Halloween Ends is further proof that audiences want original horror

Michael Myers in Halloween Ends
(Image credit: Universal)

It's been a great year for horror, but it’s not the big-name franchise revivals that are making bank at the box office and getting rave reviews. Smile, a psychological slasher that’s like It Follows but with a mental illness-related twist, made $22 million in its opening weekend. Barbarian, which stars Justin Long and centers on a rundown house with an unimaginably dark and disturbing secret, grossed $41 million against a $4 million budget. Scott Derrickson’s The Black Phone, which sees a young boy attempt to escape the clutches of a serial killer with help from the ghosts of his previous victims, made over $100 million against a budget of $18 million. Terrifer 2, a blood-soaked slasher about a killer clown, grossed over $5,400,000 million against a pretty small budget of just $250,000.

Now, I agree with Martin Scorsese – the numbers don’t really matter. There are many great movies that bomb at the box office. But in this case, the numbers prove a very important point: audiences want to see original horror. There’s a demand for it; for new scary movies with original plots and original characters. We don’t have to keep reviving the same franchise over and over to get moviegoers interested in horror. These reboots often just cheapen franchises, disappoint fans, and add nothing new or exciting to properties that are widely regarded for their uniqueness.

Just look at both Halloween Ends and the 2022 Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The latter fails the 1974 classic in almost every single way, right down to the death of the original final girl. That’s right: they took a page out of David Gordon Green’s Halloween trilogy and brought an older Sally Hardesty back… and then killed her, the character who started it all, whose existence changed the slasher genre forever. The film also erases Leatherface’s backstory, disregarding the iconic dinner scene that depicts the cannibalistic killer serving dinner to his equally messed up family, and gives him a mother – completely diverting from the canon that Leatherface is, in fact, the matriarch of the family and erasing an integral part of what makes the original so weird in the first place.

The Halloween franchise begins with Michael Myers, but it doesn’t end that way. Halloween Ends spends the majority of its runtime introducing us to a brand new serial killer – and then Michael just shows up at the end. Laurie, after decades of torment, finally unmasks him, and nothing happens. We’ve been building up to this moment since 1979: the mask, the jumpsuit, and the anonymity makes Michael such a unique figure in horror. He’s a stalker, a damn good one, and we don’t know much about him or his motivations – and that makes him all the more terrifying. When we finally get the chance to see who’s behind the mask, the camera doesn’t pan over. Laurie looks at him and says, "You’re just a man." And that’s it. That’s the end of Michael Myers. We spend an hour chasing a completely different killer, and then iol' Michael shows up for one last battle in the kitchen. The end.

Similarly, it’s worth noting that Neve Campbell isn’t going to be in the next Scream installment, even though the franchise is quite literally about her character, Sidney Prescott, and how she’s not only survived but also thrived throughout the years since the events of the first Scream.

When you veer off course like these examples, it seems like the filmmakers had an original idea that didn’t get greenlit and figured they could mix it in with an existing franchise. Plus, it’s much harder for a studio to say 'yes' to an original pitch than to bring back an existing franchise that has name recognition. And therein lies the issue: reboots and requels are greenlit because their predecessors made big bucks at the box office (and nostalgia is hot in Hollywood).

Now, using today’s technology and FX to do things filmmakers couldn’t do in the 70s or 80s is a great reason to bring back horror classics – hence why I’m a big proponent of The Crow reboot – but when it comes to adding another installment to a longstanding franchise, it seems like audiences are over it. We're hungry for something new; to witness the birth of new horror icons on the big screen. Why beat a dead horse or reinvent the wheel when filmgoers are calling out for sick, twisted, completely out-of-left-field ideas? Not only do we need more Grabbers, but the numbers back up the fact that that's what audiences want. Step aside Michael Myers, it's someone else's turn to haunt our dreams.

For more horror, check out our guide to the Halloween Ends ending explained. For more cinema, check out our list of the most exciting upcoming movies in 2022 and beyond, or, skip right to the good stuff with our list of movie release dates.

Lauren Milici
Senior Writer, Tv & Film

Lauren Milici is a Senior Entertainment Writer for GamesRadar+ currently based in the Midwest. She previously reported on breaking news for The Independent's Indy100 and created TV and film listicles for Ranker. Her work has been published in Fandom, Nerdist, Paste Magazine, Vulture, PopSugar, Fangoria, and more. Her first collection of poetry, "FINAL GIRL," sold out of print. Her second collection, "Sad Sexy Catholic," is forthcoming in 2023.