‘Halloween’, that 1978 horror classic, will be slashing its way back into theaters on October 29, 2015 for one night only (sorry for those hoping for an October 31 engagement). And the re-release will feature a specially filmed introduction by director John Carpenter. To help promote the event, Carpenter was interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter on October 26, 2015.
Always an engaging (and endearingly frank) interviewee, Carpenter remains modest about his iconic film, which while made on a shoestring, eventually grossed $70 million, becoming one of the most profitable independent films of all time (and spawning multiple sequels and remakes). When asked what his goal was, he said simply that the film was: “Just a little horror movie.”
“We had very little money and a very young cast except for Donald Pleasence, who was great as a psychiatrist…it was a movie where the main character, the guy in the mask, really isn’t altogether human…he was just pure evil…which completely creeps me out. It was put together to scare you. That’s all.”
He also elaborated on the now infamous choice of transforming a William Shatner mask into Michael Meyer’s immortal visage: “we didn’t have any money to make a mask. So the art director went up to Bert Wheeler’s magic shop on Hollywood Boulevard…and he got two masks…one was a Captain Kirk mask. It was supposed to be Captain Kirk. It looked nothing like William Shatner…it was just a strange mask…we spray-painted it, altered the eye holes and just did a couple things with the hair — and there you had it.”
Regarding casting Jamie Lee Curtis, Carpenter noted her natural ability: “She just nailed the part in terms of the hard part, which is the dialogue sounding real…everything came easy to her…so I made the right choice.” But when asked if he’s watching her new “Halloween” inspired show “Scream Queens” he stated flatly: “Come on, please. I’m too busy watching basketball.”
The filmmaker also praised 1982’s “Halloween III: Season of the Witch,” a Michael Myers-less sequel (which he produced and scored), that left audiences cold at the time, but has been reappraised as a cult classic: “I thought that we were done with telling stories about Michael Myers and the guy in the mask…It’s kind of a subversive movie but very interesting.”
When asked for thoughts about his late “They Live” star Rowdy Roddy Piper, Carpenter praised his improvisational ability, which came from his wrestling background: “he had a bunch of lines that he’d written down over the years… he gave me a sheet of his wrestling quotes. He was a really inventive guy.”
The filmmaker also discussed receiving a settlement from filmmaker Luc Besson, who he accused of plagiarizing his 1981 sci-fi classic “Escape From New York”with the 2012 Guy Pearce starring “Lockout”, but confessed “they didn’t give us much money.”
The director played coy when asked about any upcoming film projects, but a question regarding his classic spooky “Halloween” theme did prompt him to discuss he was making new music, following up on “Lost Themes,” the studio album he released earlier this year (and will be performing live in Iceland at next year’s All Tomorrow’s Parties festival).
Regarding pulling double duty as director and composer, he remained self-effacing saying ” I have to tell you, it’s pretty simple stuff. I’m a pretty simple musician…I’m just a guy that sits down and has a job to do.”
You can order “Halloween” movie tickets at participating theaters by clicking here.