If John Carpenter created the ultimate face of fear in the iconic blank mask of Michael Myers, it was Brian Andrews as young Tommy Doyle who was the face of the afraid, the first to notice and believe in the unseen evil lurking in the shadows, and it is through his frightened eyes that we first meet what Tommy quite correctly calls “The Boogeyman”.
In fact, it’s Tommy at least as much as Dr. Loomis who paints Michael Myers as an undefeatable evil even before he really starts his rampage in Haddonfield. Tommy knows that the old Myers House is the home of tragedy, a spookhouse to stay away from.
Without Tommy’s growing sense of coming danger, one wonders just how alert Laurie would have been to what was happening around her, as he sets up her unease later in the film with the presumed silly questioning of a kid high on candy corns.
Brian Andrews only worked for four days on the 1978 set of Halloween, but in that short time he helped create a legacy that is still celebrated three and a half decades later as one of the best horror films of all time, and a character just as immortal as Michael Myers himself.
We recently spoke to Brian at length as part of our Halloween 35th anniversary retrospective series, and you can check out Part 1 of our interview below!
“I had been acting for some time,” Brian recalls about getting the role of Tommy Doyle. “My mother would take me out to auditions. I went in, I read for the casting director. The casting director came out with me to meet my mother, which is an unusual thing but it’s a very good sign. I probably had one or two more auditions maybe, I can’t really be certain. This was so long ago, and the audition process is not as memorable as making a movie.
“You go through audition and audition and audition, and there are a few that I remember. Steven Spielberg was a very big audition. Meeting Paul Newman was big. If I met John Carpenter (during the auditions for Halloween), I don’t really remember.”
Brian recalls more of the audition process for what would be a landmark film.
“I did not meet Jamie Lee Curtis until the first day on the set, so we did not audition together.”
After getting the part, filming of Halloween began in South Pasadena, California.
“I worked the first four days only,” Brian said. “So basically the beginning and end of the movie were shot in the first four days.
“I love the way John uses the camera, especially in this film. It’s arguably his best cinematography film.
“You have to appreciate the dialogue. They gave us very simple dialogue. It was a very easy script. Basically, everybody has memorized the script. I think it’s one of the most incredible screenplays ever written.
“Visually, the movie is storyboarded in the screenplay. Each shot now the camera does this, not the camera does that. Plus the dialogue is very natural. Debra Hill has a great contribution to this.
“All of the characters are identifiable. We can identify with Laurie Strode and we’re meant to identify with her. There’s a lot shots of the reactions on her face that identify and participate with ongoing action on screen. That’s one of the strengths of this movie. Everybody in it is average, maybe a little higher than average, but they’re average, you know what I mean?”
Brian told us he and Curtis would often improvise new lines in between takes, much of which he says was captured by set photographer Kim Gottlieb-Walker.
“I’d love to see every one of Kim Gottlieb-Walker’s pictures. There’s only like a hundred pictures out, and I know Kim must have taken a thousand. I hope.”
“I love the acting in this movie. I love Nancy Loomis in this movie. I think Nancy Loomis is underrated. I think she does one of the great performances. She’s just incredible.
“I appreciate the acting in the movie and I think it sometimes gets overlooked for the scare factor. I love the juxtaposition of the three girls, scary car, and then we’ve got the three girls again. Scare, humor, scare, humor, scare, humor…
“I love the scene at the graveyard with Donald Pleasence and Arthur Malet because it’s like two of the most hammy British actors trying to upstage each other. To this day I want to know how in the world John got some of his small supporting cast. Everybody in this movie was a professional actor. Nobody was an amateur. Nobody was a first timer.”
“I think they’re some of the best opening credits. The movie starts and the first sound of the opening credits, you’re already brought into it. You already know you’re about to see something really scary.
Read Part 3 of our interview with Brian Andrews here.
Brian will be at the upcoming 35 Years of Terror Halloween anniversary convention happening November 15-17 in Pasadena, and you can click here to follow him on Facebook.