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Halloween's Danny McBride on why removing the brother-sister canon made the new film scarier

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Jun 8, 2018

The much-anticipated first trailer for Halloween, the upcoming reboot/sequel to John Carpenter's original 1978 classic, finally arrived Friday, and fans have been picking apart the details it revealed ever since. There are, of course, still numerous mysteries about this new, alternate history of what followed the first film, but the trailer helpfully clears one of them up almost immediately: Michael Myers and Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) are not brother and sister.

Ever since 1981's Halloween II, the revelation that Laurie and Michael were actually related has been a key element of the franchise's mythos, for good or ill. In that film, the news that Laurie is Michael's biological younger sister, put up for adoption with the records sealed away to protect her, was used to explain why Michael was still doggedly pursuing Laurie above all others, while in the first film he seemed to just be stalking babysitters in general upon returning to his hometown. This was later expanded in Halloween 4 to include Michael's pursuit of Laurie's young daughter Jamie (Laurie had apparently died in a car accident) and then further developed in Halloween H20 when Laurie turned out to have faked her death and was living under an assumed name. 

We've known for some time now that the new film — directed by David Gordon Green from a script by Danny McBride — would act as if none of the sequels had existed and pick up on Laurie and Michael 40 years after the first film, and now we know that wiping away those sequels also includes wiping away any blood relation between the two characters. Speaking to IGN during a visit to the set, McBride explained why he wanted to make that change.

"I was pushing for that removal right off the bat," he said. "I just felt like that was an area where he wasn’t quite as scary anymore. It seemed too personalized. I wasn’t as afraid of Michael Myers anymore because I’m not his f**king brother so he’s not coming after me. And also you’ve seen it, so wouldn’t it be interesting just to see what would happen if it wasn’t that, and what does that open up for us if it [was] this random killing that has affected this character? So it just seemed like new territory to bite off."

The fact that Michael isn't her brother doesn't necessarily make things any less scary for Laurie, because he still very nearly killed her and it's clearly had a major impact on her life for four decades. For the audience, though, McBride has a point. If you hear about a murder and find out there was a very clear, personal motive, it's less frightening in general than a random attack that could have happened to anyone at any time. In the original film, Michael Myers is just The Shape, the Boogeyman, this quiet figure that will simply walk into your house and kill you just because he decided to.

By restoring that element of the Halloween mythology, McBride and Green may have removed one part of the horror, but what they gained back might be even more effective.

Halloween arrives October 19.