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Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

R  |   |  Horror, Thriller  |  5 August 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 46,704 users   Metascore: 52/100
Reviews: 583 user | 155 critic | 20 from Metacritic.com

Laurie Strode, now the dean of a Northern California private school with an assumed name, must battle the Shape one last time and now the life of her own son hangs in the balance.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nancy Stephens ...
Emmalee Thompson ...


On Halloween in 1963, Michael Myers murdered his sister, Judith. In 1978, he broke out to kill his other sister, Laurie Strode. He killed all of her friends, but she escaped. A few years later, she faked her death so he couldn't find her. But now, in 1998, Michael has returned and found all the papers he needs to find her. He tracks her down to a private school where she has gone under a new name with her son, John. And now, Laurie must do what she should have done a long time ago and finally decided to hunt down the evil one last time. Written by Will

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Trick or Treat. Kill or Die. It's That Time of Year Again. See more »


Horror | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for terror violence/gore and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

5 August 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Halloween 7  »

Box Office


$17,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$16,187,724 (USA) (7 August 1998)


$55,004,135 (USA) (27 November 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Janet Leigh's first role in a feature film for 18 years. Her previous theatrical film was The Fog (1980), which also starred her daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis. See more »


An ice skate through the face would not be a clean stab, it would shatter the skull. See more »


[During the opening credits, Dr. Sam Loomis can be heard saying a line from the original "Halloween"]
Dr. Samuel 'Sam' Loomis: I met him fifteen 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 ...
See more »


Referenced in Slice and Dice: The Slasher Film Forever (2012) See more »


Written by Pat Ballard
Performed by The Chordettes
Courtesy of Barnaby Records, Inc.
By Arrangement with Celebrity Licensing, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Forget "Resurrection"--the series ends here.
9 September 2006 | by (Hellfudge, Pennsylvania) – See all my reviews

Back before Lions Gate (now Lionsgate) held the monopoly on mainstream genre pics, Dimension Films was the go-to place for horror and suspense of the 'indie' sort. In 1998, with Wes Craven's 2 "Scream" films maintaining the public interest to great financial success, Dimension decided to put their acquisition of the "Halloween" franchise to good use (especially after the atrocious "Curse of Michael Myers") by making a sequel to end all sequels (at least until the atrocious "Halloween: Resurrection" turded up multiplexes).

In addition to being one of the most instantly-recognizable titles in all of horror, "Halloween: H20" came to screens with an added incentive: it marked the series return of original protagonist/victim Laurie Strode (played with cat-like veracity by Jamie Lee Curtis). Curtis' presence, in addition to the reliable skill of director Steve Miner (who cut his teeth on two "Friday the 13th" sequels), plus a story that wisely disregarded the incidents of all the sequels past "II," set "H20" up as the series payoff I was so eagerly awaiting. After leaving the theater, I was more than satisfied with the end result.

Years go by. Dimension becomes a notorious den of re-cuts, re-shoots, and re-castings (just ask Wes "Cursed" Craven) still trying to mine the 'Fresh-Faced-Teen' demographic that doesn't seem to exist anymore. Upon re-examination of "H20"'s box/poster art, I noticed a recurrent motif (from "Scream" to "Phantoms" to "Nightwatch" to "Rounders") in design: the proliferation of airbrushed faces looking Deeply Concerned about something, in addition to an over-reliance on bold, exclamatory blurbs from dubious sources (WWOR-TV, anyone?).

But I'm not reviewing the marketing tactics of a company whose former glories (namely Tarantino and Rodriguez) are now its only source of revenue.

"Sin City" notwithstanding, "H20" might have been the last good movie to come out of Dimension. At its core, it is a surprisingly compact (86 minutes, including credits) horror-thriller that moves so briskly we are never able to get too cozy with the characters. Miner goes for the subtle compositions that marked John Carpenter's original, and is fairly successful: the film refrains from the obligatory sex and self-referential attitude that would have been profitable at the time. From frame one, "H20" feels like a continuous, flowing set-piece...but the way it sidelines its characters leaves a hollow echo when it's all finished. Also unfortunate is that the suspense is so heavy-handed it seldom creates tension; this might be attributable to Chris Durand's overly self-conscious portrayal of the menacing Michael Myers. The relationship between Curtis, her son John (Josh Hartnett), and Myers is the film's intriguing familial triangle, but is disappointingly underdeveloped (though for the sake of the series, it wraps things up well enough).

In the end, "H20" is Curtis' show. She imbues her character with as much straight-faced commitment as she did in '78, in addition to a toughened exterior bent on preserving family values at any cost. The denouement, which contains a moment as touching as it is creepy, gives new meaning to the phrase, "tough love."

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