With Halloween Ends slicing into cinemas and onto streaming this spooky season, horror fans have one big question on their minds right now: seeing as this is being billed as the final installment in the saga of Laurie Strode and Michael Myers, is Jamie Lee Curtis’ heroine about to die? More accurately, is she about to die again?
You see, the Halloween series has one of the most convoluted canons of any franchise in cinematic history. Thanks to the stop-start nature of the brand over the past 40 plus years, the (fittingly) 13 films released to date comprise a range of continuities which have been overwritten as each reboot has come along. For instance, Blumhouse’s trilogy follows on from the 1978 original only, disregarding all sequels.
Over the decades, we’ve seen Laurie meet her end a few times, despite the character being alive and
well severely traumatized in current canon. Here’s a refresher course on the many deaths of Laurie Strode.
Halloween 4: The Return of Michel Myers (1988)
John Carpenter infamously attempted to rebrand the Halloween franchise into an anthology series with 1982’s Halloween III, which ditched Michael Myers completely. After that film’s disappointing performance, Carpenter relented and gave fans the iconic killer in Halloween 4. Not back, though, was Laurie, as Jamie Lee Curtis had no interest in returning at the time.
In her absence, the decision was made to kill Laurie off-screen, with the character written out as having died in a car crash prior to the events of the movie. With her gone, the focus switched to her young daughter, Jamie (three guesses who she was named after), until she was likewise killed in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995). After that underwhelming sixth installment, it was time for another relaunch.
Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
That relaunch was 1998’s Halloween H20. It was the first to break continuity by depicting Laurie alive and kicking in the 1990s, with a teen son, John, and no mention of Jamie. H20 appeared to end with Laurie definitively defeating her eternal foe via decapitation. In a widely-hated retcon, sequel Halloween: Resurrection waved this away by revealing Laurie’s victim was just some guy Michael had dressed up as him.
Guilt-ridden over killing an innocent, Laurie is now institutionalized in a psychiatric hospital herself, until Myers comes for her once again in the film’s opening…and kills her. Yup, just like that. Curtis has since openly regretted her involvement in Resurrection, and while the damage it did has now thankfully been undone, for a long while, this was Laurie’s ultimate fate in the franchise.
Halloween II Director’s Cut (2009)
Following the failure of Resurrection, Universal elected to straight-up start again with Rob Zombie at the helm. Despite being a whole lot gorier and more graphic, 2007’s Halloween was relatively faithful to Carpenter’s original, but Zombie really let loose with his 2009 follow-up. As played by Scout Taylor-Compton, this take on Laurie Strode is struggling not to be consumed by darkness itself.
In the theatrical cut, she actually succeeds in killing her evil brother but is locked in an insane asylum due to her own damaged psyche. Things don’t go the same way in the extended director’s cut, however. In this version, Michael is shot by the police after stabbing Dr. Loomis. Laurie then picks up Myers’ knife and ambiguously approaches Loomis, before she herself is shot dead by the cops.
Confusingly, the scene of her in the psych ward from the theatrical cut is then used. Depending on the viewer’s interpretation, this is either Laurie experiencing one more of her hallucinogenic visions (which she’s been suffering from throughout the movie) as she dies or—somewhat predicting Joker a decade later—a hint that the sequel has been playing out in the crazed Laurie’s head this entire time.
All in all, the character of Laurie Strode has died three times on our screens…so far. Find out her final fate when Halloween Ends opens in theaters and debuts on Peacock on Oct. 14.