Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode in Halloween (1978)
|Created by||John Carpenter|
|Portrayed by||Original series: (1978–2018) |
Jamie Lee Curtis
Reboot series: (2007–2009)
|Full name||Original: |
Jamie Lloyd (deceased), John Tate, Karen Nelson
|Relatives||Judith Myers |
(biological sister; deceased)
(biological father; deceased)
(biological mother; deceased)
Pamela Strode (deceased adopted mother)
Morgan Strode (deceased adopted father)
Ray Nelson (son-in-law; deceased)
Allyson Nelson (granddaughter)
Steven Lloyd (grandson)
Laurie Strode is a fictional character in the Halloween franchise, portrayed by actresses Jamie Lee Curtis and Scout Taylor-Compton. One of the two main protagonists of the overall series (the other being Dr. Sam Loomis), she appears in seven of the eleven Halloween films, first appearing in John Carpenter's original 1978 film. Jamie Lee Curtis portrayed the role in the original run of the series, with Scout Taylor-Compton taking the role in Rob Zombie's remake and its sequel. In September 2017, it was announced that Curtis signed on to reprise her role in Halloween, which was released in October 2018. The film retcons the previous sequels out of existence and serves as a direct sequel to the original film.
Strode also has a lead role in the Halloween expanded universe, appearing in the novelizations and merchandise based on the films. In 2017, Strode was released alongside Michael Myers as one of the playable characters in the asymmetric survival horror online multiplayer video game Dead by Daylight (2017) in which she is voiced by Catherine Lecours. Her attire is based on the outfit she wore during the final scenes of the original Halloween (1978), while her facial features are based on her comic book incarnation. In academic materials, Strode is widely cited as one of the earliest and most influential examples of the "final girl" slasher film archetype.
Laurie Strode first appears in the original Halloween (1978). The 17-year-old Laurie (Curtis) is a high school student that has plans to babysit Tommy Doyle (Brian Andrews) on Halloween night, 1978. However, throughout the day, she keeps seeing a mysterious masked man watching her wherever she goes; unbeknownst to her, he is Michael Myers (Nick Castle), an escaped mental patient who murdered his sister, Judith Myers (Sandy Johnson), 15 years ago and has begun stalking her. Laurie notices Michael watching her and becomes increasingly worried, though her best friends Annie (Nancy Loomis) and Lynda (P. J. Soles) brush off her concerns. As Laurie babysits Tommy, Myers kills Annie and Lynda in the house across the street. Growing concerned when they fail to call her, Laurie goes to investigate and sees their corpses laid out for her to find, before being attacked by Myers. Barely escaping, Laurie races back to the Doyle house. Michael follows, but Laurie manages to fend him off long enough for Tommy and Lindsey to escape. Laurie is saved by Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence), who shoots Myers off the balcony; when Loomis goes to check Michael's body, he finds it missing. Loomis stares off into the night, while Laurie begins sobbing in terror. Halloween II (1981) picks up directly after the first film, with Laurie Strode being taken to a hospital. Upon learning who attacked her, Laurie asks "Why me?!" Laurie says she does know that she was adopted and has a few dreams that offer vague insights into her real identity. The first dream she has is of when she was a little girl, with her adoptive mother saying with a tone of annoyance "I'm not your real mother! Stop asking me questions!" The second dream shows her walking into a large room where a pre-teen Michael is seen sitting in a chair and turning to look at her. Waking up, she begins to roam the hallways of the hospital until coming face to face with Myers, who has been killing his way through the hospital staff in search of her. Meanwhile, Dr. Loomis is told that Michael and Judith Myers are actually Laurie's biological siblings; she was put up for adoption after the death of their parents, with the records sealed to protect the family. With the realization that Michael is after Laurie, Loomis rushes to the hospital to find them. Laurie shoots Michael in the eyes, blinding him, and Loomis causes an explosion in the operating theater, allowing Laurie to escape. Michael, engulfed in flames, stumbles out of the room before finally falling dead. The traumatized Laurie is last seen being transferred to another hospital. In Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988), Laurie is revealed to have died in a car accident prior to the film's events, with the role of protagonist taken up by her young daughter, Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris). A photograph of Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie appears in a scene where Jamie remembers her mother. The character of Jamie would go on to reappear in two more Halloween sequels, while Laurie's cousin Kara (Marianne Hagan) and her family appear in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995).
