Halloween H20: 20 Years Later
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20 Years Later
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Steve Miner|
|Produced by||Paul Freeman|
|Story by||Robert Zappia|
by John Carpenter
& Debra Hill
|Edited by||Patrick Lussier|
|Distributed by||Dimension Films|
|Box office||$85 million|
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later is a 1998 American slasher film and the seventh installment in the Halloween film series. It was directed by Steve Miner and starred Jamie Lee Curtis, LL Cool J, Josh Hartnett, and Michelle Williams. The film was released on August 5, 1998, to mark the 20th anniversary of the original Halloween (1978).
The story was developed and created by Robert Zappia. The screenplay was written by Robert Zappia and Matt Greenberg. It is a direct sequel to John Carpenter's Halloween and Halloween II and retcons the events that transpired in the fourth, fifth, and sixth installments, rendering them as non-canon in this film. Set twenty years after the events of the first two movies, H20 centers on a post-traumatic Laurie Strode living in fear of Michael Myers, who attempted to kill her all those years ago. When Michael eventually appears, Laurie must face evil one last time, while the life of her teenage son hangs in the balance.
The film received mixed reviews from critics, praising the script, direction of Steve Miner and the performances of Jamie Lee Curtis and Josh Hartnett, but received criticism for certain plot points (such as ignoring some of the previous films) and its short running time.
On October 29, 1998, twenty years after the massacre in Haddonfield, Marion Chambers (Nancy Stephens), Dr. Sam Loomis' former colleague, returns to her home in Langdon, Illinois, to find it burglarized. Her neighbor Jimmy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and his friend Tony call the police. Inspecting, Marion discovers that a file on Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), Michael Myers' sister, is missing. She immediately rushes back over to Jimmy's house, where she finds him and Tony dead. Michael Myers (Chris Durand) appears and attacks Marion before slitting her throat, killing her. The police arrive as Michael leaves the house with Laurie's file.
Meanwhile, Laurie is living in California with a seemingly perfect life with her teenage son John (Josh Hartnett) and her boyfriend Will (Adam Arkin), and has a career as the headmistress of Hillcrest Academy, a private boarding school where John attends. However, Laurie is far from happy, as the tragic events from 1978 still haunt her. She has tried to get her life together with the hope that her psychotic older brother would never come after her again. She ultimately faked her death in a car accident, and then relocated to California under an assumed name, Keri Tate.
While a woman and her daughter are at a rest stop, the two narrowly avoid Michael, who steals the woman's car. At the academy campus, the students leave for an overnight field trip at the Yosemite National Park. Later that evening, John and his girlfriend Molly (Michelle Williams) are having a Halloween party in the basement with their friends, Charlie (Adam Hann-Byrd) and his girlfriend Sarah (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe). Charlie goes off into the kitchen and is killed by Michael. Sarah finds Charlie with a corkscrew embedded in his throat and tries to escape via the dumbwaiter, but Michael savagely disfigures her leg before stabbing her to death. John and Molly go looking for them only find Sarah's body and are chased by Michael through the school grounds. At one point in the chase, Michael stabs John in the leg. Laurie opens the door for them and finally comes face-to-face with Michael for the first time in two decades.
When Will sees the school's security guard, Ronny (LL Cool J), approaching, he accidentally shoots him down. Michael then appears and kills Will by stabbing him in the back. Laurie helps John and Molly escape before heading back to kill Michael herself. She stabs Michael multiple times and finally incapacitates him, but when she tries to finish him, Ronny, who survived his shooting and thinks Michael is already dead, stops her. The police arrive and put Michael in a body bag, loading it into a coroner's van. Laurie, knowing that Michael is not dead and is extremely difficult to kill, grabs the fire axe and an officer's gun and steals the van. When Michael awakens and escapes the body bag, Laurie slams on the brakes, throwing him through the windshield. She then hits him at full speed and the vehicle tumbles down a cliff with her falling out and pinning Michael between the van and a tree. Laurie recovers the ax and decapitates Michael, finally killing him. Police sirens are heard off in the distance as Laurie exhales.
- Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode/Keri Tate
- Chris Durand as Michael Myers
- Josh Hartnett as John Tate
- Michelle Williams as Molly Cartwell
- Adam Arkin as Will Brennan
- LL Cool J as Ronald "Ronny" Jones
- Jodi Lyn O'Keefe as Sarah Wainthrope
- Adam Hann-Byrd as Charlie Deveraux
- Janet Leigh as Norma Watson
- Nancy Stephens as Marion Chambers
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Jimmy Howell
- Lisa Gay Hamilton as Shirley "Shirl" Jones
- Tom Kane as Dr. Sam Loomis (voice only)
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John Carpenter was originally in the running to be the director for this particular follow-up since Curtis wanted to reunite the cast and crew of the original to have active involvement in it. It was believed that Carpenter opted out because he wanted no active part in the sequel; however, this is not the case. Carpenter agreed to direct the movie, but his starting fee as director was $10 million. Carpenter rationalized this by believing the hefty fee was compensation for revenue he never received from the original Halloween, a matter that was still a point of contention between Carpenter and Akkad even after twenty years had passed. When Akkad balked at Carpenter's fee, Carpenter walked away from the project, though supposedly served as an uncredited producer.
