Briefing

Halloween Ends: Breaking down the horror franchise's wild finale

All your questions about the franchise finale, answered

The Halloween franchise has allegedly ended once again, but this time with its most conclusive, and weirdest, finale yet. What's next for the slasher series, if anything, and what should we make of this curveball of an ending? Let's break it all down — with massive spoilers ahead

Why is Corey Cunningham so central to 'Halloween Ends'?

To say the least, Halloween Ends takes some big swings, by far the most surprising being centering the entire finale film around a random new character, Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell). No, he's not someone you forgot about from a prior Halloween movie. Yes, he's brand new to Ends

Corey is a young man who's accused of murder after accidentally killing a kid he's babysitting, leading him to be vilified and ostracized by the town of Haddonfield. Over the course of the film, we see how this drives Corey into allying with Michael Myers and, eventually, even donning Michael's mask and killing people. 

Corey playing such a large role that he overshadows Michael may make this the most divisive Halloween sequel ever. Thematically, though, it does fit with one of the central ideas of this trilogy: Expanding the evil beyond Michael and showing that he has infected Haddonfield with fear and grief, terrorizing it not just in a physical sense. The townspeople were so consumed with rage over Michael's killings that they got an innocent man killed in Halloween Kills, and when he vanished, they needed a new "Boogeyman" to direct that rage toward. They find one in Corey, who becomes the monster people believed him to be. At the same time, the film asks to what degree this evil was always inside him, also a long-standing question about Michael. 

On a meta level, the Halloween series has long been interested in having another character following in Michael's footsteps. Halloween 4 ended with a tease that Laurie Strode's (Jamie Lee Curtis) daughter, Jamie Lloyd, would become a killer, only for this to be walked back in the sequel. So all these years later, the franchise fulfills that promise, in a way, with Ends. Director David Gordon Green also draws on ideas from Rob Zombie's 2007 Halloween remake, which showed how a young Michael was bullied and abused, though some fans felt that implying this is what drove him to become a killer detracted from his mystique. Introducing Corey, then, allows Green to explore the birth of a killer and the endless cycle of evil, questioning how culpable we all are in creating this monster, while retaining the mysterious appeal of Michael by doing so with a new character. It calls to mind Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, which revolved around a copycat Jason Voorhees.  

But how well this works is debatable, and it's frustrating that Corey's introduction is so abrupt at the very end of this trilogy, leading characters who have been around for several films to be sidelined. Halloween Kills even gave Deputy Hawkins (Will Patton) a backstory about why he's determined to kill Michael, only for him to have virtually no role in Ends besides awkwardly flirting with Laurie. And Kyle Richards is brought back in order to … sit around in the background and read Tarot cards. What was the point of having her survive Halloween Kills, then? 

So, Michael Myers is dead for real this time, right?

It's almost impossible to imagine he's not. Ends lives up to its title in that it has constructed one of the most hilariously irreversible deaths for a slasher villain ever, as if the goal was to ensure no sequel can possibly bring him back. Not only does Laurie slit Michael's throat and wrists, but he's then paraded to a junkyard and thrown into a car crusher. That even rules out the possibility of literally having him rise from the grave like Jason Voorhees. Good luck with this one, sequel writers! 

Even so, it's hard to blame fans who don't believe the finality of Ends given Laurie literally cut off Michael's head in Halloween H20, only for the sequel to reveal a paramedic swapped places with him and the real Michael was still alive. That would be the only conceivable way to retcon this ending short of having Laurie wake up from a dream: Some sort of reveal that the man thrown into the car crusher wasn't Michael. But unlike in H20, this time, Laurie takes off Michael's mask, and based on the glimpses we see of his face, he looks exactly like he did without the mask in 2018's Halloween

So, yes, at least in this current continuity, Michael Myers is finally, really, truly dead for good. If there's one thing Halloween Ends gets right, it's providing what feels like a definitive conclusion. Unlike the 2018 film, there isn't even any credits tease suggesting more to come. 

Does this mean Michael isn't supernatural? And why does he kill people?

It's a bit surprising that it doesn't end up being that difficult for Laurie to kill Michael, though, considering Halloween Kills flirted with the idea that he may be a supernatural force. He inexplicably got back up after being repeatedly shot point blank and stabbed, leading Laurie to conclude he's not a "mortal man." Let's not forget that he also survived several gunshot wounds in the original film.

