The 'Halloween' Movie That Made John Carpenter Cringe and Why Newest Was 'Strange Experience'
The guy that introduced horror icon Michael Myers to audiences decades ago talks about the state of the genre (and so much more) with reboot producer Jason Blum.
New school and old school horror collide in the 2018 "Halloween" sequel, a meeting of the minds between the original film’s director John Carpenter and one of the biggest names in the genre today, Jason Blum.
When the ’80s horror maestro and modern day visionary sat down together for an interview with a small group of journalists about the new movie, it quickly became a conversation between the two, interviewing each other.
The new movie brings Carpenter back into the fold as an executive producer, after he bowed out of the series following "Halloween III: Season of the Witch" in 1982. The legendary director is also known for helming "Christine," "The Thing," "The Fog," "They Live," "Big Trouble In Little China" … the list goes on.
Blum, founder/CEO of Blumhouse, has been a major player in the more recent horror resurgence, thanks to low-budget successes stories including "Paranormal Activity," "The Purge" and "Insidious" franchises, "Get Out" and "Happy Death Day."
Throw Jamie Lee Curtis and Michael Myers into the mix and horror fans are clearly in for a real treat this "Halloween."
"He lets directors direct, they do it for a budget, it’s their movie," Carpenter said of Blum’s approach. "That’s what you want in a producer, I applaud that, that’s unbelievable."
In fact, neither of them were on set on Day One of filming, though both popped up throughout production.
"It was one of the harder movies to pull together, because there are so many moving pieces," said Blum. "When it started to get going, it was really fun. What made it the most fun was having John and Jamie involved."
"It was strange because it’s not my set, I’m not the director, I was a visitor," added Carpenter. "I don’t know the crew, I don’t know anybody, I know Jamie, we talked. It’s a strange experience, I’m an outsider. Perfectly fine for me, I don’t mind, but young crew, looking forward to their careers in Hollywood. I don’t have to look forward to mine, mine’s over, I can look back on it and sit at home!"
Though the movie reunited Carpenter with his scream queen, Blum asked when they last saw each other before collaborating again on the new film.
"Jamie and I did a commentary for a DVD," Carpenter replied. "The way they make money is they keep hawking these same DVDs over and over again, they get Jamie and I talking on it or some little thing, it’s just to get your money, that’s all it is." He added that the DVD session was about four or five years ago.
Blum: Was it weird [rewatching the movie ] then?
Carpenter: It’s so far in my past, it’s just a movie.
Blum: Do you see any of your movies?
Carpenter: God, no.
Blum: Once they’re done, that’s it?
Carpenter:"I remember watching one and I thought, what was I thinking. The slowest pan in the world, come on, speed this thing up, it’s horrible. I don’t want to do that.
Though he may not be a fan of watching some of the movies he’s directed, it sounded like he loved this one.
"It’s great. I love what they did with it. It’s amazing," he revealed. "I’ve seen it go through some changes too, everything about it. I just think Jamie’s amazing, I’m so proud of her. I’m proud of him [motioning to Blum], he did a great job shepherding this thing. It was treacherous, for a producer it’s treacherous."
Horror is definitely in the middle of a revival right now, and when someone asked what it’s like to be part of that boom, Blum once again tapped into his reporter side.
Blum: I have a question for you. My feeling about horror being a big deal right now is that it’s very cyclical. It’s a big deal, so now everyone’s going to make horror movies, there are going to be a lot of crap ones and then they’re gonna say, horror’s not working anymore and then there’s going to much less horror movies, then there’s going to be a great one and then there’s a boom.
Carpenter: You got the secret. You haven’t forgotten Japanese horror have you? That was a big deal, oooo, then it went away. You’re partially responsible for bringing in the new horror.
Blum: I feel that since I started it’s dipped and come back. Paranormal Activity, it bumped up, and then it dipped and now it’s ramping back up again and I guarantee you in 12 months, there will be so many bad horror movies people will be like I’ll never see another horror movie again. That’s how Hollywood works, but the good ones always come to the top.
The trends of horror have certainly had their impact on the "Halloween" franchise, which transformed into a slasher in the ’80s, went meta after "Scream," toyed with found footage in "Resurrection" and could be considered part of the torture porn era with Rob Zombie’s two films.
When the subject of the film’s sequels were brought up to John — who worked on II and III — Blum wanted to know whether he watched the rest of the series.
"I didn’t see them," said Carpenter, before remembering he did see "Resurrection. "I watched the one in that house, with all the cameras. Oh my god. Oh lord, god. And then the guy gives the speech at the end about violence. What the hell? Oh my lord. I couldn’t believe. But ‘Season of the Witch’ was terrific, because it went in a different direction."
That speech, BTW, was given by Busta Rhymes, who criticizes reporters for covering Myers’ murder spree like "some kind of celebrity scandal." He goes on to call the killer a "shark in baggy ass overalls" before attacking the cameras. Also, this happens:
Suffice to say, that entry is not one that’s beloved by fans either.
Carpenter: Do you worry about the fans?
Blum: It’s like research to me. There’s a place for fans, a place for research, but it has to be far away because it can be very crippling. You’re never going to make everybody happy. I like to read what the fans say and then forget about it … forget about it and go with your gut.
Carpenter: I didn’t know you felt that way about research, that’s smart.
Blum: I love a test screening because I love going with sitting with an audience.
Carpenter: You get a feel, that’s what they did in the old days. ‘Gone with the Wind’ they did that, "How did it play?"
Carpenter said he’d collaborate with Blum again "anytime," joking, "He doesn’t pay me any money, but that’s okay."
When asked how he feels about the current trend of continuations, not remakes or reboots, talk turned to Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson’s upcoming "Big Trouble In Little China" project.
"They want a movie with Dwayne Johnson, that’s what they want, they just picked that title," said Carpenter. "They don’t give a shit about me, my movie, that movie wasn’t a success."
We’re just hoping the new "Halloween" is, so this partnership can live to see another film!
"Halloween" hits theaters this Oct. 18.
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