Michael Myers has given many people nightmares after they first saw him on movie screens, but for Real Housewives of Beverly Hills icon Kyle Richards, who played Lindsey Wallace in John Carpenter’s original 1978 Halloween, the nightmares had just begun.
“I had no idea how scary it was going to be until I saw the actual movie with myself in it,” Richards told us, “and then I ended up having to sleep with my mom until I was 15 years old.”
We had the pleasure of interviewing Kyle Richards recently on 2013’s landmark 35th anniversary of Halloween, her childhood in horror, and what her Real Housewives fans think of Michael Myers as part of our “Halloween at 35” retrospective series!
Read on for Part 1 of our interview, and then be sure to check out Part 2 here.
Kyle remembers the first time she ever watched Halloween at the official premiere as an experience that would shape her life for years to come. She said her time on the South Pasadena set and the actual filming of the movie was anything but scary, but it did little to prepare her for seeing the finished product.
“I was too young to grasp what was really going on (during filming),” she said. “I was just working and doing my thing. Then when we had the premiere, I guess my mom wasn’t getting it either because we invited a friend. I wanted to invite my best friend, so my mom called her mom and asked, ‘Can Lorraine join us for Kyle’s little movie premiere? It’s called Halloween and I think it’s another Disney movie.’ (Laughing)
“It was obviously not child appropriate, and we both were traumatized.
“I had no idea what I was in for. Seeing it for the first time all pieced together was a very, very different movie. It was just really scary, and I really did sleep with my mom until I was 15 years old after that. I was terrified.
“I think that’s what sealed the deal for me to get out of horror films. After seeing myself in that, I was always thinking there was someone hiding behind the drapes or outside my windows or under my bed, so I would just sleep holding my mom’s arm the entire night.”
While she would eventually grow to appreciate the artistry behind Halloween, Kyle says that at the time she made the film it was just another scary job while growing up in the horror business.
Having already done Escape to Witch Mountain (with Donald Pleasance), The Car, and Eaten Alive (for Texas Chain Saw Massacre director Tobe Hooper), Richards would go on to star in other genre favorites including The Watcher in the Woods with Bette Davis, in addition to more family-friendly classics Little House on the Prairie, and she says the true groundbreaking legacy of Halloween was lost on her until she was an adult.
“I didn’t get that when I was younger,” said Kyle. “I went on to do other movies and was focused on that, and it was kind of like in my mind just one of my credits. I did Watcher in the Woods with all these A-list actors and Betty Davis, and that movie got a lot of attention too. I just didn’t grasp that until I was an adult actually. I was a little too young to understand.”
Today, however, among Kyle’s impressive list of credits, Halloween is the one everyone wants to talk about.
“Of all the movies and TV shows I’ve done, that’s probably the movie that people mention the most to me. On Twitter, or fans just coming up, it has such a following, it’s unbelievable.”
“Like I said, I was so young, I couldn’t appreciate exactly what the film was. Now when you look at all of the horror films that have been made, and you compare them to that film, it really is unbelievable. It’s timeless.
“No matter what kind of a horror film you watch now, I don’t think it can surpass that movie. Everything from the cinematography to the music to the actors, all of it is really what makes it a classic.”
In recent years, Richards has found legions of new fans as one of the original Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, starring on the massive hit reality show along with her sister Kim Richards, who appeared in John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13. Kyle told us that fans of the show are constantly learning of her history in Haddonfield to their surprise and delight.
“I get comments all the time on Twitter,” she said. “They’ll be watching Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and I’ll get a tweet that says, ‘I still can’t believe that’s Lindsey Wallace.’ People always say that to me.
“Of course I’m proud to be a part of history in the film business. It’s something that will be around forever. My kids will watch it. A lot of my kids I haven’t let watch it yet, but the older kids now have. It feels good to be a part of something that made such an impact.”
So why has Halloween and Michael Myers survived for 35 years, now more popular than ever?
“First of all, the mask,” said Kyle. “That mask. The stepping out from behind the hedges with the music, and the shots of looking through the mask, were so just scary and unsettling, without having to chop people’s bodies up like in some of these movies, you just were absolutely terrified. It’s amazing.
“When I watch that movie, it’s more like a roller coaster, like a thrill but not so scary you can’t even enjoy it. It’s exciting. It’s scary, exciting.
“I like all of the scenes where he’s hiding and Jamie (Lee Curtis) doesn’t know that she’s being watched. I love those scenes. Where it starts getting into walking with the knife and coming in the house, that’s just too scary for me.
“I think one of the best parts of the film is the music that John Carpenter wrote. That’s one of the best parts to me, when I hear that music. For a while I had it as my ringtone on my phone. I think it’s that time of year again.”
While no one could have predicted in 1978 that Halloween would one day be regarded as one of the greatest films ever made, regardless of genre, it’s no longer lost on Kyle Richards that she is a big part of a unique and immortal cinematic legacy.
“I think people have tried desperately to get that same kind of reaction that the movie Halloween got, and I don’t know if anyone’s been able to ever achieve that in a horror film,” she said. “Nothing can touch number one.
“It’s appreciated more and more when all these other movies try to do what that movie did, and they can’t, and that’s when people start really appreciating it.”
We’ll talk much more about the making of Halloween, working with Jamie Lee Curtis, and what other horror films did scare the actress while she was filming them in Part 2 of our interview with Kyle Richards!