Detail delivers devilry in worthy Halloween sequel
MICHAEL Myers is back to scare the pants off a new generation of cinema-goers.
The masked villain, who was introduced in John Carpenter's nightmare-inducing 1978 horror film Halloween, returns to Haddonfield, Illinois to finish what he started with Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), who narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.
Capitalising on the original film's 40th anniversary, producer Jason Blum, director David Gordon Green and writers Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley have reset the franchise.
In this long-awaited sequel, Laurie and Michael are not siblings. Instead, she's spent the past 40 years preparing for their eventual showdown while he's been in custody as a lab subject for psychologist Dr Loomis and, now, his protege Dr Sartain.
Blum - who heads Blumhouse Productions, which is credited for reinvigorating the horror genre with a string of films including Get Out, Split, Happy Death Day and Insidious - says getting Carpenter on board as an executive producer and creative consultant was essential to the project moving forward.
"I said I wouldn't do it without John being involved," he says.
"He did the music, so he was very hands-on on that level. He wasn't involved day to day, but his presence loomed very large throughout the process. Clearly we weren't going to make any big creative choices without his approval.
"Generally Hollywood fires everyone and hires cheaper people to do the sequel, but that's not the way we work. James Wan is on every Insidious movie. One of the tenets of the company is if someone has created something that resonates, then chances are good if you want to continue to make things with the same title we should include them. It felt very normal to me to have John involved. In our sequels the creators are always involved."
Blum says it was a balancing act to incorporate elements of Carpenter's original film into a story which felt relevant 40 years on - and could still be enjoyed by viewers who hadn't seen the first Halloween.
"You want to make if feel enough like the first movie so that it merits being a sequel and being called a Halloween movie, but you don't want it to feel like a retread," he says.
Curtis anchors the film as Laurie, a woman who bears the emotional scars of her trauma but also displays great strength in her refusal to be a victim and in instilling her daughter (Judy Greer) and granddaughter (Andi Matichak) with survival skills.
"When you're fighting someone who is all-powerful, you need to see her be vulnerable. That was a crucial part of the movie," Blum says.
"You don't know who is going to prevail, which is the key to making the experience enjoyable.
"If Jamie hadn't done it, then it would have been a far inferior movie in every way. I couldn't imagine it without her."
Even after decades in custody, her nemesis Myers is as silent and lethal as ever.
"One of the reasons he is the ultimate villain is there's so much mystery around him and what is going on in his head," he says.
"The movies that try to answer that are less successful.
"The original Halloween is the ultimate, iconic horror movie of all time. I really was eager to see if we could apply our process to a franchise that has been around as long as it has, and had a bunch of misfires. I'm very happy with it."
Halloween opens in cinemas on Thursday.