The gallery has been updated with three older events! The first is the well-known event at Planet Hollywood during promotion for Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later. The second is a Halloween reunion with select case and crew from October 13, 2000; the third is the DVD signing for Halloween: 25 Years of Terror from July 25, 2005!
What’s more… the entire transcript for the Halloween Reunion can be found by clicking the “READ MORE” option at the bottom of this post!
- Events > 1990s > 1998 > 8/3 – “Halloween H20” Planet Hollywood
- Events > 2000s > 2000 > 10/13 – “Halloween” Reunion
- Events > 2000s > 2006 > 7/25 – “Halloween: 25 Years of Terror” DVD Signing
The Halloween Reunion 2000 took place on October 13, 2000. Below is the entire transcript of the Q&A panel.
CURTIS: I think it stinks that Nick Castle didn’t get a gold certificate.
HOST: We’ll take take of that later. I can’t imagine when the last time all of you were together!
CURTIS: There are a few more people here – for sure – some people that I know of, and probably some that I don’t know of, so you know who’s here, Nancy Stephens, who played the nurse, in 1, 2, and H20. Say hello! Tommy Doyle’s here —
HILL: Brian Andrews!
CURTIS: And the child that ridiculed that child is here. Mickey Yablans is here! And I’ve also been told that Mark Wallfower, our gaffer, is here. Hi Mark! And, there are millions of people here from the sequels that I never had anything to do with, there’s one person here who was directly responsible, at least on some level, for getting H20 to turn into H20, Kevin Williamson. And Steve Miner is not here, he left. I think you guys scare him! And just for a curio, Nancy Stephens’s husband is and was Rick Rosenthal, the man who directed HALLOWEEN II.
YABLANS: We also need to take this opportunity to recognize Moustapha Akkad and Joseph Wolf.
CUNDEY: There are two other performers in the film that are out here, that were overlooked. The child who played Superman and the young girl who played Little Red Ridinghood. They would be my son and daughter.
CURTIS: Could you please forgive me?!
HOST: Irwin, you had come up with the original concept for the film on a plane coming back from Europe. Could you just describe how it came into your head and how you got in touch with John Carpenter?
YABLANS: I had formed a company with Joe Wolf and Moustapha Akkad called Compass International Pictures. We were a distribution company. But we had a fatal flaw in our plan. We didn’t have a film to distribute. We had seen a film called SEIGE by a young filmmaker named John Carpenter. So I took it to Europe. On the way home we stopped in London. I got a phone call from the lobby from a man I had never heard of. He said “Hello, my name is Michael Myers and I’d like to talk to you about SEIGE.” He thought the film was brilliant and he wanted to enter it in the London Film Festival. As I flew home I thought to myself, “there must be a way to make a film with this young man.” I thought about a horror film, this babysitter murder type of film. I got home and thought of HALLOWEEN. I called John Carpenter that night. I said to John, “What do you think of this horror film, HALLOWEEN? Do it all in one night? He understood it immediately. We met the next day. He told me about this young talented person he had collaborated with called Debra Hill, who would write the script and produce the film. “John, whatever you like, as long as you make this picture in 4 weeks. The bottom line is we got money from Moustapha Akkad. We gave John and Debra very severe parameters. Four weeks. Three hundred thousand dollars. We stretched to three and a quarter to get Donald Pleasence. And they went out and did that and more and the rest, as they say, is history.
HOST: And Debra, you actually wrote the first draft of the film? With John Carpenter? Can you tell how you first met and what was your approach to writing HALLOWEEN so quickly?
HILL: Well John and I had worked together on ASSAULT ON PRICINCT 13, with Nancy, and Joe, who happens to be here, that’s the producer. I was script supervisor. And John and I began a relationship that has been 22 years. It wasn’t until the return home from the London Film Festival that we started talking about the BABSITTER MURDERS. I had been a babysitter. It was the night that Irwin called our home and talked about HALLOWEEN that it really really gelled. We could go back and take this really truly scary night, that we had all grown up with, and we could figure out what the scares were. Irwin’s idea was just brilliant. It really gave truth to what the babysitter story was. I grew up on movies like BEAST WITH FIVE FINGERS and THE THING. All these kinds of movies that I loved as a kid. And we wanted to incorperate those kinds of scares. The Alfred Hitchock scares, like from PSYCHO. So John and I started writing. I wrote much of the girls’ dialogue. The “totally.”
