Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers is one of the most divisive films in the Halloween franchise, with as many diehard fans that love it as those haters who consider it one of the worst in the series, but few know just how different it all could have been, what really happened behind the scenes, and where it would have gone in the next movie.
We caught up with Halloween 6 writer Daniel Farrands last month, just as the infamous “Producers Cut” was finally being released as part of The Complete Collection box set (read our review), and Farrands was happy to take us back to Haddonfield in an extensive and candid conversation about his original vision of The Curse and where it could have gone in his Part 7.We also talked about the legacy of Michael Myers, as well as the future of the franchise and Daniel’s involvement with it(!). Read on for our full interview with Daniel Farrands!
The Producer’s Cut has been bootlegged and sought after for so many years. Why is it finally being released now?
“I was the guy who was always championing this alternate version for going on 20 years. I was always participating in the fan petitions online and letter writing campaigns, and always sort of directing people to the appropriate executives and departments of the various studios.
“I think initially there was an ego thing where the studio didn’t want to admit there was another version because that would force them to admit that they had made a mistake and that this other version (of Halloween 6) was better and better liked by fans. For many years I think that was part of the hurdles that we faced.
“They just didn’t want to acknowledge that there was a different cut. Of course that was in the days before there were special editions and alternate cuts and director’s cuts. There were Criterion laserdiscs, but there wasn’t much else.
“Then the studios and properties changed hands. Miramax was owned by Disney when we made that film, and when Disney parted ways with the Weinsteins, essentially the Weinsteins had the rights to do more sequels, but the already existing sequels (made by Miramax) like ours and H20 were retained there (at Disney).
“Then it was just years of me trying to convince Disney that there was a reason to do this, and Disney’s not interested in anything but Aladdin and all the Disney franchises that are important to them. Things like this frankly weren’t important. These were library titles that they inherited and they didn’t really care much.
“Then the rights changed again when an investor group came in and bought the Miramax library from Disney, and among those titles was Halloween 6 and all these other sequels that were made under the original Miramax. It took a long time to kind of get in with those guys, and I spent several years making overtures to them, and that didn’t get me anywhere.
“Then Echo Bridge took over the title, so there’s been this endless cycle of changing hands and people kind of resisting it or not really having much interest. We came close a time or two but it just didn’t transpire for whatever reason.
“Then last year, my buddy Brian Collins came to me and said he was going to do a screening (of Halloween 6) at the New Beverly and he wanted me to be there, so I asked why he wasn’t showing the Producer’s Cut. I said, ‘There is at least one print, I know that for a fact.’
“I started making calls to Malek Akkad and he did me a solid and called the new Miramax people and put it in their ear that there is the other version and there’s a print there that’s just been gathering dust. Ultimately they said yes.
“The screening sold out in like a day. Certainly at that point, everyone knew we had something on our hands that was unique and different and interesting.
“I think a lot people consider that version of the movie sort of the Holy Grail of all things Halloween.”
Most fans thought a box set release of all the movies like this was impossible due to the various studios holding the rights. When did you first find out that this Complete Collection was going to happen?
“I found out probably around spring of this year. It was very ‘mum’s the word’. Everyone was sworn to absolute secrecy. We couldn’t talk about it. We couldn’t hint about it. It was very top secret, you know, behind closed doors being discussed.
“Very early on it was put to me that they wanted the Producer’s Cut to be part of it.“Scream Factory is made up of fellow horror geeks. Those guys love the genre, they love these movies, they know every detail of them, so it’s not a huge stretch to think that they would know about that version.
“They really understood what this was and they were the first people to come along and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to make this happen’. They made good, and I’m very grateful that they did, because here it is.
“It’s gratifying to me that finally the good people at Scream Factory and my friends at Anchor Bay stepped up and said, ‘Hey if we’re going to do this, we’re going to do it right and we want that (Producer’s Cut) version. They unturned pretty much every stone to make that happen. Fortunately, I had done a lot of preliminary work, and actually this goes back years. I had actually tracked down the original negatives of that version. They were stored in a lab up in Toronto for years, and I just happened to have the serial numbers for all those reels, so that was huge help for them to be able to find it.
