Last Thursday Collider hit up the Saturn Awards to cover the red carpet and meet the most eclectic group of Hollywood and not-quite-Hollywood talents imaginable. In addition to our exclusive interviews with James Gunn, Len Wiseman, Neil Marshall, Robert Rodriguez, Walking Dead Executive Producer Scott M. Gimple, and Hannibal showrunner Bryan Fuller, we also go to meet and talk to the man who shot Micheal Meyers in 1978 and the guy who rebooted him in 2007.
Early in the evening, legendary Director of Photography Dean Cundey – a man who shot the first three Halloween films and Jurassic Park - as well as producer Malek Akkad, who took over the family business and worked on the five most recent Michael Myers outings. During the two discussions, we talked about early applications of Steadicam, the legal issues involved in wearing a William Shatner mask for over 30 years, the end of the Thorn, what happened to Halloween 3D, when we can expect to finally buy a copy of the long lost Producer’s Cut of Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers, and the future of the franchise. Hit the jump for the video interviews and the best quotes.
Director of Photography Dean Cundey:
Question: You used the steadicam extensively in Halloween for POV shots, was that a psychological, emotional thing?
DEAN CUNDEY: I think that one of the great things that I credit John [Carpenter] with, is that he was so interested in using the camera to tell the story, to involve the audience. And the fact that we used the steadicam so extensively in order to draw the audience in to the story. It was really a credit to John and a great opportunity to me.
0:55 – No deeper psychological meanings?
CUNDEY: I think that as a filmmaker, you always sort of empathize with, first of all the audience, and how do you draw them into the story. And I think with Halloween, we were very, very fortunate that our collaboration meant that we could not just use the camera to record actors talking, but to sort of draw the audience in and make it part of the psychological aspects. You have to look at Halloween and say it was one of the first so-called, ‘Slasher films’ and it started a revitalizing of a genre. So I was very pleased to be part of it and to have done it in a way that has become a classic.
2:10 – It was a very early use of steadicam though, right?
CUNDEY: The steadicam had been used for a couple of shots in various films; in Bound for Glory and Rocky. They were usually for one or two specific shots. One of the things that John and I decided was that it was a great tool for drawing the audience in. So we used it extensively. I think that it’s probably the greatest use of the Steadicam at that point.
2:50 – Was that super expensive for your budget?
CUNDEY: I think that when the steadicam first came out it was looked upon as a specialized piece of equipment. It wasn’t part of the budget. And it was very bold of John to commit to it. Very bold of [Co-writer and Producer] Debra [Hill] and a lot of the production people to say, ‘Okay, we will commit to using it and not just look at it as a sort of superfluous kind of add on and we can’t afford it,’ but as an integral part of the storytelling.
Halloween Producer Malek Akkad:
0:00 – Intro back and forth.
MALEK AKKAD: The thing about horror films, I think they’re just a fun thrill ride. You can go feel safe and feel scared. People kind of let themselves go. That’s the fun of it. And that’s the coolest killer out there. And I think there’s just some thing very cool about Michael [Meyers], because he’s got the mask, you kind of fill in the pieces for yourself. So everyones got their own impression of what’s underneath. So hopefully that can continue and sustain for a few more films.
1:10 – What are the origins of the mask and were there ever any legal issues from using William Shatner’s face?
AKKAD: We’ve had to recreate it sometime with varying degrees of success. But the original one was a William Shatner mask that they changed enough to avoid legal problems. But somehow, [Tommy Wallace], the production designer on the first one picked three masks from the Halloween store. One was a disfigured pumpkin, but then he walked out in [the Shatner mask] and that was it.
Did the disfigured pumpkin show up in Halloween III: Season of the Witch?
AKKAD: That wasn’t the disfigured pumpkin. But there was a pumpkin in part three.
1:50 – Was Halloween: Resurrection ahead of its time in some ways?
AKKAD: You know, it was in a way. The whole streaming live on the internet, that was very fresh at the time. So we tried to sort of tap into that energy and do something new. So, like I said, every sequel has got its own fan base and some people like the other ones more than the other, but that one we tried to stretch out and do something new.
2:35 – Was there ever any discussion of continuing the Thorn plot in Halloween: H20?
AKKAD: We did discuss continuing it and, what happened was, we were coming up to the twentieth anniversary and [The Curse of Michael Meyers] wasn’t one of the bigger box office hits. So what the studio and I and my father, we got together and said, ‘Let’s do the twentieth anniversary.’ And the only way to do that properly was to get Jamie Lee [Curtis] back. So when you bring Jamie Lee back, it kind of leads to a whole different kind of storyline. It’s focused on the whole, Jamie Lee/Laurie Strode character. So, the Thorn thing faded away with that, but I think that was the right move because H20 was a great movie.
3:25 – Will the box set include the producers cut of Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Meyers?
AKKAD: Yes. I can announce that on the box set we will have the Producer’s Cut, finally. […] It’s been around for so many years and people have bad bootlegs, so I’m really happy that we were able to get the right elements and put it all together. And it looks – the transfers great, the sound is great. I think fans are going to be really happy with it.
3:55 – Did you attend the Producer’s Cut screening at The New Beverly Cinema?
4:20 – I saw a test screening of the Halloween remake, back before I did any of this. Why was the rape scene in the hospital deleted?
AKKAD: It was a bit graphic and we kind of wanted to ride that fine line that, the people that Michael kills, we want to feel for them. So, immediately, the two guys, when they’re… the rape scene. You wanted him to kill them, you start rooting for Michael to kill them. It was that fine line. We wanted it to still be scary and we wanted the kills to still be scary, not root for Michael. I think that was the thinking at the time.
5:05 – Why didn’t Halloween 3D happen with Todd Farmer and Patrick Lussier.
AKKAD: Todd Farmer and Patrick Lussier did a script. The next day after the last one came out, we were back in production for Halloween 3D. We were about two weeks from going down to Louisiana to shoot it and for whatever reason, the studio thought we were maybe moving a little bit too quickly. I disagree. I think we had a great script and a great team and it would have been a massive hit. But right now we’re currently working on a new script for Halloween 3, so it’s all in the works right now.
6:00 – Will the potential Halloween 3D follow the characters from the Zombie franchise?
AKKAD: I can’t talk about it too much right now, but it will definitely keep elements and bring in new elements. But I really want to bring it back to kind of like, the classic – because the last one got a little dark – I want to bring it back to the classic Friday night horror film that people will really like.
6:25 – Obviously I could ask you who would win in a fight? Freddy? Jason? Pinhead? But you’re going to say Michael because it’s your family’s life work. So how would Michael kill the others?
AKKAD: That’s a great question. With his trusty blade, with his trusty butcher’s knife. Look, they’re all great and they all have their own great fan bases, but yes, of course I’m biased and to me Michael Meyers will always be the best.
6:50 – Were there any specific plots outlined for more Halloween anthology entries in the vein of Season of the Witch?
7:40 – When outlining a Halloween movie, do you consider the film theory interpretation that they’re about the sexual awakening of a young woman?