Laurie Strode is a fictional character in the Halloween franchise by John Carpenter and Debra Hill. She debuted in the original 1978 film as a high school student who becomes targeted by serial killer Michael Myers on Halloween night. Laurie is generally considered the main protagonist of the series, with later films seeing Michael continue to threaten her life. Most entries depict her as Michael's younger sister, although this detail is not present in the first film and disregarded by the current continuity. She has also appeared in various media outside of the films.
The character is primarily portrayed by Jamie Lee Curtis, who appears as Laurie in the original film and subsequent entries set in its continuity. In the films directed by Rob Zombie, she is played by Scout Taylor-Compton. Academic materials widely cite Laurie as one of the earliest and most influential examples of the "final girl" slasher film archetype.
Laurie Strode first appears in the original Halloween (1978). The 17-year-old Laurie (Curtis) is a high school student who has plans to babysit Tommy Doyle (Brian Andrews) on Halloween night, 1978. However, throughout the day, she keeps seeing a mysterious masked man watching her wherever she goes; unbeknownst to her, he is Michael Myers (Nick Castle), an escaped mental patient who murdered his sister, Judith Myers (Sandy Johnson), 15 years before and has begun stalking her. Laurie notices Michael watching her and becomes increasingly worried, though her best friends Annie Brackett (Nancy Loomis) and Lynda Van Der Klok (P. J. Soles) brush off her concerns. As Laurie babysits Tommy, Myers kills Annie and Lynda in the house across the street. Growing concerned when they fail to call her, Laurie goes to investigate and sees their corpses laid out for her to find, before being attacked by Michael. Barely escaping, Laurie races back to the Doyle house. Michael follows, but Laurie manages to fend him off long enough for Tommy and Lindsey to escape. Laurie is saved by Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence), Michael's psychiatrist, who shoots him off the balcony; when Loomis goes to check Michael's body, he finds it missing. An unsurprised Loomis stares off into the night, while Laurie begins sobbing in terror.
Halloween II (1981) picks up directly after the first film, with Laurie Strode being taken to a hospital. Upon learning who attacked her, Laurie asks "Why me?!" Laurie says she does know that she was adopted and has a few dreams that offer vague insights into her birth family. The first dream she has is of when she was a little girl, with her adoptive mother saying with a tone of annoyance "I'm not your real mother! Stop asking me questions!" The second dream shows her walking into a large room where a pre-teen Michael is seen sitting in a chair and turning to look at her. Waking up, she begins to roam the hallways of the hospital until coming face to face with Michael, who has been killing his way through the hospital staff in search of her. Meanwhile, Dr. Loomis is told that Michael and Judith Myers are actually Laurie's biological siblings; she was put up for adoption after the death of their parents, with the records sealed to protect the family. With the realization that Michael is after Laurie, Loomis rushes to the hospital to find them. Laurie shoots Michael in the eyes, blinding him, and Loomis causes an explosion in the operating theater, allowing Laurie to escape. Michael, engulfed in flames, stumbles out of the room before finally collapsing. The traumatized Laurie is last seen being transferred to another hospital.
In Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988), Laurie is revealed to have died in a car accident prior to the film's events, with the role of protagonist taken up by her young daughter, Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris). A photograph of Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie appears in a scene where Jamie remembers her mother. The character of Jamie would go on to reappear in two more Halloween sequels, while Laurie's adopted cousin Kara (Marianne Hagan) and her family appear in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995).
Curtis returned as Laurie Strode in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), the seventh film in the series. The screenplay was based on a story by Kevin Williamson. The story was conceived as a sequel to the sixth film, thereby keeping the timeline's continuity, but producers ultimately decided to go with a reboot and ignore the previous three films. In this timeline, Laurie faked her death in a car accident as a way of escaping her murderous brother, whose body was not found after Halloween II. She is now living under the name Keri Tate, and works as the headmistress of a California private school, where her teenage son John Tate (Josh Hartnett) is a student. Laurie, who by now has become an alcoholic, is still haunted by memories of her brother's rampage, and lives in fear that he will return. Although John dismisses her as paranoid, her fears become reality when Michael (Chris Durand) resurfaces on Halloween and murders two of John's classmates. After getting her son and his girlfriend to safety, Laurie decides to stop running and face her brother. She stops Michael, but, unconvinced that he is truly dead, goes on to steal his body and decapitate him.
In Halloween: Resurrection (2002), it is revealed that the man Laurie killed was a paramedic with whom Michael (Brad Loree) had swapped clothes. The guilt-ridden Laurie is now an inmate at the Grace Andersen Sanitarium, where the nurses believe her to be catatonic. Instead, she is preparing for Michael to return, and when he does, she lures him on to the institution's rooftop. Although he falls into her trap, Laurie's fears of again killing the wrong person get the better of her; when she tries to remove his mask, Michael stabs her and throws her off the roof, to her death.
