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It’s been 43 years since Michael Myers first terrified audiences in the John Carpenter classic Halloween.
Now, the boogeyman is back once again in Halloween Kills, the second in a trilogy of films that has reintroduced horror’s original ‘final girl’ Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) back into the franchise.
After 2018’s Halloween focused on Laurie’s continued struggle to come to terms with the events of the original movie and its impact on her family, Halloween Kills casts a wider net, exploring the terrifying grip Michael Myers holds over the town of Haddonfield and its residents. And as the name would suggest, the violence in this sequel kicks things into an entirely different – and often unexpected – gear.
Ahead of the film’s release on October 15, UNILAD spoke to Hollywood’s ultimate scream queen, Jamie Lee Curtis, to get her thoughts on Laurie Strode, reuniting with old friends, and what this film tells us about ourselves.
UNILAD: Following the events of Halloween (2018) your character is left somewhat worse for wear, with the other Strode women picking up the metaphorical torch in the fight against Michael Myers. What was it like handing over the reins to the other cast for this movie?
JC: I think the writers painted themselves into a very bloody corner. In order to satisfactorily end the 2018 movie, Laurie was seriously wounded in the battle, so you pick her up in the next movie bleeding out in the back of the truck. She can’t fight for herself. So of course she’s going to have to somehow have Allyson (Andi Matichak) and Karen (Judy Greer) carry on the warrior aspect of their family. It posed a challenge for me as an actor, it posed a challenge for the writers, but it is what it is. You can’t honestly have Laurie get back in the fight, because she can’t fight.
Halloween Kills sees three more of the original cast of the 1978 film return for the first time in more than 40 years, what was it like to be back on set with them?
I ran into all of those people on set, I have have kept in touch with Kyle (Richards, who plays Lindsey) a little bit, I appeared on her show when we did a children’s hospital benefit, and Nancy Stephens (Marion) and I have remained friends. Charles Ciphers (Sheriff Brackett) I had not seen, and I didn’t know Anthony Michael Hall, who is playing Tommy (Doyle, previously played by Brian Andrews and Paul Rudd).
You know, reunions are funny, because in my case they’re very emotional. In the case of Kyle and particularly with Nancy, we’ve all lost a lot of people who we all knew, and so the connective tissue was people that we’ve lost. So there’s also a kind of wonderfulness of the survival of all of these women, and the survival of all of us actresses still in the game, still doing our work.
So it’s bittersweet, it’s emotional, and kind of lovely.
These new films have been exploring the guilt and PTSD Laurie continues to deal with following her first encounter with Michael all those years ago. Was that an aspect of the character you’d been keen to delve into when you agreed to return to the franchise?
There’s nothing in this movie of mine except the fact that I get dressed again [after being hospitalised following the events of the 2018 film]. And that’s only because I refused to run down a hall with my a** hanging out. I just said, there’s just no way you’re going to take her seriously if she’s running down a hall with her bare a** hanging out of a hospital gown. That’s my only contribution to this movie.
Obviously I think Laurie struggles with this unexpected, unwitting magnet that she has on her that draws [Michael Myers]. We don’t know why, we don’t know what the pull to her is, we may never know. But no matter what, it’s because of her, it’s not because of anybody else, it’s because of her, and I do think she has that guilt, I think she will have that guilt for the rest of her life.
The scale of the violence in this movie is on another level to what we’ve seen before from Michael Myers.
Well, I believe that that’s happened because [of] the fact that he survives the fire, the trap [in the 2018 film]. There’s a great shot where he looks up, and I almost want to say he looks vulnerable. When he survives that fire, to me he has transcended. It is next level. The malevolence and rage and fury and frenzy that he attacks those firefighters with tells me that he has transcended to another level. And then throughout the film the violence is next level. I was [covering my eyes] for everything. And there’s one scene towards the end of the movie that is long and gruesome in a way that I just find really upsetting.
This film explores the idea of mob mentality – was there a message that you wanted audiences to take from the film?
It’s a slasher movie. I hope they enjoy it. This was written in 2018/19, we shot it in 2019, and on the back of every crew chair it said Halloween: Mob Rules. That’s what the movie was about, it was a movie about a mob, and it was this idea of an entire town, and the circles of grief and trauma and rage when the system breaks, taking matters into their own hands. This was written way before all of the big social justice uprisings, before the Capitol riot. It’s simply a prescience that people are angry, that people don’t trust the system. If there’s something to take away, it’s that the system isn’t necessarily working. And it’s certainly not working for everyone. And that’s something to look at, because what we have now is a cleaved world. We are vaxxed, we are unvaxxed, we are here or there, and that cleaving is something to think about.
It is saying that mob violence results in monsters and monstrous acts. Even the best-intentioned mob. Even with the most righteous, wonderful mob, when that kind of mob violence happens, pushing and shoving turns to brawling, turns to murdering people. We’re all monsters at that point, and that’s something that I think the movie poses as a question.
Without spoiling it for fans, Halloween Kills tees up the third film in the trilogy, Halloween Ends, what can you tell us about where the franchise goes from here?
It’s not a message movie, it’s a slasher movie, but I know what happens in the third movie, and it’s going to shock you, it’s going to infuriate you, it’s going to delight you and it’s going to surprise the sh*t out of people. I believe that when you look back on all of these movies 20 years from now, even though they are three slasher films in a franchise called Halloween, they will be as beneficial as a history lesson to who we were as a society as any non-fiction, any reportage, any documentary. I think we will look at this art form and go ‘holy sh*t, that’s who we were’.
And I give all the credit 100%, this is all David (Gordon Green) and Danny (McBride) and the other creative elements of the storytelling. That collective group have really done something that I think you will look back on. I’ll be dead, and you guys will be talking about these movies and you’ll go ‘holy sh*t, this is really powerful’.
Halloween Kills starring Jamie Lee Curtis is in cinemas from October 15. The sequel Halloween Ends is scheduled for release in October 2022.
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