'Halloween' at 40: his 'Horrible Idea' became a horror classic

adminOctober 11, 2018

John Carpenter had just filmed and annotated two almost obscure features when executive producer Irwin Yablans approached him with a proposal: to make a low-budget film about the murder of nannies. "It was a horrible idea," Carpenter said in a recent telephone interview. "But I wanted to make more movies, so I said: & # 39; Great! & # 39;

Forty years later, that movie, "Halloween", continues to generate sequels, remakes and restarts. The latter, also titled "Halloween" and opening on October 19, brings back Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), the only survivor of the initial uproar of masked psychopath Michael Myers. Now, a grandmother with guns, is bent on killing the seemingly immortal Myers. "What really excites me about coming back all these years later is the deep love and respect of the fans," Curtis said. "The passion for this movie is very powerful."

Mr. Carpenter, Ms. Curtis, four of his co-stars and others talked about their memories of making the original movie. "It's the best experience I've had professionally," said Curtis. "He gave me everything in my creative life."

These are edited extracts of the conversation.

Along with producer Debra Hill, his girlfriend, Mr. Carpenter wrote the script, setting the action on the titular holiday after Mr. Yablans suggested changing the title of the movie from "The Babysitter Murders" to "Halloween." .. "

JOHN CARPENTER He was very intelligent. I can not believe that nobody else has called his movie "Halloween" before. I told Irwin that I wanted a final cut and my name on top of the title. For me it was important to have control over my own movie. He said: "Yes, of course."

For the key role of Laurie, Mr. Carpenter chose Mrs. Curtis, the daughter of Janet Leigh, 19, star of Alfred Hitchcock's seminal film "Psycho." Several years before, the producers of "El Exorcista" considered casting. Mrs. Curtis as the child possessed Regan, but Mrs. Leigh would not allow it. (The paper was for Linda Blair.)

JAMIE LEE CURTIS My mother was protecting me from being a kid in the movie business. Later, I participated in the ABC comedy "Operation Petticoat". They fired me and I was devastated. If I had not been fired, I would not have been available for the "Halloween". As my Jewish family would say, it was bashert, as was supposed. I did not think twice that it was a horror movie, and my mother had been in a horror movie.

CARPENTER That was pretty obvious, I was not stupid. But the reason I cast her is because I could play this innocent and repressed child, and she had a spark of intelligence about her. This was her first film, so I called her after the first day of filming. She needed that.

CURTIS When the phone rang in my house the first night and my roommate told me it was John, I thought I had been fired. As soon as I picked up the phone, I heard John say in his sweet southern voice, "Darlin," I just wanted to tell you how wonderful it was today. "That has never happened to me since then.

Mr. Carpenter recruited Nick Castle, a former student of the film school at the University of Southern California, to play Michael.

Nick castle I said, "I would like to be on the set while you are directing because it will demystify the experience for me." John said: "Great, let's have a man walking with a mask." Why do not you do it? "It was as simple as that.

CARPENTER Nick's father was a choreographer, and Nick has grace in his movements. I would say: "Nick, come here and … action!" That's what I needed it for, and he was perfect for that.

CASTLE It was not necessary to go to Juilliard to do this, but people seem to like the moves I made. I was mud in Juan's hands.

Production designer Tommy Lee Wallace went to Bert Wheeler's magic shop on Hollywood Boulevard to buy a mask for Michael. He returned with two: a clown mask and one of William Shatner as Captain Kirk in "Star Trek".

CASTLE Tommy came in with the clown mask and we said, "Oh, that's a little scary." Then he put on Shatner's mask, we stopped and said: "It's perfect."

CARPENTER Tommy had painted him in white spray and cut the larger eyelets. It was chilling. It is strange to have a human face. I went to see William Shatner at a convention and said, "Hi, I'm John Carpenter." He was on his cell phone and never looked up.

WILLIAM SHATNER I do not remember that. I'd love to meet you. He is a very talented man.

CARPENTER That is so [expletive]!

SHATNER I thought it would be fun once if I took my own children to cheat or try and put on the mask. If they did not give my children a treat, I took off my mask.

To lend the movie "gravitas", Carpenter chose the esteemed British actor Donald Pleasence ("The Great Escape") as Michael's psychiatrist, Loomis.

CARPENTER At first I was terrified because he said, "I do not know why I'm doing this movie, the only reason is that my daughter liked the music you wrote in your other movie," Assault on Precinct 13 ". . But we became friends quickly.

One of Laurie's child-care allegations, Lindsey, was interpreted by Kyle Richards, a veteran child actor who grew up to become a star of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills".

KYLE RICHARDS People joke and say, "What's more scary: shoot at 'Real Housewives' or 'Halloween' and I say, 'It's hard for me to answer'. I was very afraid to look at myself in that movie, after seeing it, I had to sleep with my mother until I was 15 years old.

Working with a budget of $ 300,000, everyone had to collaborate. The cast members helped Mr. Carpenter decorate the game. The film was shot in Southern California in spring, but the sheets were hand painted to look like October in Haddonfield, Illinois, where the film was established.

CARPENTER We were kids and we wanted to be in the movie business. There was not much ego involved. Everyone worked together, and it was fun. You do not have much fun in movies.

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