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Script to Pieces: Halloween Returns

Halloween II 1981

Welcome to Script to Pieces, a recurring feature at Wicked Horror where we look at the best, most interesting and at times most unbelievable horror movies that never happened. Sometimes these will be productions that never came together at all, other times, they will be original incarnations that were completely different from what we wound up with. Each should be fascinating in its own way, because the stories of movies that never see the light of day can sometimes be even more interesting than the stories of those that do.

It’s been a long road to get another Halloween on the big screen since Rob Zombie’s remake and its sequel. While they divided fans, Zombie’s films were financially successful and if he had wanted to do a third entry, we would absolutely have had one by now. But he told the story he wanted to tell and left the franchise behind to return to original projects.

Dimension immediately sought out new people to take over the franchise and picked Todd Farmer and Patrick Lussier to write Halloween 3D. While the intent of this movie would be to return to a style and tone more similar to the early features in the saga, it would have been a direct sequel to Zombie’s pictures, picking up right where his Halloween II left off.

Michael Myers in Halloween

That wasn’t really the direction fans wanted to see the series take, so it was abandoned. The fact that the writing duos Drive Angry tanked hard at the box office while they were in the middle of the script also may have been a factor. Either way, the Weinsteins wanted to move in another direction and eventually landed on Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan—the team behind The Collector—to write a feature that would return the Halloween franchise to its roots.

Once info started leaking out about the script, everything sounded perfect. It would acknowledge the original two movies and then be its own standalone thing. The deputy from Halloween II would now be the sheriff, which is a deep-cut continuity that fans of the franchise would love.

Having read the script, while I feel that there are many sequences that would have been great to see on the screen and I think it’s a huge step in the right direction—it’s not the continuity-conscious franchise savior that one might expect after everything that had been teased about the project.

Yes, it does feature Halloween II’s Gary Hunt as the sheriff, but here’s the issue: this is still its own continuity. Halloween I and II didn’t happen, which makes this character’s inclusion very random and weird. This picks up about ten years after Michael Myers goes on a rampage through Haddonfield. Michael is no longer deemed insane and is being charged with the death penalty. The now-18 year old survivors of his attack show up to witness his execution, things go awry and Michael escapes.

Michael grabs an ax in Halloween 6The continuity is bizarre. It wants to have Michael Myers as a pre-existing entity, but writes the older movies out of existence at the same time. All it would have taken are a few easy fixes. It’s been over a decade since Halloween Resurrection. If this non-descript Michael Myers massacre happened a year or two after that, if the opening was just another Myers rampage through Haddonfield, then the entire franchise continuity could be kept intact.

Instead, we have new characters to fill the positions of old classic characters, which is weird because those aforementioned classics are reduced to references and cameos. Still, there are things in here that are terrific. Things that immediately make you go “I can’t believe we’ve never seen that in a Halloween movie.” The whole third act is completely top-notch. The ending is pretty much perfect, even if it does completely rip off one of the Halloween comics.

If we’d gotten this, fans would have been pretty happy with it, for the most part. But it didn’t work out, mostly because of rights issues. While they were working on the script, Dimension let the rights lapse on the Halloween franchise. Whether there were bigger behind the scenes issues remains unclear at this point. Either way, the project was cancelled and Halloween fell back into an abyss even worse than development hell.

Luckily, it was quickly picked up by Blumhouse, a studio which feels like a perfect home for the franchise. They managed to get John Carpenter back involved for the first Halloween he’s had anything to do with since Season of the Witch. Writer and director have been hired and it looks, for now, like things are moving ahead with that incarnation.

Michael Myers in the popular Halloween movie.

But there was a time it looked certain that we’d be getting Halloween Returns as well. So all we can do at this point is wait and see. There are things in this script that I would have loved to see on the big screen. There are also ways in which the larger story could have been improved.

I can’t wait to see if Blumhouse’s Halloween goes in similar or different directions than this.

Who am I kidding? At this point, I just can’t wait to see it, period.

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Written by Nat Brehmer
In addition to contributing to Wicked Horror, Nathaniel Brehmer has also written for Horror Bid, HorrorDomain, Dread Central, Bloody Disgusting, We Got This Covered, and more. He has also had fiction published in Sanitarium Magazine, Hello Horror, Bloodbond and more. He currently lives in Florida with his wife and his black cat, Poe.
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