True legends never die, as proven by the iconic horror characters of Laurie Strode and Michael Myers. The duo, which clashes over their values of good and evil, return to battle each other once again in the anticipated slasher sequel, Halloween Kills.
The feature serves as the follow-up to the acclaimed Halloween (2018), which itself is a direct follow-up to the franchise’s original 1978 movie of the same name, co-written and directed by John Carpenter. Halloween Kills, which is the eleventh installment in the series, marks the return of the filmmaking team responsible for its predecessor.
Writers Scott Teems, Danny McBride and David Gordon Green returned to the Halloween franchise with its latest entry. The latter resumed his directorial duties, after also helming the previous installment. McBride and Green also served as executive producers on the drama, alongside Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis, who also reprised her role of Laurie. Jason Blum also returned to the franchise to serve as a producer on the sequel, through his production company, Blumhouse Productions.
Halloween Kills, which begins minutes after the ending of its predecessor, follows Laurie Strode (Curtis), her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) as they leave masked serial killer Michael Myers caged in Laurie’s burning basement. As she’s rushed to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, she believes she finally killed her lifelong tormentor.
But when Michael manages to free himself from Laurie’s trap, his ritual bloodbath resumes. As she fights her pain and prepares to defend herself and her family against him, she inspires all of Haddonfield to rise up against their unstoppable monster.
The Strode women join a group of other survivors of Michael’s first rampage 40 years ago, including Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall), the boy Laurie was babysitting on the night of the original attack in 1978. The group decides to take matters into their own hands by forming a vigilante mob that sets out to hunt Michael down, once and for all.
Curtis and Hall generously took the time last week to promote the distribution of the movie during virtual roundtable interviews. Universal Pictures will release Halloween Kills this Friday, October 15 in theaters and on Peacock, after it had its world premiere last month at the Venice Film Festival.
Q: Jamie, in comparison to the first movie, this one is interesting for the relationships Laurie has, particularly with Allyson; they’re on very different paths. What was that like, from a creative standpoint, in comparison to the first film?
JLC: I’m in a hospital gown for half the movie…which was very frustrating and difficult for me. I had to restrain myself during a restrained time. She was a warrior, and now she’s rendered impotent.
It was challenging because everyone else was having this experience out in the world, and I don’t leave the hospital. I’m in the truck and then in the hospital for the rest of the movie.
Q: Jamie, if you can pick your favorite moment from the entire saga, either from in front of or behind the camera, which would it be, and why?
JLC: I would say it would be when Andi, Judy and I are in the back of the truck in this new movie. It was about 4 o’clock in the morning and it was cold. We were alone in the truck, on a rig, because the camera person was outside.
I just remember the warmth of them leaning on me. There we were, these three actresses on a cold, late night, driving back and forth in this truck. We were covered in blood, and it was sticky. But yet, there was this magical feeling, which I remember very well.
Q: Jamie, throughout this movie, as well as with the 2018 film, there’s this idea of passing the torch from Laurie to Karen and even Allyson. What does the idea of the final girl mean to you in this horror space?
JLC: I actually never went to film school, and I’m not a film nerd, but I am a film fan. I’m also not a fan of the horror genre, so I’m not knee-deep in it; I just participate in it.
Prior to making these new Halloween films, I had never heard the term final girl before,and that there were textbooks that talk about final girls and chainsaws. So I didn’t really understand what that meant. Of course, back in 1978, for me, Laurie just survived; I didn’t know she was a final girl.
The term has now taken on a significant meaning; it’s now about the tenacity of women to survive. Women have survived a lot, and not just in horror films, but also in life. I think the badge of honor of being a final girl is obviously also a badge of survival.
Q: Anthony, what appealed to you about taking on the role of Tommy Doyle in this new sequel?
AMH: This is the first Halloween movie I’m in, so I’m happy to be a part the series now. I’ve never been this jazzed and pumped up about anything I’ve been a part of as an actor.
What I think makes it really special for all of us is that we all unanimously feel great about the film. It packs a punch and is really a thrill ride.
Most importantly, this new movie is really made for the fans of the franchise. I think audiences will flip out about it. So, like all of my co-workers, I’m really excited to unleash the film on the worlds; it’s going to be really fun.
Q: Anthony, how did you go about creating an adult version of this character, who you didn’t play as a child in the original movie – did you find any challenges in that? How did you prepare to play Tommy – did you create your own version of the character?
AMH: Yes, all of the above. I was very happy when this came about. I had a meeting with David Gordon Green, and then did my screen test, about two-and-a-half years ago. I was so grateful that they welcomed me into this franchise.
In terms of creating the character, I love that he’s kind of a heroic character. He’s willing to unite with his fellow neighbors in Haddonfield to rise up against, and fight, Michael Myers.
I think there’s an interesting, unique turn that we all make. We start off in the opening sequence commiserating about being survivors and victims of Myers and what they’ve gone through for 40 years. Then they all summon something really deep in themselves and decide to fight back.
This is a classic good versus evil theme. Jamie, Judy and Andi are all back, and it’s good versus evil between the Strodes and the whole town against Michael. That was a lot of fun to play with, and there was plenty to work with in the screenplay.
Q: Anthony, you mentioned having fun when you stepped into the role of Tommy Doyle. Was there any intimation for you, though, since there were several incarnations of the character before Halloween Kills?
AMH: With the exception of taking guidance from the original film, which I loved as a kid – I was about 10 when it first came out – I just took it in my own direction. I also followed the guidelines that were laid out by Danny, David and Scott in the screenplay.
But the stakes were high, as it’s this classic good versus evil story. There are so many great actors and such a great crew that worked on the movie that there was such a great family atmosphere on set. So it was natural to go about the work and work with the themes, which were built in. So I had a lot of fun with this character, and it was a real privilege to play him.
Q: Jamie, so much of the last film was about reclaiming your power after trauma, but in this one, the evil persists. What were the challenges in maintaining that horrific history, while the sequel must still go on?
JLC: I would say the beauty of movies is that the past is irrelevant. You’re so in the present moment, and each moment leads to the next moment. I just don’t think there’s a moment where you have for thinking for anybody.
It’s 0 to 60, and then stays at 60 for the rest of the movie. It feels very high octane and frenzied, and I don’t think you’re carrying the past with you.
The shock that Michael Myers has on Laurie is so palpable and real…The whole movie was intense, so there was no thinking for me.
Q: Jamie, what was your first conversation with Kyle (Richards who reprised her role of Lindsey Wallace, Tommy’s friend and one of the kids Laurie babysat for, from the original 1978 movie) was like after she was cast in Halloween Kills?
JLC: I love and respect Kyle, but I don’t know her well. She and I aren’t girlfriends, and we don’t hang out. There has been a lot of time that’s past between the two films, and life went on.
But when I found out she was cast in this film, I texted her, obviously, and said: “I’m so excited to see you.” When we saw each other on set, we cried. I would love to come up with something cute about our reunion, but the truth is, we cried.
Here’s the trailer of the film.