Halloween Ends (2022) Review and Explanation

Mickel Bailey, Student Life Reporter

The Legacy

In the state of California in May of 1978, Producer Irwin Yablans got with Director John Carpenter and Debra Hill to begin producing what would become one of the cornerstones of the horror genre: Halloween (1978).

As simple as the title is, the story itself is not. At least for the first film, it is. Halloween (1978) was released on October 24, 1978, made only with a shoestring budget of $325,000 and twenty days of shooting. It grossed $70 million at the box office, making it one of the most profitable independent films made at the time.

The film would receive an astounding 96 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, with the Critic Consensus being: “Scary, suspenseful, and viscerally thrilling, Halloween (1978) set the standard for modern horror films.”

A sequel would follow three years later, thus beginning the long stretch of what people now know as the iconic Halloween franchise.

The series would keep pumping out movies every handful of years until 2002, when the “last” Halloween movie, Halloween: Resurrection, was released. The series would be picked up and rebooted five years later by none other than Rob Zombie, known for films such as The Devil’s Rejects and House of 1,000 Corpses, who would direct not one, but two Halloween films that retell (though very lightly) the Halloween story. Both films were panned by both critics and fans, who both gave the films a ‘Rotten’ score on the site of Rotten Tomatoes.

Then fans of the series were left with a sour taste of what they thought was to be the “last” Halloween movie, and would be left with that taste for the next nine years. Then in 2018, Blum House would pick up the rights to the franchise and began filming what would be the start of a trilogy: Halloween (2018).

In retrospect, fans look back at the series and see that most of the sequels make the story of Halloween to be a messy dumpster fire of a story, throwing new ideas into the mix, yet never sticking to anything. Halloween (2018) decided to pull a Terminator and wipe clean the slate of disappointing sequels and start the story forty years later after the first film. It would bring back Jamie Lee Curtis in the role of Laurie Strode, a hardened survivor of Michael Myers who is preparing for his next attack. Both fans and critics enjoyed the entry, resulting in the film  getting a respectable 79 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film would be followed by Halloween Kills three years later in 2021. It was originally planned to come out in the year 2020, but was pushed back due to Covid. Halloween Kills wouldn’t be as successful as its predecessor, with critics only giving it 39 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, but fans of the series gave it a score that scratched the surface of ‘Fresh’ on Rotten Tomatoes with a 66 percent.

Then in 2022, Blum House announced the title of the next, and last, film in the franchise: Halloween Ends. Released October 14, 2022 Halloween Ends has split fans on both ends, with some claiming that it is one of the best in the series and others claiming that it was a movie filled with missed opportunities.

With fans debating on whether or not Halloween Ends is a good entry, some have gone back again to the story of Halloween with its other many entries and see if the themes and ideas throughout carry along into a coherent narrative.

The Story

(The rest of the article contains spoilers for the Halloween story)

The iconic first film is set on Halloween in 1978 in Haddonfield, Illinois. It follows Laurie Strode and her friends Annie Brackett played by Nancy Kyes, and Lindsey Wallas played by Kyle Richards, as they are attacked by the now-escaped Michael Myers, who had been locked up in Smith’s Grove sanitarium for murdering his sister when he was six-years-old. The slow burn and eerie music performed by John Carpenter himself made the movie into an atmospheric horror ride that got the term “slasher” coined. 

Laurie and her friends are stalked by Myers throughout the film, with only Laurie seeing a fleeting glimpse of him every so often. Her friends laugh her off when she seems genuine with the situation, but seems to go on and brush off the sightings as nerves. 

For Halloween, both Laurie and Annie are babysitting, but the teens have plans to hang out at Annie’s house. Laurie, who didn’t really want to party in the first place because she didn’t have a date, agrees to babysit Annie’s child while Annie and her boyfriend go to her place.

Meanwhile, Myers’ psychiatrist, Dr. Samuel Loomis, has been tracking him down ever since he escaped from Smith’s Grove. Teaming up with Sheriff Leigh Brackett, Annie’s dad, Dr. Loomis tracks down Myers in Haddonfield and to his childhood home. While at the house, Dr. Loomis gives Sheriff Brackett a greatly told story of what being Myers’ psychiatrist was like, describing him as evil and “blank”.

The film continues on with Laurie keeping the children safe as Michael Myers picks off the friends one by one in classic slasher fashion. In the end, Laurie is badly injured after fighting off Myers and sends the kids out to go get help. As the children run away, Dr. Loomis catches sight of them and enters the house, where he finds Michael and Laurie nearing the end of the fight with Laurie being strangled. Dr. Loomis shoots Michael six times and watches as he falls off the balcony, seeming to die in the process.

