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How The New Halloween Could Have Ended A Lot Differently

Contains spoilers for 2018's Halloween

Director David Gordon Green's Halloween, the reboot-sequel that directly connects to John Carpenter's original film and retcons the many less-awesome follow-ups that came after it, featured an ending that finally gave Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) the closure she'd sought for 40 years, while keeping Michael Myers' fate relatively open for interpretation. But Halloween almost concluded on much different note. 

Four decades after Michael Myers slashed his way across Haddonfield on Halloween night, the masked killer escaped from a prison bus during a transfer to another institution and returned to his Illinois hometown to pick up where he left off. Awaiting him was Laurie Strode, who survived his killing spree in 1978 and channeled the lingering effects of her trauma to fuel her desire to kill Michael herself. When she learned that her path was about to cross with Michael's once more, Laurie had her guns at the ready to try and take him down once and for all. 

That's more or less where Halloween 2018 began. And it ended in an equally thrilling way — with Laurie, her daughter Karen (Judy Greer), and her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) trapping Michael inside Laurie's basement and then setting the entire house ablaze. Many assumed that Michael would be burnt to a crisp and be as good as dead — that is, until the film cut back to the flame-filled basement that now appeared to be Michael-free. Additionally, fans who stuck around through the credits heard the low grumble of his breathing just before the lights came up, which further signaled that he may have made it out of the fire alive. 

But an early version of the film — written by Green, Danny McBride, and Jeff Fradley — saw things play out in a significantly different way. 

In a May 2017 draft of the script, posted to Twitter in response to Slashfilm article discussing Halloween's deleted scenes, Laurie, Karen (originally named "Shanah"), and Allyson come together at Laurie's house, where Laurie engages in a one-on-one battle with Michael. While Laurie and Michael definitely come to blows in the final cut of the film, the details of that fight take a different turn in the older draft of the script. 

Rather than a game of cat and mouse that ends with Michael locked in the basement, the alternate ending sees Laurie and Michael — who's called "The Shape" in the script — getting into a knife-fight outside. As Michael steps off the porch toward Laurie, she sees that her granddaughter Allyson is stumbling backwards while trying to escape the scene, which puts her in further danger. The script reads:

"With the mind-set of a mamma bear, Laurie turns back to The Shape and charges him. Their blades meet. Limbs entangled. The Shape loses blood from his missing fingers, but his momentum is relentless."  

From there, it looks like Laurie's luck against Michael may have run out. The Shape "drives a knife" into her chest. However, she manages to retaliate, swinging her knife and slicing his arm in an attempt to bring him down. 

Here's where Karen/"Shanah" enters the scene. She slowly opens the front door, which reveals to the audience that she's armed with "a high tech crossbow." After Michael twists the knife further, "forces [Laurie] to the ground," and then "pulls the blade out," Laurie's daughter shoots Michael in the chest — at least that's what we can assume happened, as there's a page missing from the May 2017 version of the Halloween script that was shared on social media.

In this early draft, the movie would have closed with Laurie's daughter and granddaughter flagging down a pick-up truck, loading Laurie in it, and pulling away with the unnamed driver seemingly in search of a hospital, somewhat similarly to the way the final cut of the film ends, though without Laurie's gaping chest wound. The script then cuts to a dark forest, where Michael staggers through the trees as he yanks the arrow out from his chest. When he comes to a clearing, Michael peeks back in the direction of Laurie's house before realizing he's "standing among the shattered artificial faces of mannequins" — likely a reference to the area of Laurie's property where she and her daughter held target practice, which we saw in the film. He then walks to a tree and sits down, touches the wounds in his chest and looks at his missing fingers, all while breathing laboriously. As the script notes, he's exhausted, and possibly taking his final breath. 

Compared to how Halloween actually ended — Laurie, Karen, and Allyson having 100-percent survived and only Michael's ultimate fate left ambiguous — this original conclusion would have featured Laurie and Michael both on the brink of death. Perhaps most importantly, though, this alternate ending would have touched on many of the same elements the theatrical one did. Laurie finally has it out with Michael, something she'd spent decades preparing to do; her daughter and granddaughter follow in her footsteps to take matters into their own hands to fight back against this relentless hunter; and the final moments leave residual uncertainty to set up another film. All that considered, if co-screenwriters Green, McBride, and Fradley had decided to utilize this ending, it the new version of Halloween would still have been mostly satisfying, right? 

However, fans who saw an early cut of Halloween apparently didn't feel that way. As MovieWeb previously reported, the filmmakers behind Halloween held reshoots after "test audiences were unhappy with the way it ended." And as cool as a knife-fight and crossbow scene would've been, it's hard not to agree. Sure, the original ending sounds pretty solid in most regards, but it was probably a good thing that it was changed for the final cut. Imagine it: Laurie anxiously awaiting Michael's return for 40 years, training and raising her daughter to fight and kill him, to the point where the authorities had to take her away — only to be stabbed and left bleeding in the back of a pick-up truck? That would've been a massive bummer. 

With critics and fans having highly praised Halloween, and the flick raking in hundreds of millions of dollars at the global box office, it's all but inevitable that we haven't seen the last of Michael, Laurie, Karen, and Allyson. Maybe Laurie will still get to have that knife fight, and Karen will hoist the crossbow for another moment of utter badassery, in the possible sequel? A horror fan can only hope.