Ahead of its theatrical release, Halloween made its U.S. premiere at Fantastic Fest's opening night. To celebrate the return of Michael Myers, the sequel's screenwriter Danny McBride, producers Jason Blum, Malek Akkad, and Bill Block, ingénue Andi Matichak, and our favorite scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis were all in attendance.
SYFY FANGRRLS was there to witness the blood, mayhem, and rapturous resurrection of the iconic Final Girl Laurie Strode. After the audience had howled with screams and laughter, it was time for the Q&A, where Curtis offered insight into where the latest Halloween movie fits into the franchise's muddled mythology, the too-oft forgotten mother of her most famous character, and — for good measure — she flipped off a fan.
First the silly bit: one fan — seemingly flustered by his chance to address the panel — was trying to ask about what led those from the original production and those new to the franchise to Halloween. But, as is the way of Q&As, his wording was awkward, and he said of Curtis's involvement in the series: "Jamie, who's been here for a while." There was a quaver among the crowd. Did he just snark about Curtis's age? Not missing a beat, Curtis grinned and flipped the bird in his direction. The audience (us included) erupted with pockets of cheering and applause.
Fan faux pas aside, Curtis explained a bit about how this David Gordon Green-directed Halloween connects to the John Carpenter-helmed 1978 classic. "Remember one thing: sequels and all the myriad of mythologies that occur? There is no Halloween bible. John and Deborah [Hill, Carpenter's co-writer] never made a Halloween bible. [Executive producer Moustapha] Akkad didn't say, 'Write a Halloween bible because we're going to make a bunch of these.' Nobody thought about it. So the truth of the matter is that mythology became like a layer on top of the original one. And then all the other movies have had the same thing happen."
To be clear: this Halloween functions as a direct sequel to the first. So, Halloween 2 through H20 and Halloween: Resurrection do not exist in this timeline. And Curtis is cool with that. "I love it. Honestly, the reason I'm here is because they did that.
"Because if you're going to actually make a movie that gives you the chance to really explore trauma, you can't add Halloween 2 and all of the rest of them. You have to go to the original trauma, the original injury, and now see what happens to somebody 40 years later when they have not been given any help," she explained.
This Halloween sees a Laurie Strode who has struggled with the "Babysitter Murders" for decades — plus, it explores the inherited trauma she's passed down to her daughter (Judy Greer) and granddaughter (Matichak).
"It's a world today where a lot of people getting a lot of help, Laurie Strode got nothing," Curtis mused. "Laurie Strode went back to school November 1 with a bandage on her arm. She left school on the 31st, this dreaming intellectual going-off-to-college girl. And she came back on the first of November a freak, where everybody talked about her. Nobody helped her. And that's what I think was the reasoning behind going back to the original trauma. And I'm really glad they did."
Carpenter wasn't in attendance at Fantastic Fest, but Jason Blum, CEO of the horror studio Blumhouse Productions, took a moment to honor the man who's been giving us nightmares for over half a century. "The other person we should really mention whose not here but is really apart of this team is John [Carpenter]," Blum began. "It was an amazing thing for all of us to have John be a part of this. He's quick to say, 'I let these guys write. I let these guys produce. I was very hands off.' But his presence loomed very large."
"David [Gordon Green] and Danny [McBride] went to him and he blessed this idea," Blum shared. "When we first started talking about it, he was like, 'Do I get final cut?' I said, 'No, John. You don't.' And he said, 'Forget it! I'm out.' And I said, 'But I can tell you, John, you are the reason I'm sitting here talking to you. You're the reason all of this is here. So if anything happens along the way that you're not happy about, one tweet is going to stop it.' And that did land with him. And that was true. And he was really pleased with the process and really pleased with the result. I always say to Jamie, he's almost mad he had such a good time. He expected it to be so fraught and he actually likes the movie and he's pissed about it!"
From there, Curtis took a moment to honor Carpenter's partner in crafting the original Halloween script. "I just one to say one thing that's sort of a missing piece to the puzzle. And that is Deborah Hill," Curtis said of the screenwriter who passed away in 2005. "As this is a movie about Laurie Strode, her daughter, and her granddaughter, and it has been made about a lot of men. I believe that Deborah Hill was a little bit of Laurie Strode. She was a little bit of Nancy Loomis. She was a little bit of P.J. Soles. Her voice and the idea of giving the movie to a young woman and have the audience go on the ride with her was very much Deborah's contribution. And I would be remiss in a movie where three generations of women take back the narratives of their lives, that the woman that gave birth to those three women would not be recognized."
"I just wanted to say that Deborah Hill is Halloween," Curtis concluded. "And I miss her. And she would be so thrilled with your response. So from Deborah, thank you."
Halloween opens October 19.