Laurie breaks the silence with her iconic line: “Was that the Boogeyman?” with Dr. Loomis’s chilling remark: “As a matter of fact, it was.” The film closes out with Dr. Loomis staring out into the yard and finding that Michael is nowhere to be seen.

After the first movie, the story turns into somewhat of a mess, with fans splitting the films into multiple timelines due to contradictions and messy plotting. Halloween (2018) was intended to be watched after the first film, letting fans watch as years of sequels fall to the cutting room floor. This move not only removed a lot of adversity for future Halloween movies but gave more breathing room for the overall story.

Halloween (2018) takes place forty years later and follows Laurie’s daughter, Karen Strode played by Judy Greer, and granddaughter Allyson Nelson played by Andi Matichak. Karen grew up preparing for the day that Michael Myers would return, Laurie teaching her how to shoot weapons, fight and hide. When she grows up, Karen decides that what her mother is doing is unhealthy, seeing how Laurie’s paranoia is consuming and controlling her life. Karen starts a family of her own with the intent of not letting her mother’s paranoia take place in her daughter’s life. Even though Laurie and Karen have rough patches in their relationship, Allyson tries to maintain a relationship with her grandmother the best she can.

Laurie continues her life as a basket case in her own home, where she has constant surveillance and weapons ready for Michael’s return. She is met by two true-crime podcasters who want to interview her for a story but she tells them to leave. 

Meanwhile, Michael is being transported to another facility when the bus crashes. A father and son find the bus and begin to help, but both are killed by Michael. Michael steals their car and starts back for Haddonfield. Laurie learns of Michael’s escape and tries to warn Karen, but Karen doesn’t listen, dismissing her, and telling Laurie to move on. 

Later, Allyson finds her boyfriend, Cameron, cheating on her at a High School costume party and leaves with her friend, Oscar. Allyson’s best friend Vicky, who was babysitting, is murdered by Michael along with her boyfriend. 

As attention arises, Laurie sees Michael for the first time in forty years and promptly pulls out a gun. She is able to hit him in the shoulder, yet Michael flees. Police take Laurie, Karen, and her husband, Ray, to Laurie’s house for protection. 

Meanwhile, Allyson is being pursued by Michael, who had just killed her friend Oscar. She finds Sheriff Barker and Dr. Ranbir Sartain, a former student of Dr. Loomis. Sheriff Barker attempts to kill Michael but is stopped by Sartain, who reveals that he has been obsessed with the enigmatic mind of Michael, and was the one to let him out in the first place so that he could study him. Sartain starts to take the unconscious Michael and unwilling Allyson to Laurie’s house so that he could see if “one could live without the other”. Michael wakes up and kills Sartain, though, and Allyson runs away.

Ray, thinking that the police car outside is help, goes to greet them, when he is strangled by Michael. Laurie hides Karen in a hidden basement underneath the kitchen counter before the confrontation with Michael starts. 

The fight ends with both Michael and Laurie severely injured, Michael with half of his left hand gone, and Laurie with a severe stab to the abdomen. Karen lures Michael with fake cries of fear before shooting him in the jaw. Laurie returns to trap Michael in the safe room that Karen was just hiding in, and sets the house on fire. Laurie says goodbye to Michael as she faints.

The story continues in Halloween Kills mere seconds after the proceeding one. Tommy Doyle, one of the kids that Laurie was babysitting during the first Halloween film, celebrates the 40th anniversary of Michael being imprisoned with other survivors. All is well until one of the bar patrons claims that Myers is in the backseat of her car. The car crashes and the driver escapes unnoticed. Tommy forms a mob of vengeful Haddonfield residents in hot pursuit.

Michael escapes Laurie’s trap, killing the firefighters that were responding to the fire. Karen and Allyson take Laurie to the hospital, where Karen learns that Michael is still alive. She doesn’t tell Laurie, intent on allowing her to recover. Cameron, Allyson’s ex-boyfriend, finds her and apologizes and swears to help her deal with Michael, and joins Tommy’s mob in the process. 

The mob maps out the path where Michael’s victims are located and deduce that he is trying to return to his childhood home. Before they start, a convict that escaped the bus crash that Myers caused is mistaken as Michael by the mob. Despite Karen and Laurie’s attempt to stop them, the convict jumps out of a window to escape the pursuit of the mob. 

