Reading Halloween by Curtis Richards and Halloween II by Jack Martin, I can remember them as if it was October 1981 again and I’d just read them for the first time. They are deliciously fast reads that simply make the screenplays into novels—and add some meat to the original plots.
So what didn’t we see in the movies that we get in the books?
Halloween by Curtis Richards
I’d love to know how much of the additional content in this novelization may have been in the actual script, if any. Some are just minor changes, but there’s plenty of backstory added, particularly to the “supernatural” angle of Michael’s existence. Curtis Richards also tries to put a patch on a few idiosyncrasies in the movie. Here’s the chronological additions/changes.
There’s an entire prologue about the Celtic race and the eve of Samhain in Northern Ireland. There’s a king, his daughter, and a deformed boy she rejects—who then murders she and her new husband. The king orders him killed and his grave cursed by a shaman.
And over time, Samhain becomes…Halloween.
1963. OCTOBER 31st. HALLOWEEN.
— We get a lot more backstory before Michael kills his sister. Michael’s grandmother tells him about the boogeyman and real Halloween evil, not the commercial mess it has become (pretty much just like the scene with the old lady in The Curse of Michael Myers). When Michael leaves the room, his mother admits to the grandmother that Michael hears voices…just like his grandfather did…
— Judith Myers gets more “screen time.” First she answers the door to trick or treaters and says, “What if I don’t give you treats?” To which one of them answers, “We’ll kill you.” Judith sees her brother Michael amongst the group andknows it was him and scolds him.
— Judith’s boyfriend comes over…and they carve a pumpkin! They go upstairs and have sex, and it’s clear the boyfriend is more than a one-minute man like he is in the movie.
— Meanwhile, little Michael has visions of them as the couple from the Celtic race in the prologue before he kills them!
— We get details on the sentencing of Michael and hints of his interactions with Dr. Loomis while he’s at the sanitarium. All the other patients are scared of young Michael, and if they wrong him, bad things happen to them. Loomis realizes Michael has power over everyone.
— Michael asks Dr. Loomis if they can have a Halloween party—and when a girl beats Michael at musical chairs, the lights go out during apple bobbing and things don’t turn out to well for her.
— The judge who sentenced Michael is not convinced he’s pure evil, but conveniently, he dies and another judge is brought in and buys everything Dr. Loomis tells him.
— The night Michael escapes, when Loomis leaves the nurse in the station wagon, he sees the security guard in the booth with his head twisted backwards.
1978. OCTOBER 31st. HALLOWEEN.
— Laurie has a conversation with her dad when he gives her the keys to drop off at the Myers house. We learn that the Myers family moved to Indiana and are desperate to sell the house. As Laurie walks to the Myers house with Tommy, she thinks about the story of Judith Myers being stabbed by her little brother, and asks Tommy if he’d ever wanted to kill somebody.
— The additional TV scene of “sister” on the wall of Michael’s room at the sanitarium is not present since that wasn’t a plot point when the original film was released. Loomis calls Wynn out for not wanting to alert the media that there is a dangerous man on the loose. When Loomis heads for Haddonfield and stops at the side of the road to make that call at the phone booth, he calls…his WIFE.
— When we meet the girls, we learn “totally” is just Lynda’s latest favorite word and that she has a new one every month. She teases Laurie about her boring look. When Laurie splits from the girls and bumps into Sheriff Brackett for her “one good scare,” he teaches her a self-defense move and she ends up tossing him onto the lawn!
— When Laurie gets home, she doesn’t get a visit from Lynda as in the TV-cut of the film, but she does have a conversation with her mother about evil…and the Myers kid! Based on her mother’s reaction, it’s clear the plot twist of Michael being her brother hadn’t even been thought of yet. Otherwise, Mom would have freaked at the mention of the name of her adopted daughter’s brother!
— As Laurie waits for Annie to pick her up, she imagines being stabbed by a little kid as Judith Myers had been, then gets spooked when little trick or treaters approach her. When she gets in Annie’s car, Annie mentions that they’re going to cruise around for a while, so it’s not like it goes from day to night quickly as in the movie. It’s also mentioned that darkness is falling by the time they pull up to the hardware store. During the drive, they talk about wearing Halloween masks and how you can do anything when your face is hidden.
