The release of Halloween later this year will feature the return of one of the franchise's most familiar presences... sort of.
As you probably know by now, the new film acts as a direct sequel to the original 1978 classic from John Carpenter and Debra Hill, ignoring the six other films following Michael Myers (not counting Halloween III: Season of the Witch, which was its own thing) and instead resuming the story four decades later. That means for 40 years, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has been waiting for Michael Myers to return, preparing for the moment when she'll face him again. The trailers tell us that, for his part, Michael's spent those decades behind bars, doing his own version of waiting for that moment, but what about the other surviving characters from that original film? How will the new installment address what happened to their lives in the wake of the Haddonfield murders that fateful night?
When you think of other major Halloween characters, of course, you have to think of Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence), the child psychiatrist who studied Michael as a boy and came to the conclusion that he was "purely and simply evil." After Michael escaped in the original film, Loomis pursued him right into Laurie Strode's house, and seemingly killed him, only to find that Michael's body had disappeared, setting up years of sequels. While Curtis didn't always participate in those sequels, departing the franchise for years after Halloween II in 1981, Pleasence stuck around. One of the finest character actors of his generation, he played Dr. Loomis in five films, right up until he died. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, the sixth film in the franchise, was released eight months after his death in 1995, and is dedicated to his memory.
So, how do you keep the memory of Loomis alive in the new timeline if the actor is no longer there to portray him? Speaking with Yahoo! Movies at San Diego Comic-Con, director and co-writer David Gordon Green shed some light on that.
“We have a Donald Pleasence soundalike,” he said. “Because obviously he’s no longer with us, but having someone that could mimic his voice was a fun challenge. And we nailed it, I think. If I do say so myself. And then there’s a couple other [nods to the past films]. There’s a vocal cameo you may or may not notice till the end credits.”
Finding a way to revive a departed star so you can keep their character alive on film is nothing new. In fact the practice has gotten more sophisticated in recent years thanks to CGI technology that, among other things, allowed the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story production team to bring us a walking, talking version of Peter Cushing's Grand Moff Tarkin. Halloween doesn't seem to be going that far with Dr. Loomis, but at some point we will at least get to hear from the character, even if we hear from him in the form of a recorded message from beyond the grave. That's exciting to hear, in part because Pleasence put so much time into the character in sequels that this installment will largely ignore. It's good to know that the character will at least get to play some small part in that revival.
As for the other mysterious "vocal cameo," who could that be? Could Charles Cyphers appear in a voice-only role as Sheriff Brackett? Could someone from the sequels make a brief voice appearance? Is the person living or dead? We likely won't know until we see the film, but it's clear that Green and company have plenty of winks and nods prepared for us.
Halloween arrives in theaters October 19.