HALLOWEEN Set Visit: Malek Akkad and the Emotional Return of Halloween

For Jamie Lee Curtis, returning to Haddonfield was not just a return to terror, it was an opportunity for reuniting. “The truth of the matter is, the moment that completely slayed me was seeing Malek Akkad, who was a kid, because I knew his dad,” she explains. “It brings tears to your eyes that he was carrying on the tradition of his father. [Malek] is the keeper of that flame and he was working really hard to protect his father’s legacy and the way that Moustapha Akkad did business.”

Sitting at a round table interview, Curtis’ voice catches and her eyes briefly water as she recalls that moment. “[The] real emotional moment for me was seeing Malek Akkad. That got me, when I saw him standing there, because I remember him as a little kid and then the horrible story of what happened to his dad and that did it.”

Producer Malek Akkad, whose father produced Carpenter’s 1978 original, has been a part of the Halloween franchise, in some way, shape, or form, since the beginning. He was eight years old when he joined his father on the set of Carpenter’s film, walking amongst some of the same people who are a part of Blumhouse’s vision. The emotion of being a part of such a momentous horror event is not lost on him.

“It’s huge, to be here working with Jamie again, I worked with her on H20 and Resurrection, but to be working with her again, and John Carpenter and the cast, all those guys who did the film… I was an eight year old kid at the time, this is my seventh Halloween, in one way or another. Its’ been a huge part of my life and I can honestly say no one would be happier than my father to see what we’re doing with it. He was the biggest champion of the franchise there was, he kept it alive through many periods where it could have easily gone another way. He would be the happiest person to see what we’re doing.”

Bringing Carpenter back was the first step for Akkad. “As soon as we did part ways with the Weinstein company the first call I made was to John [Carpenter] and I just said, ‘You know, there’s no way we’re going to do one without you.'”

Realizing that the series needed to go into a different direction yet still hold true to its roots, Akkad sought a different kind of director to take the helm. “For me, from the get go, what was really important was I didn’t just want to get another horror director and so the idea was very early on, this franchise should be able to attract an A list director and that was kind of the mandate and even though the studio was sending a lot of horror directors, and they’re all very talented, but Jason Blum really agreed and championed that idea as well and I give him credit for bringing in a filmmaker like David Gordon Green.”

For someone who’s been associated with the franchise for so long, we asked him to opine on what makes Myers such a terrifying force that resonates with so many people. Amusingly, he seemed to have trouble with this query, stating, “I even ask that question of other fans, ‘What is it about that mask, about that faceless killer?’ and for me, I guess, people can put the attribute of whatever their worst nightmare is for that mask and I think, in some weird way, even though you’re not seeing him, this makes it relatable in a way, you project your own fear into it. Of course I’m biased, but I would say he’s also the coolest of all the serial killers…but that’s just my opinion.”

Akkad is confident that Halloween, “…will satisfy and really engage viewers and hopefully be a really satisfying movie for the fans.” He thinks this because he recognizes how the film bucks slasher trends by allowing the film to use an older cast to own the horror. “First of all, Jamie Lee is the greatest, she’s the best thing about this franchise, other than Michael, and we’re so honored to have her back again. But I think what [David Gordon Green] has done with the three generations of women has really kind of opened this up to where it’s not just the typical teenage victim, it’s broadened it, it’s a more mature telling.”

With the popularity of Friday the 13th: The Game, we were curious if Akkad had any ideas on how to take Myers off the screen and into new ventures. Coyly responding and obviously keeping things close to the chest, he stated, “…there are going to be some big announcements to that effect, looking at new forms of media. All of those you said are possibilities, the attractions we do, videogames, VR, it’s all sort of being discussed so stay tuned.”

He ends his interview with us with a very true statement: “This year is going to be a big year for Halloween.”

Written by Jonathan Barkan

Lifelong horror fan with a love of music on the side.

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