Several viewers have commented on the ridiculousness of Laurie having the same shoulder-length, feathered 70's style hair she did in the original 1978 film. While some fans have simply chocked it up to a call-back, a common theme among people suffering from PTSD is that they become "frozen" in the time they experienced their trauma, so her hair is a subtle way to show that she is still stuck mentally in 1978. Also serves as a Tear Jerker when you consider that, even after four decades, she still hasn't healed from the incident.
During the trailer around the 2:22 mark, a quick profile shot of Michael can be seen which shows a prominent hole in the neck of his mask. This is the exact area where Laurie thrust a knitting needle into Michael's neck when he attacked her in the Doyles' house. It is an impressive attention to detail on the creators' part.
This detail also appears on the replica masks for the film.
The tagline "some wounds never heal" has a double-meaning alluding to Laurie and Michael both having physical and emotional/psychological scars after the night in 1978:
Michael on the other hand is (unlike the previous sequels) scarred in his left eye, from Laurie jabbing it with a hanger during the closet scene in the first film; plus, he still retains the infamous six .38 bullet wounds Dr. Loomis fired into him as well as the knitting needle in his neck, and presumably knife wounds in his chest. He also has had his ego bruised by Laurie, due to her successfully hurting him and escaping his clutches; being recaptured doesn't help him feel any better. Whether or not she ever crossed his mind during his escape is left eerily ambiguous, and it actually takes him a moment to recognize her, but once he does...
Michael is being kept under maximum security and is unable to escape for 40 years until his transfer to a federal prison. He may have only escaped with the aid of his doctor, who wanted to see Michael confront Laurie Strode.
Alternatively, Michael being presented with his mask, combined with the prison transfer, may have caused him to break out. Doctor Sartain would then be influenced to take advantage of the situation.
The podcasters having Michael Myers' mask may seem ludicrous, but it's evidence from a case over forty years old and overshadowed by many, many more events since. Also, as we see later, they're not above bribery for their show. It's illegal as hell, but not completely unbelievable.
Aaron states to have gotten it from the Illinois Attorney General's office, either they bribed someone or with the case so old and considered closed they were allowed to "borrow" it.
The opening where Dr. Sartain allows the reporters to show Michael his mask initially reeks of Hollywood Psych. A psychiatrist allowing strangers to induce unnecessary emotional stress upon their patient would be considered wildly unethical by any medical board, regardless of the patient's violent history. But upon The Reveal that Sartain actually does want to provoke Michael into killing again, it makes total sense that hed allow the reporters to pull such a stunt.
Upon close analysis of Michael's kills, a pattern begins to develop. The first few kills we see are relatively tame, with the victim either obscured in some way, killed offscreen, or done in a relatively bloodless manner (such as a Neck Snap.) This is somewhat reminiscent of Michael's kills in the '78 film, which (despite its reputation) is not exceedingly bloody. However, as the film continues, Michael becomes increasingly vicious, with his final kills putting even the Rob Zombie films to shame. Why? Because Michael is supposed to be The Boogeyman. He is what scares us. And as the film notes, viewers aren't scared as easily as they were in the 70s. So, as Michael represents our fears, he is adapting.
Further evidence of this includes Michael killing a child. With the huge number of recent tragedies and attacks on schools/children, this has become a MAJOR Adult Fear.
Another pattern seems to develops from Michael's kills: he deliberately targets blonde women. He killed his sister, Judith in 1963, then fifteen years later, he killed a tow truck driver for his coveralls, then, he stalked blonde (or auburn, to-may-to, to-mato) Laurie Strode and killed her friends, Annie, Lynda, and Lynda's boyfriend, Bob, with Lynda's death being the most sadistic (being strangled with a telephone cord by Michael, who she thinks is her boyfriend in a ghost costume). In this film, Michael targets and/or kills a blonde woman on the phone, Vicky, Allyson, and then, Laurie and Karen. And when Dr. Sartain kidnaps Allyson and Michael, he keeps her next to Michael in case of the Michael waking up so he could kill Allyson instead of him; it does not end well for him. However, Michael breaks from this pattern by killing Bob and the tow truck driver in the first film, then in this film, the bus guards, the boy and his father, the gas attendent, the mechanic, Aaron, and Dana in the gas station, the old lady, Dave, Oscar, Dr. Sartain, the two cops, and Ray. But some of these outlier kills can be justified; the guards were "obstacles" in his way, he needed the coveralls from the mechanic and the tow truck driver from the first film, Aaron and Dana had his mask and he needed the keys to their car, he killed the old lady because she was a witness when Michael went to steal her knife, Dave attacked him (offscreen), he respects Sartain as much as he did Dr. Loomis (i.e., not at all), and the two cops were going to arrest/or kill him. But still, he killed people who weren't blonde that he had the option not to kill, like Bob, the boy and his father, Oscar, just to name a few. If he targets blonde girls, why did he kill non-blondes as well? Is it because they were easy victims within his vincinity or he did he kill them just because he could? And is it just possible that just because he stalks or is attracted to blonde women, he really doesn't care who he kills? Is he just truly evil? Damn, no wonder Sartain was so obsessed with Michael's motives, his murders don't add up or have any sort of coherent pattern. Unless that's the point
Actually, there is one pattern to Michael's killings that carries over partially from the original film: he terrifies several of his victims before killing them. He scares Dana by dropping freshly extracted teeth from a previous victim into the bathroom stall she's in, he waits until Vicky attempts to close the closet door before surprising and butchering her, then proceeds to drape her body with a sheet to make her look like a bloodied Bedsheet Ghost to scare the first responders, he carves the face of a police officer to look like a twisted jack-o'-lantern, he refrains from attacking Oscar right away to capitalize on his confusion before striking, so on and so forth.
