SPOILER ALERT: The following article contains spoilers for Halloween Ends. If you have not yet seen the film, proceed at your own risk!
Looking at the Halloween series and the works of Stephen King, there really aren’t too many points of comparison. Both have made significant contributions to the horror genre going back to the 1970s, but slasher storytelling has never really been the author’s thing, and that’s really the big sell of the Michael Myers-centric movies. Halloween III: Season Of The Witch is an exception here, and actually does feature a plot that could be called King-esque… but it’s also notably the film that exists as an outlier in the franchise.
Recognizing this, I found myself surprised recently when taking in David Gordon Green’s Halloween Ends. Watching the movie and its story of a troubled young adult being corrupted by a powerful evil force, I couldn’t help but register some strong Stephen King vibes, specifically reminiscent of the writer’s 1980s masterpiece: IT. There are some key elements in the newly released film that made me immediately think of the beloved novel – and my curiosity about them eventually led me to ask the co-writer/director if the book was something that he specifically referenced in the making of the movie.
Why Halloween Ends Reminded Me A Lot Of IT
Halloween Ends is set four years after Michael Myers’ violent rampage in October 2018 (the events portrayed in Halloween and Halloween Kills), and while some of the motivation behind this move was clearly to catch the trilogy’s timeline up with the present, the jump also has a fascinating impact on the atmosphere of the film’s setting. Because the masked killer was never caught, Haddonfield, Illinois is a town that swallowed by a pervasive darkness that is caused by constant fear, and every resident is poisoned by it.
In a word, Haddonfield is haunted… much like Derry, Maine – Stephen King’s fictionalized version of Bangor, Maine as depicted in IT. Instead of having Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney) as a secret denizen, the New England city instead has the titular IT, an evil, extraterrestrial entity that most commonly takes the form of a sinister clown named Pennywise. The monster has spent centuries beneath Derry, and while it only emerges every 27 years to feed, its malevolence is powerful enough that it radiates even during its hibernation and essentially curses everyone who is touched by it.
Thematically speaking, what’s “haunting” both Haddonfield and Derry is trauma, as people are unable to properly process the horrors of their past and it casts a dark shadow over everything. The David Gordon Green Halloween movies have been exploring this idea from the start, but with a primary focus on Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode. Halloween Ends expands the scope to find the entirety of Haddonfield unable to cope, and in doing so it invites the IT comparison.
It’s about more than just atmosphere, though; there is also direct influence and active corruption initiated by the evil, which is where Halloween Ends’ Corey (Rohan Campbell) enters the conversation. In the movie, the character is vulnerable in the aftermath of the tragic babysitting accident that results in the death of a child, and he has two forces pulling him in opposite directions. Hoping to help him is Allyson (Andi Matichak), who sees him as a kindred spirit given everything that she has gone through… and on the other side is Michael Myers. Unfortunately, the latter ends up winning, and Corey’s story ends with tragedy.
There isn’t a character exactly like Corey in IT, but I will say that he is reminiscent of Henry Bowers – the awful bully who torments the members of The Losers Club as both children and adults. As written by Stephen King, Henry is a kid with serious issues that can be traced to his abusive, alcoholic father, and that darkness ultimately leaves him open to It’s influence – first leading him to kill his dad and then to try and attack the novel’s protagonists.
Last but not least, there is what could be called the simplest and most obvious bit of evidence connecting Halloween Ends and IT: Michael Myers’ choice of “residence.” Corey first encounters the serial killer when he is attacked and dragged into a pipe where Michael has been hiding, and where does Pennywise famously live? The sewer system of Derry.
Are The IT Vibes Intentional In Halloween Ends?
With all of the thoughts above clicking in my head after my screening of Halloween Ends, I was sure that Stephen King’s IT had some kind of direct influence on the film, and I kept that notion in my head when I sat down to interview David Gordon Green during the new movie’s New York press day. I took a swing and directly asked about the potential connection, and you can watch his response in the video below:
Color me surprised. David Gordon Green told me that he had read IT when he was younger, but the Stephen King book was not a direct influence on his Halloween trilogy capper. Speaking about the depiction of Halloween Ends’ setting, the director said,
Even if not intentional, the shared themes and elements between Halloween Ends and IT are interesting – and it makes it all the more amusing that while the critical reaction to the 2022 film has been divisive, Stephen King has given it his stamp of approval.
Halloween Ends (opens in new tab), which finished the weekend at the top of the box office, is now playing in theaters, and it’s also available to stream for Peacock subscribers. Check out our Upcoming Horror Movies feature to learn about all of the films of the scary variety that are scheduled to be released in the months ahead, and our Upcoming Stephen King Movies and TV guide will help you keep track of all the King adaptations that are currently in the works.
NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.
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