Why Halloween 2018's Big Climactic Showdown Was Completely Reshot

David Gordon Green's 2018 film "Halloween," which picks up the story of Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and slasher icon Michael Myers decades after the events of John Carpenter's original 1978 "Halloween," comes to an end when three generations of Laurie's family — Laurie; her daughter, Karen (Judy Greer); and her granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak) — trap Michael in the basement of Laurie's home and ultimately burn it to the ground, thinking they killed him in the process. (Spoiler alert: They did not actually kill him.) 

But that ending wasn't what the filmmakers initially cooked up. In the new book "Halloween: The Official Making of Halloween, Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends," author Abbie Bernstein spoke with several of the key creatives behind the making of the movie and got some details about what the initial ending would have included. Let's take a look at those details, and explore why that climactic face-off between these characters needed to be completely reshot.

The initial plan

According to Bernstein's book, the scripted ending originally involved Judy Greer's character, Karen, shooting Michael Myers with a crossbow instead of a gun. "We knew we wanted Karen, the person who has denounced violence, to shoot Michael," cinematographer Michael Simmonds said. The original ending also took place at Laurie Strode's target range, with Michael sitting by himself, surrounded by mannequins Laurie used for target practice. 

"In the original script, it was a lot more ambiguous," said John Passarella, the author of the novelization of "Halloween," in an interview with We Watched A Movie. "After I read it I emailed my editor I said, 'Are you sure this is the final script?' I almost felt like I was missing a couple of pages because I'd been told or expected that this was it. This was the end ... Michael is just sitting in that area where Laurie has the mannequins for shooting practice. He's just breathing heavily and it's like, is he going to eventually die? Or is he gonna stand up and be fine?"

James Jude Courtney, who played Michael Myers, recalled filming that version of the scene in Bernstein's book:

"David [Gordon Green] said, 'Okay, Jim, I'm going to play the song I think I want to use to tag the film. I want you to listen to the music, and go with it.' During the song, at a certain point, I started feeling like I was coming back to life. My body started to rise, and I felt like I was being renewed. When they yelled 'Cut!' I looked up and the entire crew was just off-camera, in a 360-degree circle around me, applauding. I've never, ever felt that kind of love before. I stood up, and [FX artist] Christopher [Allen Nelson] came over and took the mask off, and said, 'Look around. Take it in.' And I looked in the eyes of these beautiful people, who had just worked their asses off, and they were smiling, and I was speechless. All I could say was, 'I love you'."

That sounds like a lovely moment, and it marked the end of principal photography. But as anyone who has seen the final movie knows, that's not what the actual film looks like.

Why the ending was changed

Passarella, who had early access to the script while he was writing his novelization, offered his perspective about why that scene was changed:

"In the original script, there's a scene with a crossbow out in the front lawn and everything's taking place out in the front lawn. And that was all changed because the cage and the house being this prison for him, none of that was in the original script. So they added all that back in those ending pages where they show her checking all the cage doors to be able to lock him in there to make it a more active plan rather than a passive plan to just attack him, to be luring him into this trap."

In early 2019, "Halloween" executive producer Ryan Turek spoke with ScreenRant and elaborated on why the filmmakers decided to switch things up with the movie's ending.

"I think we went with the ending that fulfilled that promise of you're going to see three generations of Strodes vs. Michael Myers. That's what I'll say. I think what we ultimately went with delivered more of what you want to see on both a cat-and-mouse, stalk-and-kill level as well as emotionally fulfilling a lot of the character arcs we set up for Judy Greer's character and Laurie and Allyson."

There's absolutely something fulfilling about seeing Laurie Strode, whose life has been forever altered by a monster, be proven right in her decades-long convictions, and seeing these women band together to take down this faceless white man is a potent image. As for James Jude Courtney, who received that touching round of applause from the crew when filming the original ending that did not make the final cut, he still came away with a smile on his face. According to Bernstein:

Courtney returned to shoot the new footage, including the ending that has Michael seemingly trapped in the basement inferno. Once more, the crew gathered and applauded.

Read More