CROWD LAUGHS, SOLES smiles.
HILL: And John wrote, really, the Donald Pleasence dialogue. The voice of evil. And, of course, we named the Shape after our distributor of ASSAULT ON PRINCINCT 13, Michael Myers. He’s since passed away, but he was really an inspiration. We wrote the script in 3 weeks. We brought it to Irwin and Moustapha, who immediately started cash-flowing the picture. Chuck Bender brought Jamie Lee Curtis and P.J. Soles to my attention. Jamie’s audition I very clearly remember. Meeting her and her energy.She was the perfect girl to play Laurie Strode. One of the first auditions that Jamie did was when she was on the phone. She did something that most actress don’t do. Most actresses hide their face with the phone. She didn’t, she revealed herself. She screamed. She did all the right things. Then we hired P.J. We wrote the role of Annie FOR Nancy. We had our three girls. We had our script. We had Irwin, Moustapha, and Joe’s supporting us as young filmmakers. It’s about “go and make the movie.” So that’s how it came about. It was really a blessing.
HOST: Now, Jamie Lee, you were working on a TV show at the time? Operation Petticoat?
CURTIS: I had actually been FIRED from that TV series at the time.
HOST: What was your first impression when you read the script and met with John Carpenter and Debra Hill?
CURTIS: Well, you make it sound like an offer. “Read the script and come talk to us.” You have to understand this was a tiny little movie. It was a complete audition process. It wasn’t like I met with them. The production offices were TINY. John’s office was tiny and miniscule. It was not glamourous. All I remember was being terrified and nervous. And it was a big thing for me that the character’s name was on every page of the script. At the time I had been fighting for one line on a TV show called OPERATION PETTICOAT. Five nurses trapped on a Navy sub where every week we had to go “Captain, when are we getting off the ship?” And the problem is that they would break up that line into 5 parts.
CURTIS: So I was used to kinda sticking my tits out and wearing this navy uniform and going “Captain, when are we…” And then somebody else would finish the line. So for me to see a script where “Laurie / Laurie / Laurie” – it was a huge opportunity for me. I was nineteen years-old. That was my impression.
HOST: Now you all had to draw on some primal terrors for the film. One of the big challenges of a horror film is to in fact look like you’re scared. How did you work out with John Carpenter to be scared on cue?
SOLES: Actually, I remember when I was being strangled with the phone that I was laughing a lot. I kept saying “come on, you have to do it a little harder, or else it’s not gonna work.” When you imagine that you’re in a scene where you’re getting killed, you’re vulnerable. Your blouse is hanging open and all kinds of things – it’s not hard to imagine. You’re an actress and that’s the scene that you’re doing. But I do remember asking them to do it a little harder because it was kind of tickling my neck.
HOST: Now Nancy, you had actually worked before with John on ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13?
KYES:: Right. I did a lot of screaming in that movie, as I recall.
HOST: Did you have any sense at the time of just how big of a phenomenon HALLOWEEN would become and how much of an impact Carpenter and the movie would have across America?
KYES: (SMILING): No. I had no idea.
WALLACE: Nancy has the distinction of becoming what everybody wound up referring to as “The Nancy Loomis Character” in all of John’s early movies.
HOST: Now, Tommy Lee, you actually went back a ways with John Carpenter.
WALLACE: John and I grew up in the same town. We went to the same school. He was a year older. We both made friends and got into a rock ‘n roll band together, and have been friends ever since.
HOST: Now you had a number of different hats.
WALLACE: Well, don’t try this at home, but production designer and editor aren’t compatible. So you get no sleep. I had kindof appeared on the scene with John on DARK STAR. I was still in film school and John had gotten out. I was coming out of art school. And then ASSAULT ON PRICINCT 13 came along. After the movie I was used to being around student films. I was like “Well John, give me something to do.” “Can you cut sound effects?” “Yeah!” So faking it got me a long way. And John was kind enough to give me those opportunities. When HALLOWEEN came along, I was production designer and editor. When I needed help, Charles Bornstein walked through the door.
