Jamie Lee Curtis and Halloween kick off Fantastic Fest 2018 with scares and flair

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Sep 20, 2018, 8:21 PM EDT (Updated)

It’s here at last: A Texas-sized celebration of everything weird, wonderful, and just plain wicked from the movie world of fantasy and horror, as Halloween's U.S. premiere kicked off Fantastic Fest 2018, finally dropping the velvet rope on one killer red-carpet lineup. 

In any festival year, no movie can make a splash at Austin’s genre party quite the way Halloween can, and when we caught up Thursday evening on the red carpet with Jamie Lee Curtis and other key players in next month’s return to Haddonfield, the excitement about what they’ve created was palpable.

Beaming with pride at the enamel Michael Myers pin she’d just been gifted by a fan, Curtis told SYFY WIRE the 2018 version of Halloween may be steeped in generations’ worth of its own mythology, but that making a relevant and scary movie for a modern audience is really all about getting to the bottom of what traumatized iconic characters like Laurie Strode — as well as Myers himself — in the first place. 

“There was no [Halloween] ’arc;’ there’s no ‘Bible.’ It’s different filmmakers going, ‘Okay, today he’s a ventriloquist, and he’s a mime — or it’s her brother.’ It’s each generation’s mythology, and you're telling it to the best of your ability in that moment, with a lot of creative people,” Curtis said.  

“But the truth of the matter is, in order to tell the truth about trauma, you have to go back to the trauma. And in order to go back to the trauma, you have to separate from the mythology and go back to the pure reality... that’s what’s beautiful. And that’s why I’m standing here, with my Michael Myers pin that I was given.” 

Curtis also elaborated on earlier public remarks she’s made about how Halloween relates to the #MeToo movement, explaining that Laurie Strode reflects, in fiction, the courage that real women already have demonstrated over the past year in a much more serious, real-stakes way.

“If you think of #MeToo as a ‘movement,’ it was already in the atmosphere. And so, in essence, it was the overture... It opened, clearly, a generation of progression and power and allowed women to come forward and say, ‘Time’s up; no more,’” she said. 

Curtis further suggested that Halloween is really a case of art imitating life, following the #metoo movement’s most courageous exemplars. “Laurie Strode is a character, [but] they are real human beings. And it’s a beautiful — a beautiful representation, in fiction,” she said.

Co-writer Danny McBride, a Halloween fan since childhood, said the allure of the franchise — and of collaborating with creator John Carpenter on the new film — boils down to the terrifying and visceral impact of Myers as a horror icon.

“There’s just something about him that’s just so eerie and captivating,” McBride said. “I remember him before I even remember seeing the [original] movie.”

Miramax CEO Bill Block paused on the red carpet to give the new movie what may be the most ringing endorsement of all: a green light, explaining that now that the holiday has truly gone global, teaming Curtis with director David Gordon Green, as well as McBride and co-writer Jeff Fradley, was an easy decision. 

“The holiday itself has become a global event; it wasn’t five years ago,” said Block. “Halloween didn’t exist in France or Asia — now it does. You put that together with Jamie Lee Curtis... and it’s an easy green light from Miramax.”

Check out all of SYFY WIRE’s Fantastic Fest coverage all through the weekend, 
while we wait for Curtis and Myers to face off once again when Halloween slices up theaters beginning Oct. 19.