But no, Halloween Ends suggests Michael actually is a mortal man, albeit one who can survive grave injuries for mysterious reasons. Speaking with IGN last year, Green explained he doesn't agree with Laurie's theory in Kills about Michael, explaining, "I don't personally see him as supernatural." If there's nothing supernatural going on, though, it's not really clear why Karen (Judy Greer) saw a vision of a young Michael before her death in Kills

The trilogy also ends without much insight into why Michael behaves the way he does, and that's the whole point. The original Halloween series explained the reason for Michael's killings, revealing he was being influenced by a Druid curse compelling him to murder members of his family, and that's why he went after Laurie, who was his sister in those movies. But most fans felt this made Michael less scary, as what was so terrifying about John Carpenter's original was the idea that Michael is an unexplained force of destruction, who terrorized Laurie not because they're related, but because she just so happened to cross paths with him. 

This trilogy has brought that back, and the only explanation we get about Michael's motivations is that he wants to return to his childhood home, as he did in Kills. The fact that this home has been demolished in Ends could be tied to his disappearance and weakened state. 

Corey is also dead for real, right? 

For a while, it seems like the point of Ends is to set up Corey as the new Michael for future sequels, so it comes as a shock when he's killed in the third act. Not only does Corey stab himself in the neck to frame Laurie with his murder and get Allyson (Andi Matichak) to turn on her grandmother, but Michael then snaps his neck for good measure. It makes for a surprising twist, though it also means the ending focusing on Laurie battling Michael feels weirdly disconnected from the rest of the movie. 

Granted, Corey's death isn't quite as definitive as Michael's in the sense that his body isn't literally destroyed in front of our eyes. As the film ends, the camera cuts around Laurie's home, and we hear some faint breathing. This echoes the ending of the original film, which indicated Michael was out there somewhere. "Evil doesn't die, it changes shape," Laurie says, with The Shape being a nickname for Michael. Could the film be hinting that "The Shape" could return, not as Michael, but as Corey … or someone else entirely? 

It could be possible if, for example, future movies wanted to explain that a supernatural force has indeed been powering Michael and that it has now possessed Corey, allowing him to also survive injuries that would kill a normal man. But it's more likely both Michael and Corey are dead for good, and this is the last we'll see of the latter character. 

Why didn't Michael return until now, and why didn't he come for Laurie? 

Four years have passed since Halloween Kills, and Michael has apparently been hiding in the sewers ever since. While you might assume he'd return the very next Halloween, the implication is he was too weak to do so and has spent this time healing (though he's been occasionally killing people in the sewer). Don't forget, Halloween Kills saw Michael beaten to a bloody pulp, and while he survived, it clearly took a toll — though you've got to wonder how authorities haven't found Michael in all this time if he's just hanging out right under the town. 

Relatedly, some fans might wonder why Michael never returned to finish off Laurie, as he only ends up at her house in Ends because he's looking for Corey and his mask. But that's because in this trilogy, Michael was never after Laurie in the first place. To him, Laurie is just a random woman he happened to come across in 1978. She's no longer his sister, as Halloween II is not canon in this trilogy, and the idea that there's some sort of long-standing grudge between them was always just in Laurie's mind. Even in the 2018 film, Michael only ended up at Laurie's house because his doctor drove him there, and while Karen is convinced in Halloween Kills that Michael will come after her in the hospital, he never does. This once again makes Michael scarier by obscuring his motivations, fixing one of the biggest issues of the earlier movies. 

Why was Laurie able to move on from Michael? 

Another surprising decision Halloween Ends makes is having Laurie living a relatively peaceful life when the film begins, even though you'd think she'd be determined to kill Michael after he murdered her daughter. 

But Laurie's granddaughter Allyson mentions she was a wreck in the immediate aftermath of Halloween Kills before getting help. And keep in mind, Laurie was so obsessed with protecting her daughter from Michael in 2018's Halloween that it destroyed her family, and given Karen ended up dying anyway, she's probably realized this was all for nothing. This, combined with the realization that Michael was never really after her, makes it understandable that she's been able to find some level of peace. 

But Curtis also explained to The Hollywood Reporter that Laurie isn't "happy" in the film like she might seem early on. "Laurie Strode will never be happy again," she said. "...But she can live next to it, she can walk next to it, and I think that's really the best you can ask for in that level of grief and upset."

The bigger question is why the heck Laurie hasn't moved out of Haddonfield, given this would surely get Michael off her tail. But maybe what Corey said is true: She stays because she's still hoping Michael will come for her. 

Why was Michael working with Corey? 

The idea of a rogue killing machine like Michael Myers "working" with anyone is another plot point that may divide fans. But it makes some sense given Michael is meant to be at his weakest at the start of the movie, so he lets Corey live because he's useful and can bring victims to him. Killing seems to allow Michael to regain some of his strength.