Meanwhile, Allyson, Cameron, and Cameron’s dad, Lonnie, track Michael down at his childhood home. Both Lonnie and Cameron are killed, but before he was able to kill Allyson, Karen stabs him in the back with a pitchfork. She then steals his mask and taunts him to follow her to the mob. The mob beats Michael to seemingly death. Most of the mob has left, thinking that Myers is dead, when he rises back up and murders the remaining people there.

Karen, investigating the previous home of Myers, goes upstairs, where she is stabbed to death by Michael. Laurie, meanwhile, stairs out of her hospital window at the town of Haddonfield on Halloween night.

The Ending

The ending of a story can either make it or break it.

Throughout the years, the Halloween franchise has been built up, re-written, and rebooted to finally finish with a long awaited conclusion. 

Halloween Ends was intended to be this conclusion, and like the many sequels before it, it tries to add new things instead of stinking with what it had. It does this by introducing a whole new character that is critical to the plot. Many fans of Michael Myers might be frustrated with the lack of the killer, because most of the movie is centered around the new character, Corey Cunningham.

At the beginning of the film we are introduced to Corey, who is babysitting a young boy, Jeremy. As a prank, Jeremy locks Corey in the attic, where Corey frantically tries to escape, not wanting to get in trouble with the parents. Just as when the parents come home, Corey kicks the door open, causing Jeremy to be knocked over the staircase to his death. The parents accuse Corey of intentionally killing their son, but Corey is cleared by manslaughter. 

Three years later we find that the town is still shaken by the slaughter years ago, and that Michael Myers has been missing ever since. Laurie, following after the grief of losing her daughter, begins to write a memoir while living with Allyson. Allyson is now a nurse at the Haddonfield Memorial Hospital. 

Corey, meanwhile, is working with his stepfather at his salvage yard. After work, Corey is berated by high school bullies, and accidentally injures himself with a glass bottle in the process due to stress. Laurie comes along and helps Corey to his feet and obliges him to slashing the bullies tires.

Laurie takes Corey to the hospital that Allyson works at, where both bond over the fact that they are outsiders to the town. Later, they attend a Halloween party, where Corey is seen to be having his first good time since the incident three years ago. But that is cut short when Corey finds that Jeremy’s mother is at the party as well. He rushes outside and Allyson follows, where they argue for a time. Corey eventually leaves by himself only to be met with the bullies from earlier.

One of the bullies pushes Corey off a bridge and speeds off. Some time passes before Corey wakes up in the sewers and is met by a weaker Michael Myers, who attempts to strangle him. Corey gets away and escapes the sewers, but is met by a homeless man who threatens him. In the struggle Corey stabs the homeless man to death and runs away.

The next day, Corey sets out to make it up to Allyson. Both go on a dinner date, but are interrupted by Allyson’s ex-boyfriend, police officer Doug Mulaney, who almost gets in a conflict with Corey. Corey finds that Doug is tailing him, so he leads him down into the sewer, where Michael kills Doug with the help of Corey. Later, Michael and Corey both kill a doctor and nurse together.

Allyson, unaware of the killings Corey is doing, plans to leave Haddonfield with him because of the amount of hate they receive from the town. Laurie begins to grow suspicious of Corey. She finds him in the same house that Jeremy died in and offers to help him on the condition that he stays away from Allyson. Corey is angered by this and blames Laurie for all of the murders occuring in Haddonfield, and states that if he can’t have Allyson, no one will.

Halloween arrives. Corey returns to the sewers and steals Michael’s mask. He then goes on a killing spree, where he murders the bullies, his mother, and a local DJ who had taunted him and Allyson earlier. Meanwhile, Laurie and Allyson are arguing about her leaving Haddonfield, leading to Allyson telling Laurie that she is still not over Michael Myers and is to be blamed for Michael’s murders.

Corey attempts to kill Laurie before him and Allyson leave, but it cornered when Laurie fakes a suicide. Laurie shoots Corey, who falls down the stairs, nearly dead. In his last moments, Corey hears Allyson arriving, and stabs himself in the neck, setting up Laurie to take the blame. Michael arrives suddenly and attacks Laurie. After some time Laurie is able to crush Michael against the kitchen island, where both her and Allyson wait until help arrives.

Michael’s body is taken by police escort to be dumped into an industrial shredder, where the town watches as the monster that had terrorized them for over forty years is finally put at an end. Allyson and Laurie reconcile. Laurie finishes her memoir while Allyson sets out to leave Haddonfield, and her dark past, behind.

Most fans have been split due to the deviation from Michael Myers, and the future for the franchise is unknown. Blum House no longer has the rights to the story, so only time will tell if the story of Halloween has finally finished or if there is more to the story, or perhaps just a spin-off away.