“The biggest problem we had, and it was something I feared greatly in the months leading up to this release, was they couldn’t find the sound elements. There was one point where they were going to release this Blu-ray with the brand new pristine picture but with VHS bootleg sound! And I was like, ‘No way, no how, not gonna happen, over my dead body is this going to go out like this!’ Between myself and Michael Felsher who produced all the H6 bonus content, and the Scream Factory people, Cliff MacMillan, and Alan Howarth actually was part of the search team, we really just dug deep and located the sound, and there you are. After all these years we made it happen. Huge debt of thanks to all those people I mentioned, because without them it wouldn’t have been found.
“I just didn’t think we’d see it. I’ve seen the Blu-ray now and it looks so pristine and beautiful, it looks like a whole new movie to me now.
“We could talk for days about the differences between the two versions, but one of the things that struck me was, for my taste, I honestly think the Producer’s Cut looks better. It’s better colored, the sound mix is better. It’s just a better movie. I don’t know that it makes a whole lot more sense.
“Neither version was really reflective of the script, and the script was never really done fully. That being said, there are people out there that are like, ‘Oh, he’s so bitter about it’, and that’s so not true. I’m not bitter about the experience. It was shocking and hurtful at first, but this movie changed my life. It gave me a career. There are no complaints. I am extremely grateful to Moustapha and all the people who gave me that first shot in my career. To be given the chance to do something that I so desperately loved, what’s there to complain about?
“A whole lot of things could’ve been done so much better. Looking back again at the movie again so recently, I wish that they had done a closer version of the screenplay, because at least at that point had they made the script and it was still bad I could say, ‘Okay, it was my fault’.
“It’s tough because movies are such a collaborative medium. Everybody has their interpretation. A lot of it is fear-based. They’re afraid of taking risks, of doing something different, of making something that shifts the paradigm of the story a little bit. I think we did try some bold things. I don’t think in either version they were that successful, but I do think there are things about 6 that are much more successful than some of the other Halloweens. That’s my opinion.
“(The Theatrical version) is so out there and so bizarre and so nonsensical. You have to remember that all of those changes and reshoots were done in about a four-day period. So you kind of get what you pay for. They brought in a new DP. Other than the cast, everybody was new. It was shot in L.A. rather than Salt Lake City. Everything just was different and changed, and not for the better.
“Everybody talks about how Paul Rudd just hates the movie and hated being a part of it, and that’s totally untrue. He and I ran into each other several years ago on a flight, and he just was gushing and was so excited. He was just such a sweet, gentle guy, and such a fun person to be around. Most of us, we were all young and we all bonded, and we had a really great time making that movie, but what we really hated collectively was that they changed it so much. They made it into something we never intended it to be, and that was Paul’s gripe with it, and to this day if you were to ask him, he’d say that.
“He really didn’t appreciate what they were doing. It wasn’t because he was becoming a star or anything like that. He really loved playing that character and he really wanted to bring something to it.
“I think he knew how much it meant to me. I remember him in between takes asking ‘Was that okay? Was that how you wanted it?’ Just like the rest of us, he was a young guy starting out and happy to be there.”
“In Salt Lake City, where we did the first version, there were all kinds of things kind of not going well, I will say, which is why the movie needed work. We all knew it needed to be changed, we just didn’t think it was going to be changed like that. We thought were going to go back and add to the suspense, add to the fear, add to the lore of the thing.
“I think the problem with the coven scene, as I call it, in the Temple of Doom, it’s all sort of in your face. It’s just so standard. The way it was conceived was that it was going to be much more impressionistic, much more surreal – Is this happening or is this not happening, is this in her mind, is this a drug induced thing that’s in her mind? – more like the Jamie flashback in the middle of the movie, with that black and white ethereal cool look, and the ending would just be more reflective of that style. For whatever reason it was decided to shoot this kind of TV movie version, and everybody knew it just didn’t work.
“The idea behind the reshoots was: Let’s make it scarier, let’s extend these moments like before he kills the girl in the window. Let’s make it more suspenseful. That was always what I was told we were going to do, and then it became something else. Then it was ‘Oh I don’t want to see coven robes. I don’t want all of this story, I want all out death. I want Friday the 13th-style kills’, and this came from the higher ups, way above my pay grade. That was sadly what was left.
“When they went down the road with that version, it was a whole bunch of cooks in the kitchen that I don’t think understood what Halloween was or just wanted to be done with this film. It was like the path of least resistance, just make it cheap and fast, and make it as gory as we can, that mentality. I think that’s where the film really suffered, sadly.”
