Back in Seventies, John Carpenter introduced the world to masked serial killer, Michael Myers. After murdering his sister as a child on Halloween, Myers escapes the mental institution that is holding him to terrorise his home town of Haddonfield once again on 31 October 1978 – visiting his childhood home and attacking those who are caught in his sites.
One of those victims was Laurie Strode (played by Jamie Lee Curtis), who had been innocently babysitting young Tommy and Lindsey on that fateful night. Though she (narrowly) manages to survive, she’s haunted by the events of that night, and arms herself for the eventual showdown with Myers that she’s insistent will happen, much to the annoyance of her daughter, Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak).
She’s not wrong. Myers once again escapes his mental institution (c’mon guys…!) and forty years later, terrorises the poor town of Haddonfield once in again 2018’s Halloween – a direct sequel to the 1978 movie, directed by David Gordon Green and written by Green alongside Jeff Fradley and Danny McBride.
But that fateful night isn’t over. Green, McBride (working with new co-writer Scott Teems) are back alongside Curtis, Greer and Matichak and more in Halloween Kills, set moments after the events of Halloween 2018.
They’re not the only ones that are back. You see, it’s not just Strode who is haunted by the events of over forty years ago. Those residents of Haddonfield that connected with him that fateful night and survived have never forgotten the trauma of Halloween 1978.
So now, four decades later, the Haddonfield residents and victims alike (including little Tommy Doyle and Lindsey – no longer little kids but fully-grown adults) set out to find Myers with one simple agenda: revenge.
“A lot of these characters were introduced in the 1978 film, and I think one of the fantastic things that David Gordon Green, Danny [McBride] and Scott Teems did was able to do was really effortlessly thread all those characters through this movie,” says Anthony Michael Hall who plays grown-up Tommy. “I was able to meet and work with a lot of the actors that appeared in the original and it was just a lot of fun.”
Indeed, Halloween Kills isn’t only (another) reunion of Strode and Myers, it’s also a reunion for a number of actors who appeared in the 1978 film, including Kyle Richards who played Lindsey when she was just nine years old. “A lot of the stuff I’ve done I don’t even remember until I get a residual in the mail,” she laughs. “But I do remember quite a bit of Halloween. It was fun to me. I didn’t know what I was making at the time. I was so young I just knew I had to scream and there was a guy in the scary outfit… but he was nice to me off set so I didn’t really quite grasp what I was doing at the time! To me it was just always a fun experience.
“But I can tell you – this time was very scary.”
Lindsey is certainly back in the thick of things for Halloween Kills – this time actively seeking out Myers alongside a band of other past victims to end things once and for all. For Richards, that meant a lot of night shoots which included a rather stressful time in a swamp…
“When I accepted the role, the director said to me: “I just want you to be aware of a scene that’s important for the film and make sure you’re comfortable with it. There’s a swamp, and there could be some alligators in it…’”
“So then the night came, and I was like, ‘oh my god, this is actually terrifying’. So it was scary in a lot of ways and then you look over and it’s pitch black and you’re looking at Michael Myers and you get chills!”
Since his inception over 40 years ago, the name Michael Myers has become synonymous with Halloween night itself. Since the original film, the franchise has had 12 sequels (including Halloween Kills) and its weight in the genre cannon was not lost on the actors who are entering it for the first time: “Being a part of a big franchise is very exciting,” Hall enthuses. “I think a lot of what’s fun about it is the fan base is so diehard. They have such very specific points of view on the characters and all the details of Myers and the masks and all the different sequels. They’re very specific. But what’s exciting is delivering a film with David Gordon Green at the helm. He did a phenomenal job. So it’s very exciting knowing that you’re part of something that people are really waiting for and anticipating.”
With the Covid-19 pandemic delaying the production of Halloween Kills, Hall had the time to really get to grips with a character that was created over four decades earlier: “I’ve had the last two years to really get up to speed and educate myself on this whole universe,” Hall explains. “I’ve watched a tonne of stuff on YouTube since the delay happened. There’s a whole genre of what they call reaction videos. I’ve really enjoyed that whole aspect of it, really plugging into the excitement of the fan base and getting their perspectives on all 11 other films. It’s a real education in the Halloween universe. So the wait had its benefits!”
For Richards, it was a strange experience to say the least getting to grips with a character she originally played as a child, so she spoke to someone who has spent the past few years getting to grips with Carpenter’s original creation: “I spoke with David, the director, thinking about where she’s been all these years and how her experience of going through what they all went through would have affected her as a person. I took it from there – everything from the clothes and knowing what my backstory was in my mind, to get ready for this character.”
Richards wasn’t the only one to reach out to David Gordon Green (who is reportedly set to revamp more established franchises with The Exorcist in 2023 and Hellraiser for a TBC date) for advice. After the success of his 2018 outing of the Halloween franchise, he was more than happy to help his actors continue their harrowing journey for Halloween Kills.
“I had a great time working with David Gordon Green,” Hall says. “He really is a fantastic guy. He’s such a smart, talented filmmaker, but he’s also very much a collaborator. He’s really very respectful of everybody on set. He gets ideas from the crew and the other actors and there’s really a nice sense of community that he’s built. Everybody really wants to step up and make it something great for the audience, and when I finally did see the film… it’s incredible. It’s a total ride.”
Indeed, the latest instalment promises more thrills and kills at the hands of Haddonfield’s boogeyman: “It’s got a little bit of everything,” Richards enthuses. “There are the horror scares, jump scares, but it also has a little bit of humour thrown in there too. It’s energising because it keeps you on very high alert. You will not be rested watching this movie that’s for sure!”
“I think it’s just that thrill ride effect,” Hall agrees. “There’s an anticipation and a build for it. There’s an audience really genuinely waiting to see it. When I left the screening room at Blumhouse I was like ‘wow, that’s really servicing your audience’ because you’re really taking them on a ride.
“It’s like a freight train from start to finish and it has all the things that people want to see from Myers.”
Halloween Kills is out now in cinemas.