This Friday, October 15th, horror fans will finally be able to lay their eyes on Halloween Kills, the twelfth installment in the forty-three year old franchise and the direct follow-up to 2018’s series reboot Halloween. Delayed from its original October 2020 release by the coronavirus pandemic, this sequel finds director David Gordon Green once again in the director’s chair, accompanied by co-writers Danny McBride and Scott Teems, with actors Jamie Lee Curtis, Andy Matichak, Judy Greer, Will Patton and James Jude Courtney reprising their roles alongside several new cast members filling out the roster (many from the 1978 John Carpenter original). With this release comes the knowledge that a third film, the purported trilogy capper Halloween Ends, is due for release next year, likely bringing with it a definitive conclusion to the Laurie Strode/Michael Myers saga.
On hand to discuss the future of Halloween is producer and franchise godfather Malek Akkad, who joins us today to chat about the film series’ twisty canon, anthology possibilities, Michael’s potential forays into other media, and the difficult decision to delay Kills’ release.
Bloody Disgusting: Speaking as a longtime fan, part of the appeal of the franchise is that it continues to change with the times and adapt to current audiences. There are now multiple continuities, so viewers can choose which storyline they’d prefer to follow without having to stick to one unending, forty-year old stretch of canon.
With the Blumhouse films, there is a solid trilogy acting as a sequel to the original ’78 film. Once that trilogy wraps up, are there any plans in place to continue on with Blumhouse storyline, or reboot once again?
Malek Akkad: Well the thing is, this franchise has been going for over four decades now. I never would’ve guessed when I started as a PA on [Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers] that somehow this thing would take over my life and I’d be talking about it over thirty years later. I’m humbled and honored to have that opportunity, but no one’s more shocked about its longevity and where it’s gone more than me, I’d say.
You know, there were always disjointed parts of the timeline. I would say where it took the biggest turn was after Resurrection. That was the last film, as you probably know, that my father was involved in [Moustapha Akkad, Malek’s father and original Halloween series producer, passed away in the 2005 Amman terrorist bombings in Jordan alongside his daughter Rima]. After that tragedy, I really felt that was the time to seal those first eight off and come back with something different, and really kind of reestablish ourselves.
So that was when I said, “I think it’s time to reboot, and let’s get someone exciting,” and that’s how we got in with Rob Zombie. Fortunately, at the time the studio was really supportive. I’m still very proud of that film. Now, even previous to that there were some jumps, and fans know some of these timelines better than me, to be very honest. But you know, even H20 was a similar situation in some ways, and the reaction was similar with the fans. “Hey, what’s the timeline here?” So after taking that hard turn into Rob Zombie’s chapter, let’s just say I was less concerned or precious about timelines as I was about doing something that was really quality.
I wanted to make sure that we were setting the bar really high. At the previous studio, I spent about seven years trying to get the next film set up, and you probably know about some of those iterations. But I really was holding back, because they didn’t see the vision of this being the global hit it could be. So once I got out from that situation, I finally was able to get some partners – meaning Universal, Blumhouse, the new Miramax – that saw the same vision and really got behind it.
So I was thrilled. I’d been waiting for someone to say, “Hey, Halloween is not a ‘Let’s just do a quickie low budget [flick].’” Believe it or not, [the previous studio] asked me to shoot it in Bulgaria, and I refused. It’s the most Americana film of all time. Then they wanted me to go to Serbia, and I refused. So a lot of that period was just me saying “No” to that previous studio, and thank God I did because it all worked out.
Getting back to your question, when Jason Blum … and I always give him credit, he was the one who suggested David Gordon Green. I’d always been a huge fan, but never really thought we could get a filmmaker of his ilk. But that’s going back to that thinking, “This could really be bigger.” So I credit Jason for that. And when David Gordon Green and Danny McBride came in to pitch me on this vision, it wasn’t that it was so totally outside the parameters of what we had done, because H20 had Jamie returning. We’d sort of touched on it. But their vision was different, very exciting, and timely. It took me a little bit. Not much, maybe a day or two, but just to really trust in their abilities as filmmakers and lean into that.
Having said all that, I don’t know if I answered your question about the future. I mean, the thing is, I like to quote my dad, who was quoting Donald Pleasence. They asked him, “Donald, how many of these are going to make?” Donald Pleasance laughed and said, “I’m going to stop at 22.”
