Halloween is a rare film series with multiple timelines, four to be exact and maybe five depending on who you ask. I think there are five, personally. We are in the midst of the fifth one, as Halloween Kills opens in theaters this Friday, which is a sequel to the 2018 film, which is a direct sequel to the 1978 original. It seems so uncomplicated for those of us who love the franchise, but the other day someone said to me that they were skipping Kills because they “didn’t know where it fits into the continuity.” So, today we shall make sense of the various Halloween timelines for people that are still confused.
First Timeline: Halloween 1,2,4,5 and Curse
The first one is the one we grew up with, and like all but one, it starts with the 1978 film. Six-year-old Michael Myers kills his sister, then returns to Haddonfield years later and murders five people before being defeated by Laurie Strode and Dr. Loomis. It is more complicated than that, but for now, we will keep things simple. Halloween 2 takes place that same night, where Michael comes for Laurie at the hospital where she is recovering, and not because she is some rando; she is revealed to be his sister. That one ends with The Shape burning alive after being blown up by Loomis. Ten years later, in continuity, Halloween 4 sees Michael back. It turns out he didn’t die in that fire, and now he returns to Haddonfield to kill his niece, Jamie. He fails, but the ending of that film is where this timeline starts to get…weird.
Jamie and Michael share a psychic connection, you see, so when she holds his hand before he is shot and sent careening down an elevator shaft, something happens to Jamie that causes her to attack her stepmother just like Michael did with his sister in the original. In Halloween 5, things go off the rails as Jamie and Michael continue to share this link, and all kinds of weird stuff happen. It ends with Michael being arrested (!) and then broken out of prison by a man in black. This timeline ends with Curse of Michael Myers, which is so incomprehensibly stupid I won’t try to summarize it here. Paul Rudd is in it, though!
Timeline 2: Halloween, H20, Resurrection
This second timeline ignores everything that happened in Halloween 4, 5, and Curse. It picks up 20 years after the first two films in the franchise, with Laurie still Michael’s sister and trying to move past the events from the night HE came home. She has a son and runs a boarding school. Well, Michael, of course, tracks her down, and the two have what looks to be a final showdown where she actually chops his head off with an ax. Many thought that would be it, but it wasn’t. See, Michael switched places with an EMT and crushed his throat so he couldn’t speak, and put the mask on him. That is who Laurie killed, as we find out in Resurrection. That film is most famous for this and this. Michael actually kills Laurie in this film, and not in a way an iconic character like Laurie Strode deserves. It also ends this second timeline.
Timeline 3: The Rob Zombie Films
For our third timeline, we ignore everything that came before, including the 1978 film, and director Rob Zombie starts from scratch at the beginning. This is the most brutal Myers we see on screen, at least up until this point. We spend more time with Michael as a kid here and his terrible home life. The second half of the film plays out pretty much exactly like the 1978 film, and in this timeline, Laurie is still Michael’s sister. That carries over into the bonkers and insane fever dream that is Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2. That ends this timeline with Michael dying and Laurie in an insane asylum…we think.
Timeline 4: Halloween 1978, Halloween 2018, Halloween Kills, Halloween Ends
This brings us to the current timeline. In this one, the first film’s events took place, but that is it, no parts 2, 4, 5, Curse, H20, Resurrection, or Zombie films. It was all wiped out. Also wiped out is the brother/sister thing. In this timeline, Laurie Strode was just in the wrong place on the wrong night, and she is no longer related to Michael. The 2018 film takes place 40 years to the day after the original, with Michael escaping to Haddonfield to start his rampage again, and Laurie is there to stop him along with two more generations of Strode women, including her daughter and granddaughter. That film ended with Michael trapped in a burning house. How he escapes and how the town reacts to him returning will be revealed this Friday when Halloween Kills releases. This timeline will seemingly come to a close with Halloween Ends in 2022.
But Jeremy, you said there were five timelines! Oh, there is!
Timeline 5: Halloween 3: Season Of The Witch
Halloween 3, from 1982, has zero to do with Michael Myers, Laurie Strode, or anything else. It is a standalone film about an evil company trying to murder children with mind-control masks on Halloween night. Again, way more complicated than that, but we will be brief here. Michael was indeed supposed to die for good in the second film, and further sequels would be standalone stories. This film failed, and audiences wanted more Michael, so they got more. It is an odd film, but I personally love it. And the franchise fingerprints are all over it. At one point, there is a TV ad for a showing of the 1978 Halloween film. Jamie Lee Curtis cameos as a voice on the phone. And in the other timelines, there are many references to Silver Shamrock and Halloween 3 constantly. Even in the 2018 film, trick-or-treaters can be seen wearing the masks from the film. It is neat that it seems in the Halloween 3 timeline, the original movie came out and that Halloween 3 was seemingly released in the other timelines as well.
So, which is your favorite Halloween timeline? Is this the most complicated horror franchise continuity-wise? Is Michael being controlled by a Silver Shamrock mask? Let us know what you think below. Halloween Kills releases in theaters and on Peacock Friday.