This film marks the first time Michael's alias The Shape is said in-universe by characters, notably Laurie and the sheriff. Why? Because both having been the only people to have come in close contact with Michael and still be alive, they see Michael as Dr. Loomis perfectly describes him: a force of pure evil given form...the shape of a human being.
While this version of Michael has no qualms about killing children as young as twelve, he still notably spares two young Halloweeners who bump into him by accident and spares an infant. Why? Michael may be pure evil, but this film goes out if its way to show that hes also not stupid and is probably aware that the minute he starts massacring people willy-nilly, people are gonna catch on to him.
More than likely, the reason he refrains from killing the trick-or-treaters is because they were out in the open, surrounded by dozens of other people. He's a "stalk them and kill them one by one" type, and his night was just getting started - attacking them right then, around all those other people, would have led to him either getting mobbed and sent back to the asylum or at the very least scared all other victims away from their houses. As for the baby, one can only guess, but it's possible killing a crying baby in its crib just wouldn't bring him the same satisfaction as killing something that can at least understand what is happening to them and feel real fear. He clearly doesn't mind killing children otherwise, or the gradual attention he gets from his killing sprees.
Not killing the baby makes the Shape even more terrifying because it shows he's completely random or at least cunning enough to determine who he will kill or not. He kills the guards but not his fellow inmates, the mechanics and the podcasters but spares the lady in the van, he kills the mom but spares the baby, and so on. He's impossible to understand...which makes Doctor Sartain's confusion all the greater.
The sequence of Michael stealing the knife from the old lady (after bashing her brains in with a hammer) and going on to kill another woman with the knife mirrors Michael's actions in the first sequel, Halloween II, even down to the conversation the second woman has on the phone before Michael rams a knife through her throat. And keeping in mind that this film erases the 1981 sequel from its continuity, the addition of this scene of cements that this film is now the Halloween II for this continuity.
In the end, when Laurie, Karen, and Allyson trap Michael in the cellar, intending for him to be roasted alive, Laurie tells Karen that her house is not her prison, as Karen had said before, but explains that the house is intended to serve as a cell for Michael. Thinking back to all the other films where Michael has cornered someone in a house, regardless if it's their own or not, this serves as a Hoist by His Own Petard moment for Michael, since Laurie had made her house (almost) Michael-proof to the point where she successfully traps him in the house, while her and her family can escape while he's burned to Hell. Or not.
Laurie is mostly depicted with a haggard appearance in the movie, save for one scene where she wears a tank top. While some viewers have criticized this, it actually makes total sense for Laurie to look this fit; you have to be physically able to take on Michael Myers, not matter how old you are, just look at what happened to Oscar!
Michael's mask in this film is the same one from the first film, which in this continuity, had been confiscated by the police as evidence when Michael was arrested; after being taken out after 40 years, it's cracked and aged from being in evidence for so long, similar to the mask the Rob Zombie version of Michael wore. Yet, Michael's mask is in better shape than in the Zombie films, despite being left untouched for 25 more years than the Zombie mask. This is probably because Michael's mask in this film was keep in a box in an evidence room, which has little to no change in temperature, while the Rob Zombie mask was kept in an abandoned house, with poor insulation, along with exposure to extreme heat and cold.
Sartain says Michael can talk but chooses not too seems questionable considering Michael had apparently never spoke in 40 years. However in the 1979 novelization of the original film (meaning like this movie, only takes the original into account) Michael does in fact speak and talks during his intial stay at Smiths Grove.
Dr. Sartain kills Hawkins and kidnaps Allyson with an unconscious Michael, with Allyson being there so Sartain doesn't get killed by Michael when he awakens. However, Michael ends up ignoring Allyson when he wakes up and goes on to beat up Sartain, then crack the doctor's head open on the road; why did he go after Sartain? Well, Michael's been imprisoned for 40 years and after being free for two days, this Sam Loomis rip-off, whose been on his case for all that time, recaptures him like an animal. So yeah, the evil, six foot, inhumanly strong mass murderer is going to try to get the fuck out of the car he's in and kill the dipshit who put him there.
Although Laurie is no longer Michael's biological sister in this continuity, she is still his sister in a symbolic way. As described in her Not So Different entry, Laurie watches her granddaughter at high school from across the street in a manner incidental to how she was stalked by Michael, is a Combat Pragmatist who uses stealth and her surroundings to her advantage in her fight against Michael, and pulls off his iconic Enemy Rising Behind and Stealth Hi/Bye moments. It's no wonder rumors of her being Michael's sister sprang up in the first place.
