Halloween is easily the most iconic of all the slashers, and is perhaps the most consistent in terms of quality, unlike other multi-movie slasher franchises such as A Nightmare On Elm Street, Child's Play and Friday the 13th. But it's the most inconsistent in terms of continuity. Many fans assume that Halloween (2018) was the first in the franchise to retcon previous movies, but this is untrue.
Warning: There are spoilers ahead for the Halloween franchise
The first film in the series that did this was Halloween H20 (1998), which ignores the events of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers and Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers, largely because those films killed off Laurie Strode (off screen). They also toyed with the idea of Michael Myers actually being immortal, so in the end it was easier for the filmmakers to take things back to basics. And so H20 became a sequel to Halloween (1978) and Halloween II (1981), and the events of what is dubbed the 'Cult of Thorn' trilogy never happened.
The confusing continuity and various timelines don't end there, though. Following the disastrous Halloween: Resurrection in 2002, which itself retcons certain elements of its predecessor H20, thereby creating what many fans consider to be yet another alternate timeline, the franchise was rebooted in 2007 by Rob Zombie, which also got its own sequel in 2009 (a reboot of the original Halloween II). Zombie's movies exist, of course, within their own timeline, with the main series having been permanently killed off by Resurrection. But this is Halloween we're talking about - nothing stays dead forever.
Talking about all the different Halloween timelines would require an article in its own right (we haven't even mentioned the anthology movie Halloween III: Season of the Witch or Halloween 6: The Producer's Cut), but we're here to talk about the brand-new movie Halloween Kills, the direct sequel to 2018's Halloween, making it the third entry in the brand-new timeline, which ignores every other sequel to the original 1978 classic. Now that we've cleared all that up for you, if you're lucky enough to have already seen Halloween Kills, let's talk about that ending...
Warning: There are many major spoilers ahead for Halloween Kills
Halloween Kills picks up immediately after Halloween (2018), where we last saw the Strode girls pile into the back of a van after leaving Michael Myers to burn in a house rigged to blow like something out a Saw movie. As there's no gap between the films, it already feels like a reboot of Halloween II (1981), which does the very same thing (although that movie is no longer canon within the new timeline).
However, before we catch up with the Strodes, we jump back to that night in 1978. During the flashback, we learn a little bit about Michael, in that he used to stare out upon Haddonfield from his sister's bedroom as a young boy (the same sister he would kill when he was six years old). We also get to see Dr. Loomis (previously played by the late Donald Pleasence), who looks impressively the same.
It turns out that Michael could have easily been killed that night (so they think), which has long left Will Patton's Officer Frank Hawkins (who we now learn has survived the attack in the 2018 movie) feeling responsible for Michael having survived. After being found in his old family home, staring out of his sister's window, no less, Michael was arrested, and wound up in a sanitarium for the second time.
Back in the present day, as Laurie, her daughter Karen, and grandaughter Allyson make for the hospital, Michael re-emerges from the burning house and lays waste to a team of unsuspecting firefighters, turning their own weapons against them in a brutal fashion. And so Michael is once again set loose upon the town of Haddonfield, only hours after it seemed he had finally been stopped.
Meanwhile, characters from the original 1978 movie - Tommy Doyle, Lindsey Wallace and Marion Chambers - learn about the new killings, and decide to form a mob to hunt down Michael and put an end to the killings once and for all. As Michael preys upon several new residents (in an extremely violent fashion), Haddonfield goes to hell as the townspeople tear each other apart looking for the bogeyman.
It comes as no surprise, though, to learn that Michael was never after Laurie - she just happened to put herself in his path in the last film, having spent her entire life obsessing over killing him (she's also no longer his sister, as was the case in all the other timelines). As such, Michael and Laurie don't get to face off in this movie - this time Allyson takes the fight to him, followed closely behind by her mom, Karen.
After ripping his way through Haddonfield, Michael finally returns home, brutally slaughtering its new owners. After a confrontation with Allyson and her mother, Michael is descended upon by the Haddonfield mob, and is subdued, beaten within an inch of his seemingly immortal life.
We then get a voiceover from Laurie Strode, who talks about how Michael is immortal in more ways that one - that the fear he has created has infected the townspeople, and for that reason he will never die. But when we cut back to the Haddonfield mob, we learn that he literally won't die, either, because despite many fatal wounds, he gets back up and slaughters the entire mob single-handedly.
During this montage of mayhem, we see Karen standing in the same spot where Michael once liked to look upon his neighborhood - from his sister's bedroom window. Michael then finds her, and appears to brutally murder her, before the credits finally roll.
It's a pretty baffling ending, to say the least. Not that we didn't expect at least one of the Strode girls to die, but the fact Karen chose to go into the Myers' residence in the first place is odd. While this is where she lures Michael away from her daughter moments before, she has no reason to be in the house whatsoever. So it's likely that she was simply choosing to stand in Michael's footsteps. The question is why?
There are a number of times throughout the movie where it's suggested that Michael liked to stand at his sister's bedroom window. One character even says that he may not have even been looking out into Haddonfield, and was perhaps "looking inward" instead, which does reaffirm everything we know about Michael - he lives only inside his head, and seemingly ponders nothing but his desire to hunt and kill.
The fact that Karen decided to position herself in this spot then, likely plays along with a couple of the film's themes. The first is trauma, and Halloween Kills deals with both individual trauma and community trauma - evident by the Haddonfield mob, which is led by individuals who each had personal encounters with Michael Myers in 1978.
Earlier in the film, after trying to stop the mob from running riot at the hospital, Karen says that no one in Haddonfield is "innocent". So it's possible that Karen decides to stand in Michael's 'spot' as a way of symobilizing that she is now corrupted just like he is (having been part of the mob, to some degree). Perhaps she's also morbidly fascinated by her own need for violence.
And then there's the second possibility - she's simply trying to see what it is Michael would see when staring out of that window. But it turns out that she ends up seeing nothing but her own reflection - and his too. This is also referenced earlier in the film, when Laurie is talking about how corrupt Haddonfield has become, and that people will only ever see themselves looking back from their own reflections.
All in all, Halloween Kills is a solid entry in the franchise. While its themes are somewhat squandered by some poor pacing and editing choices, as well as having to deal with far too many characters for its own good, it's refreshing to see a sequel in such a long-running franchise take such an introspective stance - never before has Halloween ever 'stopped' to look at the cost of all these brutal slayings.
With that said, the film does fall prey to its own ponderings, and to no surprise feels very much like a 'filler' film - which it is, with Halloween Ends already announced for 2022. Nevertheless, as far as surface-level Halloween movies go, this slasher sequel does exactly what it says on the tin. Michael is unrelentless, and makes his monstrous Rob Zombie-counterpart look like something out of a Pixar movie.
Halloween Kills stars Jamie Lee Curtis, Will Patton, Judy Greer and Andi Matichak. Halloween Ends will be released in theaters on October 22, 2022.