Greatest Movie Series
Franchises of All Time
The "Halloween" Films

Halloween H20:
Twenty Years Later (1998)

Halloween Films
Halloween (1978)
| Halloween II (1981) | Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
| Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) | Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later (1998)
Halloween: Resurrection (2002) | Halloween (2007) | Halloween II (2009)

The "Halloween" Films - Part 7

Halloween H2O: Twenty Years Later (1998)
d. Steve Miner, 86 minutes

Film Plot Summary

The pre-credits sequence, beginning with the accompanying tune "Mr. Sandman" (Halloween II (1981) ended with the same song) opened in LANGDON, ILLINOIS on OCTOBER 29, 1998 (20 years after the original film). Nurse-attired Miss Marion Whittington/Chambers (Nancy Stephens) drove up to her home (at 4946 Cypress Pond Road), where she was shocked to see it had been burglarized (or vandalized). [She was Dr. Sam Loomis' (Donald Pleasence) live-in nurse and associate, although Loomis had died a few years earlier.]

Next door, she alerted some neighboring teenaged boys, and after one of them, ice-hockey attired Jimmy Howell (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), called the police, he went back to her house alone to check it for intruders, with his hockey stick for protection. When he found nothing, other than a ransacked home office and bottles of beer (to steal) from the refrigerator, Miss Whittington was given an all-clear signal to return. Now dark outside, she discovered the power was out, but searched with a flashlight in her office, where there was an empty file folder labeled "LAURIE STRODE."

The masked killer Michael Myers (Chris Durand) was in the house behind her. Sensing trouble and a presence, she raced back next door. In the living room with the TV airing Ed Wood's Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959), she found Jimmy murdered in an easy-chair - his face was diagonally stabbed from forehead to chin with the blade of an ice skate (# 1 death) (off-screen) stuck into his face. The second teenaged boy, Tony Allegre (Branden Williams) was also discovered dead, standing up at a side door with a knife in his back (# 2 death) (off-screen), and he fell on top of her.

Myers stalked after her as she valiantly fought him off with a fireplace iron poker. She broke a window with the poker, and screamed at the police, who had just arrived: "He's not dead," but wasn't heard. Myers murdered Miss Whittington by slitting her throat with a butcher knife (# 3 death). Police were entering her home as she was being murdered only a few feet away. Myers drove off in the neighbor's car as the two cops noticed the broken neighbor's window, jokingly calling the dual B & E "the Daily Double."

The next day, Halloween Eve, two detectives (Detective Fitzsimmons (Beau Billingslea) and Detective Matt Sampson (Matt Winston)) investigated the three gruesome killings, finding evidence that Loomis (who had spent his life "tracking down that Halloween guy who butchered all those kids up in Haddonfield...they never found his body...that was like 20 years ago") was obsessed with Michael Myers.

Newspaper clippings from the Haddonfield News lined two walls of his bedroom ("CHILDREN FOUND BRUTALLY MURDERED ON HALLOWEEN") as well as other sketches, pictures of murder victims, and articles. They notified Haddonfield to warn of Myers' possible threat. The camera panned over the bulletin board contents as the credits were played. Other headlines, filling in the back history of Michael Myers, read:

  • "Local Boy, Age 6, Kills Sister With Knife"
  • "Child Murderer Sent to State Hospital"
  • "Dr. Sam Loomis - Past Obsession?"
  • "Laurie Strode Sole Survivor of October Mass Murders"
  • "Babysitter Killer on the Loose"
  • "Headstone Stolen From Area Cemetery"
  • "Child Murderer Escapes Mental Hospital"
  • "Is Michael Myers Still Alive?"
  • "Survivor of Halloween Murders Killed in Auto Accident"

In voice-over, Loomis (voice of Tom Kane) narrated:

"I met him 15 years ago. I was told there was nothing left. No reason, no conscience, no understanding, even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face and the blackest eyes - the devil's eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized that what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply... evil."

