Like “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which successfully combined fresh new material with a plethora of nostalgic nods to the past, Universal’s “Halloween” reboot manages to pick up where John Carpenter’s 1978 classic left off while paying sly homage to the original film and several of the sequels it otherwise ignores. Overflowing with inside jokes, visual references, and clever Easter eggs, this latest entry in the Michael Myers saga will reward keen-eyed slasher fans for years to come. Though by no means a complete list, here are 20 hidden gems that you may have missed the first time.
Spoiler alert: Do not read until you’ve seen the film!
Roll the Credits: The new “Halloween” begins with a credit sequence that’s eerily similar to both the original film and its 1981 sequel. Virtually everything is duplicated, from the bright orange font, to the flickering jack o’ lantern on the left side of the screen, to the inclusion of the characters’ names beneath the actors portraying them, and the use of the coveted phrase “and introducing” before newcomer Andi Matichak’s name. A similar “and introducing” appeared before Jamie Lee Curtis’s name in the original, Danielle Harris’s name in “Halloween 4,” and Paul Rudd’s name in “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers.”
Escape in the Night: The scene in the new film where the white-clad mental patients escape from the crashed bus that’s transporting them to a new facility is a clear visual echo to the chilling moment in the original film where Dr. Loomis and nurse Marion Chambers encounter a shambling horde of Smith’s Grove Sanitarium patients let loose by Myers himself.
Death in the Driver’s Seat: The murder of the nameless young boy (played by Vince Mattis) whom Michael strangles after popping up from the backseat of a car deliberately references the tragic death of Annie Brackett (played by Nancy Loomis) in the ’78 original. Both killings are shot from outside the driver’s side window and are obscured by the victim’s breath fogging up the glass.
Rest in Peace: The last time “Halloween” fans saw Judith Myers’ iconic tombstone was back in 1978 when it was propped on a bed behind Annie Brackett’s corpse. The identical stone makes a welcome reappearance in the reboot during the scene where the two podcasting journalists pay a visit to the infamous Haddonfield graveyard.
Wardrobe Change: In the reboot, Michael murders a garage mechanic and steals his utilitarian jumpsuit, which is exactly how he changes from a hospital gown to a pair of grease-stained overalls in “Halloween 4.”
Lesson Plan: While sitting in a classroom listening to her teacher mention the idea of “fate,” Allyson Strode glances out the window and spots her grandmother Laurie staring at her from across the street. The exact same situation played out during Carpenter’s original film, except that it was Laurie looking out the window and Michael Myers watching her from outside.
Hot for Teacher: If the voice of Allyson’s teacher in that scene sounds familiar, that’s because original “Halloween” star P.S. Soles is the one speaking her lines in a fun vocal cameo.
Raise a Glass: Laurie Strode’s impromptu wine gulping moment in the reboot earns a solid laugh during the awkward restaurant celebration scene. For those paying attention, the character similarly chugged a glass to calm her nerves during a restaurant lunch in “Halloween H20.”
Secret Names: Michael was famously referred to as The Shape in the end credits of the original film, but that name was never actually spoken until the reboot. While informing her daughter that she saw Michael being transported to his new mental facility, Laurie mutters the line “I saw him. The shape.” Finally, fans are allowed to hear his secret name spoken aloud.
Seeing Double: While wandering the nighttime streets of Haddonfield, Myers sneaks into an unsuspecting woman’s home and bludgeons her to death with a hammer before stealing a kitchen knife from her counter. Clad in a red bathrobe with curlers in her hair, the unlucky victim is the spitting image of Mrs. Elrod (played by character actress Lucille Benson) from “Halloween II.”
Bathroom Break: After donning the mechanic’s bloodied jumpsuit, Michael murders the two journalists in the filthy gas station restroom. Similar scenes took place in grubby restrooms in both “Halloween H20” and Rob Zombie’s “Halloween.”
Kids and Killers: If the moment when two frightened young boys bump into Michael Myers while trick or treating looks familiar, that might be because the franchise has featured similar scenes at least twice before. It happened the first time in the original film, where one of the elementary school bullies who teased Tommy Doyle collides with Michael, and then again in Rob Zombie’s “Halloween 2” where a child in a familiar clown costume encounters the masked maniac on the street and asks politely “Are you a giant?”
Silver Shamrock: Speaking of children trick or treating, keep an eye out for an amusing glimpse of some familiar rubber Halloween masks seen during the reboot. Fans of “Halloween III: Season of the Witch” will instantly recognize them as the deadly masks created by the evil Silver Shamrock company.
Say Boo!: The classic moment from the original film when Michael murders teenage babysitter Lynda (P.J. Soles) while dressed as a ghost is referenced in the reboot when Officer Hawkins discovers Vicky’s corpse wearing an identical ghostly sheet.
Twice the Loomis: When Laurie is introduced to Michael’s therapist Dr. Sartain in the reboot, she quips “You’re the new Loomis,” earning a big smile from Halloween fans. Curiously enough, Malcolm McDowell spoke virtually an identical line in Rob Zombie’s “Halloween 2” when he declared halfway through the film “I’m the new Loomis!”
Hung Out to Dry: At Laurie’s heavily fortified compound in the woods, her laundry and freshly-washed bed sheets are seen blowing in the wind at night. Longtime fans of the series will recall how often laundry is used as a precursor to terror and violence. In the original film, Laurie spots Michael watching her from behind a line of fluttering sheets, while Annie is stalked by Michael as she washes her clothes. Later in “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers,” Debra Strode (played by Kim Darby) is axed to death when she discovers Michael hiding behind a sheet on her clothesline.
Back in the Closet: The scene in John Carpenter’s original film where Laurie hides in a closet to escape from Myers comes back to haunt her again in the reboot when she cautiously approaches an identical closet looking for the killer. Things play out considerably different this time around.
Crash Landing: While struggling with Myers in the reboot, Laurie is thrown from an open window and crashes down onto the ground below, seemingly dead. A few seconds later, however, Michael discovers that she’s not longer there. The exact same situation takes place in the film moments of the original movie, only with Michael vanishing instead.
Out from the Shadows: Immediately after Karen Strode (played by Judy Greer) blasts Michael with her childhood rifle, he falls out of frame and Laurie’s face emerges from the darkness behind him in a shot that’s identical to the one in the original film where Michael’s haunting face is revealed in the shadows behind Laurie. It seems the tables really have turned!
Last But Not Least: Be sure to stay until the very end of the credits if you want to enjoy one final audio Easter egg. After the iconic Halloween theme music ends, attentive viewers will hear a few seconds of an odd folk song being sung by a woman. The song – which lists both Carpenter and Curtis as its writers – is called “Close To Me,” and features the lyric “I wish I had you all alone, just the two of us.” This lyric is an expansion of the brief tune that Curtis sang softly to herself in the original movie while being stalked through a quiet Haddonfield neighborhood by Michael.