Killing Laurie in the Halloween Franchise Was Always a Bad Idea
Laurie Strode is no stranger to death. Since the character was introduced in John Carpenter’s classic 1978 film Halloween, she has been killed off twice in two separate timelines and, according to Screen Rant, almost died in a third.
The first time Laurie was killed was in Halloween IV. Due to actress Jamie Lee Curtis not wishing to return, the character was killed off in a car accident, and the role of the Final Girl was passed along to her daughter, Jamie Lloyd, my favorite. After the Halloween movies were trashed three times in a row with V and VI, the series did a soft-ish reboot with Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later, where Laurie had faked her death and was living as Keri Tate, with a son, and now a headmistress.
Halloween H20 is the most similar in function to the recent update for Halloween, with Laurie having been upgraded to a maternal badass with a drinking problem due to the trauma that she has survived. The film ends with Laurie cutting off Michael Myers’ head with an ax, but the power of the franchise allowed that to be undone in Halloween Resurrection, where Laurie was killed off at the very beginning by jumping off a roof, giving Michael an “I’ll see you in hell” before she went.
I like to imagine that was also what Curtis said in response to the script and her contract to appear in the film. It’s also the movie where Busta Rhymes goes Rah, rah, like a dungeon dragon upside Michael’s head.
Resurrection is not good, but that scene is great.
Now, Screen Rant has shared that “had an early draft of the script for director David Gordon Green’s film stayed intact, Curtis wouldn’t be able to come back, as Laurie would have died at Michael’s hands. Talk about a bummer of an ending for longtime fans.”
For me, the biggest problem with Laurie getting killed off by Michael is that it’s an unsatisfying ending because Laurie Strode herself is/was a normal person who, through no fault of her own, ended up in the sights of a killer. For a long period in horror movies, there was this trend of having a group of deeply obnoxious lead characters who would be death fodder for whichever big bad was on screen.
In those situations, we kind of root for the bad guy, and the deaths are a satisfying part of a mostly monotonous story.
Everything changes when you actually like the lead. With Laurie, Nancy (Nightmare on Elm Street), Kristy (Hellraiser), and Sidney (Scream), their innocence being destroyed by some monster is a compelling drama, and you hope that the character will somehow make it through—and it hurts when they don’t. Before, killing Laurie was always in response to something going on behind the scenes; it was never a natural part of the narrative, and her absence created this really weak vacuum that the franchise tried to fill.
While Jamie came close, it was hard to maintain.
If I had it my way, Laurie would always outlive and outrun Michael, but narratively, after Halloween 2018, I can finally see myself letting go. Now that Jamie Lee Curtis has said she would consider coming back as Laurie Strode, and Michael has literally taken an axe to the head and lived, what’s a little fire? He’s done fire before.
It will feel, however, that the series will have to pass on from Laurie at some point, and with Karen and Alyson ready to take on the monster-hunter legacy, I think that we might be, more than ever, at the point where if Laurie does die, it’ll finally be on her own terms, and not just because of a bad script.
(via Screen Rant, image: Universal)
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