Movies

David Gordon Green On ‘Halloween Kills’ And What We’ll See In ‘Halloween Ends’

David Gordon Green seems to have fun with these new Halloween movies. How else can it be explained why else he’d put all three Silver Shamrock masks from Halloween III: Season of the Witch in his new installment of the Michael Myers saga, Halloween Kills. (It’s funny, because I couldn’t quite make out the logo in the movie of the mask manufacturer, and Green seemed almost offended when I assumed it wouldn’t be from the fine folks at Silver Shamrock. Which kind of tells me Green has more in store for this story-line down the road. Also, if you don’t know the plot of Halloween III: Season of the Witch, well, there’s no way I could even begin to start explaining it here without using at least another 10,000 words.)

In Halloween Kills, we pick off right where Greens’ 2018 Halloween leaves off. And wouldn’t you know it, Michael Myers is still not dead. (It’s starting to feel like Michael will just never learn.) But, ahead, we get into what’s canon from the original movies, what isn’t and why some things Green wanted to use aren’t allowed. (Most having to do with different studios own different movies.) And I make a pitch to Green that both Halloween II and Halloween III should be considered canon again.

Also, Green gives tells us about the next and final Halloween movie in his trilogy, Halloween Ends, and how it will incorporate real world events into its plot.

You know that pointing DiCaprio/Rick Dalton meme? I did that when the Halloween III: Season of the Witch masks show up in this.

Right on. Yeah, a few Easter eggs in there for you.

I just talked to John Carpenter and he had no idea what I was talking about. But people like that movie a lot now. Have you noticed this?

I have. I think it’s aged well. I mean, I think that’s the beauty of this franchise in its whole. People will come to me and say, “Well, why did you not include the narrative of Halloween II? Or that an amazing ending in Halloween IV?” And so, there’s just also so much dialogue in the pros and cons of the franchise as a whole. I love the conversation about it. And Season of the Witch is one that I feel personally is an underappreciated installment, but it’s a little bit of a detour. But I like what they were doing with it. And maybe someone will dust that off and remake that someday.

So in the next one, you’re telling me Dr. Dan Challis is going to show up.

[Laughs] He’s going to show up. I mean, but there are so many ways you could take it. It is a tricky job in the writing of it, because there are certain things you’re drawn to do. But, also, a lot of these films have different rights holders. So there are different things you can and can’t do legally. And so you have your creative toolbox, come up with all the ideas, and then you have to propose it to the legal department. “Can I bring this character back? Who owns that? Is this a subplot that we could include or not?” It was certainly a creative choice to exclude most of the narrative of the franchise, but it significantly simplified the legality of it. And whenever I’ve tried to reach into some of the moments that I appreciate from the others, I always get the no-no.

So here, right now, I feel I can convince you that you will announce that Season of the Witch is canon. There’s a scene in Season of the Witch where Dr. Dan Challis is at the bar and he’s watching Halloween on TV. So in his world, Halloween is a movie. So in the world of Season of the Witch, he’s watching Halloween Kills, just like he watched Halloween.

I love that. Yeah, I could buy that.

But then again, the Season of the Witch masks show up in Halloween Kills. I’m assuming they’re not related to the fine folks at Silver Shamrock?

Why do you say that? Why wouldn’t they be Shamrock?

Are they?

They have the little tags on the back. Yeah.

Oh, they do? So they’ve got pieces of Stonehenge in there, waiting to go?

[Laughs] Yeah, it gets complicated.

Yes, it does.

There’s a lot of wormholes you can find yourself in.

That’s a good pun.

What?

Because of the bugs that come out of the masks…

Ah, there you go. Okay.

I thought that was on purpose.

Yeah, sometimes my subconscious is quicker than my mouth.

You mentioned Halloween II, and you’ve always said these movies are a direct continuation of the first Halloween. Though in your 2018 Halloween, you put in a line in there about Michael and Laurie, “I heard they were brother and sister.” Then the line, “No, someone made that up.” If I want to, personally, I think I could create a world where Halloween II still exists.

What do you mean?

Because you put the line in the 2018 Halloween dismissing the one big plot point from Halloween II you and John Carpenter don’t seem to like.

Oh, right.

So I can now watch Halloween II, going, “They’re just making the brother and sister part up.” And still, in my mind, consider it part of the canon.

You’re playing mind games here though, Mike. You’re getting pretty meta. But I think you could. I think you probably could.

You know why I’m getting meta? I watched a lot of ’70s and ’80s horror over the last 18 months. And I didn’t think I liked horror, but that brand of horror, it turns out, I like a lot. As opposed to the more modern jump-scare horror. And I know a lot of people who feel the same way.

Yeah, I’ve done a little bit of that. Re-watching The Stepfather, or re-watching Christine.

We just watched Christine again last week.

Oh, it’s so good. It holds up.

It does.

I think those films have a slower pace. They actually have character development. And they have things that are appealing to an audience that has more patience than, at least we claim, that an audience has today. So it is interesting to be a part of something that’s trying to honor that era. The original Halloween was in ’78. And in our Halloween Kills, we have these recreations that we’re trying to, technically, not just match the art direction of it, but match the lighting and match the camera intentions and the simplicity of editing. So everything was a lot more considered, I’d say, than your typical horror movie that’s coming out right now – that is more about getting to the immediate scare and don’t pause for much of anything. I do like making sure that I’m making a Halloween movie that is relevant to an audience today, but trying to appeal to myself as a film-goer that grew up in the ’80s, loving the pace and character of those film.

It’s funny, a lot of the people I know who are watching ’80s horror are in their 30s now. And these are people who are not horror fans, but really like this stuff. And the two you’ve done are resonating because they are capturing something that not many people do right now.

And it’s interesting. I just subscribed to Shudder for that reason. You get to see the chronology of technique and pace. And I feel… I don’t think it’s just the remake trends of some of these franchises, but I think people are considerate of movies they like and looking back in time of movies that inspired them.

You mentioned that scene where you tried to recreate the look of the original Halloween. I was actually sitting there going, “Is this from the original movie? Is this a cut scene? What am I watching here?” It took me a minute to realize this is new footage.

That’s amazing. Well, that’s the goal. And our art department was meticulous about the designs of this, and our DP spoke with Dean Cundey from the original film. We did our homework. And then even in our color correction, we really were trying to match the grain and to look, side by side, we had a high definition version of the original film. We’re really doing all we can to take care of it and take care of this title – take care of this franchise and have some fun with it.

So the third movie one, is it still going to jump ahead a little bit? Is this true? I think I read that.

Yeah. It jumps into a contemporary timeline. So we go from two episodes that are the same night in 2018. And then we’ll get up to speed with … It’ll take place the time of its release.

So do you incorporate things that have happened in the real world since then, like what we’re going through now? Would that be part of it?

Yeah.

I guess there are going to be more masks around.

So if you think about it, I mean, where we’re leaving these characters on Halloween 2018, the world is a different place. So not only do they have their immediate world affected by that trauma, having time to process that trauma – and that’s a specific and immediate traumatic event in the community of Haddonfield. But then they also had a worldwide pandemic and peculiar politics and another million things that turned their world upside down.

That’s what it will be called: Halloween: Peculiar Politics. There you go. You can have that one for free.

[Laughs] Yeah. Alliteration Kills.

‘Halloween Kills’ opens in theaters this weekend. You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.

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