I love the efforts you took to tie in all five of the previous films, even when they had no plan on Halloween 5. I especially love Mrs. Blankenship as a nod to Halloween III.
“That’s very true. You take one line (from Halloween III) and you have a geek like me who’s like ‘Oh yeah, Minnie Blankenship’, and then that’s her. Harry Grimbridge was having lunch with Minnie Blankenship.
“There was one point where I did to talk to them about how we could connect this whole thing in a really weird way down the road, if we continued with that story, to the whole Santa Mira conspiracy. They were all connected to each other somehow, some way, and all of these Halloween movies that John and Debra had wanted to make, which were all of these very original anthology-like stories, were going to have this common thread. This was like my big grand scheme idea.
“I think Moustapha was very amused by it and also like ‘Wow, you’ve really been thinking about this’. The first treatment that I remember writing (for 6) was so big and there were so many ins and outs to it, he said, ‘Well I think the first half of this is 6 and the second half of it is 7’. So there was a bigger story, where you were going to find out that more of the town’s people were involved, and it was kind of a Shirley Jackson The Lottery kind of reveal that they were all in on it. There’s something that has infected this small town, where everything on the surface appears so peaceful and idyllic, yet there’s this sort of seed of evil.
“Even Dennis Etchinson, who wrote one of the very earliest drafts of Halloween 4 kind of went with that notion that the townspeople feared Michael Myers so much that it was their fear that brought him back to life. I love that notion. I hated that they really played more like this cult was controlling Michael Myers. No, no, no, he was controlling them. That was the whole point of it.
“All of Carpenter’s dialogue was that the staff feared him, they did what he wanted, because they knew that he would get to them. The seeds for all of that were sown in the original story, I just picked them up and brought them back. Honestly, 4 and 5 forgot all of that stuff. I know those movies have their fans, but they just kind of abandoned all of the little threads of story and mythology that were laid out in the first two, and I was like ‘Let’s go back to that stuff. That’s what was cool’.
“Michael Myers exists somewhere between the real and the supernatural. He is the personification of that veil that separates the living from the dead that only comes to life on Halloween. I think that was the whole notion of this character. Yes he was this boy that did this thing when he was child, but I think this evil that lived within him was much bigger than that. That’s why he can get up after having been shot six times, and burned and stabbed and having his eyes shot out. I think at some point you have to go ‘Okay, what is he?’ That’s where we kind of jumped off.
“More and more people were having their hand in this and were like ‘We need more explanation. Why is it only on these Halloweens and not other Halloweens?’ So you start to answer to a whole lot of these cooks in the kitchen, and it becomes so overblown. In a way I’m like ‘Okay, but who cares?’ The evil is that dark force that is unleashed. It doesn’t’ matter what year he comes back. It matters that he is eternal, that he is that force of nature that we can’t describe, we can’t reason with, we can’t understand, and that’s what’s so scary about the character.”
I think one of the problems a lot fans had with (the Rob Zombie films) is that they explained too much about why Michael is what he is.
“That’s why they call these things re-imaginings. It’s somebody else’s take on the myth and the character, and doing it a completely new way. It was something different, but it doesn’t take away from the fans that love the first one, the second one, or the fourth one, or the third one even.
“It’s interesting to me over the years, there are these very impassioned fans who just love the ones that they love and hate the ones that they hate, and in a way that’s great, because that’s what keeps the series going. That’s what keeps people wanting more. Maybe we can do it different this time or maybe we can bring a thread of this one back to the new Halloween. There’s just always a different version of it that you can play with.
“For my money, I wanted to see what it would be like if we had a movie that acknowledged characters like Tommy Doyle, and he knew who Jamie Lloyd was. There’s something kind of cool about that. It kind of makes it like this universe of story isn’t so far apart, that these people are all part of the big story, and that neighborhood, that town of Haddonfield is this very real place where all of these lives interconnect.
“I think there’s something cool about the fact that Tommy Doyle knew who Jamie Lloyd was, even though he wasn’t around for 4 and 5. I just think that’s something kind of interesting and fun, and again it kind of connects dots that maybe nobody else connected, but I wanted to find a way and see if we could do it.”
Both versions seem to set Tommy up as the new Loomis.
