outcomes the past twenty years held.
Some scenes that were dropped from other movies were placed in H20. For example, the scene where Laurie is hiding beneath tables in the dining hall, and Michael starts flipping the tables over, was originally going to be placed in Halloween 4; where Michael chases Jamie Lloyd through the elementary school. It was written that she would hide under a desk and Michael was going to flip the desks over. This was dropped due to time constraints, however, Moustapha Akkad remembered it and filmed it as part of H20.
The 2018 film takes place after the first Halloween, ignoring all other film events, including those of H20.
Notes and trivia
- Apart from Halloween III: Season of the Witch, which completely abandons the Michael Myers saga, Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later is the only installment in the Halloween series that does not take place in Haddonfield, Illinois.
- Janet Leigh, who portrayed Norma Watson in this film, was a scream queen in her own right, having starred in the original Psycho and was also Jamie Lee Curtis' mother. Her line, "If I can be maternal for a moment," is a tongue-in-cheek nod to this fact. Her inclusion in H20 may be a nod to how the original Halloween was said to have drawn a lot of inspiration from Psycho.
- The 1957 Ford sedan that Norma drives is the same car that Janet Leigh drives in Psycho.
- Many found the title of Halloween H20: 20 Years Later to be somewhat odd if not redundant particularly making them think of the molecular composition of water. Funny enough though, pure water has a pH of 7 and Halloween H20 is the seventh entry in the franchise. An alternative tagline to the film made a nod to this: "Blood is thicker than water".
List of deaths
|Name||Cause of Death||Killer||On-Screen||On-Screen||Notes|
|Jimmy Howell||Stabbed in the face with an ice skate||Michael Myers||No|
|Tony Allegre||Knifed in the back||Michael Myers||No|
|Marion Whittington||Throat slit with a butcher knife||Michael Myers||Yes|
|Charles Deveraux||Throat slit with a corkscrew||Michael Myers||No|
|Sarah Wainthrope||Leg crushed by a dropped dumbwaiter, stabbed in the back multiple times with a butcher knife and hung from light fixture in pantry||Michael Myers||Yes|
|Will Brennan||Knifed in the back||Michael Myers||Yes|
|Paramedic||Throat crushed and beheaded with an axe||Laurie Strode/Keri Tate||Yes||Not Intentional, thought to be Michel Myers|
- Halloween H20: 20 Years Later on Wikipedia