|Created by||John Carpenter
|Portrayed by||Original series: (1978–2002)
Jamie Lee Curtis
Reimagined series: (2007–2009)
Jamie Lloyd, John Tate
(biological sister; deceased)
Laurie Strode is a fictional character in the Halloween horror film series, portrayed by actresses Jamie Lee Curtis and Scout Taylor-Compton. She appears in six of the present ten Halloween instalments, first appearing in John Carpenter's original 1978 film. She is the primary protagonist of the first, second, and seventh and appears at the beginning of the eighth; Laurie exemplifies the final girl stock character. Jamie Lee Curtis portrayed the role in the original run of the series, with Scout Taylor-Compton taking the role in Rob Zombie's reboot and its sequel. In academic materials, Strode is widely cited as the one of the earliest and most influential examples of the "final girl" slasher film archetype.
Laurie Strode first appears in the original Halloween. The 17-year-old Laurie (Curtis) 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, this 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. As Laurie babysits Tommy, Myers kills Annie (Nancy Loomis) and Lynda (P. J. Soles), 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. Laurie defends herself by stabbing him with a knitting needle, a metal hanger, and his own knife, but nothing kills him. As he rises again and begins to strangle her, Laurie is saved by Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence), who shoots Myers off the balcony.
Halloween II picks up directly after the first movie, with Laurie Strode being taken to a hospital. Upon learning who attacked her, Laurie asks "Why me?" After being sedated, Laurie has a dream in which she visits an older boy in a hospital. 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. Concluding that Laurie is still in danger, Loomis rushes to the hospital and causes an explosion which engulfs himself and Myers, while Laurie escapes the blast. The traumatized Laurie is last seen being transferred to another hospital. In Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Laurie is said to have died 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.
Curtis returned as Laurie Strode in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, the seventh film in the series. This movie is set in an alternate timeline in which the previous three installments never happened, and the Jamie Lloyd character, her daughter, never existed. Laurie is revealed to have 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 37 years old and living under the name Keri Tate, and works as the headmistress of a California private school, where her teenage son John Tate (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 John's classmates. After getting her son 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. In Halloween: Resurrection, 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 Anderson 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, and Michael stabs her and drops her from the roof to her death when she moves in closer to remove his mask rather than just stabbing him straight away.
Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) appears in Rob Zombie's Halloween remake. This movie establishes from the beginning that Laurie is Michael's baby sister, nicknamed "Boo," and the young Michael (Daeg Faerch) is shown to love her very much. When Michael is sent away for killing his older sister Judith (Hanna R. Hall), Laurie's mother 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 her. 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 face with a gun she took from Dr. 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 2009 sequel, Laurie has moved in with the Bracketts and attends therapy for her trauma regularly, though she suffers recurring nightmares related to Michael and his mother. Laurie discovers on Halloween from Dr. Loomis's book that she is Michael's sister Angel, and that Sheriff Brackett had a hand in her adoption. Distraught, she moves out of the Brackett house only to later find Annie Brackett (Danielle Harris) dead at Myers' hand. Laurie continually sees apparitions and Loomis reveals she suffers from the same illness as Myers. In the film's climax, she tells an impaled and bullet-riddled Myers that she loves him, before violently stabbing him and then putting on his mask. In the film's close, she is in a mental institute, where she sees further apparitions of her mother. In the director's cut of the film, Laurie instead attempts to kill an injured and unconscious Dr. Loomis after Michael is killed, and is shot down by the panicked police.
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 lead to her faking her death.
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 of 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."
- Carpenter, John (Writer/Director) and Debra Hill (Writer) (1978). Halloween (DVD). United States: Compass International Pictures.
- Rosenthal, Rick (Director), John Carpenter, and Debra Hill (Writers) (1981). Halloween II (DVD). United States: Universal Pictures.
- Little, Dwight (Director) and Allan McElroy (Writer) (1988). Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (DVD). United States: Galaxy International Releasing.
- Othenin-Girard, Dominique (Director), Michael Jacobs, Dominique Othenin-Girard, and Shem Bitterman (Writers) (1989). Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (DVD). United States: Galaxy International Releasing.
- Chappelle, Joe (Director) and Daniel Farrands (Writer) (1995). Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (DVD). United States: Miramax Films.
- Miner, Steve (Director), Robert Zapia, and Matt Greenberg (Writers) (1998). Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (DVD). United States: Dimension Films.
- Rosenthal, Rick (Director), Larry Brand, and Sean Hood (Writers) (2002). Halloween: Resurrection (DVD). United States: Dimension Films.
- Zombie, Rob (Writer/Director) (2007). Halloween (DVD). United States: Dimension Films.
- Zombie, Rob (Writer/Director) (2009). Halloween II (DVD). United States: Dimension Films.
- Curtis Richards (October 1979). Halloween (novel). Bantam Books. ISBN 0553132261.
- Jack Martin (1981-11-01). Halloween II (novel). Zebra Publishing. ISBN 0-89083-864-X.
- "Halloween — Michael Myers comic book titles". Movie Maniacs Comic Books. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
- "Daniel Farrands interview". Icons of Fright. 2005. Retrieved 2008-06-01.
- Stephen Hutchinson (w), Daniel Zezelj, Jim Daly, Brett Weldele, Jeffrey Zornow, Lee Ferguson, Tim Seeley (p), Nick Bell, Rob Buffalo, Jeffrey Zornow, Elizabeth John (i). Halloween: 30 Years of Terror (August, 2007), Devil's Due Publishing
- Steve Ekstrom (2008-08-18). "Hutchinson on Halloween: The First Death of Laurie Strode". Newsarama. Retrieved 2008-11-11.
- John Carpenter, Entertainment Weekly interview, quoted at HalloweenMovies.com; last accessed April 19, 2006.
- Debra Hill, Fangoria interview, quoted at HalloweenMovies.com; last accessed April 19, 2006.