“That was it 100 percent. You aren’t wrong. That was intentional. We all talked about it. There were many conversations had about how Paul would become the new Loomis. No one saw Donald’s passing (coming). That wasn’t something that any of us was really concerned about, but he had definitely slowed down between 5 and 6. So sure it was in the back of my mind that maybe Donald will be around for four or five more of these, but at least we have Paul Rudd, and he can become that next guy who takes on that mantel, and we pass the torch to him. Sadly, that’s not the way it went, but you never know, maybe they’ll bring that character (Tommy Doyle) back at some point and figure out how to re-introduce him into the story. It would be kind of fun.
“For me it was always ‘How do we connect the dots? How do we acknowledge the first two and then bridge those with 4 and 5?’ And there’s this weird Man in Black and we’ve got to do something with that. And what is Halloween? What is the holiday, and what does that mean? What is the notion of Samhain, and that night of the dead crossing over to the world of the living, and the Druid aspects of it, and the fact that he wrote that word (“Samhain”) on the chalk board (in Halloween II).
“I wanted to find a way to acknowledge all of that and take that to the next step. That was the intention. The way that it was handled, directed, produced was just very different from what I had in my head. I think that my version was on the page, but like I said, film’s a very collaborative thing, and people come to it with their own sensibility and they try different things, and sometimes they’re successful and sometimes not so much.
“With 6, you have these two versions, and I think there are successful things about each one of them, but I don’t think either one of them really are successful in their own right.”
I love how Halloween 3 and 6 both really seem to tie into the real history of Halloween.
“I think you can argue as well that so does Halloween II, and really in a way so does the original. The theme is there and in 2 it’s developed more. John (Carpenter) himself wrote all that stuff. I know he kind of jokes about it today and says ‘Hey, I just had to write something because I didn’t know where to go with it’, but I think some of that stuff he actually pulled from that novelization and brought some of the pieces of that into the first two films.
“Look, that novelization (of Halloween) was fantastic. It had an entire back story that, unless you’ve read it, you don’t really know about Michael’s great grandfather and how he had murdered someone at the town’s fair or the dance and how this had all started thousands of years ago in this Druid sacrifice. In the novel, there was this deformed boy who was obsessed with the most beautiful girl in tribe and he murdered her and her lover, and the villagers literally tore this kid apart limb by limb and sacrificed his remains and the Druid priests curse his spirit, saying it would roam the earth forever. That was the origin of Michael Myers in the novelization. We didn’t go into that, but there’s great mythology in there. That’s another version that could still be done.
“I don’t know if that stuff is always considered canon. Dennis Etchison wrote those novelizations, and ultimately he was doing his version. Curtis Richards isn’t even a real name. I think it was Dennis and one of the editors of the publishing company that wrote that.
“Everybody’s had their stamp on it. I think it’s interesting and fun that we’ve been allowed to take that canvas and play with it and make it our own and do something new.
“It’s just really fascinating to me how the series has continued. I think after ours, in some ways it got kind of safe. Jamie Lee coming back, from a marketing standpoint, was a no brainer, but it’s a little safer than the stuff we were trying to pull off, especially in 6, where we were really exploring new territory.
“I think the subsequent ones went back to the simplicity and the stalking. There’s really no reason or anything behind it. Laurie’s broken character and her having to come back and face this and finding the inner strength to go back and take it on, I think that was more of the theme of that story. Ours was going into these much more mythic areas and we tried something different.”
Where would the story have gone in your Halloween 7?
“You were going to find out that more of the town of Haddonfield was involved and it is this much bigger conspiracy. It would have played more like The Wicker Man.
“In my 7, it picked up very much like Halloween II, immediately after, with sirens coming. All the killings in 6, because Tommy was seen as this obsessed Michael Myers fanatic, they blamed him for all of it. They said he did it, that he was a copycat killer, so he’s being hunted, and at the same time Michael Myers is still out there, so he’s trying to stop him, and more victims are piling up.
“It was kind of a race back to Haddonfield. The story took place between Smith’s Grove and Haddonfield, kind of a la The Hitcher. It was a road movie. Then when we got back to Haddonfield we realize ‘Oh my God, they’re all in on it’. This is the biggest conspiracy ever. This little American town has been infected by this and their fear of Michael has brought him back to life and caused them to kind of worship him in a way.
“The whole story was Michael versus Tommy, and how’s Tommy going to get out of this.”
Would Michael have stayed in the Man in Black outfit or eventually get his mask back?
