[Set Visit] How David Gordon Green is Honoring John Carpenter’s Wish to Make ‘Halloween’ Scary Again
One of the most exciting things about David Gordon Green‘s Halloween, releasing October 19, is that it’s the franchise’s first film in many, many years to have John Carpenter‘s creative involvement. Carpenter was the “creative consultant” and executive producer on the sequel to his 1978 classic, and it’s also been confirmed that he’s scoring the film!
During our visit to the South Carolina set of Halloween earlier this year, Gordon Green told us that Carpenter gave he and co-writer Danny McBride one main piece of advice before filming began, which really seems to have been the driving force of their approach to the material.
“[Carpenter’s] advice was brilliant: make it relentless,” Gordon Green told us.
“[Carpenter] had notes, which is something I was extremely nervous about. We worked very hard on the script. We were all very excited. It’s one thing for three movie nerds to geek out over the opportunity of maneuvering within this property, another to basically go kiss the ring of the godfather and see how that goes. I was sweating bullets, the first time I sat down with him.”
He continued, detailing the pitch they nervously made to Carpenter, “We were trying to come up with what our take would be and really just found an original path that more or less takes the first one as our reality, kind of sets the tone for our story or history and then we jump forty years into the future and we see how the world today responds to/was affected by [the first film’s events]. We meet our characters in a different phase of their life under the reality of this traumatic event.”
As Gordon Green has explained in previous interviews, Carpenter ultimately approved McBride and Gordon Green’s vision for this year’s Halloween, which will disregard every single film in the franchise past the original Halloween. Yes, *all* of them. And that’s all part of making the film, and its iconic slasher, as relentless as possible.
“For us, it was a clean slate type of opportunity,” Gordon Green explained of he and McBride’s approach to reinventing the franchise, which will do away with something John Carpenter himself has long expressed regrets over: in the new film, Michael Myers and Laurie Strode are no longer brother and sister, but rather strangers who share a past.
“I was pushing for the removal [of the brother-sister connection] right off the bat,” McBride chimed in.
“I just felt like that was an area where he wasn’t quite as scary anymore. It seemed too personalized. I wasn’t as afraid of Michael Myers anymore because I’m not his fucking brother so he’s not coming after me. And also you’ve seen that already so wouldn’t it be interesting just to see what would happen if it wasn’t that and what does that open up for us? So it just seemed like new territory to bite off.”
Making Halloween relentless, as Carpenter requested, is all about making Michael Myers scary again, and it’s this desire that will give us a film free of backstory or explanation.
“I’d like to know as little as possible about [Michael Myers], his history and his abilities,” Gordon Green told us. “I think there was a reason he was called The Shape; because in some ways he’s more of an essence than he is a traditional character. In some ways it’s like a film like Jaws; there’s not a lot of personality in the shark. Technically he’s very elusive in the way that he’s shot and we’re trying to keep that as our framework and not get too much into who he is, why he is, what he’s been doing.“
When we spoke with Jamie Lee Curtis during our set visit, she echoed McBride and Gordon Green’s sentiments that the less we know about Michael, the scarier he becomes.
“There is nothing more frightening to me than an unrelated attack, do you know what I mean?” Curtis commented. “I think it makes it much more terrifying. That what happened was random and pointed at [Laurie] and that’s why she has not let up for one second.”