F ollowing on from 2018’s Halloween, Halloween Kills brings Michael Myers back to stalk the streets of Haddonfield all over again. With the residents of the town determined to take the fight to The Shape, the stakes are higher than ever in this movie, which lands in theaters and on Peacock imminently.
Jamie Lee Curtis returns as Laurie Strode, but she’s not the only original character back again – Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall), Lindsey Wallace (Kyle Richards), Marion Chambers (Nancy Stephens), Lonnie Elam (Robert Longstreet), and Leigh Brackett (Charles Cyphers) return to battle it out with The Boogeyman in the bloody sequel. Judy Greer also reprises her role of Karen Strode, and Andi Matichak is back as Laurie’s granddaughter Allyson, too.
Ahead of the movie’s release, we sat down with producer and Blumhouse Productions CEO Jason Blum to chat all things Halloween Kills, as well as some of the many other projects on his busy production slate, like The Exorcist, Five Nights at Freddy’s, Dracula, and more. Check out our spoiler-free conversation below, edited for length and clarity.
GamesRadar+: How do you think Halloween Kills evolves on from 2018’s Halloween, which wiped the slate clean on a lot of the franchise’s mythos?
Jason Blum: It’s different in that it’s a lot bloodier and more graphic. For better, for worse, there are more kills in Halloween Kills.
How do you think it changes the franchise moving forwards?
It has a slightly different tone than the first movie. I think the third movie is actually going to have another kind of unique tone. I think one of the things [director] David Gordon Green did which was great, is in these three movies [they each] have three different tones, which I think is cool and relatively unique in a trilogy. And obviously he brought a lot of old characters back from the first or from earlier movies, and I think we’ll see more of that in the third movie.
What else can we expect from Halloween Ends? Is it going to be as brutal as Halloween Kills?
Well, we haven’t shot it yet, so I can’t tell you. We’re shooting in January, but I’ll let you know in six months.
Were there any lessons from the process of making 2018’s Halloween that informed how you approached producing this film?
Oh, there were many lessons. It’s a very disparate group of people. There’s Trancas [International Films] and Malek Akkad [producer], and there’s Miramax, there’s [composer] John Carpenter, there’s Jamie Lee Curtis, there’s David. There’s a lot of personalities with very deep emotional connections to these movies, and we all had to learn to get to know each other and trust each other, which we did. I can’t say this for all the franchises that I’ve worked on, but certainly for this one, we’re a happy group of people that gets along, which is unusual. And all of that took time to happen, but it has now, and so it makes the experience much easier. Halloween Kills was an easier movie to make than Halloween 2018.
I spoke to David Gordon Green, and he talked about John Carpenter’s input on the film, and on Halloween Ends. Did you have many conversations with Carpenter about the franchise in the process of making Halloween Kills?
Not the second movie. But the first movie, I had a ton of conversations with him. The second movie, you’re exactly right, he spoke more to David and their relationship was established, and that’s how I wanted it to go. But I didn’t want to tackle a Halloween movie without John, and I met him, and I told him that, and he was very skeptical in the beginning. He said he might do it if he could do the music, and I said we’d love him to do the music, obviously. And now we get along very well, and we’re very lucky to have him involved in these movies.
I think there’s a very good chance David Gordon Green wouldn’t have stepped into this without John. So he was an integral part of this. But now he’s serving like an executive producer. I don’t consult with him very much, but David talks to him all the time to show him all the versions of the scripts, talk to him about casting, showed him the cut of the movie, and obviously worked with him extremely closely on the music.
You mentioned before how this film brought back a lot of characters from the original movie. How was that decided? Was there ever a version that wasn’t going to revisit the collective experience?
I think after Halloween 2018, that became something that everyone was more excited to do. And the folks who saw that movie felt like they were in good hands with David. I think some of these Halloween movies have been questionable creatively. So I think that, needless to say, the people involved in prior Halloweens were a little skeptical. But I think when they saw what a talented, confident director David was, they were anxious to jump into this again.
Do you know what was behind that shift in focus? And was that a logistical difficulty, getting everyone back together again?
It was truly creative. That was David’s idea for the second movie, and I thought it was a great idea to make a movie about mob mentality. And since he wrote it and shot it, that’s only become more relevant.
Are there plans to dip back into the Halloween mythos in future films? And what’s the decision process behind choosing what to keep and what to do away with?