“Of course he would have gotten it back. You can’t have him dressed in that thing for long. You know Halloween 4 where he’s that wearing that weird thing on his face in the mechanic’s garage? At one point Michael was going to find the mask, yes. The script was never written, so I don’t know at what point that would have happened, but I’m sure we would have found some magic shop where it was in the window or whatever.
“That mask is as synonymous with Michael Myers as the black helmet is to Darth Vader, so you can’t change the character, but I thought it was a fun idea that he switched costumes with Dr. Wynn to make his escape into the night. I just thought that was a fun and cool image, and I actually do like the way it was shot.”
I love the moments in Part 4 and 5 when he wears a different mask.
“It also makes him more human, and it makes him smarter. He’s not just this robot walking around in William Shatner mask. He’s the Boogeyman, but he’s thinking this stuff out. His subconscious, if there is such a thing in this character, is very childlike.
“In the original movie he’s playing games with them (his victims). The thing with the ghost and putting the glasses on, and the thing with Annie and the (car) door, the whole cat and mouse thing, I think he enjoys the play. I think there’s a childlike ‘I’m going to kill you, but I’m going to play with you first’ thing, and that’s part of the fun of the character is that there’s something in his psyche that’s frozen in his childhood, because these are the things that a six-year-old would do.
“There’s something quasi-sexual about it. He’s got a six-year-old brain but with a man’s body, and he’s faced with something he doesn’t understand, like these scantily clad girls. She’s (Annie) wearing the button down shirt and takes her pants off, and he’s watching through the window, there’s something very voyeuristic about the character as well. I think that’s where that vulnerability comes in and the sexualized part of the character.
“At first when he’s drawn to the sister as she’s having sex, I don’t think it was a puritanical theme about have sex and die, I think it was more about sexual repression and what that does to people. Even as a child, being exposed to something like that and lashing out, there’s something very primal about it.
“People much more intelligent than I have written about what the knife symbolizes and these very Freudian aspects of the story. I don’t think John (Carpenter) was being that literal about it, but I do think there’s something to be said about the voyeuristic qualities of Michael Myers and what that all means. The fact that there is a sexual part of it and a childlike part of it, I think that’s where that conflict is and where that rage comes from, and that’s where the disconnect is.
“If you were to look at him as just human, there was something there. Maybe he was molested. Who knows? There’s so many interesting things about the character, you can go ‘What if?’ That’s what’s so cool about the mask is that you can paint anything onto that you want. He’s this blank canvas of evil.
“I don’t think with 6 I meant to be as literal as they made that movie. It was never meant to be these people with these big robes and they’re all going to have this big ceremony. I think that was implied, but certainly not as in your face as it turned out to be. Everybody realized it, and that’s why changes were made, but I think a lot of people will agree that they made the wrong changes.
“They could have kept the story but made it more Halloween-like, more suspenseful, more terrifying, and I think that would have saved it.”
Did you have an idea of where Danny and Stephen were going in Part 7?
“There was always the ongoing joke while were making that movie of ‘The Son of Michael Myers’, and five movies down the road we’ll do the son, but I think it was just people on set just having fun with it.
“I will tell you that my version of the ending was that after the survivors go off with Tommy into the night, there was a scene where they end up at that same bus station where Jamie was at the night before. They walk in and it’s almost like a repeat of the same scene, it’s raining and there’s no one there, then there’s a radio thing going on. Kara takes the children down into the same restroom area down the steps. Tommy gets on the pay phone. He starts calling 911 and can’t get through. He hears a scream.
“He goes down the stairs and finds more blood on the floor, and there’s Kara with her throat slit inside one of the stalls and the children are gone.
“That’s where he was going to become the hunted. The cops are coming and they thought he did all this, and he was going to run. I wanted to end in a very dark way, like this is the beginning. Tommy’s in deep shit, Kara’s dead, the kids are gone. Oh shit. Now what? And we would have probably figured that out as we went along.
“That was definitely one of the endings I liked. I remember one of the producers – I’m not naming names – said, ‘We’re not ending the movie in a toilet’. So that’s why that was jettisoned. That was rough, because I felt like ‘Wow, that’s really creepy and it’s shocking’. You don’t expect the heroine to just die at the end of one of these movies. Usually you save her for the opening of the next one. Marianne was probably relieved, but she was always game. She would have played along.”
That does seem to be the tradition, to kill her off at the beginning of the sequel.