Curtis returned as Laurie Strode in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), the seventh film in the series. The screenplay was based on a story by Kevin Williamson. The story was conceived as a sequel to the sixth film, thereby keeping the timeline's continuity, but producers ultimately decided to go with a retcon and ignore the previous three films. In this timeline, Laurie has faked her death in a car accident as a way of escaping her murderous brother, whose body was not found after Halloween II. She is now living under the name Keri Tate, and works as the headmistress of a California private school, where her teenage son John (Josh Hartnett) is a student. Laurie, who by now has become an alcoholic, is still haunted by memories of her brother's rampage, and lives in fear that he may return. Although John dismisses her as paranoid, her fears become reality when Myers (Chris Durand) resurfaces on Halloween and murders two of John's classmates. After getting her son and his girlfriend to safety, Laurie decides to stop running and face her brother. She stops Michael, but, unconvinced that he is truly dead, goes on to steal his body and decapitate him, finally killing him. In Halloween: Resurrection (2002), it is revealed that the man Laurie killed was a paramedic with whom Myers (Brad Loree) had swapped clothes. The guilt-ridden Laurie is now an inmate at the Grace Andersen Sanitarium, where the nurses believe her to be catatonic. Instead, she is preparing for Myers' return, and when he does, she lures him on to the institution's rooftop. Although he falls into her trap, Laurie's fears of again killing the wrong person get the better of her; when she tries to remove his mask, Michael stabs her and throws her off the roof, to her death.
A new version of Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) appears in the Rob Zombie remake (2007). This movie establishes from the beginning that Laurie is Michael's baby sister, nicknamed "Boo". The young Michael (Daeg Faerch) shares a close bond with her. When Michael is sent away for killing their older sister Judith (Hanna R. Hall), their mother (Sheri Moon Zombie) is unable to cope and commits suicide. The infant Laurie is discovered by Sheriff Brackett (Brad Dourif), who omits her from the records for her own protection, and she is eventually adopted by the Strode family. The adult Michael (Tyler Mane) escapes and comes home in search of his sister, killing her adoptive parents and her friend Lynda (Kristina Klebe) before kidnapping Laurie. Michael attempts to communicate with Laurie through a picture of them both as children, but she does not understand and attacks him. Laurie hides as Michael hunts her down in their old childhood home; when he finds her, she shoots him in the head with a gun she took from Dr. Sam Loomis (Malcolm McDowell), after which she begins screaming hysterically as the scene fades to an old home video of young Michael and baby Laurie.
In the sequel (2009), Laurie has moved in with the Bracketts. She suffers recurring nightmares about Michael and their mother, and is seeing a therapist to deal with the trauma. Loomis later tells her that she is Michael's sister, and that she also suffers from his "illness". In the film's climax, she tells a mortally wounded Michael that she loves him, before stabbing him to death and putting on his mask. In the film's final scene, she sits in isolation in a psychiatric ward, grinning at a vision of her mother. In the director's cut of the film, Laurie picks up Michael's knife after Michael is killed and walks over to an injured and unconscious Loomis, and the police open fire on Laurie, apparently killing her too.
Curtis reprised her role as Laurie Strode in Halloween (2018). The film ignored all of the previous sequels in the franchise and served as a direct sequel to the 1978 film, taking place forty years later, and establishing that Michael (James Jude Courtney) was arrested following his killing spree in 1978, spending forty years back in Smith's Grove Sanitarium. The plot twist from the 1981 sequel of Laurie being Michael's sister also was ignored. In the film, Laurie's granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) explains how her life has been impacted by Michael's reign of terror 40 years earlier. When a friend hints that they heard Michael was Laurie's brother, Allyson replies, "No, it was not her brother, that was something people made up." In this continuity, Laurie suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of Michael's rampage, and has prepared for Michael's potential return through combat training; she has been divorced twice, and fell into alcoholism which in turn caused her to lose custody of her daughter, Karen (Judy Greer). Michael eventually escapes again and returns to Haddonfield for another killing spree. Michael is taken to Laurie’s home by his deranged psychologist where he engages in a showdown with Laurie, who severely injures him and severs two of his fingers, but he pushes her over a balcony; when Michael goes to check Laurie's body, he finds it missing, before being attacked by Strode. Trapping him inside the basement safe room, Laurie, Karen and Allyson set the house ablaze, and the trio escapes in the back of a passing pickup truck.
