Nearly 40 years and nine films after The Shape first terrorized the people of Haddonfield on a quiet Halloween night, we are finally returning to the Halloween franchise this October, with a new installment that mixes legacy by way of Jamie Lee Curtis and John Carpenter and Nick Castle, as well as Malek Akkad continuing his family’s legacy, along with writer/director David Gordon Green and Danny McBride (who co-wrote the script). While at San Diego Comic-Con 2018, Bloody Disgusting got to talk to Curtis, Green, Blum and Akkad about bringing the Halloween franchise back.
Director David Gordon Green was a bit emotional and really excited about the prospect of making a new Halloween movie: “It was a childhood dream because this was a very, very formative movie in my cinematic upbringing,” said Green.
“I was at a slumber party and I was forbidden from seeing this movie, and then my friends put it on. I got so scared I vomited and went home.”
Green said making this was like facing his own demons. Green and his co-writer Danny McBride have been discussing Halloween and thinking of their own version of it since their days in film school. “We just had a great amount of affection for the first film,” said Green. “And I’d say every single film I’ve made has some sort of reflection back to the film school days, including the enthusiasm of Danny and several of our friends that also worked on this movie.”
Curtis then went on to compare the Green/McBride team to John Carpenter and his friends while making the original Halloween: “It was the exact same vibe,” said Curtis. “David’s from the South and went to film school with all these guys. John Carpenter is from the South-ish, and he went to film school with Tommy Lee Wallace and Nick Castle. These are all film geeks coming together.” Just as Moustapha Akkad went to young filmmakers to make the original Halloween, the newest film is made by friends from film school who are excited about making movies. “This new film was a group of people coming together to create something powerful, simple, classic, and elegant,” added Curtis. “and it wouldn’t have occurred had Malek not carried the same belief as his father and let these new guys play in this sandcastle of a film.”
Producer Malek Akkad added that the original Halloween captured lightning in a bottle: “This one was really more about the stars needing to align, because it had been nine years since the last one. That’s where Jason [Blum] and his ability to mine the stars come in, and our fearless leader David. All the talent on this film really was celestial alignment that doesn’t happen often.”
One thing that wouldn’t normally come to mind when thinking about Halloween is the #MeToo movement, but Jamie Lee Curtis thinks this movie is perfect for the times we live in.
“Laurie Strode had something happen to her that no one in our lives should ever have happen,” said Curtis, “and she just reacted in her own intelligent way to save her life. Period. End of story. The movie ends. This one picks up 40 years later and during those years there was no trauma therapy. No one gave her mental health services. She went back to school two days later with a little scar on her arm. And that’s it. So you’ll see that kind of PTSD compound over time. What we’re seeing in the world today is that all of these women who’ve been traumatized, victimized, beaten, battered, and raped have all found the voice to be able to say, ‘No more.’ And it’s interesting that this movie coincides beautifully with that wellspring of empowerment and understanding.
“Laurie Strode was a 17-year-old high school student whom nobody paid any attention to, and now she is demanding a moment. That’s who we meet 40 years later. It’s powerful.”
Finally, Jamie Lee Curtis talked about removing Michael’s background as Laurie’s sister and why it is scarier if they are not related.
“The idea here is that there is nothing more terrifying in the world than a random act of violence,” said Curtis.
“That is the route to terrorism. Not that you see it coming, that something occurs in a horrible way without you thinking it could happen to you. That’s what made this movie so profoundly terrifying, that it was random. David so beautifully wove back that they are not related. You’re left with this woman with nothing, so she’s become the boy who cried wolf. She is a perseverating woman who has spent every day since she was 17 preparing for when he comes back.”
The trauma and scars left by Michael in the first Halloween not only impacted Laurie, but her entire family, and Curtis tells us that Laurie had two marriages dissolved, and a child who was taken from her because she couldn’t properly take care of her. “You can imagine Karen’s [Laurie’s daughter] first day in first grade,” Curtis said. “Laurie walks in, looks at the teacher, and says, ‘What’s your exit strategy?’ Now, today, sadly, every first grader knows what shelter in a place means, or knows what an active shooter alert means. Our children today are prepared for that horrible reality. But decades ago? So, you can imagine why the state stepped in and took Karen from Laurie to be raised by her dad. Because Laurie couldn’t raise her. It’s fascinating when you have somebody unchecked like that who’s had no help, and that’s really who you find in the movie.”
Michael Myers returns to Haddonfield this Halloween.