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FOG! Chats With Abbie Bernstein, Author of ‘Halloween 2018–2022: The Official Making of the Films’ Plus Exclusive Images!

Four decades after the original Halloween took the world by storm, Miramax, Blumhouse Productions and Trancas International bring a terrifying new trilogy of films in the iconic horror franchise to cinemas.

In these direct sequels to John Carpenter’s 1978 movie, Laurie Strode and the residents of Haddonfield once again fall prey to escaped killer Michael Myers. As the police desperately try to track him down, Laurie, along with her family, prepares to face her murderous nemesis one more time in a confrontation 40 years in the making…

A must for all horror fans, Halloween 2018–2022: The Official Making of the Films reveals the method behind the terror.  I had the opportunity to discuss the writing of this official companion book with author Abbie Bernstein, who shared her experiences chronicling this much-anticipated movie trilogy.  And thanks to our friends at Titan Books, we are able to share several exclusive images from the book!

*  *  * *  *

FOG!: Hi Abbie, thanks for doing this! What was the genesis of this book?  Did you start it during production of any of the films or after the entire trilogy was released?

Abbie Bernstein: Hi! I started in early 2018, after filming on Halloween 2018 was completed, but before the ending was reshot. At that point, I re-interviewed a number of people. When it turned into a trilogy, I then interviewed everybody about Halloween Kills after it had been shot, and then again after Halloween Ends after it had been shot. It’s hard for people to do interviews while they’re making a movie, because they’re too busy making the movie to talk.

Photograph by Tim Alverson / TM & © 2023 MIRAMAX LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Not only are you a pop culture fan, but you’ve written over a dozen behind-the-scenes/movie related titles. When did you first discover Michael Myers and what do you think sets the Halloween series apart from many of the other 70s/80s horror franchises?

I pretty much discovered Michael Myers with the original Halloween.

While there had been other slasher horror films, I think the original Halloween crystalized elements that had never quite come together in that way before – the idea that something so familiar and mundane as that neighborhood could turn unpredictable and dangerous, the idea of something in human form being this inexorable force, the blank mask that is so perfectly inexpressive and intimidating without being irritating (some movies have horror masks that you want to punch and feel like you could, unlike Michael Myers), and the fact that you just don’t mess with Jamie Lee Curtis.

TM & © 2023 MIRAMAX LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Looking at the acknowledgements, you seemed to be able to speak with all of the major players of this trilogy and the original film with the exception of the most prominent contributor, original director John Carpenter. As his films have entertained and influenced hundreds of millions of people was he not interested in discussing his film or the trilogy that was the focus of your book?

You would have to ask someone above my pay grade why Mr. Carpenter did not participate in the book. As is customary with these books, I am given a list of people to interview, with contact information for their representatives to set up the interviews. Mr. Carpenter was not on the list, I was told he would not be participating, and that is as much as I factually know about it.

Speaking with director David Gordon Green, did he discuss any particular challenges or surprises that he and his co-writers encountered when turning their original 2018 film into a new trilogy and ultimately, completing the story of Laurie Strode?

He and the screenwriters and Blumhouse exec/producer Ryan Turek explained that when they originally began contemplating it, they didn’t think they would get Jamie Lee Curtis, so they conceived of it as focusing on her daughter. When it became clear that getting Jamie Lee Curtis to come back as Laurie Strode was a real possibility, they reconceived the story to focus on her.

TM & © 2023 MIRAMAX LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Many fans felt that Halloween Kills was more of a nod to the third film, Halloween 3: Season of the Witch, which didn’t feature Michael Myers, but rather a supernatural story about cursed Halloween masks. In Halloween Ends, we’re introduced to a new protagonist, Corey Cunningham, who falls in love with Laurie Strode’s granddaughter, Allyson.  What Allyson isn’t aware of is that the Corey had become Myers’ pseudo-protege, and infected with his curse of evil.  Donning Michael’s mask confirms the comparison.  Was this something that the creative team had already planned, with their third film now mirroring the original third chapter, Season of The Witch?  Was Halloween Ends intended to be a callback to Season of The Witch?

I believe the intention of the filmmakers is to leave the interpretation of the power of the mask up to the viewer. The mask has power to Michael Myers and to Corey because they believe in it, but whether it has independent power is meant to be more ambiguous. After all, Michael started his killing at age six with a different mask, and in the first portion of the original Halloween without one between escaping from the mental hospital and breaking into the hardware store.

Photograph by Chris Nelson / TM & © 2023 MIRAMAX LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Likewise, in Halloween 2018, he kills the father and son and the first responder and people at the gas station without the mask until he gets it out of the trunk of the podcasters’ car. Corey’s first kill, the homeless man under the bridge, is also without a mask, and Corey kills again wearing the scarecrow mask before he finally steals Michael’s. It didn’t sound like there was a specific intention to nod to Halloween III with Halloween Ends. The deliberate nods were the fleeting inclusion of the young trick-or-treaters in the three Halloween III masks in Halloween 2018 and the more extensive inclusion of the trick-or-treaters and the masks in Halloween Kills.

Did Jamie Lee Curtis discuss her journey from 1978 to 2022 and what it felt like returning to the role?

Absolutely. The character, and her impact on individual viewers, has had a real impact on her. She also talks about how both interacting with and observing how David Gordon Green works with cast and crew has inspired her.

TM & © 2023 MIRAMAX LLC. All Rights Reserved.

We’re in October which seems to be a fitting time to release the book. If you were to host a horror themed movie marathon, what five titles would you screen?

First of all, Halloween, because it’s Halloween. An American Werewolf in London, because it’s one of my favorite films of all time, and because, like Halloween, it effectively a horror subgenre (to my knowledge, it was the first horror film to feature characters who had actually seen horror films and had some context for what was happening to them). The Devil’s Backbone, because it scared the hell out of me, while having a solid dramatic spine (pardon the pun). It Follows, because it is frightening and original. And finally, this year’s Perpetrator, because it also has some new ideas, as well as being what I think may be literally the bloodiest film I’ve ever seen (it postulates an entire other dimension of blood).

Halloween: The Official Making of Halloween, Halloween Kills
and Halloween Ends
by Abbie Bernstein is available on October 17th

 

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