[Interview] ‘Halloween’ at 35: H4’s Erik Preston on Danielle Harris
Today is the 25th anniversary of Halloween 4, which opened in theaters on October 21, 1988, and to celebrate we’re bringing you Part 2 of our interview with Young Michael Myers himself Erik Preston, where we will discuss working with America’s favorite scream queen Danielle Harris and their off-screen reunion two decades later, as well as their recent film reunion in Danielle’s directorial debut Among Friends.
“I’ve always been a Halloween fan,” Erik told us. “I always looked at it as ‘Yeah it’s cool I got a part in that’, but I was only in it for three seconds, so I never looked at it as ‘I got to play this iconic killer’.
“It was cool that I had the opportunity, and I’m glad that I got to meet Danielle before she blew up. It’s awesome that I got to meet her on her first movie and see her career go.”
Erik recalls first meeting Harris while filming what sounds like would have been an eerie scene reminiscent of John Carpenter’s original Halloween, but which was later cut from the final movie.
“On the second day (of filming),” Preston said, “the first half of the day we shot a deleted scene that I’m actually not in, I just had to be there for it, with Danielle and Ellie (Cornell) eating some ice cream. I don’t recall what the exact dialogue was about, but then you see Michael up in the windows of one of the houses looking down at them.
“Filming that deleted scene was the first time I saw her and Ellie. I never met her, I just saw her running around the set. Then when we shot the costume scene about a week later, I met her.”
You can almost picture little Jamie Lloyd first approaching the young, innocent-eyed version of her evil uncle with cheerful but naive curiosity.
“I got to the set that morning,” Erik remembers of his first official meeting with Harris. “I was sitting on a crew truck and she came out and just kind of stopped and looked at me and she was just like, ‘Hi! Are you boy who’s going to scare me today?’, and I said, ‘Yeah, I am.’
“Keep in mind I’m eight years old and I’m shy at this point, so I didn’t really interact with her too much. One, here’s this girl trying to talk to me, and plus she’s the star of the movie and I’m just this kid who’s randomly showing up on set for a day here and there. That was pretty much the extent of our interaction.”
Erik said there was no time to hangout and get to know each other after the cameras started rolling, and both he and Danielle went into character.
“Once we starting shooting,” he said, “there was not really any chance for us to even talk to each other.
“I would be standing in front of the mirror and she would be standing to the side by the front door and they would adjust the cameras and the lighting and everything. Then they’d switch me and Danielle and say, ‘Erik go stand by the wall, Danielle come here,’ so we were never next to each other in those hours where we could actually talk.
“The interaction we had with each other was very limited, and that just really falls on me being an eight year old kid.”
So what is Erik’s personal favorite scene from Halloween 4?
“I think one of the strongest scenes in the movie is obviously the end,” he said, “with Danielle at the top of the stairs covered in blood with scissors in the exact same way Michael was as a kid.”
Almost 20 years passed following The Return of Michael Myers before Erik and Danielle connected again as adults, naturally at a horror convention.
“I re-met Danielle doing conventions,” he said. “In 2007 I did my first convention and Danielle was there. It was the week before Rob Zombie’s Halloween came out. I talked to her, but her line was so ridiculously long. She was so busy, I didn’t have time to talk to her other than to say, ‘Hey, it’s nice to see you again after 19 years’.
“I moved out to Los Angeles soon after and she was getting ready to film Prank, which was an anthology that unfortunately never got finished and never got released. So I jumped on and helped her out with that just because I had free time to do so, and that’s kind of where our friendship reconnected.
“Throughout the years, I’ve done multiple conventions with her.”
Any self-respecting fan of Halloween 4 who has not yet seen Among Friends, directed by Danielle Harris, owes it to themselves to watch it immediately. Seriously, Danielle’s own cameo appearance is one of the best treats ever for fans of the franchise and an extremely pleasing nod specifically to Halloween 4, but if that’s not enough, her former mirror image is there too, as Preston also appears briefly in Among Friends.
“A couple years ago she was doing Among Friends,” Erik said, “and she called me up and asked if I could help, and I said, ‘Absolutely’. I helped her out with that for about a week.
“She also gave me a quick cameo appearance in the film as well.”
In the third and final part of our interview with Erik Preston, we’ll get the actor’s thoughts on John Carpenter’s 1978 original that started the undying Halloween franchise!
Read Part 1 of our interview with Erik Preston here.
Read Part 3 of our interview with Erik Preston here.
You can see Erik and Danielle on screen together again when Halloween 4 returns to theaters starting October 24, and you can meet both actors at the upcoming 35 Years of Terror Halloween anniversary convention happening November 15-17 in Pasadena, California.