Slasher fans are all gearing up for the release of Michael Myers’ next killing spree in Halloween Kills. In anticipation for the new horror movie, director David Gordon Green sat down with us, and shared where the ideas for his second entry to the Halloween series came from, and why he enjoys rebooting classic franchises in general.
Back in 2018, Green made a direct sequel to John Carpenter’s 1978 film Halloween. Although it is technically the eleventh film in the franchise, the movie retconned all the previous Halloween sequels, starting a new timeline for the iconic masked killer’s story. Halloween (2018) broke records upon its release, earning over $255 million at the worldwide box office, beating Scream for the highest-earning slasher film on record. Halloween Kills picks up were Green’s first movie left off, with Michael still out for blood on a fateful Halloween night. However, this time around we see the community of Haddonfield fighting back against the famous killer in an all-new gory dynamic.
In our interview, David Gordon Green offers some insight into the next instalment in the gory franchise. We learn how his new movie is a fresh take on Carpenter’s series, as well as hearing about what he thinks about the past Halloween sequels that came before his films. Finally, Green shares with us why he is drawn to classic franchises, such as Halloween and his upcoming take on The Exorcist.
TDF: Congratulations on Halloween Kills. As a big horror fan, it made me very, very happy, just like Halloween 2018. When you retconned the series, did you always plan to make a trilogy?
David Gordon Green: I think there is something that’s just inherently, genetically, when people think of the success of a film, they want to expand it to a trilogy, and I don’t know why three is the magic number, but it was something we talked about.
To be honest, we really didn’t have a concept of where it would go, but we had so many ideas that we wanted to play with and toy with. After the success of our first chapter of 2018, we were then able to take those ideas and expand on them and try and make a complete narrative that would take the seeds that Carpenter had planted in ’78 and then evolve those into something that felt satisfying as… I guess as – whatever you call a foursome instead of a trilogy.
I do feel like Halloween 2018 is my Halloween 2, Halloween Kills is my Halloween 3, Halloween Ends is Halloween 4. So, it gets a little confusing, but the idea is that it is one methodology. Halloween Kills having the delicious opportunity of not needing to resolve anything so we can just stir it up and create chaos, and then have a great time at the movies and then run out the door before anyone yells at us.
Speaking about different timelines and the sequels that you made non-canon, In Halloween Kills, we see some similarities between it and Halloween 2 from the ‘80s. We see the hospital setting; some of the kills are very reminiscent too. Do any of the sequels from the past influence your new movies?
We learn a lot from those, and there is something to enjoy in every one of the Halloween movies. Technically Halloween Kills is Halloween 12, I believe, of the number of Halloween movies. That’s pretty intimidating when you think about how to reinvent the story, how to make it fresh.
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But there is also an appreciation for those that have come before us, and they’ve made the choices they’ve made for various reasons. I’m not afraid of cliches, and I’m not afraid of homage, so I think this film can embrace both of those things. But at the same time, we do want to put our own signature that is specific to us, specific to the time that we are creating these stories, and we want to have a lot of fun without being super derivative.
So, I don’t know if that answers your question, but it is something to appreciate – these movies – but yet not try to, specifically, to recreate them.
You gave me a very good answer, and I’m surprised you didn’t take the opportunity to rag on some of the past masks in some of those sequels.
Oh, there are some questionable masks, I have to say. That would be a good documentary as to who, what and why, haha.
Yeah, we just avoid the fourth movie’s mask, don’t we?
I have an amazing photograph of Jamie Lee [Curtis] on I can’t remember which of the Halloween movies – it might have been for Resurrection – looking at a series of masks that were being proposed as the Myers mask, and you can see the evolution even in one film. It is hanging on my office wall. It’s kind of amazing.
Speaking of the fresh, new kind of spin in the franchise, we see in Halloween Kills you completely switch up the slasher dynamic to mob violence. What made you make that decision?
It was just a different way to explore fear. So, if our previous chapter felt personal – and this can be argued – but it felt like it was a Michael and Laurie story, even though I tried to challenge that within my narrative that I have worked hard to create.
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But I thought about the idea of expanding it, so it is just not so specifically isolated to individual characters, but it becomes that consciousness of a community of Haddonfield, and the idea of reaching back into Carpenter’s ’78 film and finding characters that we love and wonder about.
Thinking about the trauma that Lindsey and Tommy must have been subjected to, and how their personalities would have evolved from frightened kids cowering in a corner to empowered and brave. And Lindsay’s got a pillowcase full of bricks ready to fight, and Tommy’s got a baseball bat, so those juxtapositions in their characters for me were just a fun arc to explore.
Besides rebooting Halloween, you are now set to reboot the Exorcist too. What draws you to these franchises? Why do you feel the need to come back?
It is so funny because, for so much of my life and career, people have said that I, you know, whatever, I make weird movies or eccentric films or I have strange ideas that aren’t commercial. And then with these titles, it is almost like a licence to get weird because they are art projects.
As much as they are genre movies – either a slasher film or a demonic possession film – you get to be really artful, and you don’t necessarily need to play by the rules of high concept and celebrity and things like that, that a lot of other traditional films require to get a budget, to find an audience. And these things are important to me. The more films I make, the more important it is for me to connect with an audience.
So, I love the idea of immediately… It is like a piece of real estate in a way. There is something beautiful, you know, exists there, and you get to go in there and create your dream house, and you get to be as creative as you want, knowing that people are going to turn their heads and be interested in it. You know you may fail, and the house may burn down, but it is cool to look at it with that type of optimism and opportunity.
Halloween Kills is set to release on October 15 across UK and US cinemas, and on the streaming service Peacock for US fans on the same day. Halloween Ends, the direct sequel to Halloween Kills, is scheduled to open on October 14, 2022.