Since this film has adapted out the familial connection between Laurie and Michael, it means Michael stalked Laurie, killed her friends, and tried to kill her for absolutely no reasonother than that he could.
It also plays along with how Dr. Loomis talks about Michael simply being evil.
When Michael is stalking Dana in the restroom stall, he drops a handful of bloodied teeth in front of her over the stall door. We all know he murdered somebody in order to do that...but then you wonder if he murdered first and then ripped the teeth out, or did he rip the teeth out before the murdering?
Given how horrifically distended the jaw of the Attendants corpse was, ripping out their teeth may be precisely how Michael killed him.
...No, he killed him by slamming his face onto the counter, which is why his jaw is totally disconnected and torn open. The teeth obviously would have fallen out on their own after such a brutal attack.
Michael sparing the baby of the woman he killed to get the knife becomes less Even Evil Has Standards and more condemning that baby to an eventual death if nobody comes to check on him/her.
That house and several others in Haddonfield are crime scenes by the end of the film. The baby would have been recovered by police within hours and handed over to surviving relatives.
By the end of the film, Allyson may not even be aware of the fact that her father and two close friends aside from Oscar are dead. Imagine how shell take the news.
Made even worse when you consider how traumatized she already seems to be, seemingly without being aware of any of these deaths.
The fact that Karen doesn't insist on going back for Ray suggests that she already knows that he must be dead. Still, it will be awful for her and Allyson when the authorities confirm that she's right.
This film marks the first time Michael kills a kid younger than high school age. In other sequels, we've seen him try, but not succeed. However, when you take into account that this is a direct sequel to the original and the fact that Michael killed the kid, the fridge horror kicks in for the original film, as you think about what would have happened to Tommy and Lindsey if Laurie hadn't sent them to get help: Michael could have gone after and killed both of them as well.
Even more Fridge Horror when you start to recall that Michael stalked Tommy Doyle in the original film for one scene. Michael first saw Tommy when he was with Laurie outside of the Myers house earlier in the day. Maybe he had been considering Tommy as a potential victim too, which explains why he was outside of Tommy's school (like how he had been outside of Laurie's school and watching her in another scene).
Except for Laurie's family and Hawkins, the town seems to have completely forgotten about Michael's murder spree that took place forty years ago. The townspeople have lax security, children running around without parents, doors left unlocked or even standing open, teenagers wandering around drunk or high. To most of them, Michael is a scary story: they never consider that the soulless monster that committed heinous murders on two different Halloweens (the first being Judith and the second time the babysitter murders) still poses a danger to them. They have made themselves easy targets for him.
It's not that they forgot about him. The guy's been locked up for life in a high security mental asylum/prison. They figured they were safe and he was no longer a threat
Still, regardless if it's the fucking Boogeyman or a burglar in a dollar-store Michael Myers mask, none of the houses seem to have any security systems in case any of the previously mentioned psychos breaking in. At one point, Laurie, after learning that Michael broke out, goes to her daughter, Karen's house and proceeds to rant at her when she comes home for having no security measures in her house, lampshading how easy it was to break in (Laurie was there initially to tell Karen that Michael escaped and they have to leave town; one thinks she should've opened with that first instead of criticizing her daughter for being unprepared, then maybe Karen wouldn't have ignored her and kicked her out of the house). And yes, Michael had been locked up for almost all his life in the asylum, but he's still extremely smart and extremely dangerous despite being 61 years old. The fact that Smith's Grove isn't that far from Haddonfield (Michael can apparently get to town within a day's nonstop drive) and Karen still has an unprotected house, whether or not Michael was a threat, makes her and all the other people in Haddonfield borderline suicidal.
What Michael Myers did in 1978 was, at the end of the day, a particularly disturbing home invasion/triple murder. As Dave points out near the beginning, much worse things happen in the world, and in Real Life other small towns have had to move past much deadlier massacres. After forty years, it's unlikely that most people in Haddonfield remember it as anything more than a sad and grisly chapter of local history.
Cameron. Yes, hes a borderline abusive POS and a budding alcoholic, but if hes not entirely devoid of human emotion, imagine his reaction to the fact that A) his shitty actions at the dance (not just the drinking and cheating, but throwing Allysons phone into the pudding, meaning Allyson didnt receive a crucial warning call from Laurie) resulted in putting his best friend and (ex-)girlfriend right into Michaels path, resulting in Oscars grisly demise; and B) the phone call he got so mad about? Literally the last time they would ever hear from Vicky.
Ironically, if he hadn't been a jerkass, he would have taken Allyson home himself, and would have become one of Michael's victims. That narrow dodge from certain death will probably unsettle him as well.
One major reason Karen was attracted to Ray could have been that he was a mild mannered, affable guy and would provide for her the exact opposite of her militant and fearful childhood. Unfortunately, her marriage to him indirectly led to his death.