Can you imagine what must have gone through David Gordon Green’s mind when he was locked down to direct
With a property as beloved and divisive as Halloween, I can only imagine that Green, and writing partner Danny McBride, felt endless amounts of excitement but an equal amount of trepidation. For every horror fan, the Halloween series has its rises and its falls, something that differs from one fan to another. So how can they go about creating something authentic, exhilarating, and, perhaps most importantly, scary for the horror community? I think that’s up to them to explain.
On where everything began, Green spoke about how they wanted to see a Halloween that took the events of the original and used that as a platform upon which to tell a new story, one that’s a bit more grounded and true.
“We were trying to come up with what our take would be and really just found an original path that more or less takes the first one as our reality, kind of sets the tone for our story or history and then we jumped forty years into the future and we see how the world today responds to, was affected by…how we meet our characters in a different phase of their life under the reality of this traumatic event and have to come to terms with some of these issues horrifically, in many circumstances, how that is relayed and that’s kind of the fun of how we launch off.”
Danny McBride spoke about the generational aspect of this new entry and how we’d see three lines of the Strode family.
“Honestly, I think the three generations just kind of came up organically the very first time we talked, it really was just looking at how much time has passed since the first one and you know, the mathematics of it are that there would be more. I think by having these multiple generations, you’re able to cast a teenager who can sort of give us that in, [that] she’s never seen anything like this before, never seen violence like this so she has been able to have a normal life, have friends and not be constantly afraid so I think it was a way to keep what was cool from the first Halloween, that sort of innocent in to the story.”
While Green and McBride are crafting a new story that doesn’t factor in any of the sequels, that doesn’t mean they don’t want to pay their respects. Green acknowledges that the love of Halloween wouldn’t be there if we didn’t have all the sequels to keep this film series going for so long.
“Anyone who’s a fan of any of these films will find nice little Easter Eggs acknowledging our salute to the filmmakers that have preceded us, in the stories and mythologies as they’ve unfolded. For us, it was a clean slate type of opportunity, where if there was a little inspiration or mirror image of something. It’s very subtle in the movie because we want to start fresh for a new generation but with great appreciation for the previous.”
On the assistance and help of John Carpenter, who acts as executive producer and composer, Green is quick to recognize just how important and vital that is.
“His advice was brilliant: “Make it relentless”. He had notes, which is something I was extremely nervous about. We worked very hard on the script, we were all very excited. It’s one thing for three movie nerds to geek out over the opportunity of maneuvering within this property, another to basically go kiss the ring of the godfather”
Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this new Halloween is the removal of Michael and Laurie being siblings, something that was shoehorned as part of the sequel (and the TV version of the original). McBride knew right away that this was something he wanted gone from the new film, that keeping it in would take away from the greater terror at hand.
“I was pushing for that removal right off the bat. I just felt like that was an area where he wasn’t quite as scary anymore, it seemed too personalized, I wasn’t as afraid of Michael Myers anymore because I’m not his fucking brother so he’s not coming after me. Also, you’ve seen it. So wouldn’t it be interesting just to see what would happen if it wasn’t that and what does that open up for us if it wasn’t this random killing that has affected this character. It just seemed like new territory to bite off.”
With how much horror has evolved in the past 40 years since Carpenter’s original, can Michael still be scary? Green has thought heavily about this.
“You know, a character in the movie even talks about that. Like, the world has changed a lot since Michael Myers was around. The world has seen a lot of horrific shit and there’s a lot of bad things that happen now on a daily basis so is a man in a mask with a knife still scary? And I think that’s what this movie answers: yes, he still is.”
Perhaps the most important thing that Green tipped us off to is this: “[Halloween] does address what happened to Dr. Loomis, yes.”