[Interview] Sean Clark Talks ‘Halloween’ and How Michael Myers has Shaped His Life (Part 2)
In Part 1 of our interview, Sean Clark (Horror’s Hallowed Grounds, Convention All Stars) told us that the Halloween fans are by far the most passionate that he has ever experienced, and so this second installment picks up with more on horror’s most intense fans, before diving deep into the franchise’s unique continuity issues, his own original ideas for possible sequels, a preview of this year’s 40th anniversary convention, and how it all began and keeps coming back to Michael Myers.
While at the recent Mad Monster Party in Charlotte, NC, I sat down with Sean for a relaxed and revealing conversation about all things Halloween, how the franchise has actually shaped his life and given him a career, and how it all came full circle with bringing Nick Castle back to the role of Michael Myers in the new Halloween movie.
Check out Part 1 here, and then read on for Part 2 of our interview with Sean Clark.
Why do you think the Halloween fans are so much more passionate than those of other franchises that you’ve been around?
I don’t know. It’s definitely the most popular franchise with fans, over Elm Street and Friday the 13th. These fans are by far the most rabid and loyal.
Having worked with everybody from every franchise, from the big stars to the victims and everything, the Halloween ones are the best draw. They’re the ones that do the best and the fans seem the most passionate about.
Some of the (other horror franchise’s) victims seem kind of throwaway at some of these conventions, where the Halloween ones seem beloved. I mean I’m not discounting the others, because they are beloved by some. But I mean in like the general consensus, the Halloween ones are – it’s crazy. But when they (the fans) hate something, they hate it.
And they’ll let you know.
That’s why you rarely ever see Resurrection victims at shows. It’s because that film – people just have a real – I don’t know, that one, it’s harsh. (laughs) That had to be one of the most disappointing cinema experiences.
I loved H20. I mean, it’s very commercial, but I thought it was great, that ending with her going after Michael and then the cutting the head off.
Me and my old writing partner wrote a 16-page treatment for a sequel to H20 that I’m still so proud of. I’ve let people read it, and they’re like, ‘Oh my God, that would’ve been so awesome.’ This was before Mustapha (Akkad) passed away, and I sent it in. In my version, technically Michael Myers dies, which means the human, not the entity that was inside him, dies. So I knew immediately that it was not going to fly, because he (Mustapha Akkad) had this ‘Michael never dies’ thing.
So when I went to the theater (to see Halloween: Resurrection), I was like, ‘This has got to be a kickass movie, because they turned down my thing.’ And when I saw what they did, I was sick to my stomach. ‘How could you do this?’
The quick version is – Remember how Laurie Strode faked her death and become Keri Tate? My thing was, we focus on Jimmy (played by Lance Guest in Halloween II). It starts with Jimmy walking outside. He’s older now obviously. He goes out to get the newspaper. He’s in his robe. He goes back in, pours himself some cereal, opens up the paper, and there’s a headline: California Woman Missing. And there’s a picture of her, and it’s Laurie. He’s thinking, ‘But Laurie’s dead. How could it be Laurie?’ So the whole movie is him going to California to try to find her.
I have this great, what I thought was an epic nod to the original film. I’m not going to go through the whole story, but when he finally finds her in the end, he goes in this house and opens this door to a bedroom, and she’s laid out on the bed like Annie with her tombstone, because there was a Laurie Strode tombstone. So I thought that would just be an epic holy-shit-moment. Anyway, that was that.
Then I actually had an idea for what could have been this movie that’s coming out. I had this idea of trying to meld the two worlds, kind of like New Nightmare in a way, where Rob Zombie’s films were films based on actual events. Let’s say Halloween 1, 2, and H20 were the actual events, but Rob Zombie’s Halloween I and II were films.
I had this whole thing where Myers had been like in a coma in a mental hospital somewhere, and an orderly came in and turned the TV on in the room. And this report comes out talking about Laurie Strode, but it’s actually an interview with Scout (Taylor-Compton) about the movie. And you see the eye wake up and he goes after Scout, thinking it’s Laurie. It was kind of like twisting the worlds a little bit. I never actually wrote it. It was just an idea I was toying with.
At the time when I was thinking of it, they still weren’t sure where they were going. The fans were still pushing for going back to the original story and then there was still talk of a Halloween III, so I was thinking, ‘Can’t we have the best of both worlds?’
Oh I remember what it was. It was a talk show and they were interviewing the actors from the film, but then they had Tommy Doyle and Lindsey Wallace, the real ones, which would have been (once again played by) Brian Andrews and Kyle Richards, they were being interviewed and they were like against the films, like, ‘This is glorifying what we went through.’ It was a whole cool mix. It could have been cool.
That could have been a very meta commentary on the media and violence in media and entertainment.