“Why is that a tradition? I hate that. I hate that they killed Ellie Cornel. I hated that they killed Jamie Lloyd they way they did. I’m sorry, but I’m a fan of these movies. I hated when they killed Adrienne King at the beginning of Friday the 13th Part 2 and killing Nancy at the end of Nightmare 3.
“It was very much stated to me when I pitched the movie that they were not interested in bringing the Jamie character back. It was very much me lobbying for ‘Well, we have to do something with her. You can’t just make her disappear. You just can’t. So Moustapha was like ‘What do we do?’ So I pitched this whole thing about how we see her and where she’s been, and he was like ‘Oh wow, okay I get it. It’s Rosemary’s Baby and she’s running for her life’.
“They didn’t want to do another Jamie Lloyd movie. They wanted new characters. They wanted to bring new blood in. So I said we’d take her out of commission, we’d see her again in Act Two, and then in Act Three she comes back and she’s going to die, but she’s going fight the fuck out of him and she’s going to be heroic. She’s not going to live, but she’s going to give the surviving characters a chance to escape.
“I likened it to the scene in Escape from New York when Adrienne Barbeau was standing on that bridge with the gun and keeps firing, and ultimately she gets run over by the car, but it gives them just enough time to get to that wall. To me, this was our version of that.
“Even though Jamie was mortally wounded and you knew she wasn’t going to make it, this little girl that had been through so much was going to stand up and battle it out with whatever she had left in her, and that was the end. That to me was the most fitting, best way to say goodbye and to move on, and to this day, I can’t believe they didn’t do it.
“She sacrificed herself to save the others, including her own child. That’s the way that character should have gone out, and that’s the version that Danielle (Harris) read and signed up for. Everything she said (in her new interview) is 100 percent true. She couldn’t have said it better. Everything she said was accurate.
“All of that got chucked, and a lot of it was because they just didn’t want to pay.
“I remember being in the production office and all of the headshots of all of our cast members were on the wall and she (Danielle) was on that wall. To me that was really exciting that she was cast in the movie.
“Little by little it became like ‘No, you can’t have her in the ending’, and then ‘We have to kill her off halfway’. Then you kind of live with the new version where we’ll shoot her in the head, which is ridiculous. Then by the time they did the reshoots, they were like ‘She’s not important, let’s just do it over’.
“Danielle was just insulted, and it was insulting. She spent money to emancipate herself so she could work as an adult. It was just not good.
“In coming full circle, earlier this year I made a movie that I wrote and Danielle is in it, and I don’t want to give too much away, but it was fun to have her there and to do some things with her that we would have done with her in 6. We remain great friends and I’m grateful and joyful of the fact that she and I just became friends and have remained so, and she’s always game to do stuff.
“It was this little movie that I co-wrote called Havenhurst. It will be coming out next year. Danielle’s in the beginning of the movie and it was really cool to have done that with her. Literally I asked the producers if I could call her and they said yes, so I called her and she was like ‘Sure, sounds like fun’. It wasn’t like they had cast her and I didn’t know about it. I specifically asked her to do it and she was gracious enough to do it for us. It’s a blast. She’s so great at what she does and she just brings it. That’s what I love about Danielle, she just brings it.”
“Another little movie I produced called Trouble with the Truth is this brilliant little My Dinner with Andre kind of movie, but Danielle as a favor to me came in and did a part.”
What else can you tell us about Havenhurst?
“It’s set in a gothic apartment complex in New York City, where people are taken in when they’re having a rough time in their lives, people in rehab, recovering from traumas. They’re taken into this building, and maybe it’s a little bit of a too good to be true thing. The mythology of the movie is based on HH Holmes, who was America’s first serial killer. So I’ll let you Google that one and then you’ll know a little bit more about what the trajectory of the movie is about. Danielle is a tenant.”
Since she is in it, did you put any nods to the Halloween series into Havenhurst?
“There are. I mean there’s the fact that she’s actually playing a character named Danielle. I actually originally wanted it to be Jamie, but they felt like that was too much. Weirdly enough the lead character in our movie is played by Julie Benz from Dexter, playing a character named Jackie. In the movie she has a sister named Jamie.
“When we wrote the part, we used the name Danielle because in my mind that’s how I saw her. I didn’t know that they would legitimately cast her, and when they did, I thought they were going to change the name, but they were like ‘No, we think it’s kind of cool. We’re just going to call her Danielle’.
“It was a fun experience.”
What other projects are you working on now?
