Toronto Film Festival: ‘Halloween’ gets standing ovation
New Halloween helmer David Gordon Green got a helpful piece of advice from horror maestro John Carpenter: “Keep it simple, and make it relentless.”
Green revealed that tidbit to a packed midnight audience on Saturday at the Toronto International Film Festival’s world premiere of Halloween — where excited fans dressed in Michael Myers costumes and gave the October 19 release a standing ovation before the screening even began.
Simple and relentless the 2018 Halloween is, anchored by a tough-as-nails return by the erstwhile Laurie Strode herself, Jamie Lee Curtis. Set 40 years after Carpenter’s 1978 original film with the same title, Halloween 2018 finds Strode back in Haddonfield, facing off once again against iconic killer Michael Myers.
Written by Green and Danny McBride, the Blumhouse-produced film premiered in staggered showtimes in two theatres (the Elgin and the Winter Garden) as part of Tiff’s Midnight Madness section. Before the movie began in each venue, a menacing figure took to the stage, casting a looming shadow across the screen of someone in Myers’ familiar workwear and mask.
In the new film, Curtis is joined by Judy Greer as Laurie’s daughter Karen and Andi Matichak as granddaughter Allyson. Laurie’s relationship with Karen has long been fraught, as the paranoia that gripped Laurie’s life after her fateful encounter with Myers was transferred down to her daughter — a cycle Karen is struggling to end within her own family. When Myers breaks free on the 40th anniversary of his initial attack, three generations of Strode women face off with their tormentor.
“It’s a movie about trauma,” Curtis said during a 2am question-and-answer session after the screening. “And ultimately, if any of you have lived through any trauma or have a family member who has trauma, it isn’t just you or the family member. It is generational. It’s something we’re seeing of course with wars — and I just thought it was an amazing way to tell the story of Laurie and tell it through the eyes of her daughter and her granddaughter.”
Added Greer, “I feel traumatised right now. This is the first time I saw it. Please forgive me, I’m shaking.”
“You know,” Curtis said, “life’s a little scary. I live in America. This [is] getting real. So I’m scared every day. The truth of the matter is I’ve been very lucky and I have not survived a trauma the way Laurie Strode has, but I don’t know a human being in this room that hasn’t suffered a trauma. It’s universal. It’s part of being human.
“But life is tough for everybody,” she added. “That’s why we go to the movies. That’s why we want the release of a movie like this, so we can come together and scream and laugh and then go home and get some... sleep.”
Green’s film essentially ignores the storylines of the many sequels that were made between Carpenter’s film and his own (some of which starred Curtis, some didn’t), but, without spoiling anything, let’s just say the finale of the new Halloween is suitably open-ended.
McBride acknowledged what may be in store for the creative team if the film is a success, “I was telling David earlier, I think the only thing possibly scarier than being chased by Michael Myers is having to write a sequel to Halloween.”