That was the idea. That was my little brainchild. I think I brought it up to Malek (Akkad) at one point when I was at his office for something, just to see what he’d say. And I think he was like, ‘Yeah,’ but you know, I think it was just in one ear, out the other. And it was a bit of a reach, but at the same time, all that they’ve done with this (franchise)…
Nick (Castle) and I were talking about what other franchise has done this. I don’t think there’s any other franchise that has actually went back and changed the history, and look how many times Halloween has done it. Has any other franchise done that?
The Halloween franchise is horror’s choose-your-own-adventure is what I say.
In a way, yeah. Part 3 disregarded 1 and 2, 4 I guess sort of went back to kind of carry on and 5 kind of did a little bit, but then 6 completely just went off the rails. And then H20 disregarded everything from 3 to there, and then Resurrection continued from H20, but then the reboot. I mean, how many franchises can you think of that screwed up and then said, ‘Oh, my bad. Do over.’ (laughs) They seem to get away with it. And I think that goes back to what I’m talking about, how the Halloween fans are so rabid, they accept it, they’ll take it. You know what I mean?
You’re totally right. And I can’t think of another franchise that has done that.
And to this day, can still get a theatrical release. I mean, Friday the 13th and Elm Street are probably the only other two that have continued as long as they have and could still get a theatrical release. Look, Hellraiser goes straight to video now, and all these other franchises, Chainsaw straight to video…
…Chucky straight to video. You have to be strong to be able to go theatrical these days.
And I think this new Halloween is going to be one of this year’s biggest movies (at the box office).
I hope so. It seems like the Halloween films, when they do a change – like H20 was a massive hit, Rob Zombie’s Halloween was a massive hit, but then Resurrection not so much, Halloween II not so much.
And the same is true with (parts) 4 and 5.
Yeah, 4 was massive and 5 was a bomb.
I think you’re right that when they’ve taken a longer break and kind of retooled things and come back, historically anyway it’s proven good.
And for whatever reason, with the Halloween franchise, the young kids still get into it. It’s not one of those things like, ‘Hey old man, that’s your movie. I’m not into that Halloween shit.’ It resonates with the younger audience too somehow. I don’t know how, but it does. So does Friday the 13th and Freddy to an extent, but for some reason with Halloween, I just don’t – I can’t put my finger on the appeal. I’m a huge fan, but I can’t put my finger on what it is about that, what makes it so special that everybody is so gravitational to it.
I always compare it to Star Wars in that respect, that it’s basically horror’s Star Wars as far the most loyal, devoted fan base out there. It’s horror’s biggest franchise if you ask me.
Yeah, it is. You can’t do a Friday the 13th convention and (know) it would definitely work, you can’t do a Nightmare on Elm Street convention and (know) it would definitely work, but you can do a Halloween convention – because I’ve done three of them – and they work, because those fans fly from all over the world to come to that, where the other ones won’t. I mean it would be decent, but it won’t be a sure thing is what I’m saying, and that’s why nobody does it.
You’re right, Halloween is the only one.
It’s the only one that is a sure thing, because those fans come out. And they’re going to when the 40th happens. I’ve got a feeling this will be the biggest one yet.
That’s something else we can talk about. So it is going to happen then?
This is what I can tell you: It is happening. It’s happening in October. It’s happening in South Pasadena again. I’m not putting it on. I am in an advisory role.
Malek wanted me to put it on, but I’ve just become insanely busy. You have to dedicate a year of your life to do it properly. So I will be there. I’ll be working on booking talent for it like I do at any other show, but I’m not going to be putting it on. Plus, I really feel there’s a conflict of interest being a booking agent and a promoter, because it’s double dipping. If I was making money off the door and making a percentage off the guests, that’s double dipping. I can’t in good conscience do that.
I don’t want to officially say who it is, because I think they want to make the announcement, but I hooked Malek up with a very well known promoter who will be handling it. They’re all very happy. I think the hold up has been the movie, and now that that’s done, you’re going to see a lot more movement on the convention.
I think a lot of the fans have kind of assumed there would be something happening.
It makes sense. It’s the 40th anniversary, there’s a new movie coming out. It’s the perfect storm.
I can tell you that I am considering doing another Horror’s Hallowed Grounds Tour. Even though obviously I’ve done it three times, fans keep asking me to do another one, saying that they want to do it again, they had so much fun. I have an idea of something I would really like to do that could make it real special, but it’s all going to be a logistical if-I-can-pull-it-off kind of thing. It would be in conjunction with the convention, but a completely separate thing. It would be a separate ticket, up to the fans if they want to do that or not, but not something you can by a VIP ticket to the convention and have the bus tour included. Then it would be like I’m making money off the convention, which, like I said, is a conflict of interest.
I am, despite what some people may think, a fan, and I am about the fans. To me it’s more important that the fans get the best experience possible and most for their buck. That’s why I do this. That’s why I started doing this, because I’m a fan and I love it. I just got stupid lucky that I’m able to pay bills because of it.