The next scene was introduced with the camera tracking through school corridors into a classroom, where a nameplate read: "HEAD MISTRESS Keri Tate." At 12 midnight, signaling the arrival of Halloween on October 31st, Laurie Strode/Miss Keri Tate (Jamie Lee Curtis), now assuming the name 'Keri Tate', was still haunted by her teenage years, as she struggled to recover and overcome her life experiences after Michael Myers attempted to kill her 20 years earlier in Haddonfield, Illinois [she had been identified as the killer's sister]. She woke up screaming (appropriate for "Scream Queen" Jamie Lee Curtis) - bringing her 17 year-old son John Tate (Josh Hartnett, in his film debut) to her bed-side. She was attempting to live a normal life (but under the pretense of an assumed false identity to escape her past), while she was heavily medicated and experiencing frightening nightmares and paranoid visions of Michael appearing everywhere - she saw the killer in her dreams, in window reflections, and in her mind.

A graduate of the class of 1979 in Haddonfield, she had relocated to Northern California, where she became successful as the headmistress of the secluded private prep boarding school (behind wrought-iron gates) called Hillcrest Academy, in Summer Glen. She was separated from her husband (an "abusive, chain-smoking, methadone addict"). At 37 years of age, she lived on campus with her student-son.


When John asked permission to go on the annual school camping trip to Yosemite during Halloween weekend with the other students, his over-protective, overly-cautious single mother was unwilling to allow him. He was frustrated by her denial and confronted her: "Your overprotection and paranoia is inhibiting my growth process...I need a little more open air. I've earned it." When John's girlfriend Molly (Michelle Williams) was also forced to remain on campus due to problems with her financial payments, their two friends - sex-obsessed Charlie (Adam Hann-Byrd) and Sarah (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe) also planned to remain behind (with made-up excuses - a late history report, and a 102 degree fever) to hold their own private Halloween party on the almost-deserted campus (Charlie: "We could have a roaming orgy").


A mother named Claudia (Larisa Miller) and her young daughter Casey (Emmalee Thompson) pulled into an empty rest area for a bathroom stop. They walked by Myers' vehicle that he had driven from Illinois, with a flat right front tire. [Myers must have driven non-stop from Illinois to N. California, leaving the evening of the 29th, and already there on October 31st.] Forced to use the men's room, Claudia was spooked when her handbag (with her car keys) was grabbed and she saw a masked figure through the toilet's door. Outside, the strewn contents of her handbag led to her car - now driven off and stolen by Myers.

At the school, Miss Tate was involved in a semi-discreet affair with her love interest suitor, the school's guidance counselor Will Brennan (Adam Arkin), who claimed he was "attracted" to her issues and problems. Other staff members included:

  • Laurie's busy-body secretary Norma Watson (Janet Leigh) [In her first lines of dialogue, Norma spoke about the clogged drains in the girls' shower room, a tongue-in-cheek reference to her role in Psycho (1960)!]
  • the school's security guard Ronny (LL Cool J), an aspiring writer of semi-erotic novels

John convinced Ronny to let him leave the locked and gated grounds during lunchtime, with Charlie, to go to town to get a gift for his girlfriend. At the same time, Miss Tate was having a 1 pm lunch date with Will in a downtown restaurant. She opened up, describing her fears of losing her son ("I think he's finally tired of my bulls--t"), while Will expressed his loving support ("I love you just the way you are") and believed that she could recover from her problems and her mysterious "back story." She claimed that she had tried everything to heal:

"Twelve steps, uh, self-help, group therapy, shrinks, meditation - everything."

When he left for the men's room, she revealed that she was a functioning alcoholic when she gulped down her first glass of Chardonnay while hurriedly ordering a second one from a startled waiter. The two boys were caught wandering in downtown (after Charlie had shop-lifted a bottle of wine for their party) by John's enraged mother, and reprimanded. John assertively shouted back at his mother that she must responsibly move on from her haunted past:

"Michael Myers is dead...It's over...We should try to get on with some attempt at a happy existence...I can't take it anymore."

He reminded his mother of the 20 years that had passed: "You told me yourself you watched him burn...20 years. Don't you think he would have shown up by now? What's he waitin' for, huh?" The stolen vehicle followed them back to the gated campus entrance, where Ronny was scolded for letting the boys leave the grounds.