Scream writer/producer Kevin Williamson was involved in various areas of production. Although not directly credited, he provided rewrites in character dialogue, which is seen heavily throughout the teen moments. Miramax/Dimension Films felt his involvement as a co-executive producer merited being credited. The original working title for the film was Halloween 7: The Revenge of Laurie Strode.
The original music score was composed by John Ottman, but some music from Scream was added to the chase scenes later on during post-production. Ottman expressed some displeasure about this action in an interview featured on the Halloween: 25 Years of Terror DVD released in 2006. Ottman's score was supplemented with Marco Beltrami's scores from Scream, Scream 2, and Mimic by a team of music editors as well as new cues written by Beltrami during the final days of sound mixing on the film. Dimension Films chief Bob Weinstein demanded the musical changes after being dissatisfied with Ottman's score.
No official soundtrack was ever released for the film, but a compilation album by John Ottman was released in the United States and Germany under the Varese Sarabande label and includes the original score by Ottman and numerous other cuts.
Alternate television version
In February 2003, the FX network premiered an alternate version of the film, adding and extending footage not seen in the original release. It has yet to be released anywhere else, and the deleted scenes can be found on YouTube.
In terms of total gross, Halloween: H20 is the second highest-grossing film in the Halloween franchise, behind Rob Zombie's 2007 remake of the original. It was released on August 5, 1998 in the US and later in many other countries. H20 cost $17 million to produce and returned over $85 million in domestic box office sales with an opening weekend of $26,187,724. As for video/DVD rentals, the film grossed over $21 million.
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Halloween H20 received an approval rating of 51% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 57 reviews; the site's general consensus is "Halloween: H20 is the best of the many sequels, yet still pales in comparison to the original Halloween."
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- As originally conceived, the plot device in which Laurie had faked her death was written expressly to account for her reported "death" in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, and the original story treatment for H20 acknowledged the events depicted in the fourth through sixth films in the series, including the existence and death of Laurie's daughter, Jamie Lloyd as well as the Thorn curse; however, the filmmakers ultimately chose to ignore the continuity of the previous three sequels to focus more on Jamie Lee Curtis's character, Laurie Strode. Although Laurie's faked death remained in the script, the scenes mentioning Jamie were removed from the story, and the film's dialogue was adjusted to indicate that Michael Myers had not been heard from in the twenty years since the night depicted in the first two films.
- Michael's 20 missing years are explained in the comic book series Halloween: Sam, which also explains what happened to Dr. Loomis in the new continuity and further goes on to explain that Loomis and Laurie both knew he would return and she was placed in a witness protection program. The new continuity explains that Michael's body was never recovered from the hospital.
- Halloween H20 also features the return of Nurse Marion Chambers-Wittington, who appeared in the first two films as an associate of Dr. Loomis. In Halloween, she was the nurse who drove with Loomis to the asylum when Myers made his escape, and she reprised her role in Halloween II.
In the United States, Halloween H20 was released on VHS and laserdisc by Buena Vista Home Video. In the United Kingdom, the film was released on VHS in 1998, a re-release was made on September 1, 2000.
On DVD, the film was first released by Dimension Films on October 19, 1999 as part of the "Dimension Collector's Series" on DVD. It was released in the UK on October 22, 2001 and re-released on April 25, 2011. It was also released exclusively in the UK in 2004, as part of the complete collection, consisting of the first eight films, a set that is now out of print. It was re-released in the US by Echo Bridge Home Entertainment on April 26, 2011, although, it does not contain its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, it now features a new 1.66:1 widescreen transfer. Echo Bridge later re-released the film in a triple feature set with Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers and Halloween: Resurrection.
Halloween H20 was released in Canada for the first time ever on Blu-ray by Alliance released along with Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers and Halloween: Resurrection on January 12, 2010. On May 3, 2011 it was released by Echo Bridge Home Entertainment in the US but with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 (not cropped from the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, but rather open-matte due to the film being shot in Super 35). It was also released along with Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers in one Blu-ray collection.
It was again released on Sep 23rd, 2014 in the "Halloween: The Complete Collection Blu-ray Box Set" featuring a new commentary with Jamie Lee Curtis and Steve Miner, plus a ton of new extras including behind the scenes footage and archival interviews not seen on any release.
- "Halloween: H20". American Film Institute. Retrieved 2016-07-08.
- Halloween: H20 at Box Office Mojo
- Halloween: H20 score at Filmtracks
- Halloween H20 - Rotten Tomatoes
- "Halloween: H20". amazon.com. Retrieved October 27, 2011.
- "Halloween Triple Feature Blu-ray". blu-ray.com. Retrieved October 27, 2011.
- "Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later Blu-ray". blu-ray.com. Retrieved October 27, 2011.
- "Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers / Halloween: H20 Blu-ray". blu-ray.com. Retrieved October 27, 2011.