- Jamie Lee Curtis played “final girl” Laurie Strode over four decades.
- Halloween ends is set to bring the franchise to an end.
- The iconic scream queen has appeared (in one way or another) in no fewer than eight Halloween films.
Michael Myers didn’t see the last of it Jamie Lee Curtis…yet. As her longtime character, Laurie Strode, prepares to face off against the famous slasher again Halloween ends, fans wonder how many times she played the iconic, genre-defining “final girl” in the franchise. Here’s our rundown of every time she’s played the stubborn nanny, from John Carpenter‘s 1978 classic, down to the final installment, will hit theaters on Friday, October 14.
John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978)
Jamie defined an entire genre when she took the nanny job from hell in 1978. As Laurie Strode, Jamie fought hard to carve out a space in horror history, and she did a formidable job. When Michael Myers breaks free from the asylum and returns to fictional Haddonfield, Illinois on Halloween night, he comes face to face with an enemy whose will to survive is destined to torture him for decades.
The ruthless masked slasher hunts down and kills Laurie’s friends one by one, ultimately losing in his final battle against the ferocious teenager who is literally bent on protecting the children she is there to babysit. Try as he might, he can’t kill Laurie, and falls from a balcony after being told by psychiatrist dr. Loomis was shot (Donald Pleasence). Of course he escapes into the inky black of Halloween night, to kill again and again.
Jamie is known as one of the first women to carve out the role of the “final girl” in the strangely beloved horror trope. According to Fandomthe director Carpenter cast her as a tribute to Alfred Hitchcock’s legendary horror movie Psychowho of course played her mother, Janet Leigh. Jamie was apparently afraid she would be let go from the role. Instead, like her mother, she was catapulted into cinematic history.
Halloween Extended Edition/TV Clip (1980)
Jamie’s pumpkin and knife act was really gaining steam. In 1981, she literally revisited the original film for an extended cut to be broadcast on television. Per Fandom, she had already cut her hair short and had to wear a wig for continuity. The storyline remained largely the same, but several additions were made to make up for the changes demanded by NBC’s Standards and Practices Department. Of course, the all-consuming “Shape” was also there.
Halloween II (1981)
It didn’t take long Halloween fever to grip a tight, and it was only a few years before a sequel hit. Both Jamie Lee and director John Carpenter returned for the bloody sequel as the decade turned, although Carpenter only shot limited scenes, with Rick Rosenthal takes up most of the movie. Set in the immediate aftermath of the first film, Laurie is rushed to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital, and there, as a patient, he endures another bloody round of stalking by the deranged killer. It was a creatively terrifying extension of the first film and cemented the franchise as a classic. Laurie will live for another round, of course. Jamie was 22 when she made the immediate return to Haddonfield.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
The Halloween franchise was a runaway train by 1982, and it was only picking up steam. Although Jamie didn’t star in the quirky plot flick, keen-eyed fans know she appeared in a voice cameo as the Curfew Announcer/Telephone Operator. Since the movie is not actually related to the original storyline, and directed by Tommy Lee WallaceIt is not generally considered a part of the Halloween Jamie is known for.
Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later (1998)
After a significant cooling off period for both The Shape and Jamie, Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later made its debut more than a decade and a half later. The modernized version saw Laurie return as a private school dean with a downright sexy pixie cut and appear alongside Josh Hartnett and Michelle Williams, amongst other things. more importantly, H20 marked her appearance in a horror film alongside her mother Janet, who played Norma Watson. Jamie starred as Laurie Strode/Keri Tate (witness protection, of course), and the movie revived the franchise, and the original Myers storyline, in bloody fashion.
Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
By 2002, a whole new generation had discovered the delicious thrill of the Michael Myers/Laurie Strode hunt. Helped by Rick Rosenthal and sprinkled with a little supermodel and pop star magic (Tyra Banks and Busta rhymesanyone?) this horror flick proved that this series isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Jamie, for her part, continued to hold the franchise together with her teeth-grinding, indomitable strength. In this meaty sequel, Michael famously travels back to Haddonfield to wreak havoc on the cast of a reality show.
Another decade and a half passed before Jamie was ready to return to the role of a lifetime. Meantime, Scout Taylor-Compton and Danielle Harris try their hands at the role of Laurie in others Halloween films – but Jamie was always destined to return. Simply stated Halloweenwould the movie restore and update the iconic storyline with original elements and introduce it into a trilogy that would eventually conclude with Halloween ends – the highly-anticipated finale that will play in its theaters on Friday, October 14. By this time Laurie has a daughter of her own, Karen, played throughout the trilogy by Judy Greer. John Carpenter served as an executive director, so his genius hand played a major role in the success of the direct sequel, produced by Universal Pictures – the home of the original film.
Halloween Kills (2021)
Take a cue from Halloween II, Halloween kills plowed straight through a pandemic to pick up where the 2018 film left off. It goes around, Laurie spends most of the film in a hospital bed as a vigilante mob forms determined to take back Haddonfield. But it all goes oh, so terribly wrong, in the grand tradition of Michael Myers. Filled with plenty of tongue-in-cheek social commentary, the film did its best to keep the franchise alive, even if it felt like a typical middle-of-the-road installment.
Halloween Ends (2022)
Edited by David Gordon Greenwhich helped the last three films for some continuity, Halloween ends intends to take the last bloody forty years to a chilling climax and end it for good. So where does that leave our hero, the beloved Final Girl? According to SFX Magazine, she wouldn’t completely rule out a return. “I was sitting in the exact spot where I’m sitting now when my phone rang, and it was Jake Gyllenhaal,” she reportedly said. SFX (via GamesRadar) in silk Halloween ends cover issue this month. “I picked up the phone and he said, ‘Hey Jame, my friend David Gordon Green’ – who he had just worked with on the movie Stronger – ‘would like to talk to you about a Halloween Movie.’ It was in 2017, in the summer. The last thing I thought I would be doing five years ago is a Halloween Movie.”
Jamie continued, “And here I am, having now completed three of them with a fantastic creative group of people. It’s not only been personally and creatively satisfying for me, but it’s launched me creatively into a whole different world . I now have a creative life, because of the Halloween movie, and the success. I now have a partnership with Jason Blum at Blumhouse, I have a production company, I wrote a horror film that I will direct, I produce television series, I buy books. All of this was the last thing I thought I would be doing five years ago. So saying never is stupid.”
But realistically, in other comments, Jamie thinks this is the end. “I have to release her now and let her live in the minds and hearts of the supporters who supported her,” she said. Entertainment Weekly in an October 11 report. “I have to go away now and do my own thing.”