Before the school buses departed at 4:15 pm, Miss Tate taught an English literature class on Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein. Molly noticed the masked figure lurking and staring at her from outside the classroom behind a locked door-entrance, before prophetically responding to a question about the book and fate:

"I think that Victor should have confronted the monster sooner. He's completely responsible for Elizabeth's death. He was so paralyzed by fear that he never did anything. It took death for the guy to get a clue."

She also explained why Victor finally confronted the monster when he "had reached a point in his life where he had nothing left to lose. I mean, the monster saw to that by killing off everybody that he loved. It was about redemption. It was his fate." Miss Tate was awakened from deep thought about the response when the bell rang. At the end of class, John's mother surprised him by permitting him to attend the camping trip, although he had already decided to remain behind with his friends for their planned Halloween party. As she watched the buses leave, she spoke to Secretary Norma - who startled her: "It's Halloween. I guess everyone's entitled to one good scare." Acting maternally, Norma advised Miss Tate, making reference to the troubles that they have shared:

"I don't like to see you like this. I've seen you like this before, and, we've all had bad things happen to us. The trick is to concentrate on today!"

[Note: She drove off in the car from Psycho (1960) - the 1958 Ford that she had directed into the Bates Motel, with its license plate NFB 418, signifying Norman F. Bates, where she also became a terror victim.]

Later that evening, Ronny was distracted at the gate by the arrival of Myers' stolen vehicle parked at the gate, and as he turned off the car's engine, the killer slipped onto the grounds behind him. The phone lines were cut, and he suspected something was amiss. On his rounds throughout the school, Will checked on Molly and Sarah (watching Scream 2 (1997) on TV as Cici (Sarah Michelle Gellar) was told on the phone: "Do you want to die tonight, Cici?"), and then joined Miss Tate for company in her home, to carve a jack-o-lantern together. The four teenagers snuck away and gathered left-over food from the school's kitchen for their candle-lit dinner party. Charlie left to find a corkscrew to open the stolen wine bottle.

In a moment of complete self-revelation, Miss Tate told Will the "truth" about her past history, as they kissed each other (although at first he thought she was joking):

"I'm not who you think I am...My name's not Keri Tate...Laurie Strode...I changed my name when I went into hiding...My brother killed my sister when she was 17...With a really big, sharp kitchen knife...They locked him up for a long time, but he got out and he came after me, but I got away. But he killed a lot of my friends. It happened - on Halloween (in unison). You've heard the story."

Finally, he recognized her ghastly, infamous tale of Michael Myers from 20 years earlier. She explained more about how Laurie Strode "faked her death and now she's the headmistress of a very posh, secluded private school in northern California...hoping and praying every year that her brother won't find her." After sitting for 15 years in the sanitarium, one rainy night, Myers murderously decided "to go trick-or-treating" when she was seventeen years old in 1978 (Michael's sister Judith was also 17 when she was murdered in 1963!).

Suddenly, Laurie feared for the life of her own 17 year-old son John, and tried to call Yosemite to talk to him, but her phone was dead. Then she discovered her son's camping gear in the closet, realizing he hadn't taken the trip. She grabbed a hand-gun from under her pillow in her bedroom, telling Will she was going to find John. At her door, Ronny told her that there was a "strange car" parked at the gate, but there were no signs of trespassing.

Sarah found Charlie searching for a corkscrew in the kitchen, without any luck. He took the dumb-waiter to the next floor up, where Michael Myers confronted him and slit his throat with a newly-found corkscrew (# 4 death) (off-screen) - after some suspense when the corkscrew dropped into the garbage disposal. When Sarah followed after him, she found his bloodied corpse in the dumb-waiter. Myers chased after her and slashed her in the right thigh as she fled into the dumb-waiter up to another floor. As she was climbing out, Myers cut the conveyor's rope, causing her leg to be crushed by the dropped dumb-waiter door. He then approached, held her neck to the floor with his foot, and stabbed her multiple times in the back with the butcher knife (# 5 death).

When John and Molly went looking for their friends, they found a blood trail on the floor ("This is a sick joke") and Sarah's body hanging from a light fixture in the pantry. They fled for their lives after a glimpse of the killer. Myers stabbed John in the leg - although Molly fended him off as they both ran to a locked gate outside his mother's residence. The two were cornered, trapped and threatened by Myers' slashing knife between the locked gate and the doorway, until Laurie and Will opened the door behind them. Laurie came face-to-face, momentarily, with her own evil nemesis, through the door's round window. As she grabbed for her hand-gun, Myers disappeared.