The film does imply Michael and Corey have some kind of connection based on the way the former looks into the latter's eyes, perhaps suggesting Michael relates to him because he was also made into a monster, or maybe he just sees that Corey has been infected with evil. This connection scene could even be read to mean some of Michael's essence is somehow being transferred to Corey, making him an extension of The Shape. But Michael ultimately snaps Corey's neck without hesitation, and he was probably only keeping him alive as long as he was needed. 

Who was that woman with the slashed throat?

The movie features a few appearances by a woman who can no longer speak, and Laurie is blamed for what happened to her. That's Sondra, Laurie's neighbor who Michael attacked in Halloween Kills by stabbing her with a fluorescent light tube, and Michael also killed her husband. So how the heck did Sondra survive that? The only real explanation is that she may actually be more unkillable than Michael. 

Who was that kid in the procession at the end? 

Speaking of survivors, the procession scene also gives us a close-up of Julian, the hilarious kid whose babysitter was killed in 2018's Halloween

Why are the title cards blue instead of orange?

Halloween Ends establishes it won't be like the prior two films right away with title cards that are blue, rather than the traditional orange. This is actually a nod to the third Halloween movie, Season of the Witch, which used the same color for its titles. 

Are there any other Easter eggs? 

One fun nod comes in the opening babysitter scene where The Thing is playing on TV. In John Carpenter's original Halloween, 1951's The Thing from Another World plays on TV, and Carpenter later remade that movie in 1982. So in Halloween Ends, it's now the Carpenter remake the characters are watching. The film also ends with "(Don't Fear) The Reaper," which Laurie was listening to on the radio in the first film.  

Plus, Nick Castle, who played Michael in the original, has a cameo at the Halloween party as the man asking Corey, "See anything you like?" (which is also a line from the original film.) And at the radio station, there's a cameo by "Darcy the Mail Girl" from The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs. Speaking of the station, we briefly saw the radio tower during the flashback opening of Halloween Kills

Wasn't the movie supposed to involve COVID?

There were reports of that, though this was based on a somewhat out-of-context quote of Green saying the residents of Haddonfield have gone through a "worldwide pandemic and peculiar politics." You can assume the pandemic perhaps filled the town with even more rage and grief, but thankfully, we don't have to experience a "Michael Myers is an anti-vaxxer" storyline. 

Is this really the last 'Halloween' movie? 

It's likely Halloween Ends will, indeed, be the last movie … at least, the last of this current rebooted series, which is one of five different Halloween timelines. 

Unlike prior films, the trilogy that began in 2018 was made by Blumhouse Productions, and producer Jason Blum told Comicbook.com that "we made an arrangement for three movies" and "there are currently no plans for us to be involved" in the series after Ends. Jamie Lee Curtis also claims this will be her last time playing Laurie, but then again, she previously returned despite the character dying twice, once off-screen between films and once on-screen in Halloween: Resurrection

With or without Curtis, there will undoubtedly be more Halloween films in some form, and Blum even specified to ScreenRant, "I didn't say it's gonna be the last Halloween movie. It's our last Halloween movie." 

A direct sequel to Ends could, theoretically, follow another, new Michael copycat. But it seems more likely the continuity will be reset again, allowing Ends to be the true conclusion of this timeline. From here, the franchise could start over with a reboot or another sequel that picks up directly after the original film. Alternatively, it could even go back to the concept of making the series an anthology of different stories set around Halloween, which was the idea behind 1982's Michael-free sequel Halloween III: Season of the Witch. That idea was abandoned at the time because the backlash to a Halloween movie not having Michael in it was so intense — so the reaction to Halloween Ends, which also doesn't have too much Michael, could indicate whether fans are ready for it now.

Either way, the odds are high that whenever Halloween returns, it will be starting up a sixth timeline. At this point, trying to unravel this series' continuity is more intimidating than facing Michael himself.

Recommended

Wrong candidate, wrong race, wrong time?
Herschel Walker.
Briefing

Wrong candidate, wrong race, wrong time?

The daily business briefing: December 7, 2022
Trump building in Chicago
Business briefing

The daily business briefing: December 7, 2022

10 things you need to know today: December 7, 2022
Warnock waves to supporters
Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: December 7, 2022

Is Mike Pence going to run for president?
Mike Pence.
Briefing

Is Mike Pence going to run for president?

Most Popular

Russian military bloggers are reportedly irate over Ukraine drone strikes
Drone strike inside Russia
Fear Factor

Russian military bloggers are reportedly irate over Ukraine drone strikes

439 Texas churches split from United Methodist Church in widening schism
United Methodist Church
Breaking up is hard to do

439 Texas churches split from United Methodist Church in widening schism

Trump denies calling to 'terminate' the Constitution after doing so
Donald Trump at a rally.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Trump denies calling to 'terminate' the Constitution after doing so