Green & McBride reveal why they’re ignoring all the Halloween sequels
The Halloween franchise is no stranger to having selective continuity. Halloweens 4, 5, and 6 branch off from the events of the first two movies while Halloween H20 (7) and Halloween: Ressurection (8) don’t even acknowledge the events of that trio of films. Rob Zombie’s Halloween movies reinvent their own series of events, and Halloween III: Season of the Witch takes place in a world where the 1978 Halloween is a movie to watch on TV. It’s kind of a mess. Which is exactly why the new film is a direct sequel to the original movie, cutting away the fat and the strain of 40 years worth of (sometimes silly) continuity. The timeline now goes: Halloween (1978) and Halloween (2018). That’s it.
Those events of the other movies may not be “canon” for the new movie, much to the chagrin of fans, but the filmmakers still plan on having throwbacks and references to them for the eagle eyed fans that are hoping for some kind of acknowledgment.
“Anyone who’s a fan of any of these films will find nice little Easter Eggs acknowledging our salute to the filmmakers that have preceded us in the stories and mythologies as they’ve unfolded,” director David Gordon Green tells us on the set of Halloween. “For us, it was a clean slate type of opportunity, where if there was a little inspiration or mirror image of something it’s very subtle in the movie because we want to start fresh for a new generation but with great appreciation for the previous.”
In the same way that George Lucas’ ideas for the Star Wars franchise was boiled down to “It’s like poetry, they rhyme.” So too will Halloween 2018 have echoes of the ghosts that haunted its own halls. This was a deliberate choice as well, and something that co-writer Danny McBride (yes, that one) thinks is totally common with franchise films.
“I feel like it’s almost one of the things like Batman or something,” McBride says. “You see these different artists take on these iconic characters so I think it’s kind of cool to see what different filmmakers will do with a property that is so well known. I would rather have that approach to Michael Myers than everyone just continuing some storyline and just trying to regurgitate these things. I think it’s more interesting to have someone like David or Rob Zombie, these filmmakers that just come and put their own stamp on it for better or worse. I think that’s a more interesting way for a franchise to stay alive than to just continue to beat the same drum over and over again.”
As for series producer Malek Akkad, who has been with the franchise since he was a child as his late father spearheaded the entire thing, the idea of scrapping films he previously worked on both hurts a little and is kind of a relief.
“It does and it doesn’t (hurt). First, a little bit, you’re always wondering what the fans’ reaction to that is going to be and to be honest, the franchise has taken a lot of left turns…There are so many arcs in there that you can never satisfy them all, and I think what David and Danny and Jeff (Fradley, co-writer) have done has really cracked it in a way that the fans are going to love. The fans are going to love all the homages they put in the film, there are just so many little Easter Eggs and you know, just kind of touches to the original.”
Without the sequels though, the new film is free of one of the biggest moving parts of the series: the familial relationship between Michael Myers and Laurie Strode. Removing the “twist” of making the pair related which gave “reason” to Myers’ killing spree now takes the shackles off a piece of continuity that should never have been added in the first place, and as McBride notes, makes it all scary again.
“I was pushing for that removal right off the bat,” McBride says. “I just felt like that was an area where he wasn’t quite as scary anymore, it seemed too personalized. I wasn’t as afraid of Michael Myers anymore because I’m not his f***ing brother so he’s not coming after me. Also you’ve seen it, so wouldn’t it be interesting just to see what would happen if it wasn’t that, and what does that open up for us if it wasn’t this random killing that has affected this character, so it just seemed like new territory to bite off.”
“We were trying to come up with what our take would be and really just found an original path that more or less takes the first one as our reality,” Green adds. “(That film) kind of sets the tone for our story or history and then we jumped forty years into the future and we see how the world today responds to, was affected by, how we meet our characters in a different phase of their life under the reality of this traumatic event and have to come to terms with some of these issues horrifically, in many circumstances, how that is relayed and that’s kind of the fun of how we launch off.”
There is also one important thing to mention about the new Halloween movie: it brings back series creator and horror master John Carpenter to the franchise. Carpenter met with both Green and McBride to talk about their ideas and will even co-write the music for the final cut, but it’s his advice that the director took to heart when making the movie.
“His advice was brilliant,” Green recalls before quoting him: “Make it relentless.”
And they are.
Halloween opens in theaters on October 19.