In 1995, Justine “J.C.” Brandy stepped into the pivotal role of Jamie Lloyd in the sixth and most controversial installment of the Halloween movie franchise, a film that would change her life and introduce her to the most loyal fan community in horror, as she faced The Curse of Michael Myers.
We had the pleasure of meeting Brandy at the Halloween: 40 Years of Terror anniversary reunion event in Pasadena, CA in 2018, where she was part of the largest gathering of franchise alums ever assembled.
Read on for our interview with J.C. Brandy on being the second Jamie Lloyd, the hardest part of filming The Curse of Michael Myers, and her own real life love of the Halloween holiday.
Did you celebrate Halloween as a kid?
I did. I love Halloween, although I’m a big scaredy cat. What happened was – I’m trying to remember the name of the movie – maybe you guys would know. I was really little, maybe six or seven, and my sister was babysitting me, and she convinced me to be cool, because she was in college, right, that I should not watch Scooby-Doo so she could watch this horror movie. It was about a house. Was it Burnt Offerings, where they have to slide the food under the door and feed the mother? I had dreams about this movie. I don’t think it was until I was 13 that I would watch another horror movie.
I love dressing up. My daughter loves dressing up. We make costumes. She loves it, but she’s very much her own person. She wants to do her own thing and come up with it on her own. She doesn’t want Mom’s help making the costume, unless she’s stuck, then maybe.
Does she ever go for the scary costumes?
She hasn’t yet. She wants to do her own version of things.
That’s cool, like a cosplay mashup.
Exactly. And I think, being a girl, you always want to look good, even when you’re being scary.
Has she seen Halloween 6 yet?
She hasn’t. She’s seen the pictures and she’s been to conventions with me. I think that maybe she’s seen the scene of me dying somewhere on like YouTube with a friend, but we don’t talk about it. (laughs)
I was wondering if she got any cool points with her friends for her mom being a movie star.
They’re into Stranger Things. They’re only interested in conventions if there’s going to be people from Stranger Things there, or It, which I thought was fabulous. You don’t see a lot of remakes where you’re like, ‘They nailed it,’ but they did.
I would come back from filming this (Halloween 6) and be in the hotel room, and check under my bed and in the closet, because I’m that person. I have like a love/hate relationship with the scary part of it. I love it, but I get really, like detrimentally scared.
Your role was shot in some pretty scary places too.
And I was almost always by myself. I barely ever worked with these guys (motions to the cast nearby). It was always me and the man in the mask. It was freezing in the middle of the night, and I usually came back covered in corn syrup. (laughs)
And you were teenager when you were filming?
I was 18 or 19.
Was that your first feature film?
It was. I had done six movies of the week, but that was the first thing that was out in theaters.
What was it like stepping into a franchise like that and into what was already such an iconic role?
It was crazy. And at that point, I was a horror fan. I’m a horror fan now, starting when I was around 13.
Do you think you want to get back to doing more acting in the future?
I would like to. I’ve been doing the mom thing, but now she’s old enough and she’s an actress too, so she understands. I don’t know how I feel about it (her daughter being an actress) yet, but you have to support kids when they’re driven and they have passion.
And you can be there to watch out for her.
Right, exactly. I just know also what the industry does to kids, but I think that it’s not the same for every kid. Devin (Gardner, who plays Danny in Halloween 6) turned out fabulous.
Is there any one overriding memory that you have from filming Halloween 6?
The cult scene, because I was tied up on the table, and I was aware that it was possibly going a bit too far with this scenario. (laughs)
I just remember they’d be resetting things, and I’d just be laying on the table making Monty Python jokes.
I remember showing up on set and talking to Daniel (Farrands), he was the first person I met, and knowing I was stepping into a part that people were so attached to with another actor, and that’s not easy, and not being cast by anybody but the casting director. They were already shooting, so just walking on set and not knowing if I would be welcome or if they’d be like, ‘Oh, this is the new person.’ And Daniel was really great. We talked about John Carpenter and The Fog. It was just a lot fun.
Other than that, I remember going into hypothermia when we were shooting the escape scene. The snow was up to here, right? (to co-star Mariah O’Brien) It was a massive snow storm. Sometimes they would just stop shooting because it was snowing so hard. And I’m in this hospital gown. I think like seven or eight pairs of long johns under it, but the problem was that they started to keep the water in after a while. I don’t think anybody thought it would be that bad.
I don’t remember this, but I guess I looked at the A.D. and said, ‘I can’t feel anything from my waist down,’ and he pulled me off set. The next thing I remember I woke up in a trailer and they said I had hypothermia, so that was pretty intense. It was cold.
As you said, pretty much all your scenes are just you and Michael. I guess that was George (A. Wilbur) playing Michael in your scenes?
Yeah, it was George when we were in Utah. And I don’t really remember the reshoots a lot. We were all pretty bummed about the reshoots.
Mariah O’Brien – I wasn’t involved. I didn’t even know. I wasn’t in them, so I heard there was reshoots, and that was it.
I know that Paul (Rudd) didn’t really want to be there. We didn’t have our same D.P., which was kind of weird. That’s what I was really bummed about, because I loved our D.P. for the movie. I still feel this way, and no disrespect to however did the reshoots, but I think you can easily see the scenes that were shot by somebody else. They don’t have the depth and they’re not lit as well. I really think that, whether you’re a fan of the sixth movie or not, the stuff we did in Utah looked beautiful. It was shot really well and lit really well.
The reshoot stuff was really flat and uninteresting to me, so that bummed me out.
And I liked my initial, I guess pre-death scene much better than being impaled by the farm tiller. I know people really like it because it was gory, and the special effects were amazing, unbelievable. But as an actor, it was unnatural to have that line they gave me in the barn and it felt really forced, with blades going through my stomach. How do you actually act that? You couldn’t speak really if that was happening.
When I interviewed Daniel a few years ago, he told me that the ending he originally had planned for Jamie Lloyd was very different, and she would have gone out fighting in a heroic climax against Michael. Did you ever read that script?
No, I never saw that script. He did tell me about it. I always think, who knows what would have happened, but if they had let him make that movie, then Danielle probably would have done it, and I wouldn’t be a part of this amazing thing, because I know she had an issue with what happened to Jamie in the script.
So as a fan of the series, and as a fan of Dan’s and a supporter of his, and Danielle too being a friend of mine, in another alternate universe that version probably exists and would be so fun for all of us to watch it.
I’m also happy that things turned out as they did, because I have a lot of good friends from that time in my life. Malek (Akkad) wound up directing a music video for my band that got me a record deal. Then I met my husband from the record deal that I got from the video that Malek directed. So who knows where any of us are going.
The amount of good that’s come to my life in a billion ways from just being in this movie is crazy.
Now, here we are at the 40th anniversary of this franchise. How does it feel to be a part of this, with all these fans here this weekend and everybody from all 11 movies? You’re a key part of this legacy.
I’m the most attached to things that I’ve worked on. It feels like I have roots. And I’ve always loved the franchise. It’s amazing. Everybody who I’ve met in this (Halloween) world is amazing, from the fans to the people doing special effects makeup to the producers.
Everybody who is into horror films or the Halloween movies, of course they have their favorites, but there is such a respect for the whole, not be overly analytical about it.
There’s a feeling of family, that you’re a part of something, and we’re all brought together by this thing. I don’t think that reaches into a lot of other parts of life, where you’re very compartmentalized or you do things where most people enjoy it but there are some people that are jaded or whatever about it. This is the one place where I don’t see that at all.
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