— When Loomis gets to the hardware store and is waiting to talk to Sheriff Brackett, he thinks about…his teenage son! And I thought the wife reveal was a shocker! When he talks to Brackett, Brackett tells him Michael’s great grandfather shot some happy couple at a Halloween dance—and also reveals that the Myers house has been sold to a couple from New York who are excited at the thought of living in a “haunted house.”
— We get into the head of Michael as he follows the girls to their babysitting jobs. He reminisces about killing his sister and is sexually aroused by the thought.
— When Annie has to clean her clothes, she mocks the absurdity of having to leave the house to do the laundry, and Lindsey says it’s because her mother doesn’t like the noise. Hey, it’s a great setup for a scary scene, but even the noise is no excuse to build a laundry facility separate from your house! Nice try, Curtis!
— Sheriff Brackett calls Annie just as she’s about to leave to go to see Paul, and tells her to stay indoors without saying why. Of course she doesn’t listen.
— When Michael attacks Laurie, she doesn’t fall over the banister, she jumps over it because it’s the only way to escape. Michael is blocking her passage to the stairs. When she gets into the kitchen, the backdoor is simply locked from the other side, not being held closed by a gardening tool. When she goes to the neighbors’ house screaming for help, they don’t just turn off the light and ignore her, they actually say, “No more candy!” Go away!”
— There’s dialogue that wasn’t used until the opening of the next film! When Loomis sees the kids run from the house, he tells the neighbor to call the police. The neighbor asks if it’s a trick because he’s “been trick or treated to death,” and Loomis responds, “You don’t know what death is.”
— After Michael falls off the balcony, Loomis and Laurie have a bit of a conversation and Laurie accompanies him downstairs because she wants to see that Myers is actually dead. That’s where the final line about the boogeyman is delivered.
Halloween II by Jack Martin
Halloween II is about as good a novelization as its source material. Having so many characters in place just to up the body count works in the movie but falls flat in the book. However, there are some interesting moments to be found in the book that aren’t in the movie.
— A nice touch is to open the book with the Halloween rhyme that opens the first film!
— Mrs. Elrod interacts with some trick or treaters, and according to this book, she lives across the street from the vacant Myers house. This all happens before the scene from the first movie in which Loomis scares Lonnie and the other kids, which is retold in this novelization. During this scene, Loomis wishes in his head that he had killed Michael when he was a child.
— I don’t know why this error was made, but there are two times when the author references TWO bodies that were hacked up in 1963. Maybe the author isn’t a diehard Halloween fan and thought that Judith’s boyfriend was murdered, too?
— Loomis spots the station wagon…but it’s moving, and he chases it on foot!
— Laurie first talks to Jimmy when she’s put in the ambulance, and thinks of how he reminds her of Ben Tramer.
— I can’t help but wonder if this next part was in the original script and ended up on the cutting room floor. We get a whole side story about the news reporter woman we only see briefly in the movie. I love this scene. We learn that she’s looking to get out of this small town and into big news. She heads for the hospital, and is stopped by a cop, who says Sheriff Brackett doesn’t want reporters at the hospital. But he ends up falling for her charms and lets her go.
— This is when we learn how Michael got so close to the hospital. It’s an incredibly suspenseful scene. The reporter feels like someone’s in her car with her. She gets a flat and stops. There’s a nice touch of her seeing a Rabbit Red Lounge matchbook in the gutter. A guy in a pickup pulls over to help her and then seems to want a particular kind of payback for being such a gentleman. She escapes his advances—and after he leaves, she learns the hard way that Michael has been in the trunk of her car all along!
— In order to keep with the plot of the movie, Michael apparently ditches the car before continuing on foot to the hospital, and ends up in that little part of town where Karen realizes she has to drive her friend home. It’s implied that the hospital is close by—walking distance for Michael. The author decides here to sneak in the iconic “Mr. Sandman” that closes the film—by making it the song that’s playing on the kid’s boombox when he runs into Michael! WTF? You know that dude would only be listening to some Grandmaster Flash.