Everything I’ve become, all my success I can trace it back to the Halloween movie. It’s all connected. If it wasn’t for the Halloween franchise, I wouldn’t be where I’m at right now. It’s all because of the Halloween franchise, in one way or another. It’s all connected to that. So when people ask me, ‘What’s your favorite horror movie franchise?’ I say hands down it’s Halloween, because I owe everything I am to that franchise. I do.
So that’s how you got into being a personal appearance agent?
That’s how I go into everything. My very first client ever was Tony Moran. I don’t work with him now, but he was the first guy I ever represented.
I was a journalist at the time. I was writing for Dread Central I think or the Horror Channel, I can’t remember which one it was. It’s funny because when I started as a journalist, it was working with Ryan Rotten, aka (Blumhouse’s) Ryan Turek at CreatureCorner.com, and it’s like, ‘Look at us now.’ It’s crazy.
The thing is, I worked at a mortgage company. I was a loan officer. I did that for almost 15 years, and one day I was talking to somebody on the phone, and I had always talked about horror movies, a big horror movie nerd, and somebody goes, ‘The guy who plays Michael Myers works here.’ I said, ‘Oh yeah? Who’s that?’ and he said, ‘He says he played Michael Myers in the first Halloween.’ I said, ‘What’s his name?’ He said, ‘Tony Moran.’ I went, ‘Oh fuck, are you serious? He works with you? Dude, can you put me in touch?’ He said, ‘Oh, he’s really private.’ I said, ‘Just let me talk to him.’
So he got him on the phone for me, and we kind of mortgage-business-bro’d out, and I said, ‘I would love to do an interview with you. I work for this website and nobody’s heard from you.’ So he agreed to do an interview with me. I drove to his office in L.A., sat down with him, interviewed him, and he and I really hit it off. We were really good friends for several years. We went to freakin’ Disneyworld together. I’ve got pictures of us riding Space Mountain together. We were good friends.
So at the end of the interview, I said, ‘Hey, I brought a few things. Would you mind signing them for me?’ He was like, ‘What? What do you mean sign?’ So I pulled out my Halloween poster and said, ‘Would you mind signing this for me?’ And he said, ‘This is weird, because I’ve never signed an autograph before in my life.’ I said, ‘This is the first Halloween thing you’ve ever signed?’ He said, ‘Yeah.’ And I’m just like, ‘This is crazy.’
So I had him sign a few things, and I was like, ‘You know man, there are so many fans that, believe it or not, would kill to meet you.’ He says, ‘Well I’m only in it for like eight seconds.’ I said, ‘I’m telling you. You are the face of Michael Myers. That’s a big deal.’ And he didn’t believe me.
Oddly enough, Eben (McGarr), who runs Mad Monster Party (where this conversation with Sean took place), was doing a convention in L.A. called Necrocomicon. I talked him (Moran) into coming and he had a blast. He was like, ‘Dude, this is so much fun. I want to do more of these things.’ And I said, ‘Well I know a guy who books people. He’s here right now. I’ll introduce you.’
I’m not going to say who this (booking agent) person is because this person still books people to this day. So I come up to this guy and said, ‘Hey look, Tony Moran, Michael Myers, wants representation. He’s having a great time.’ And he goes, ‘Wasn’t he in the movie for like eight seconds?’ I said, ‘Yeah, but he’s the face of Michael Myers. It’s a big deal.’ And he goes, ‘Pass.’ I said, ‘Really?’ He said, ‘Yeah. Pass.’
So anyway, I go back and Tony says, ‘Hey did you talk to that guy?’ I told him exactly what he said, and Tony says, ‘Fuck that guy. Why don’t you represent me?’ And I go, ‘Okay.’ And that’s how it started.
Literally, as crazy as it is, because for whatever reason, I still don’t know to this day – I have my own interpretation of a certain person that poisoned the well with Tony in regards to me – Tony hates me now and badmouths me constantly. But the craziest part is that if it wasn’t for Tony Moran having said that, I probably wouldn’t be doing this. Again, the Halloween connection, he was Michael Myers. That’s where it started. It was with Tony.
And doing the Halloween convention, I was asked to be a partner in the first, the 25th (anniversary) convention, because the guy knew me from the mask world. I was doing Silver Shampain Novelties. He said, ‘You have this huge name in the Myers mask scene, I think it would be a benefit to have you on the team.’ From that point on, the 30th and 35th, I took that and ran with those.
From that came 25 Years of Terror, the (25th anniversary) documentary, which spurred Horror’s Hallowed Grounds. I was in Malek’s office and he said, ‘Do you have any ideas for bonus features?’ I said, ‘Hey I do this thing where I go to locations.’ That’s how the first episode appeared on 25 Years of Terror.
Everything’s connected to Halloween. It’s crazy. So I owe everything I have to that franchise.
If it wasn’t for this guy walking up right here (motions to a Michael Myers cosplayer stealthily approaching as if on cue), who knows where I’d be.
[Read Part 1 of our interview with Sean Clark here.]
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