There is an old Halloween nursery rhyme that has haunted me with its simple yet vaguely sinister straightforwardness ever since I first heard it as a wee lad: “Will o’ the Wisp will with his lamp lead us astray. Let us not tramp too far away.” That old bromide which sent a million and one children underneath heavy quilts and blankets for protection against the Will o’ the Wisp might just apply also to the bogeyman or, to put a fine John Carpenter point to it, Michael Myers. Myers has been the arch-villain in a grand total of ten Halloween films (not counting the underrated Myer-less Halloween 3: Season of the Witch) and has gone head to head with his heroic foil, Laurie Strode in seven films in the series. The latest film in the franchise is forthcoming and has been titled Halloween Kills. Set for an October 16, 2020 release date, this newest installment along with an impending 2021 release for what is projected to be the grand finale of the series, Halloween Ends, has kept such pop culture sites as Vents, Bloody Disgusting and Bleeding Cool working overtime in cataloging the breaking news coming from the set of the penultimate Halloween flick. Ye olde writer and chronicler of things that go bump in the night wrote a short bit for Vents some months back bringing all you Ghouls and Ghoulies up to date on everything we know so far about this David Gordon Greene directed sequel to 2018’s smash hit, Halloween. The entertainment news cycle being a beast of ravenous appetite, however, a plethora of new information about the film has come to light since I took my last stab (“Wocka Wocka” says Fozzie Bear) at bringing all the little Halloween Kills tidbits together under the roof of one article. In the parlance of the times, then, this is what we in the entertainment journalism arena dub affectionately as an “update article.” Be prepared to wow all of your horror fan buddies with your new and extensive foreknowledge of Myers and company…
On October 31, 2019, Halloween Kills star and resident Scream Queen Jamie Lee Curtis blew up the benign and always charming world of Twitter by releasing some early film footage of the new film. This quick montage of moments from the movie is notable for giving us our first glimpse of Anthony Michael Hall taking on the role of Tommy Doyle, the former tyke who Laurie Strode babysat in the original Halloween film from 1978. Hall is wielding a baseball bat quite defensively in the bit we see, and it’s probably a sure bet that he’s not trying out for the Chicago Cubs. We also catch glimpses of a not-so-happy looking Michael Myers escaping from his fiery tomb where the prior film left him. Jamie Lee is accounted for, too, on a stretcher and quite bloody. Perhaps she’s heading for the hospital where the father of her deceased best pal Annie Brackett – Sheriff Leigh Brackett (Also known as the brilliant character actor Charles Cyphers) – is now rumored to be a security guard at? The clip is tantalizing because of its very brevity and is the perfect tease for audiences eager to catch the latest film.
Filming on Halloween Kills officially wrapped on November 3, 2019 with filming for Halloween Ends scheduled to begin this month. Immediately after production wrapped, our good compadres over at the official (accept no substitutes, ya goldbrickers!) Halloween Movies Twitter account shared the below image of Anthony Michael Hall’s Tommy reuniting with original and returning Halloween alums Kyle Richards (Lindsey Wallace) and Nancy Stephens (Nurse Marion Chambers). This snapshot did my old horror film clogged heart good; I grew up repeatedly watching John Carpenter’s original ‘78 masterpiece and loved these particular characters dearly. That said, looking at the pic, I can’t help but get an uneasy Randy Meeks/Scream 2 vibe; who will live, who will die? Nostalgia mixed with dread, or as it’s known at my house, Thanksgiving with the family.
Speaking of this thinly veiled love letter to the genius that is Anthony Michael Hall (Best. Rusty. Griswold. Ever.), the actor let it slip to the brilliant fellows over at Fantasm Podcast that, along with the new Halloween film being “really intense”, his interpretation of Tommy Doyle was giving the seal of approval by actor Paul Rudd who essayed the role in the 1995 film, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. Rudd had briefly flirted with the idea of reprising the part but was unavailable for the shoot due to his schedule for an upcoming art house film called Ghostbusters: Afterlife. That little salient detail did not prevent Rudd from being a true mensch, according to Hall.
“I’ve got a little scoop for ya,” Hall related to the fine folks at Fantasm. “This is really funny…So one day, David Gordon Green texts me when I’m off – I wasn’t shooting that day – and he goes, ‘Yeah, I got a call from Paul Rudd, and he sends his best and he gave you his blessings – he’s really excited that you’re playing the part.’ I never met Paul Rudd but I thought that was really nice.”
It’s always nice to see a peaceful passing of the proverbial acting torch when it comes to certain iconic roles, although now I’m insanely curious to know what the original Tommy Doyle – actor Brian Andrews – thinks of the revamped casting of everyone’s favorite mop-headed survivor of the first Halloween film.
Speaking of the survivors from the original Halloween who are returning to do battle with the Shape this year, actress Kyle Richards got a major shout-out from her Halloween co-star and one time savior Jamie Lee Curtis during a recent interview with US Weekly saying, in part, that Richards’ “came and shot for three, four weeks and was amazing. People are going to be bonkers about her.” Goodbye Real Housewives and return greetings to the world of film? Go, Kyle!
Not every character returning to the Halloween universe is necessarily remembered fondly. Case in point would have to be one of the bullies that tormented a young Tommy Doyle in the original film, Lonnie Elam. Respected actor Robert Longstreet is picking up the reins from original Lonnie, actor Brent Le Page. Lonnie’s son Cameron Elam figured into the 2018 iteration of Halloween and Longstreet spilled the beans to the gremlins over at Bloody Flicks some of what we can expect from his character specifically and Halloween Kills in general: “Lonnie is a complicated, troubled guy who is haunted by his past; Particularly chickening out on going into Michael Myers’ house when he was a kid. I think this broke something in him that fucks with his manhood. The Elam family is very unorthodox. They love drugs and alcohol more than most…I don’t think I can say anything about Halloween Kills except it might be the nastiest of all of them. It has some terrifying scenes in it.”
With an all-important test screening scheduled for Halloween Kills this coming Thursday in Los Angeles (at this point in the article I fall down on hands and knees and beg and implore David Gordon Green for a Magical Golden Ticket to see what is easily for me one of the more eagerly awaited films of 2020) and even more news about Halloween Kills breaking daily, stay tuned to Vents Magazine for future updates on this venerable film series. And remember one and all, don’t stray too far from the brightly lit path lest the Will ‘o the Wisp and the Shape reaches out and grabs you!