Director: David Gordon Green
Writers: David Gordon Green (screenplay), Danny McBride (screenplay)
Stars: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton
Based on Characters
Created by: John Carpenter and Debra Hill
Release Date: 19 October 2018
Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her iconic role as Laurie Strode, who comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.
Master of horror John Carpenter executive produces and serves as creative consultant on this film, joining forces with cinema’s current leading producer of horror, Jason Blum (Get Out, Split, The Purge, Paranormal Activity). Inspired by Carpenter’s classic, filmmakers David Gordon Green and Danny McBride crafted a story that carves a new path from the events in the landmark 1978 film, and Green also directs.
Curtis is joined on screen by JUDY GREER (Jurassic World, Ant-Man) as Karen, Laurie’s daughter who was taken away from her when Karen was a child, and who fluctuates between sympathy for her mother and frustration at the nonstop paranoia; newcomer ANDI MATICHAK as Allyson, Karen’s teenager who is attempting to navigate the rift between her mom and grandmother; WILL PATTON (TV’s Falling Skies, Armageddon) as Officer Hawkins, who was a young cop the night Michael Myers was taken into custody 40 years prior; HALUK BILGINER as Dr. Sartain, the psychiatrist who’s overseen Michael’s incarceration for decades; VIRGINIA GARDNER (Hulu’s The Runaways) as Vicky, Allyson’s best friend since they were young girls; and stunt-man/performer JAMES JUDE COURTNEY (Far and Away), who portrays Michael Myers/The Shape. As well, NICK CASTLE (1978’s Halloween) appears in a cameo as The Shape.
To portray Michael Myers, stuntman and actor James Jude Courtney inherited the mantle that not only terrifies audiences on sight, but frequently scared his fellow cast and crew during production. Courtney works alongside Nick Castle, who originate the role of “The Shape” in 1978’s Halloween and spent time with Green on set as the production’s “spiritual advisor,” as he jokingly referred to himself.
Castle does appears in the film in cameo as The Shape, but he underscores that his good friend Courtney deserves credit for the lion’s share of work on this screen. “Nick gave us instructions on little things—the way that Michael Myers turns his head or tilts it to observe a kill…or sits up at a 90-degree angle without using his hands,” offers Green. “Those great little subtle characteristics were very important to the story we were telling.”
Not only did John Carpenter serve as creative consultant for the production, he brought his infamous skills as composer to the new Halloween. Alongside collaborators Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies—with whom Carpenter has released three solo albums—the trio would not simply pay homage to work the composer began more than four decades ago, they would inventively update the sounds to serve Green’s vision.
Producer Blum explains that what has kept Carpenter’s original theme so timeless and haunting is that it remains so unexpected. “You don’t associate that kind of keyboard music with a horror movie—as much as you wouldn’t associate strings in a horror movie, which Hitchcock did in Psycho,” he says.
His fellow producer appreciates the throw-back to another era, and the deep feelings of dread and terror the principal theme evokes. Block says: “The late-’70s synthesizer is an instrument that is not used so much anymore. That Moog synthesizer was a dominant instrument at the time. Alongside a lot of other technological music, it has been a bit forgotten. When it comes back, it’s a classic aspect that really is effective.”
Carpenter explains that his inspiration for the theme stretches back to his own childhood: “Back in 1963, my father taught me to play bongos. He taught me 5/4 time: ba, ba, ba, ba, bop, bop. Throughout the years, I’ve had that tempo in my head. So, I just played it on piano and rocked some octaves, and there it is. It’s really simple, but it’s jangly and gets in your head. I thought it would be perfect for the movie.”
Green agrees with his producers when discussing the jarring simplicity. “The original theme that John created sits so comfortably with the film,” he says. “It’s almost a juvenile series of notes. You don’t need the symphony to tell you how to feel. It’s like Jaws; you have that simple back and forth, repetitive nature of a score. You don’t need as much noise, accents and accessories when you have something that is so stripped-down and raw. At its musical essence, it scares the pants off of you.”
The director discusses what Carpenter brings to the new film as its composer: “It’s one thing to do something derivative of that iconic Halloween theme or find a big orchestral composer and have him or her take it in their own direction and use creative license. But to have John’s signature as a collaborator on the creation of the narrative—plus the casting and the sculpting of the production—the icing on the cake is this score. He’s been playing music live forever, but he’s recently toured with his son, Cody, and Daniel Davies. The three of them combined to create a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of a Carpenter score for us.”