That’s really David. We have the scripts, he’s already made those decisions. Obviously, we start shooting like I said in January, so the script is pretty close to locked. And he’s the one who decides what stays and what goes, and I get it done for him.
Are we heading into a direct showdown between Laurie and Michael, a one-on-one kind of thing? Or is Halloween Ends going to be something completely different?
That was a good try. But if I tell you, if I give you that information, Michael Myers will kill me.
[Laughs] I understand. And are you involved in big story decisions? Do you have a say in the direction the franchise is headed? Or is it all purely over on the creative side?
No, we’re very involved. There have been 25 versions of the script and we go back and forth. We give our input through the entire process. David has the ultimate say, but there are long, long – I wouldn’t go so far as to say endless, but almost endless conversations about the creative. The person who runs the movie company is a guy named Couper Samuelson and another executive we have named Ryan Turek, who actually has Halloween tattoos over all over his body. He’s one of the biggest fans ever. And he is the Blumhouse secret weapon in Halloween. But anyway, Ryan and David and Couper go over all sorts of different aspects of the script and the story and every detail, every day, until the movie is finished.
You’re also working on The Exorcist with David Gordon Green. How are you approaching that compared to Halloween, as you’re reviving another iconic franchise?
We’re approaching it in a very similar way. Actions speak louder than words – the reason we’ve teamed up again is because our partnership on Halloween has been so successful. Not just the results, but the actual partnership is very fun and satisfying, and we get along well, we understand each other well. And we’re going to try and tackle Exorcist in the same way, we’re going to try and give it a lot of integrity. Ellen Burstyn is in it, we’re trying to get people from the original movie back again. And hopefully, The Exorcist will feel the same as Halloween 2018, in that it will feel new and different and relevant to today, but also connected to the first movie in a very concrete way.
How far along is that project, what stage is it at?
We’ve got the script for the first movie, and not for the second and third movie, and we’ll be shooting most of the movie next year. And the release date for the movie is two years from right now.
You have a Dracula movie in the works with Karyn Kusama, and she has described that as being quite faithful to the novel. Will that still have a twist to it, like with the technology twists in The Invisible Man, or is that really more of a straightforward adaptation?
Oh, there are a lot of twists to it, but I can’t get into the details of the twists or Karyn Kusama will bite my neck.
And how far along is Wolfman with Ryan Gosling? Is there an update on that project?
We are still tinkering with the script trying to get it right. It’s a tough one to get right. But hopefully we’ll get it right soon.
You’ve got Merrily We Roll Along with Richard Linklater too, and that seems quite removed from the usual films that you produce. What drew you to that project?
There’s a handful of movies we’ve produced which are outside the norms of Blumhouse. We’re developing a movie based on the novel Stoner, which was a big [book] particularly in the UK, even though it’s a very American story, which is more of a straightforward drama. Obviously, we did BlacKkKlansman, we did Whiplash, in television we do a lot of work outside of horror. Every so often, I guess I’m personally drawn to something that I can’t help not make. And I would say that Merrily fell into that category.
Do you have any plans to tackle a Frankenstein project, or any interest in that?
I have a lot of interest, but no plans currently. But a lot of interest.
Okay. And would that be a fresh take like with The Invisible Man, or a more straightforward one, if you can talk about it?
I don’t know. No, it’s not that I can’t talk about it, I’m not working on one specifically. But I don’t know what we’d do with it. But I’d love to make one, I think it’d be a lot of fun.
Frank Grillo has revealed another Purge movie in development. Is that in the very early stages now, or is that moving along?
We are not confirming or denying that. There’s no immediate plan but who knows, who knows what the future will bring.
News broke recently that the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie had lost Chris Columbus as a director, but before that, the update was that there was a script and it was ready to shoot. Do you still have that script, is that the one you’re going with? Or has there been another overhaul of the project?
We’re doing a little more script work currently. We found a few problems in our script and they need fixing.
We spoke about Frankenstein, but is there another horror franchise that you’d like to reinvent, a dream project?
Friday the 13th is my dream project.
Halloween Kills is out this October 15 in theaters and on Peacock in the US, and is in UK cinemas on the same date. Until then, check out our roundup of the best horror movies of all time. Or you can read 7 questions I STILL have after watching The Exorcist.