DEADLINE: John Carpenter Q&A: Why ‘Halloween’ Didn’t Need Sequels & What Scares The Master Of Horror »
John Carpenter is a hard to get man.. I have myself attempted to interview him on several occasions.. I typically get a very friendly and kind response from someone with his public relations team.
And why would he want to talk to a little old website anyway.. He’s the master of horror.. the man who, whether he tried it or not, changed culture in 1978 when he created a low budget slasher flick about a babysitter killer that someone intelligently named ‘Halloween.’
And the genius—pure genius—of buying a William Shatner mask and painting it white..
While Carpenter was too busy to talk to me, the fine wealthy folks at DEADLINE were able to snag a few words with him..
Carpenter told DEADLINE what I have heard before in a number of places: That HALLOWEEN was a load of fun to create and the budget, so low, was a crapshoot for them.. they were just young people having a blast creating a horror movie. They did not set out to change horror, or create two generations of movies that would be forever modeled on Michael Myers. But they did just that..
Carpenter also joked a bit about Shatner’s face being the face of the madman who stalks movies sequel after sequel:
There were two options – one was a clown mask, which was a better mask, but the Captain Kirk mask was altered, spray painted, eye holes cut, with the hair. I don’t know if he knows the story. I met him recently at one of these conventions. I walked up and introduced myself. Without looking up he says, ‘Nice to meet you.’ The guy’s 80 years old, I’ll just leave him alone. You know, he was busy and probably worried about something else.
But speaking of sequels—and this is the real point that I concur wholeheartedly with Carpenter on—Halloween did not need sequels. On the subject of the constantly recycling of Carpenter’s idea:
I didn’t think there was any more story, and I didn’t want to do it again. All of my ideas were for the first Halloween – there shouldn’t have been any more! I’m flattered by the fact that people want to remake them, but they remake everything these days, so it doesn’t make me that special. But Michael Myers was an absence of character. And yet all the sequels are trying to explain that. That’s silliness – it just misses the whole point of the first movie, to me. He’s part person, part supernatural force. The sequels rooted around in motivation. I thought that was a mistake. However, I couldn’t stop them from making sequels. So my agents said, ‘Why don’t you become an executive producer and you can share the revenue?’ But I had to write the second movie, and every night I sat there and wrote with a six pack of beer trying to get through this thing. And I didn’t do a very good job, but that was it. I couldn’t do any more.
This is something I have also long thought..
While it was before my time and I only discovered the Halloween films years after adults were squirming in theaters seeing them, I always felt that Halloween 2 felt rushed. Sort of off key, and even more, just a way to bookend a story and end it. Of course we know it did not end at all, but instead kept on chugging into oblivion—and to a point where it does not even matter anymore when a new Halloween is coming out. By the way, if you didn’t hear, a new Halloween is coming out next year.
Carpenter’s Halloween 3, though despised by so many horror fans, is one of my favorites.. It’s creative and fun, a but bizarre, but it has the freakiest song in horror: That mind-numbing ditty about rushing home for the ‘big giveaway’ at 9..
Halloween’s original ending, with Michael Myers vanishing after a murderous night in Haddenfield, was the perfect ending.. it could have been left there—the ever foreboding boogeyman who stalks the night on Halloween, lurks in shadows, and hides where your fears are deepest.. Halloween should have ended at one film..
Instead we had non stop rubbish propelled at us from Akkads, Zombies, and Busta Rhymes.. So sad..