The two teenagers were barricaded and locked in one of the rooms, as Will and Laurie searched for Myers in her hallways. Will fired five shots at a shadowy figure, accidentally shooting Ronny in the head [he was not seriously injured - the bullet just grazed his head]. As they panicked, Myers appeared and stabbed Will to death in the back (# 6 death) - holding him up by the knife-point as his body trembled.

Laurie was pursued, and defended herself by bashing Myers in the head with a fire-extinguisher, before running outside with the two teens to her vehicle. At the school's front gate, she left them to "drive down the street to the Becker's," a mile down the road, where they were to call the police and an ambulance, while she returned (after breaking the gate mechanism with a rock) to the school to battle Myers herself. She grabbed an emergency fire axe, and challenged Michael by calling out his name several times as she stalked him! Laurie wounded him with the axe, while her arms were slashed. With his butcher knife, he stalked her under table-clothed tables in the school's dining room, until she impaled him with a wooden California flag pole. He pursued her into the kitchen, where she heaved knives at him, and then stabbed him repeatedly in the chest, sending the unstoppable killer off a balcony into a dining room table below. He appeared to be dead after the fall (as in the first film Halloween (1978)) - but to make sure, she decided to stab him more times, although Ronny prevented her.

The police arrived at the school, where Ronny's and Laurie's wounds were bandaged, as the stretcher carrying Myers in a body bag was loaded into a coroner's vehicle. Wielding a gun, Laurie drove off at high speed in the coroner's vehicle, and steered down the winding mountain road, as Myers reanimated and resurrected himself inside the body bag behind her. When he emerged, she slammed on the brakes, propelling him through the windshield and onto the ground. Then, she crashed the van into his body, and steered the van off a cliffside. In the accident, the van tumbled over and over, and Myers found himself helplessly pinned between the vehicle and a tree.

Although thrown from the vehicle, Laurie recovered and saw Michael entreating her with an outstretched hand. Seeming to pity him, she touched her fingertips to his, but then decapitated him with one swing of a large fire axe (# 7 death), as the familiar Halloween music played and sirens approached.

[Note: In the next installment of the series, it was discovered that she had beheaded the wrong person - she had decapitated an innocent Summer Glen paramedic (with a crushed larynx, rendering him conveniently mute) with whom Michael had switched clothing.]

Film Notables (Awards, Facts, etc.)

The seventh film in the series came exactly 20 years after the original film - although it was intended as a sequel to the second film Halloween II (1981). It basically assumed that Halloween films 4-6 had never taken place and mostly ignored their contents. The question was, what had Michael Myers been doing for the previous 20 years, and why was his body "never found" although it was incinerated at the end of the second film.

It was a big-budget and high-profile film that featured Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role as Laurie after 17 years (she had appeared in the first two films); Curtis' mother Janet Leigh appeared in a cameo role as school secretary Norma.

With the tagline: "20 years ago, HE changed the face of Halloween. Tonight, he's back!"

With less bloody gore and nudity (none) than previous installments, and with a very low body count.

This was the first film without the deceased Donald Pleasence, who had appeared in all of the previous Halloween films (except the third one).

The film had a confusing title - often thought of as the chemical symbol for water.

With a production budget of approximately $17 million, and box-office gross revenues of $55 million (domestic) and $73 million (worldwide).

Body Count: 7. (The death of 'Myers' was counted in this film, although it was a paramedic who died - explained in the next film.)

Nurse Miss Marion Whittington/Chambers
(Nancy Stephens)

Jimmy Howell
(Joseph Gordon-Levitt)

Laurie Strode/Keri Tate
(Jamie Lee Curtis)

Michael Myers
(Chris Durand)

John Tate
(Josh Hartnett)

Molly Cartwell
(Michelle Williams)

Secretary Norma Watson
(Janet Leigh)

Will Brennan
(Adam Arkin)

Charlie Deveraux
(Adam Hann-Byrd)

Sarah Wainthrope
(Jodi Lyn O'Keefe)

Security Guard Ronny
(LL Cool J)

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