Indie director David Gordon Green wasn’t an obvious choice to create a sequel to 1978 cult classic horror movie Halloween. But he has done what so many before him failed to do. Here he talks about the night the Boogeyman returns, writes ANDREA BEATTIE
NEARLY a dozen sequels, prequels and ‘reimaginings’ and none have managed to come close to capturing the brilliance of John Carpenter’s 1978 cult horror slasher movie Halloween.
James Jude Courtney plays serial killer Michael Myers in Halloween 2018.
Forty years after the release of Carpenter’s original masterpiece, US director David Gordon Green has done what so many filmmakers had attempted and failed … to create a film worthy of standing next to the 1978 classic.
In doing so they had to ignore the convoluted and contradictory storylines thrown up by the 10 or so Halloween films that preceded theirs.
They pick up the story of Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Michael ‘the Boogeyman’ Myers (Nick Castle) directly after the terrifying conclusion of Carpenter’s original film, exactly 40 years later.
Honouring the original
In the original, Myers, known as The Shape, terrifies the small Illinois town of Haddonfield.
He kills three teens while trying to get to their friend Laurie who’s babysitting on Halloween night. He evades capture and goes on to ‘star’ in 11 more films.
But in Green’s 2018 re-imagining, Myers is caught not long after the murders of Laurie’s friends.
Since that night he’s been incarcerated at a maximum security mental institution.
As for Laurie, she’s spent her entire adult life waiting for Michael to return.
Now a self-confessed basketcase, Laurie’s lost relationships and had her children taken away from her; her sole life focus has been preparing and training for Michael’s inevitable return so she can exact revenge.
Jamie Lee Curtis returns to the Halloween franchise in Halloween 2018.
She gets her chance when The Shape (James Jude Courtney) escapes while being transported to another facility.
And so begins the nail-biting and bloody game of cat and mouse.
“This movie blurs the lines between who’s the hero and who’s the villain, who’s the predator and who’s the prey,” Green says.
“It’s an emotional character story first, and then it’s a horror movie.”
Star-studded line-up face off against Boogeyman
Halloween also stars Judy Greer as Laurie’s daughter Karen and Andi Matichak as her granddaughter, Allyson. Supporting actors include Virginia Gardner and Will Patton. There’s also cameos from original cast members Nick Castle (Myers) and PJ Soles (Lynda).
Green, who also created Eastbound & Down and Pineapple Express, says as a lifelong fan of the original film, he was incredibly nervous taking on a project with such huge expectations.
“I’m always drawn to what I’m scared of,” he says.
“(Carpenter’s Halloween) is sacred and is beloved, not just to me but to a massive worldwide fan base.
“I haven’t had too many opportunities in my career to make a big commercial film that has a degree of anticipation.
“This, to me, was an opportunity to broaden my horizons into the horror genre which I’ve been wanting to do.
“I was one of the people who had a lot of opinions about how (a new Halloween movie should be made) and I thought if i’m going to have an opinion, I’m going to be the one to do it.”
Advice from the master of horror
Green and his creative team collaborated with John Carpenter who gave them some stellar advice: “Keep it simple and keep it relentless”. As he did on the original, Carpenter created the score for the new film too.
“(John) was the one who said ‘don’t try to explain things, keep it ambiguous and straightforward’,” Green says.
“Advice like that was really valuable.”
Replicating the tension and terror of the original was a challenge for Green.
“What I’m really drawn to is the intimacy. And simplicity of a man with a knife in your house. A man with a mask and a knife in your house is even worse,” he laughs.
“I like the idea that here we didn’t have to do a lot of explaining; the ambiguity is part of what’s so terrifying about it.”
David Gordon Green on the set of Halloween.
There’s only one Laurie Strode
Green was thrilled when Jamie Lee Curtis said she would return as Laurie after she was made aware of the Halloween project by mutual friend Jake Gyllenhaal.
“We didn’t ask her ‘til we wrote it.
“We thought we’d write something that appeals to her and hopefully she’ll join the band,” Green laughs.
“A lot of actors who are iconically recognised in a part or a role, (are) trying to distance themselves from that relationship.
“But she’s so appreciative of the opportunity of Halloween and the doors that it opened and the career that it created.
“She shows up to work an hour early every day just to be appreciative and show people thanks.
“She’s the Queen Bee of the set and lets everyone know how much she appreciates them.”
Green says he really wanted the film to be a love letter to Carpenter and Curtis.
“The things that were essential to me were the tone that Carpenter had established, the character of Laurie Strode and the music,” he says.
“Those three things I hold pretty sacred and very much involved them both in my questions and my curiosity and my ideas. They were great collaborators and I wouldn’t have made the movie without them.”