“It’s very new, based on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Telltale Heart, more of a modern take on that story. It’s a very small movie, something we’re doing independently. Originally it was called Fractured, but now we have a new working title.
“Also, I produced the new Amityville Horror film with my old friends at Dimension. That’s coming out early next year.
“I’ve been busy, and it would have been a different road for me had I not done Halloween 6, so there’s no bitterness. There’s no anger or anything, other than just being grateful.
“I can watch that movie and sort of enjoy it now. There’s a lot in there that I do appreciate. The things I remember most are moments like meeting Donald Pleasence and getting to write those words for him, working with Marianne Hagan, Mariah, JC, Paul Rudd of course, just the whole group of us. We were a bunch of kids and they handed us this thing and said to go out there and do this. What a thrilling time in my life. There are no regrets.”
“In retrospect, you would have, you could have, you should have, but I was lucky to be there. Had the movie been something different and the perfect Halloween sequel, that would’ve been great, but I have to say that there’s a lot I like about 6, both versions. I don’t think either one of them are perfect films or great films, but I do think they address the legacy and the mythology, and I like the way that they connect dots. There’s a lot about them I am proud of.
“I wish people would stop giving so much shit to (director) Joe Chappelle. He was actually a very nice guy and it’s unfortunate he has become kind of a demonized and hated figure in the Halloween series because he had a different idea of what the movie should be. I disagreed with a lot of it, but I never disliked him as a person. It’s unfortunate that he’s become this reviled character to some of the diehards. It’s very easy if you’re on the outside looking in to point fingers. Unless you’re in it and experiencing it, it’s a very different perspective that you would have if you were there and part of it every day.
“I don’t think he always made the best choices, but he think did the best he could do at the time. He was a young filmmaker. This guy was just brand new, we were all brand new, and he was trying to please a lot of people, and that’s a tough job.
“When they did 4 and 5, which were very independent and financed by Moustapha directly, they had a lot more freedom. Joe had to not only deal with the Moustapha camp and me and actors, trying to make everyone happy, and then on the other side of it he’s got this whole regime of studio executives. I remember executives with Mickey Mouse jackets walking around that set, which to me was the ultimate irony that Disney was financing this slasher film. It was starting to feel like this was a studio project rather than a labor of love like when they did the first movie, where it was just them and $300,000.
“That’s why (the original Halloween) is so raw and unapologetic. It is what it is, Halloween’s not a perfect movie. You see palm trees in the corners, you see the wrong license plates, you see the camera shadows and the bumping of the dolly track and the cigarette smoke, all these little imperfections are there but it doesn’t make it any less great
“With sequels, you ‘re always trying to re-capture lightning in a bottle, which is not an easy thing to do, but I think we would have had a very different movie had we been left alone. You really can’t point the finger at any one person, including Joe.
“I haven’t spoken to him in years. I’m actually kind of saddened and disappointed that he didn’t step up and do something for this box set. I think it would have been great to hear from him. It would have been interesting. I think maybe he’s moved on. He’s been very successful in TV.
“It’s important to me for him to know that I remember have fond memories of us working on the set. It was us rookies and ‘us against them.’ We all kind of banded together as much as you could in a situation like that where you’re answering to so many people who wanted their imprint and wanted to make this movie something that I didn’t think it should have been, but it’s out there. There are things about it that people really like, so I’m grateful for the experience.
“I had a blast working on it and a blast writing it. I was thrilled to have Moustapha Akkad as kind of a mentor to me. His son Malek and I have remained friends for all of these years and we’re still in touch on a very regular basis. I still talk to the cast and most of us are friends on Facebook. Nobody’s really drifted away, so that’s a great feeling.”
You’ve made some great documentaries about some of our other favorite franchises. Would you make a Halloween franchise documentary?
“I get asked that question almost on a daily basis, and I’m not kidding. It’s a good and legitimate question. Here’s the thing; I wrote one of the movies. I think it’s difficult to be objective about those things when you’re part of it. With Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street, I was fan of both of those series, but Halloween will always hold the most special place in my heart for obvious reasons.
“There was one documentary (on Halloween) and I know some people feel a little shortchanged by that one because wasn’t as in depth, but there have been so many retrospectives and special editions, especially of the first movie, I don’t know what more you could say. With the box set, I feel like in a way it was done. All of that special bonus feature stuff told the story of each movie, so I don’t know where we would go with it and tell you things that you don’t know already. What would we add? I’m not sure what the answer to that would be. It’s a great idea. I think had we done it before this new box set came out, maybe it was something to think about, but right now, I don’t know.
