Jamie Lee Curtis Explains Why Halloween: H20 Disappointed Her
Jamie Lee Curtis reveals what frustrated her about the process of making Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later. The actor has been deeply involved in the franchise since the beginning, when she made her feature-film debut playing iconic final girl Laurie Strode in the original 1978 Halloween. She would later reprise the role in the 1981 sequel Halloween II and provide a voice-only cameo for the mostly unrelated anthology feature Halloween III: Season of the Witch in 1982. However, she stepped away from the franchise after that, going on to appear in films outside the horror genre, including the 1988 hit A Fish Called Wanda.
It wasn’t until 1998 that she would return to the role of Laurie Strode for Halloween H20. That film sees Strode escaping her hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois and relocating to a high-end boarding school in California under the name Keri Tate. Naturally, the masked murderer Michael Myers eventually tracks her down and threatens her, her son, and his friends on a lonely Halloween night. Although the movie ends with her beheading Michael, it is later revealed in 2002’s Halloween: Resurrection that Michael had placed his mask on an unwitting paramedic before escaping, meaning that Laurie accidentally killed an innocent man. Before going on to tell the story of a group of young people participating in a live stream from the Myers house, Resurrection opens on Laurie Strode’s death when Michael invades the mental hospital where she now resides.
Screen Rant was in attendance at a New York Comic Con panel celebrating Halloween, which featured Curtis. The actor revealed that she never thought she’d do another Halloween movie after Resurrection, because she asked to be killed off after being so frustrated with the process of making Halloween H20. She wanted the 1998 sequel to be the definitive ending to the Michael and Laurie saga, but she found out “there was some contract, and you couldn’t kill him.” The way the movie teased the audience and thus forced Laurie to unknowingly kill an innocent man made her ask to be killed off in the franchise as well. Read her full quote below:
So the last thing I thought I would ever do is another Halloween movie… You may or may not know the reason why I'm in Resurrection. So H20 was conceived really by me. I'm not titled as a producer on it. But it was my brainchild. Laurie Strode has run from Haddonfield… She feels like she's safe. And of course, what the whole conceit of the movie was, if you're running from fear, you're dead inside… There's this moment, of course, where he comes back… She has to choose, “I’m going to fight him and die, maybe, but I'm kind of dead already. And if I win, I'm going to be alive.” But it was supposed to end him. That's what we talked about. That's what I signed up for. And it was all going along great. And then I got the script. And it was a vague ending. I kept going back to them like, “Hey, I thought we were like ending this. This is vague.” Anyway, it turned out that in that moment, there was some contract, and you couldn't kill him. I said, “I’m not doing it. I'm not going to tease an audience again…” And I said to them, “Okay, if you're gonna do [the paramedic ending], and it looks like Laurie Strode has ended it, my audience is going to be feeling like it's ended. But you have to pay me a lot of money in the next movie, and you have to kill me in the first 10 minutes of the movie because I've now killed an innocent man. And I can't live with that.
What Would The Halloween Franchise Look Like Without Curtis?
Of course, Curtis was eventually coaxed back into the franchise in Blumhouse’s new trilogy of Halloween films, which ignore the continuity of every Halloween entry other than the 1978 original. However, if she had never agreed to come back at all, the franchise would likely look very different. The only films between 2002’s Halloween: Resurrection and 2018’s Halloween were Rob Zombie’s 2007 remake Halloween and his 2009 sequel Halloween II, both of which take place in their own continuity with Scout Taylor-Compton playing Laurie Strode.
It seems unlikely that the Zombie branch of the franchise would have continued, considering the fact that Halloween II only just doubled its $15 million budget at the box office. It seems almost inevitable that the franchise would have returned to its roots in some way, but had Curtis committed to her post-Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later character death, the new films might have relied more on an ensemble of returning characters, like those who came back for 2021’s Halloween Kills. That film featured the return of many original actors from the franchise, including Charles Cyphers, Nancy Stephens, and Kyle Richards. None of these actors are marquee names (though Richards is well known for being a part of the Real Housewives franchise), so it seems more likely that Blumhouse would have put their efforts into coaxing Paul Rudd to reprise his Halloween 6 role as Tommy Doyle, rather than recasting him with Anthony Michael Hall.