HILL: I just want to say one thing, going back, just so you know some of the early relationships. Nick Castle, Tommy Lee Wallace, and John Carpenter were film school students together. And when John went back and shot some more footage on DARK STAR in order to release it as a feature film, Nick Castle was the alien – the beach ball.
HILL: And so he was our perfect choice for the Shape. And Nancy Loomis also did costumes, as well as acting chores. So I really feel in many ways that this was a company of performers that did both chores behind the camera and in front of the camera through a number of movies and we were a family. Many of us were partners with each other, in terms of living with each other. So it was really a wonderful early beginning for all of us in terms of our careers.
HOST: Nick, how do you feel about getting to play two emorphous entities in two of John Carpenter’s films? The beach ball and the Shape?
CASTLE: Damn proud, really.
CROWD LAUGHS AND APPLAUSES
CASTLE: I get mail from strange people.
CASTLE: I hope it’s none of you in this audience. I get about 6 letters a year from strange people a year who congratulate me on being the Shape, and that that was the best Shape. Since then I’ve directed my own movies, but they don’t care about those.
CASTLE (SMILING): They were just really happy I was the Shape. I think the “beach ball monster,” which we did call it because it was a beach ball, was my better role. I did the clicking with the hands on the beach ball. Go back and get that. It’s on DVD now. When you go to the Actor’s Studio, that’s one of the first classes, in fact, how to be the giant tomato beach ball.
HOST: Jamie Lee, did you…?
CURTIS: I was just remembering the art department, which was in a little truck. Obviously this was my first film and at the time I wanted a momento. So I asked Dean if I could have the slate from HALLOWEEN. You know, the clapper board, which was Dean’s personal slate from all the pornos he had done.
CURTIS: This was an old beaten up slate, with the bottom left corner broken off and little pieces of tape for the take number. Over the name of the movie was a thick stack of tape. Obviously the third assistant camera had kept putting a new piece of tape for each film. This one just had HALLOWEEN and it said John Carpenter. I said “Dean, is there any way I can get this?” He said, “You can have this slate.” Well, imagine how thrilled I was. The problem was that I finished my work in the movie before the last shot in the movie. So it meant waiting. You have to understand how little the budget was and how hard this was. The house in HALLOWEEN is really old. You know, the house where I and the little boy go up to at the beginning of the movie. That’s how the house really looked the day we got there. And the last shot of the movie everybody on the crew…lead, of course, by Tommy, remade that house to look like the house you see at the beginning of the movie.
WALLACE: And not an inch outside of camera range.
CURTIS: Literally, window dressings and paint ONLY where you would see it. This was this major one shot steadicam shot. Ray Stella was the camera operator.
HILL: My hands were the kid’s.
CURTIS: So you have to remember that we all put that house together. We all painted, we all hung drapes. And then, that night, once it got dark…They rehearsed when it was light. And then when it got dark, it was this scene to shoot this one shot. Now Debra had the clown outfit on. And when you see him go into the kitchen and open the drawer, you see Debra’s hands. You also have to understand that we had very few lights. And very few crew people. So, each light had to be moved once the camera passed, to light something. And I waited outside all night long to watch this final shot be shot. You’d see these grips running and ducking into a window so the camera could go by. It was really rough to make. I just have this image, when you talk about a family feeling on the movie, it was never more evident to me than that night when we all painted and dressed this house and then watched this funny little “dance” go on. That, to me, is probably my favorite memory of this whole movie. At the end of that, Dean gave me the slate, which hangs in my house today. Oh, by the way! While I’ve got the mic I’ve got to do this.
CURTIS FUMBLES LOOKING FOR HER CELL PHONE
CURTIS: I happen to be a phone company representative now, as a direct result of my HALLOWEEN experiences. This is what I do for my phone commercials. This is the ringer on my phone. Here I go…
CURTIS: Oh, I knew it was gonna do this. Talk to somebody else and come back to me!
CUNDEY: I was just wondering, Jamie, if I could borrow that slate. I’m missing some information on my resume.
CURTIS: Don’t think I haven’t tried to STEAM off those pieces of tape!
HOST: Dean, your early career is sounding more and more interesting! You shot HALLOWEEN widescreen. You did some very intricate camera moves, using a very early steadicam. Can you talk about just how difficult it was to shoot the film and how you were able to overcome some of those challenges?