“I don’t know that John and Jamie Lee Curtis would want to talk about it again, not because they don’t like talking about it, but it’s just like ‘Oh my God, I’ve spoken about this 9,000 times. Everything I’ve had to say I’ve already said it’. I think everybody I would go to would ask me the question, ‘Well what more can we add to this?’
“The one thing I think could be done and should be done is a real book like we did with Crystal Lake Memories, which I edited and was one of three financial partners on the book. That was a great labor of love experience and I think that’s a fantastic book, and I think Halloween deserves something like that.”
Would you consider returning to the Halloween franchise?
“That’s a good question. I’ll tell you that Halloween is still a part of my life. There are some new things being discussed in the world of Halloween that I am involved in. I can’t discuss it right now, but my association with the franchise never really ended. I’ve been sort of quietly there and in the background. I’ve certainly read all the scripts for all the new movies as they’ve come about. I’ve been brought in to pitch ideas. I was involved in the writing of some of the early comic book spinoffs as well.
“There’s a connection there between Malek and myself, and I think he understands that I was one of the people that his father really took under his wing and really believed in and was incredibly gracious to me. I think Malek appreciates that connection and acknowledges it. I’ll call it the Halloween family, and I’ve been honored to be a little piece of that. He’s (Malek) been great as far as keeping me in the loop on things. He’ll talk to me about where things are headed and what he’d like to see happen in the next installment.
“There are some new projects in the world of Halloween that I am involved in, and that Malek and I have been discussing for quite some time. No announcements have been made, but I don’t think it’s over.
“I wish I could tell you, but then it would not get there. As soon as we have something concrete I’ll talk about it.
“It should be fairly soon. I don’t think it’s years away. I’m hoping that maybe towards the end of this year or early next year we will have something concrete to talk about. It could be something really, really exciting in the world of the Halloween series and a new shot in the arm for it.
“I’m super stoked about it and I hope it all comes to pass. It’s not that I’m trying to be cagey or anything, but a lot of these things I feel like they get talked about and then they don’t transpire. Then I feel like a douche bag that said something he shouldn’t have.
“And maybe I’m a little superstitious. I don’t want to jinx it either. I want this to happen the way it’s supposed to happen. I want it all to develop organically. Hopefully we will have something cool to talk about in the coming months and year.
“Halloween remains very, very, very close to my heart, after all the people that I’ve worked with who just gave me a chance, even going back to Debra Hill, who was not so much part of the series anymore, but I think she certainly found the good in what the sequels were. She was always very gracious about wanting me to do great, because we had conversations about 6, and she was somebody that was like a sounding board for me, somebody that I talked to two or three times during the development of that movie.
“I look back on that stuff with great affection, because holy crap, I was this kid making Halloween movies in Junior High School. We had giant VHS cameras making these stupid films, and they just put up with me. All my friends when they found about (Halloween 6), they were like ‘Well we’re not surprised. Of course this is what you were going to do.’
“I guess not many people get to say they did exactly what they wanted to do when they were growing up, and I don’t take any of that for granted. I know that’s something very special and not a lot of people get the opportunity, so I’m forever indebted to a lot of people.”
“I don’t think this Producers Cut would have been released had fans not been so passionate about it over the years. It took a long time, longer than it ever should have, but here it is, and the great news is now it’s preserved, now there’s a master, now there’s sound. All the pieces of that are there and they’re there forever, and they won’t be lost again. It’s just great to know that it’s not the lost movie anymore. It’s the movie that we found and now it’s out there for people to enjoy, discuss, hate, or whatever they want to think about it.
“Maybe we’ll do something next year to celebrate 20 years. Maybe we’ll do Halloween 6.1, I don’t know. It’s surreal and it’s just weird thinking it’s been that much time, because when I think about it, it’s all like a blink of an eye. It’s just very strange to me that it’s been that many years, but I remember it all very well. It was a blast.
“Hopefully the series will live on and on in new and really inventive ways.”
Both the theatrically released version and the much anticipated Producer’s Cut are available together for the first time as part of the new Halloween: The Complete Collection 15-disc Deluxe Edition Blu-ray box set from Anchor Bay and Scream Factory, which you can order here!
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