Exclusive: P.J. Soles Talks Halloween's 35th Anniversary
You really can’t help but love P.J. Soles: the ribboned pigtails, the infectious smile, and the look of always being slightly bored but up for anything. Remembered for Carrie and as Riff Randell in Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, it’s her iconic death-by-phone-cord (remember those?) scene in Carpenter’s Halloween...
...that will most certainly live on forever in celluloid. To celebrate the release of the 35th Anniversary Blu-ray of Halloween, P.J. was good enough to chat with DC about the film. Still just as easy as ever to make laugh, she made me feel just like Bill Murray must have as he made her squeal with delight in Stripes.
DC: Did you always go by the name P.J. as your stage name, or did it just stick as a kid?
PJ: Well, as my stage name, yeah. Actually, it started in high school because my name is Pamela Jayne and a lot of people were calling me Pam and I hated the name Pam. Of course, my grandmother called me Pammy. I don’t know, somebody started calling me P.J. and it just sort of stuck, and once I started with my film credits I thought to use P.J. I was married young, like at 21, to Steven Soles, so I took his name because I thought it was more interesting than my last name, which was Harden. Once I had credits in there, you don’t want to change it.
DC: I think P.J. Harden sounds pretty cool, too, but it sounds like you’re a detective in an old ‘70s show. The 35th Anniversary is coming out on Blu-ray, and it’s currently number three in horror on Amazon right now on the charts...
PJ: Oh my god, that’s great.
DC: Are you surprised that there’s still so much attention paid to the film and excitement over the release, or are you kind of used to it by now?
PJ: I’m not really used to it because it is surprising. I mean, it’s just amazing is what it is. Because I do go to conventions and I just get so many ecstatic fans that are happy to meet anyone from the Halloween movies. It just always amazes me that this movie is the movie of choice for their favorite horror film when there’s been so many other types of more gory and more explicit types of horror out there. It’s just a very, very special movie so I’m very honored to be a part of it.
DC: Well, you’re also lucky that Friday the 13th isn’t every single year so you’ve got that beat. So, you’ve got the 35th Years of Terror anniversary coming up in Pasadena. Are you expecting an unprecedented turnout for that?
PJ: Yep, Pasadena, where it all began. I think they’re expecting a lot of people. It’s the fifteenth and the sixteenth, and I think on the seventeenth, which is a Sunday, is where people can take the tour buses around to the locations and the local high school students act out certain scenes. They did that at the 30th Anniversary and the 25th Anniversary. Tony Massey along with Sean Clark began that with the 25th Anniversary, and it was a great idea. People at the 30th came from all over the world so I’m expecting a big crowd. People are always asking, ‘Is Jamie [Lee Curtis] going to be there?’ but she already did her first and last signing at the HorrorHound [Convention] last year in November, so I don’t think so. As much as people would like it, I think she’s going to be true to her word. John Michael Graham is gonna be there and he’s bringing his glasses!
DC: Every event horror film that comes out now uses Halloween as the model, just like Jaws was for summer blockbusters, that’s the model for big horror films. Do you also see Halloween as being responsible for that trend and making audiences think, ‘Hey, let’s go to the theater instead of trick ‘r treating?’
PJ: I would think yes. The trend turned into something else with the Rob Zombie-type movies with the blood and the gore. How gory and gross can you make it? That’s what I think makes our movie so special. There is no blood, there is no gore; there’s just intent and the psychological thrills and chills up the spine. And the music and the soundtrack, you just can’t beat it. And then the characters and the look of it. It’s just an art piece and you just can’t make a reproduction of a Rembrandt.
The Halloween Blu-ray: 35th Anniversary Edition is now available.
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