If there's one single immutable truth in the universe, it's that horror movie franchises will always overstay their welcome. It's sad and depressing — and rarely ends well for either characters or the audience — but it also puts the genre on the pioneering, bleeding edge of repurposing characters. Whether it's the phenomenon of the reboot, remake, or crossover, odds are that horror has done it first (just ask Abbott, Costello, and Frankenstein).
True to form, horror is blazing trails again this week by adding a new kind of rethink to the pile. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the writing team of Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan have signed on to write a new entry in the Halloween series, but it won't be a remake of an existing film, or a brand-new reboot of the series, either. Instead, it will be a "recalibration." What does that mean? Who knows. Does it really matter, anyway?
The series needs a lot more than just a recalibration
Originally launched in 1978 with John Carpenter's classic original film, the Halloween series has been all over the place, with entries that dropped the masked boogeyman Michael Myers altogether, others bringing him back to tell the continuing story of Jamie Lee Curtis' character, and others pulling Tyra Banks and Busta Rhymes into the mix because somebody apparently lost a bet.
Rob Zombie gave the series the reboot treatment starting in 2007 with Halloween and Halloween II, but those failed to find much favor with audiences or critics. All of which is to say that a lot more is needed than just a gentle push back on track. Melton and Dunstan certainly have experience working in this kind of environment — they wrote the last four Saw films and the tongue-in-cheek Piranha 3DD — but while a horror franchise named after a holiday probably seems too good to pass up, maybe it's time for Halloween to start a new trend: the hibernation. The Halloween movies haven't been good in decades at this point, and even though a "definitive" Blu-Ray set came out last year it's not like people were excited about buying it so they could get a great new transfer of The Curse of Michael Myers. The allure comes from the earlier films — a legacy that's diminished ever time a bad sequel rolls out.
Producer Malek Akkad should start by recalibrating audience expectations
If producer Malek Akkad wants to recalibrate something, he should start with audience expectations that the movies will be terrible. And the best way to do that is to keep Michael Myers on the shelf a little longer. Let people forget. And then burn the whole thing down and start from scratch. Yes, we're all sick of movie reboots, but it's the only way to undo the damage that's been done over the last 30 years. Otherwise it'll be just one more half-hearted embarrassment after another — and as a fan of the early films, I'd really like Michael to be scary again.