After 40 years, 11 films, seven proper sequels, and at least one other attempt at rebooting the whole thing, John Carpenter’s classic slasher film “Halloween” is getting a brand-new sequel that redirects the sprawling series into one tidy lineage. David Gordon Green’s “Halloween” picks up four decades after Carpenter’s first film ended, and does away with every other film except that first 1978 introduction to Michael Myers and Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), complete with tongue-in-cheek jokes about a mythology that got, well, a little complicated along the way.
Green’s film, complete with a returning Curtis, premiered at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival Saturday evening as part of its signature Midnight Madness section. While Carpenter was not in attendance, the new sequel came with his blessing, and an executive producer credit.
At a post-screening Q&A, Green shared the straightforward advice that Carpenter gave him when the “Stronger” and “All the Real Girls” filmmaker decided to take on the the seminal horror franchise. “John Carpenter gave me great advice when he read the script for the first time and he kind of gave it his blessing to go forward,” the director said. “He said, ‘Keep it simple and make it relentless.’ I thought those were really good pieces of advice that we tried to adhere to.”
While Carpenter did not write or direct the film, he was involved with one of its classic elements: the score. With his son Cody Carpenter and composer Daniel A. Davies, the original director composed the score, his first venture into that world since 2001.
When asked if Carpenter was heavily involved with the shaping of the film’s sound design, Green said, “He had a lot of ideas of when to begin music [in the film], and sometimes we would audition a piece of music, and he’d be like, ‘You know what? Let’s scrap it and play nothing.’ He has a lot of theories about when to cue music, not to anticipate too much, but to be there to deliver on the nose.”
He added, “We would do Skype sessions every week, and he’d be watching a scene, I’d be looking at the back of his head as he’d be commentating and conducting. It was a really trippy, amazing experience to be able to collaborate with one of my idols growing up [on[ a lot of ideas from the script stage through the sound design.”
“Halloween” premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival. Universal Pictures releases it October 19.