The Friday the 13th franchise has been dormant for some time, but the legendary slasher series is newly equipped to differentiate itself from the Halloween franchise thanks to the upcoming sequel Halloween Ends. In October 2022, Halloween Ends will bring the trilogy that began with 2018’s Halloween reboot to a close. Upon its October 2018 release, the rebooted Halloween managed to bring critical acclaim back to the long-dormant franchise over a decade after Rob Zombie’s divisive remake and its derided sequel left fans of Michael Myers pessimistic about the prospects of the series.
However, the nostalgia-baiting of Halloween Kills resulted in the delayed sequel receiving markedly more mixed reviews than its predecessor. Despite Halloween 2018 ostensibly retconning the events of every sequel after the original 1978 movie, Halloween Kills brought back a lot of minor characters from the franchise and relied on fan excitement over these appearances to paper over a predictable, thin plot. Now, Halloween Ends will need to tie up the trilogy in a way that satisfies both the franchise faithful and critics alike, and the sequel could set up a perfect Friday the 13th reboot in the process.
Ever since the franchise’s inception, the Friday the 13th movies have struggled with being seen as a shameless Halloween knock-off. However, the arrival of Halloween Ends can change this. As a franchise, Friday the 13th can’t copy Halloween 2018’s reboot formula the way that the franchise borrowed inspiration from both Halloween’s increasingly silly 80s sequels and the franchise’s darker, gorier 2000s remake. As a result, a Friday the 13th reboot could instead strike while the proverbial iron is hot, producing a new installment for the rival franchise just as viewers grow tired of Michael Myers once more. Not only that, but bringing back the original Friday the 13th’s cleverest trick would make the two franchises seem less similar than ever, which could be helpful for Friday the 13th’s reboot after the mixed reception of Halloween Kills.
How Friday the 13th Ripped Off Halloween
Per the admission of its screenwriter, 1980’s original Friday the 13th was an attempt to cash in on the success of Halloween. Producer Sean Cunningham reportedly called screenwriter Victor Miller proposing that the pair rip off Halloween since the movie made so much money, an approach that succeeded judging by the original Friday the 13th’s historic box office haul. Friday the 13th undeniably took Carpenter’s extended sequences shot from the killer’s POV (which Carpenter himself borrowed from director Bob Clark’s earlier Black Christmas), as well as the premise of a mostly-unseen killer returning after years in absentia, the movie’s slasher pacing, and the virtuous Final Girl who avoided sex, drugs, and other temptations. There were plenty of clear similarities between the two movies, and critics who called Friday the 13th a Halloween knock-off were not far from the mark at the time.
How Friday the 13th Wasn’t (Originally) A Halloween Clone
However, there were far more egregious, less successful cases of directors ripping off Carpenter’s success, such as Nightmares In A Damaged Brain, Blood Rage, and The Prowler. While the original Friday the 13th was Halloween’s most successful knock-off, this was true in part because the original movie was more than a complete clone of Carpenter’s sleeper hit. While the Pamela Voorhees twist was high camp, the revelation that the unlikely killer was a middle-aged woman did give Friday the 13th a whodunit structure that Halloween lacked. The remote setting was also contrasted with Halloween, a movie that pointedly brought terror to suburbia. More than anything, the fact that viewers spent Friday the 13th’s runtime trying to work out who the killer was—where they spent Halloween’s runtime trying to work out how Michael Myers could be stopped—made the original movie as much of a Giallo homage as it was a Carpenter clone.
How Friday the 13th Became A Halloween Clone
While Friday the 13th was not necessarily as shameless a Halloween rip-off as its critics claimed, its sequels made up for lost time in this department. The later, funnier Friday the 13th sequels made Jason Voorhees into a virtual carbon copy of Michael Myers as the franchise became defined in the cultural imagination by another masked, mute, vaguely supernatural, utterly un-killable villain. Particularly in an era when Freddy Krueger, Chucky, and Candyman were all expanding the definition of what a slasher villain could look and act like, Jason’s resemblance to Michael and the similarity between their modus operandi proved that the Friday the 13th franchise wasn’t above simply replicating Halloween’s most successful elements.
How Halloween Ends Changes The Franchise
However, 2018’s Halloween reboot and its subsequent sequels have redefined the series again, allowing the Friday the 13th franchise another chance to escape its long shadow. Both the flawed sequel Halloween Kills and the promotional material of Halloween Ends once again reiterate that Michael’s beef with Laurie is unique to her and not driven by a broader desire to kill everyone he encounters, in contrast with Jason’s indiscriminate slaughter of anyone who finds their way to his secluded home. Where Jason is driven by vengeance, Michael is driven by ambiguous evil, and while Jason is a territorial killer, Michael goes out of his way to track down his victims.
A Friday the 13th Reboot Could Kill Halloween Comparisons
A Friday the 13th reboot that doesn’t show Jason immediately could bring back the original movie’s whodunit premise while avoiding any connection between the killer and the Final Girl (possibly by killing off the Final Girl in an unexpected ending) would reaffirm that the Friday the 13th franchise is a different entity from its famous inspiration. A Friday the 13th reboot without Jason would admittedly be a hard sell for many franchise fans, but Jason could still appear in the reboot in some capacity. The main appeal, however, would be the Friday the 13th reboot holding off on revealing its killer’s identity for most of the movie’s runtime, bringing back the element that allowed the original Friday the 13th to differentiate itself from Halloween. Once Mrs. Voorhees is revealed as the killer, and her son returns to the series, a Friday the 13th reboot could still depict Jason killing indiscriminately while being safe in the knowledge that Halloween Ends made the differences between the Halloween franchise and its supposed knock-off clear years earlier.
- Halloween Ends (2022)Release date: Oct 14, 2022