A new version of Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) appears in the Rob Zombie remake (2007). This film establishes from the beginning that Laurie is Michael's baby sister, nicknamed "Boo", with whom young Michael (Daeg Faerch) shares a close bond. When Michael is institutionalized for killing their older sister Judith (Hanna R. Hall), their mother Deborah (Sheri Moon Zombie) is unable to cope and commits suicide. The infant Laurie is discovered by Sheriff Brackett (Brad Dourif), who omits her from the records for her own protection, and she is eventually adopted by the Strode family. The adult Michael (Tyler Mane) escapes and comes home in search of his sister, killing her adoptive parents and her friend Lynda (Kristina Klebe) before kidnapping Laurie. Michael tries to make Laurie remember him by showing her a picture of them as children. This fails, and Laurie proceeds to stab Michael with his own knife. Laurie hides as Michael hunts her down in their old childhood home; when he finds her, she shoots him in the head with a gun she took from Michael's psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis (Malcolm McDowell), after which she begins screaming hysterically as the scene fades to an old home video of young Michael and baby Laurie.
In the sequel (2009), Laurie has moved in with Sheriff Brackett and his daughter Annie (Danielle Harris). She suffers recurring nightmares about Michael and their mother, and is seeing a therapist to deal with the trauma. Loomis later tells her that she is Michael's sister, and that she also suffers from his "illness". In the film's climax, she tells a mortally wounded Michael that she loves him, before stabbing him to death and putting on his mask. In the film's final scene, she sits in isolation in a psychiatric ward, grinning at a vision of her mother. In the director's cut of the film, Laurie picks up Michael's knife after Michael is killed and walks over to an injured and unconscious Loomis, and the police open fire on Laurie, apparently killing her too.
Although Laurie supposedly died in Halloween: Resurrection, Curtis reprised the role in Halloween (2018), which ignores the previous sequels in the franchise and serves as a direct sequel to the 1978 film. Consequently, Michael and Laurie are no longer related in this continuity since that revelation does not exist without the 1981 sequel. This film establishes that Michael (James Jude Courtney) was arrested following his killing spree in 1978, and institutionalized for 40 years in Smith's Grove Sanitarium. Similar to Halloween H20, Laurie suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of Michael's rampage, and has prepared for Michael's potential return through combat training; she has been divorced twice, became an alcoholic, and lost custody of her daughter, Karen (Judy Greer). Michael eventually escapes again and returns to Haddonfield for another killing spree. Michael is taken to Laurie's home by his deranged psychologist and engages in a showdown with Laurie, who severely injures him and severs two of his fingers, but he stabs her in the stomach and pushes her over a balcony; when Michael goes to check Laurie's body, he finds it missing, before being attacked by a very much alive Laurie. Trapping him inside the basement safe room, Laurie, Karen and Allyson set the house ablaze, and the trio escapes in the back of a passing pickup truck.
Laurie Strode's first literary appearance was in October 1979, in Curtis Richards' novelization of Halloween, which largely follows the events of the film. She also appeared in the 1981 adaptation of Halloween II written by Jack Martin; it was published alongside the first film sequel, with the novel following the film events, with an additional victim, a reporter, added to the novel.
Laurie appears in the twist ending of the comic book Halloween III: The Devil's Eyes. While examining Loomis' diaries in the hopes of finding out more about Michael Myers, an adult Tommy Doyle and Lindsey Wallace are attacked by a person dressed as Michael. They unmask the figure to reveal Laurie Strode, who has taken on her brother's mantle. At the conclusion of the book, Laurie kills Tommy (losing an eye in the process) and is subsequently incarcerated in Smith's Grove, where Dr. Terence Wynn takes an interest in her. This story follows on from Halloween H20, but is set in a non-canon timeline contradicted by the release of Halloween: Resurrection.
The anthology one-shot comic Halloween: 30 Years of Terror includes a Laurie Strode storyline entitled "Visiting Hours". Set between H20 and Resurrection, it shows Laurie in the Grace Anderson Sanitarium, where she wonders how her life could have been if Michael hadn't found her in 1978. In this alternate universe, she lives a happy life in which her friends are still alive, but the memory of Michael invades her fantasy world and leaves her with nothing. Laurie concludes that "I can't even dream of a normal life without [Michael] killing it", and can do nothing but wait for her brother's inevitable "visit" to set her free. Laurie appears prominently in the comic book limited series Halloween: The First Death of Laurie Strode; set after Halloween II, it depicts the events which led to her faking her death.