There’s a new Halloween heading to theaters, but even director David Gordon Green and his co-writer Danny McBride would probably admit theirs can’t touch the first. Luckily, Variety is reporting, the John Carpenter 1978 original will hit 1,000 theaters on September 27, three weeks before the new one arrives.
This news is not only a testament to the original’s excellence; it will also help catch viewers up with the backstory. For Green and McBride’s Halloween isn’t a reboot — à la Rob Zombie’s two harrowing installments, from 2007 and 2009 — but a sequel. And it’s not just any sequel: It ignores all the other Halloween sequels, from 1981 Halloween II through 2002’s Halloween: Resurrection, which famously killed off Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode. Sure enough, the new one resurrects Strode, and even nixes the twist, from II, that she’s Michael Myers’ secret sister.
Carpenter’s original Halloween — the only one in the series the genre film legend directed, though he did produce the first two sequels — was one of the top grossing films of 1978. In fact, it’s not only a horror classic but an indie classic — a low-budget affair made by filmmakers outside of Hollywood for about a third of a million dollars. It grossed many times that, namely around $47 million (about $179 million if adjusted for inflation), making it one of the most profitable films in history.
Halloween also basically invented the slasher film, though it has far more patience than any gorefest it inspired, from Jason movies to Freddy movies to its very own sequels. Excepting the shocking long-take opener, it takes an hour for the body count to really rise, with the majority of the screentime spent lurking alongside its masked villain — staring, along with him, at his future victims, ready to pounce at any moment but mostly holding back and doing nothing. It’s at its most nerve-wracking when nothing is happening; it’s 75% about anticipation. That’ll be a gas to experience with big audiences when it skulks back into theaters later this month.