Laurie Strode's first literary appearance was in October 1979, in Curtis Richards' novelization of Halloween, which largely follows the events of the film. She also appeared in the 1981 adaptation of Halloween II written by Jack Martin; it was published alongside the first film sequel, with the novel following the film events, with an additional victim, a reporter, added to the novel.
Laurie appears in the twist ending of the comic book Halloween III: The Devil's Eyes. While examining Dr. Loomis' diaries in the hopes of finding out more about Michael Myers, an adult Tommy Doyle and Lindsey Wallace are attacked by a person dressed as Myers. They unmask the figure to reveal Laurie Strode, who has taken on her brother's mantle. At the conclusion of the book, Laurie kills Tommy (losing an eye in the process) and is subsequently incarcerated in Smith's Grove, where Dr. Terence Wynn takes an interest in her. This story follows on from Halloween H20, but is set in a non-canon timeline contradicted by the release of Halloween: Resurrection.
The anthology one-shot comic Halloween: 30 Years of Terror includes a Laurie Strode storyline entitled "Visiting Hours". Set between H20 and Resurrection, it shows Laurie in the Grace Anderson Sanitarium, where she wonders how her life could have been if Michael hadn't found her in 1978. In this alternate universe, she lives a happy life in which her friends are still alive, but the memory of Michael invades her fantasy world and leaves her with nothing. Laurie concludes that "I can't even dream of a normal life without [Michael] killing it", and can do nothing but wait for her brother's inevitable "visit" to set her free. Laurie appears prominently in the comic book limited series Halloween: The First Death of Laurie Strode; set after Halloween II, it depicts the events which led to her faking her death.
In 1983, Laurie made her video game debut in Halloween released on Atari 2600. Laurie Strode was added as a playable character, alongside Michael Myers, in downloadable content for Dead by Daylight released in October 2016. Her biography states:
- "You never know what really matters in life until you’ve realized it might end soon. Laurie is one of those who just wants a quiet life in the suburbs, hanging out with friends, family and maybe go on a date or two. Laurie is a typical teenager. You could pass her on the street and not think twice. She does her homework and is liked by her friends, teachers and family. A simple night of babysitting turns into something that will forever change the course of her young life. A knife swooshing through the air. Screams from afar. Noises that play tricks with her mind. But not Laurie, she’s made of something stronger. Something that won’t give up."
In an interview, Carpenter admits that "Jamie Lee wasn't the first choice for Laurie. I had no idea who she was. She was 19 and in a TV show at the time, but I didn't watch TV." He originally wanted to cast Anne Lockhart, the daughter of June Lockhart from Lassie, as Laurie Strode. Lockhart, however, had commitments to several other film and television projects. Debra Hill says upon learning that Curtis was the daughter of Psycho star Janet Leigh, "I knew casting Jamie Lee would be great publicity for the film because her mother was in Psycho."
- "...for as much as both survive, each, in the end, requires male intervention to fully save them from the narrative's male antagonist: Sally is rescued by a passing driver, while Laurie is saved by Dr Loomis (Donald Pleasence). Despite this, both Sally and Laurie combine to make manifest the key attributes of the Final Girl as both struggled, endured and, in Laurie's case, attacked their aggressor until they could escape and be saved. In the slasher films that followed in the wake of Chain Saw and Halloween, the Final Girl steadily gains in strength until she herself vanquishes the male antagonist."
Editor Stefano Lo Verme compared Curtis' performance as Laurie to the performances of Sandra Peabody as Mari Collingwood in The Last House on the Left (1972) and Marilyn Burns as Sally in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974).
In the 2018 film, Curtis' performance was also singled out with praise.
- McNary, Dave (September 15, 2017). "Jamie Lee Curtis Returning for 'Halloween' Reboot". Variety. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
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- Verme, Stefano Lo (June 25, 2016). "SCREAMING ACTRESSES: FROM VERA FARMIGA TO JAMIE LEE CURTIS, THE GREAT SCREAM QUEEN BETWEEN CINEMA AND TV". Movieplayer. Retrieved January 5, 2018.