CUNDEY: Well, I have to say that HALLOWEEN, for me, was this great breath of fresh air because if you did go under those layers of tape…I often describe them as non-union action/adventure films! Essentially, they were girls with machine guns.
CUNDEY: There was SATAN’s CHEERLEADERS. Anyways, working with John was such an interesting experience because most of the time the directors that I work with use the camera to record the actors talking and things blowing up. John was such a visual storyteller. I said “wow! this is why I got into this business.” To be able to use the camera in this way. The steadicam had just been invented. People were trying to figure out what to do with it. Originally everyone thought it was going to replace the dolly.
CURTIS: Ready? This is my phone…
CURTIS’ CELL PHONE PLAYS THE HALLOWEEN THEME
CURTIS: So if you’re in a store somewhere and you hear that and you see its me, you can actually go “Wow, that’s cool!” I actually just had one more thought….
SUDDENLY, A DIFFERENT HALLOWEEN THEME CELL PHONE ECHOES THROUGH THE AUDITORIUM
CURTIS: Don’t even think about it! It’s not nearly as cool if you have it! And I mean that with all due respect.
CURTIS: What I was just laughing about this morning was movies became so polished and obviously you stop having that kind of guerilla filmmaking experience. It’s the only time I’ve ever had it. One of the examples showed up this morning in the L.A. Times. It was an article on John. There’s a picture of me. It’s the scene at the end when the kids come out of the closet. “What happened? You can’t kill the boogeyman.” Then I push them back into a safe area and I go into the closet. At one point during a lighting setup I fell asleep on a couch. And it turned out to be a corduroy couch. And I went into one of those really sick deep sleeps and then was woken up to do the scene. When you watch the movie, I have a corduroy impression. And the picture in the L.A. Times today – you can see the impression of the corduroy couch on my cheek. And, of course, nobody airbrushed pictures of the stars of their movie. It’s another one of those weird little things to let you know how tired we all were. How hard it was. What babies we were. I saw this picture this morning and it just made me laugh!
YABLANS: I’d like to talk about, for just a moment, the first time this film was ever shown to a paying audience, because that was quite an experience. This was at the General Cinema in Westwood, which was a big risk because I had shown the film to every major distributor and nobody was interested in it. So we show this picture to a thousand people. We were warned not to do it because we had a lot of UCLA kids, a lot of sophisticated wise-ass kids
YABLANS: We knew we were taking a risk. But, I believed in this movie. So the movie started, and it was quiet for a while. About halfway through, the laughs start to come. They kept coming and kept coming. And I thought, “My God! What did we do?!” I couldn’t understand it, because I thought it was just plain great. Finally, the last time that Jamie Lee Curtis dropped the knife, somebody yelled out “You dumb bitch! You deserve to die!”
YABLANS: Then I knew we had a hit. We found out later on it was nervous laughter. Total involvement. And that we had done something very special. They had created and reached the audience in a visual way that, in my opinion, had not been done quite that way before. I then took the film all over the country, distributing it, and I found that same reaction everywhere. It was the most fun to watch audiences respond.
CURTIS: By the way, my autobiography is called “You Dumb Bitch, You Deserve To Die.”
HOST: Debra, I don’t want to blow any secrets here, but HALLOWEEN is set in the mid-west, but that’s not where it was shot. Can you tell a little bit about the locations where it was shot and the problems involved in trying to make it look like the mid-west?
HILL: Well, they were really Tommy’s problems. The film takes place in Haddonfield, Illinois, and I’m from Haddonfield, New Jersey, where I was a babysitter. So, I really wanted to write something familiar, and that’s what we did. We put it in Illinois because we wanted something in the middle of the country. We wanted something that was scary. Sort of like “Eerie, Indiana.” We ended up shooting on two Orange Groves. Orange Grove in Hollywood, where Starline Tours, everyday, bring 3 or 4 buses through to talk about the filming. Also, Orange Grove in Pasadena, where the Michael Myers house was. We shot it in March, so we had no fall. We had lots of palm trees. Framing was exactly how this film was art directed – to the frame. We had a big bag of fall colored leaves. We found like maybe 6 pumpkins. And keeping these pumpkins fresh over 4 weeks was really hard.
WALLACE: They were South American things that look like pumpkins, only they were green. So all the pumpkins in HALLOWEEN are painted orange.