— There’s a whole scene in which a news crew arrives at the hospital and Mrs. Alves and the others talk to them and send them away—after learning from them that Michael Myers was killed when hit by a police car.
— Before Laurie’s dream sequence about Michael in the sanitarium, she dreams of her grandmother and thinks about Annie, Lynda, and their boyfriends. The author refers to Annie’s boyfriend as TOMMY instead of Paul!
— Janet actually finds Mr. Garrett’s body in the book.
— When recounting the details of Laurie’s past, Marion tells Loomis that the Strodes died in a car accident 2 years after Michael was committed, which blows the continuity with the first book, which says they moved and still owned the Myers house.
— As Laurie continues to think, she remembers her original parents dying in the car accident—and recalls watching a movie with “the Doyle kids.” Unless Tommy Doyle had another sibling Laurie wasn’t babysitting that night, the author screwed up—or assumed that Lindsey was his sister? Either way, the author clearly doesn’t know the movie as well as the rest of us….
— Laurie thinks something most of us have probably thought; how can Michael possibly lift a nurse off the ground just using a scalpel?
— There’s a longer conversation between policemen at the end that suggests that Michael Myers is still out there.
— Once she’s in the ambulance, Laurie is asked where she lives (they’re not going to take her to another hospital???) and says that she doesn’t know her address, thinking in her head that her whole life has been a lie and she doesn’t really even know who she is anymore. No wonder she became an alcoholic by the time we got to H2O.
Halloween IV by Nicholas Grabowsky
Nicholas Grabowsky wrote a novelization of the fourth novel that I never knew existed. I don’t remember it coming out in 1988 when the movie came out, but he writes in the intro to the new edition that he got a chance to expand on the book for “The Special Limited Edition,” which is the version I read. The old and new covers are pictured above.
Even expanding on the novelization did not add much to the original movie. I rewatched the film after finishing the book and they’re very similar. Grabowsky mostly embellished on what each character is thinking and the motivations behind their decisions, which is kind of cool.
What I did realize rewatching the film is that Halloween IV is a pretty crappy movie. I think part 5 is the absolute worst, but part 4 is not much better! I guess I was seduced by the idea of Michael’s return for all these years (it was a HUGE deal when the film was released in 1988). But the movie is absolutely loaded with stupid characters making stupid decisions and it is all over the place. There are too many characters and too many locations, so it doesn’t have that isolated feel of the original.
But anyway. On to the novelization. Here are the minor changes I noticed:
— The opening, when Michael’s body is transported, features a bit more dialogue between the parties involved.
— Michael kills 2 mechanics at the auto shop, not just one. And after the place blows sky high, Loomis is reminded of his narrow escape from the hospital explosion 10 years before.
— Rachel tells Jamie that Jamie’s mom used to babysit her when she was young. Also, Rachel’s friend’s name is Lindsey as it is in the movie. I’ve always wondered if they meant for us to think that was little Lindsey (aka: Kyle Richards) from the first movie.
— When Loomis is hitchhiking, he is almost picked up by a nice family, and he thinks to himself that he won’t have to worry about a “gay rapist,” drug dealer, or ex-con. Gay rapist? I didn’t even know Loomis thought about sex.
— The crazy religious fanatic who does end up giving Loomis the ride sticks around longer. He actually sort of stalks Loomis, but is eventually a casualty of everyone being slaughtered at the police station. But he doesn’t die—he’s blinded. I wonder if this was in the script and if he was meant to be the blind dude who saves Michael at the beginning of the fifth movie
— Jamie is very aware that the guy she keeps seeing in the mask is her Uncle Michael. In the book, the shape actually is in the house while she and Rachel are still there, and we see him kill the dog that is later found by Loomis and the sheriff.
— After Jamie runs away from the house getting off the roof, she sees her mother Laurie Strode and Laurie actually talks to her and tells her she must survive. Jamie even tells Loomis when he finds her that she spoke with her mother.
— The be-otch who steals Rachel’s man is such a ho that she tries to hit on the cop who’s standing guard in the house when they are in lockdown.
— At the very end, when Jamie touches Michael, she actually says to him, “I forgive you, Uncle Michael.”