Kevin Williamson helped give Halloween: H20 its story, but the sequel would have worked better if they stuck closer to his original plan.
The controversy that Halloween: H20 created could have been avoided if the much-maligned sequel stuck closer to Kevin Williamson’s original story treatment.
The Halloween movie franchise has practically become synonymous with the slasher genre, and the calmly terrifying Michael Myers is still one of the scariest villains to ever grace cinema screens. The series is currently back on track after 2018’s Halloween legacy sequel, but before that point, each new entry in the saga pulled diminishing returns. One of the brighter attempts at Halloween’s course correction occurred with Halloween: H20, which didn’t just bring back Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode, but enlisted writer Kevin Williamson to crack the sequel’s story.
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Kevin Williamson was one of the biggest screenwriters during the late ‘90s and early 2000s. Williamson perfected his trade for snappy teen dialogue on Dawson’s Creek before penning some of the decade’s most successful horror movies, like I Know What You Did Last Summer and the Scream movies. Miramax and Dimension Films were desperate for Williamson to help rejuvenate the franchise and convinced him to deliver a treatment for Halloween: H20‘s story. Initially developed as Halloween 7: The Revenge of Laurie Strode, Williamson’s treatment connected the dots between Halloween‘s messy sequels. However, studio interference and feuding egos slowly led to the disappearance of many elements from Williamson’s pitch, which could have created a much more satisfying sequel that may have, in turn, kept enthusiasm high for the Halloween series prior to 2018’s revamp.
Williamson’s treatment kept the trajectory of Halloween: H20 the same, but spent more time on the circumstances around the survival of Laurie Strode and her current pain. The movie retains Williamson’s idea that Laurie faked her death—to connect with Halloween 4—but he also planned to touch on the events of the previous three movies through a book report that tragically informs Laurie about the death of her estranged daughter, Jamie Lloyd. These changes to the story and Laurie Strode’s character reflect the immense love and respect that Williamson has for the horror genre, which is also very present in Scream, as well as his ability to tell a larger, more interconnected story. This passion wasn’t appreciated at the time, but it’s part of what helped make 2018’s Halloween resonate with audiences. People may have been too close to the many Halloween sequels that precede H20 to hold any nostalgia towards them, but Williamson could have found the right way to own and reframe this cumbersome narrative.
It’s unclear if Williamson’s original ideas and slightly altered approach would have resulted in an ending for the movie that makes sure Halloween: Resurrection doesn’t happen. However, if Williamson was given more freedom on the project and allowed to better develop his ideas, he might have been interested in returning to pen the sequel. From there, Williamson could have treated H20 like it’s the first part of a new Halloween trilogy, just like what he had done with the Scream movie franchise. The beginning of Resurrection directly plays off H20’s ending; Williamson’s take on what happens next would have redeemed not only H20, but also the fate that befalls Laurie.
Alternatively, Williamson’s continued involvement could have led to a higher pedigree of directing talent getting involved with the franchise. John Carpenter circled Halloween: H20 at one point, so perhaps he’d have returned with a good enough script from Williamson. A dream scenario could have even resulted in Williamson’s involvement attracting his longtime collaborator, Wes Craven, to direct a Halloween movie. Finally, Williamson was an accomplished screenwriter, but he was desperate to direct. Williamson’s prospects as a director unfortunately vanished after his debut, 1999’s Teaching Mrs. Tingle, was a failure. 1998’s release of Halloween: H20 works out in a way where Williamson could have been attracted back to future Halloween projects if he was allowed to not just write, but also direct. All of this remains hypothetical, but if Williamson’s initial plans that respected the series’ roots were maintained instead of attempting to wipe the slate clean then not only would Halloween: H20 have been better, but the immediate future of the franchise would have benefited, too.
Next: Halloween H20’s Killer Almost Wasn’t Michael Myers
Key Release Dates
- Halloween Kills (2021)Release date: Oct 15, 2021
- Halloween Ends (2022)Release date: Oct 14, 2022
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