Halloween Ends controversially introduced Corey Cunningham to the Halloween movies, but his role in David Gordon Green’s story could have been much better had he first appeared in Halloween Kills. The third movie in the Halloween reboot trilogy drew criticism for significantly diminishing the role of iconic serial killer Michael Myers and instead focusing on a new murderer, Corey Cunningham. The new character is presented as an outcast driven to evil who eventually teams up with Michael while also quickly getting into a relationship with Laurie Strode’s granddaughter, Allyson.
Corey’s vast amount of screen time in Halloween Ends easily rubs viewers the wrong way, particularly when the movie was marketed as the final conflict between Laurie and Michael. Shoehorning Corey into the final chapter feels inorganic, especially for how he beats up Michael Myers, takes his mask, and becomes the primary villain of the story before Michael’s resurgence at the end of Halloween Ends. Had Corey played even a minor role in Halloween Kills, however, this problem could have been avoided as both Corey’s rushed relationship with Allyson and his status as Michael’s successor could have been properly foreshadowed.
Corey’s relationship with both Allyson and Michael Myers is established too quickly in Halloween Ends, but both could have been set up in Halloween Kills. Had Corey met Allyson one movie earlier, the filmmakers could have built a genuine romance that got the viewer invested, making it heartbreaking when he turned into a serial killer like Michael. Equally, Corey needed some form of pre-existing relationship with Michael in the four years before Halloween Ends, even if it was just being a part of the angry mob hunting the killer. If his character remained exactly the same, the mob could have turned on him due to his past, pushing him into Michael’s evil hands and having the Halloween villain transfer his power into the new character as the movie’s cliffhanger ending.
In a movie with a huge ensemble cast including legacy characters like Leigh Brackett, Tommy Doyle, Lindsey Wallace, and Marion Chambers, introducing Corey in Halloween Kills would not have been difficult. He should have been introduced as a likable character in the second movie, giving the audience time to get to know him alongside Laurie and Allyson in the Halloween sequel. His descent into evil in Halloween Ends would not only have been better set up, but it would have also been tragic as well as frightening, and not rushed like it was in the actual movie. More importantly, it would have stopped his appearance in Laurie and Michael’s final battle from feeling so jarring. His presence was unwelcome in the movie, which should have focused on Michael as the primary villain as well as an epic fight between him and Laurie, just like the film’s marketing promised.
While Halloween Kills feels like a natural sequel to Halloween, the four-year time jump and introduction of Corey Cunningham in the third movie made it seem like Halloween Ends was constructed without much of a plan. David Gordon Green admitted that Halloween Ends’ four-year time jump was a last-minute addition, and having no mention of Corey in either Halloween or Halloween Kills made it seem like the character was, too. Halloween Ends was an ambitious attempt to do something new with the franchise, but Corey needed to be introduced in Halloween Kills — or even Halloween 2018 — to justify his major role in Michael Myers’s final movie.