My Dad always liked to use that quote. I guess [Halloween Kills] is twelve, and if we go by that quote, we’ve got ten more. Or other versions, other iterations, other fun things that we can do. But really, right now, the focus truly is … we haven’t thought past the David Gordon Green trilogy. We are so excited about this new one, but in the back of everybody’s mind is, “Hey, as soon as this one comes out, we’ve got to get back together and do a third one that’s on the same level.”
So we really haven’t thought much beyond that.
BD: A lot of fans have been wondering if Halloween might ever attempt the anthology route again, as was once tried with Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Is that a possibility, or something that’s been mulled over, or is the Halloween franchise now inextricably linked with Michael Myers, would you say?
Akkad: I would never say “Never” to anything, and there could be some form of that. It all depends on the filmmaker who could take on that role. But for me, really, the star of Halloween is Michael Myers. I look to Season of the Witch, which is a very liked film, but that really was the film that almost stopped the franchise.
Then my father, when he came back with Halloween 4, everyone thought he was crazy. And here we are, decades later. So I don’t rule anything out. I’m open. But in terms of the main iconic driving force of this series, I’m always saying, “Hey, guys, it’s Michael Myers.” And yes, of course, Jamie Lee and John Carpenter and David Gordon Green, and our fantastic cast..
But yes, in my mind, the two of them are forever linked.
BD: Aside from the films, are there any plans to move Michael into other media? We’ve gotten video game appearances, comic books, and novels in the past – is it possible that we’ll get more of him in those arenas in the future?
Akkad: I think so. Watch this space. We are developing some fun things. We just did the pinball machine, so there’s one iteration. We’re doing fun, different projects. At least, we’re discussing them.
I think the key to me is always trying to achieve something worthy of the bar that John Carpenter, Debra Hill, Jamie, that they all did on the first one. That’s always a struggle, and we’ve had various degrees of success, but that’s really always the goal. So if it meets that standard, we’re open to it and we’re living in an era when these other media platforms are taking off.
I’m sure we will see something soon.
Speaking of the comics and novels – the original film novelizations, the Kelly O’Rourke young adult novels from the 90s, and the Devil’s Due comics are all out of print, highly sought after, and wildly expensive on the secondary market. Will we ever see reprints of any of those, and is that even possible or something that you’d like to pursue?
Akkad: We’ve discussed it. I know that they are collectors’ items, but to be honest, I don’t know if that’s the path to explore. I think one of the issues that I have with novelizations is that they have to fill out a canon that is not so true to the films. But I know that there’s a lot of good stuff in them, and that fans like them.
So we might look into doing reissues of some. Certainly, there are novelizations on the new films. Again, never say “Never.”
BD: With Halloween Kills nearly upon us, what do you want fans to know about this particular installment?
Akkad: Well, I mean, Halloween with David Gordon Green in 2018 … for me, it was like catching lightning in a bottle. I had gotten out of the previous situation and slowly put the team together to get a fantastic producer like Jason Blum, going to John Carpenter, getting Jamie Lee, and then a filmmaker like David Gordon Green. It was just one thing after another. I always say that that film was really catching lightning in a bottle, and all the stars aligned.
And so now, with Halloween Kills, we want to smash a bottle and have lightning strike twice, and I think it will. I think what David has done on this one will not only fulfill the diehards, but also the average fans, even new fans. He’s done a film that hits on every level, and is in some ways bigger, more exciting, more terrifying than the last one.
No one could be more excited than myself to see this finally come to light. I am so thrilled. I cannot wait for this to be unleashed. And I believe fans are gonna just love it. Now it’s up to us to follow up two great movies with Halloween Ends.
BD: What final thoughts would you like to leave readers with on the eve of Halloween Kills’ release about the future of Halloween, and that of Michael Myers?
Akkad: Personally, I’m so excited about this new film. It was difficult to hold it back. You know, we finished shooting right before Thanksgiving 2019, before all of this. And we all agreed that we would hold it back last year. That was a tough, tough decision for us, because no one more than the cast and crew wanted to release it to the fans.
I really do think that this film was worth the wait. It’s so exciting, the die-hards are gonna love it. I still believe that the theater is the place to see it, even though times are changing and it’s going to be streaming as well, but there’s nothing like that collective feeling of seeing it at a movie theater.
Then the immediate future is all about Halloween Ends. That’s what we’re all focusing on. So that’s sort of the immediate future. And after that, we might have to have another chat!
Special Thanks to Malek Akkad for his time and insights.