HILL: For those of you who don’t know, John and I wrote the movie for free. John directed the movie for free. I produced the movie for free. The actors worked for scale. The crew worked for – you can’t believe how little. Dean Cundey had this fabulous van called “the movie van” which was no larger than a van, which was the grip, electrical, and camera truck. It was the kind of thing where you didn’t throw money at the problems, which so often happens today while budgets are just being driven up and up and up. It was about a group of creative thinkers who were friends, who cared for each other, who just worked beyond to try and come up with this movie and put it together. Right? Everybody. It was literally, “bring your wardrobe to the set and we’ll choose it for you.” That’s exactly how we worked.
HOST: Speaking of creative problem-solving, Tommy Lee, I know some people have heard it before, but can you recount it for those who haven’t, about the design of the mask?
WALLACE: As the production designer, it was my job to come up with the mask that the Shape would wear. So I went out and found 2 different masks. I thought a clown was pretty eerie. I was proven right years later when I did IT.
WALLACE: I bought a clown mask and a William Shatner mask. We weren’t letting on at the time. I think it was kind of a big secret. I knew I had to do something to the mask because it did kind of look like William Shatner. So I pulled off the sideburns and cut the eyeholes bigger, and spray-painted it appliance white. And kinked up the hair. Kind of made it funky. Then we got in the little biddy place Jamie Lee was talking about. Little offices. We auditioned the clown first. Nancy was the costumer. She came up with the jumpsuit. It was all focused on that face. It was scary. Oh, man, that’s gonna work great. The funny clown, but it ain’t funny at all. Then, out came the William Shatner mask. It sent a chill. From the second it appeared, it was “Oh shit! That’s sick!” There’s something demented about a guy who would put on a mask to look – normal. Everybody knows about it and how it looks. It really created an odd effect.
CURTIS: Just as a footnote. When we made H20, the mask became a big issue. Without getting legal here, apparently there were legal issues about the mask after the movie came out. And all of the subsequent movies…
WALLACE: Cheap imitations.
CURTIS: There were subsequent movies where the masks were made and then the people that made those masks claimed that they made those masks from a mold of THEIR face. Meaning that the William Shatner mask was legitimately William Shatner. But then the subsequent movies, this person that made this mask, then forever said “Well that’s my face because I molded my face and made a new one. So forever now you have to license it from me. Let me just tell you, we spent two, three weeks doing mask work. We called Tommy in a panic. Because we just couldn’t get it right. If you ever see H20, the truth is, the last week of the movie, Miramax called and said they hate the the mask. And we re-shot, I think, 10 days of work, to kind of make the mask look different. And it became this INSANE – INSANE – process of trying to get the real feeling from that mask. And I have this picture I should have brought, where it was mask test day. And all the ADs [assistant directors] and a couple of other people in the office, stood there, holding these masks for their screen tests. Those were the things that actually got the most attention. Not the actors. Not anything else about the movie. Anyway, it was a nightmare. And you look at it in the movie – and, I’m sorry, it stinks. Not the movie, but the mask. They chose the wrong mask. I wasn’t in charge.
SOLES: The real mask is available at Princeline.com, I think.
YABLANS: Debra, that’s the next sequel. The Haunted Mask.
CURTIS: Let me just tell you about Priceline.com.
SOLES: You’ve got a story about EVERYTHING! Tootsie Rolls?
CURTIS: How do you know if it’s an original HALLOWEEN poster? It’s folded. The original HALLOWEEN posters were folded in a box. That’s how they shipped them out.
HILL: Guess what I have, guys? I spent the summer going through my storage space. I found the original HALLOWEEN script. Typed on an IBM Selectric. With John’s and my notes on it, for the typist.
YABLANS: You know what I just found yesterday, in my closet? The original HALLOWEEN music tape. Magnetic track.
SOLES: And I found my math book!
HOST: I would like to thank you all for coming here tonight. I know we need to get the film started.
HILL: And thank you, Anchor Bay, for making it possible for us all to be here tonight. I don’t think any of us have seen it on the big screen in 22 years. I’ve only seen it one other time, and that’s when we did the laserdisc. That’s the only time I’ve seen it. So, I’m really excited about tonight. Thank you for all coming.