Tonight in Toronto, Laurie Strode makes a triumphant return to cinemas with David Gordon Green’s Halloween. While the latest installment of John Carpenter’s iconic horror franchise—centering on the murderous, masked Michael Meyers—is the first to hit theaters in over a decade, Green’s contribution to the canon goes back much further than that.
In fact, Green’s Halloween—co-written by regular collaborator (and former college classmate) Danny McBride—looks all the way back to the original 1978 classic, disregarding the plot turns of all subsequent films in the franchise. Interestingly, for scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis, this was one of the key conditions for her return to the role that made her a star.
“You have to remember, all of the other storylines were really just inventions of other writers and other directors needing to add on to the story that was told before them, and it just got complicated. Even the invention of [Meyers] being [Laurie’s] brother, that was in a writers’ room somewhere,” the actress told Deadline, appearing in Toronto today with Green and McBride. “What I loved was the cleanliness of honoring the original movie and just building on that story with a very delicate hand.”
For Green, who partnered with Carpenter and Blumhouse on the film, the decision to approach his Halloweenas a direct sequel was an equally intuitive one—as intuitive as the decision to take on the film in the first place, paying homage to a filmmaker and a work of art he had admired as he was coming up. A chameleonic filmmaker leaping confidently from indie realism (George Washington) to stoner comedy (Pineapple Express) to true-life drama (Stronger), Green has always demonstrated an interest in the genre, and continues to do so in making his first pure horror film. That’s though the idea of doing so may have been daunting in some sense, bearing in mind his responsibility to legions of Carpenter fans.
“I think it’s good to make choices of things that kind of scare you and put you outside your comfort zone,” said McBride. “I think it pushes you to flex different muscles.”
Expanding on the plot at hand in the latest Halloween film, Curtis touched on where Laurie is at now—experiencing continuing, all-consuming paranoia, always expecting Meyers’ return. “Trauma is a generational illness, and in this movie we explore the generations that have been affected by a trauma that happened in 1978 to this young girl,” the actress reflected. “Very clearly, Laurie Strode had no help. I believe Laurie Strode went back to high school two days later with a bandage on her arm, and that’s about it. So for me, the exploration of trauma was integral to not only the writing, but then the performance.”
For more from our conversation with the Halloween team, take a look above.