As I think I’ve made clear in several articles, I’m an avid fan of the Halloween franchise. Whatever direction it takes, whomever takes the reigns of the series, whenever there’s a new incarnation of the Halloween story I’m always among the first in line. The news has been going around that Dimension Films have lost the rights to the Halloween series. Malek Akkad still seems to be attached as producer for Miramax, but they have no home, no distributor for any further sequels, prequels or remakes. Fans have almost universally taken this as good news, which surprises me. Sure, there have been missteps during the Dimension era, but there were missteps before that as well. Even if this is the company behind Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers and Halloween: Resurrection, H20 is an incredibly underrated entry in the saga and was a critical and financial success in its day. Rob Zombie’s divisive remake and its sequel also have a loyal fan base in their own right. For fans who want to see future Halloween movies, it’s not a good thing that the franchise is dead in the water with no distributor.
There’s an even stranger reaction going on than fans who simply wanted to see Halloween out of the hands of Dimension. Many fans have somehow gotten the idea that because Halloween is no longer at the company that’s housed it for so long, that those rights will go to New Line and that a crossover between all four major franchises—Friday the 13th, Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Texas Chainsaw Massacre—is on the way. This idea is already all over Facebook and Twitter and seems to be growing by the second. It’s nuts how many people are already convinced that this is what’s going to happen.
But there won’t be any crossovers at a company that used to own the rights to these franchises and doesn’t any longer. New Line is also no longer a distributor, so the move would make no sense if Miramax is still holding onto Halloween. Everything is up in the air at this point and all that we know is that Dimension has let go of the series and it is left without a distributor. At this point, that’s the only thing that appears to be set in stone.
For me, it’s doubly frustrating because of how excited I was for Marcus Dunstan & Patrick Melton’s take on the franchise. Their loose reboot/direct sequel to Halloween II sounded extremely on point for me. Fans were excited for that, by and large. That movie was getting very close to happening, they seemed to know where they were going to shoot and were talking about casting and then, all of a sudden, there was nothing. I don’t know if anybody really knows what went on behind the scenes there for that to have such a dramatic turnaround, and I think to some degree it must have baffled the people involved too, especially the writers and director they’d hired. I really hope that this wasn’t simply a case in which the studio only listened to the fans online who didn’t want to see this movie happen and decided to shelve the whole thing because they couldn’t please everyone. It wouldn’t surprise me, though.
Most franchises right now seem to be looking exclusively at what the fans want and casting based around those ideas. It’s becoming increasingly obnoxious for TV series. While it’s important to respect the fans that support the work and be grateful and want to please them, there is nothing that will please everyone. Maybe it was simply a matter of time and they couldn’t get the new film ready before losing the rights. It’s probably impossible to know at this point what went on behind the scenes to lead Halloween to where it is now.
Whatever the case, Michael Myers is now in the same place we last saw him in Zombie’s H2: he’s homeless. For all intents and purposes, at least. People are treating this like it’s good news all over the Internet. And if you’re not a fan of Halloween, then to you it might be good. If you like some entries, but just want it to stop, this could be what you want to hear. But if you’d like to see a new entry anytime in the near future, this is very bad news. I’ve been optimistic for the future of horror franchises, but at this point, I think next year’s Leatherface is the last one we’re going to see in this decade. Hopefully I’m wrong, but I’m at least fairly certain it will be a while before we see Michael Myers back on the big screen.
The saddest thing might be that I’m not expecting much of a bidding war for the franchise. A few years ago, studios would have been rallying to get their hands on Halloween, but now? I don’t think we’ll be seeing that. There have been two camps with different opinions on the new icons of horror since they first appeared: are they a passing fad or the successors to the classic monsters, characters who should be reinterpreted for every generation? I’ve always believed the latter. It’s hard to imagine that after almost forty years, Halloween would finally outstay its welcome. I don’t think it has. I do believe we’ll see another one. But this news has, without a doubt, slowed that process down. Maybe it just proves that, other than a specific, seasonal date, you really can’t ever predict when Michael Myers is going to strike next.