Why making 'Halloween' in 2018 was such a tricky process
Director David Gordon Green and star Andi Matichak on the timeliness of Mike Myers' random acts of violence
40 years after its release, John Carpenter’s Halloween is actually even more terrifying than it was back in 1978.
That’s not just because of Carpenter’s hypnotic score, his patient yet brutal direction, and Jamie Lee Curtis’ iconic performance, to name but a few of the film's endless list of traits.
Instead, it is because of Mike Myers. Or, more specifically, the randomness of Mike Myers’ violent acts.
Because, in 2018, mass shootings and random acts of violence and terror are now depressingly regular occurrences.
The timeliness of "Halloween" and Mike Myers was something that co-writer and director David Gordon Green was very much aware of, especially as he was just coming off "Stronger" with Jake Gyllenhaal, which is about the Boston Marathon bombings.
“That really got me in the head space of the horrific nature of these random acts of terror,” Green recently admitted to me over the phone. “I got to know Jeff Bauman and his family very intimately, and how it affected them years later and how they are still processing random events.”
“So I have great sympathy that have gone through these traumatic experiences. I am also a great advocate for anyone who wants to rise to the strength and character of confronting those issues within themselves.”
“That is why it was a great opportunity to work with someone that has such a strong and empowered personality as Jamie Lee Curtis, because it allowed us to take a realistic look at these events from 1978, as if they had really happened to the character”
“Then look at how people process trauma and hardship and find strength within themselves and there is a responsibility to not just exploit the gratuity and grotesqueness of horror for a cinematic rollercoaster. For me, I feel a personal emotional conviction to balance the insanity of terrible events with the charisma of strength from what comes from it.”
Andi Matichak, who plays Allyson Strode, the grand-daughter to Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie, also explained that one of the keys to making "Halloween" terrifying was to return to the “simplicity of what John Carpenter created in 1978.”
“When they went back and looked at what made the first one work, I know they saw that simplicity of just this crazy person, who we don’t know anyone about and who has no real motive to kill anyone or choose his victims.”
“And that, to me, as a viewer is what made it so scary, the randomness of the acts and that there was nothing tying Michael to anyone in the town.”
Tapping into the genuine fears, scares and emotions that the genre, and particularly "Halloween," uniquely evokes was exactly what Green built his film to achieve, too.
“Horror has always resonated with me because it has this raw, primal, realistic energy that isn’t supernatural or is so far out there that I don’t understand.”
“So it was the simplicity of it that appealed and got under my skin and truly frightened me. So when the idea of rebooting the franchise came along I really wanted to honor the simplicity and expression that John Carpenter had created.”
“Plus, we haven’t seen a good slasher film in a long time. So this was the opportunity. There have been vampire movies, zombie movies, and the various sub-genres of horror. ‘Scream’ did a nice reflection of horror in the 90s. So to me this felt like a great time to dust it off.”
“Halloween” is released on October 19.