When I first read Marcus Dunstan’s (The Collector; Saw IV [writer]) “recalibrated” descriptor about his upcoming take on John Carpenter’s Halloween, I allowed myself a little internal scoffing moment. There’ve already been ten films, sequels, reboots, remakes, resets — whatever you want to call them — they’re all inferior to the original and by now, bastardized to the point it’s barely recognizable. But, for the sake of longtime love I read on, and found myself pleasantly surprised by the things Dunstan said; heck, maybe it is time to use a different term, and maybe this director truly intends an updated homage. Do we really need a “recalibrated” Halloween when Carpenter’s film still stands strong? Probably not. But remakes happen, and if there’s a chance something new and interesting will emerge, what the hell — let’s take a chance! What could go wrong?
The title Halloween Returns may set off all your warning systems; it seems unimaginative and indicative of just another reboot. As Dunstan explains, it’s not exactly how he first imagined the movie name, but there’s more thought behind it than you think.
“Halloween, if you have a semicolon, Returns, I think I put it in an email as a subtitle, but I think it was registered as Halloween Returns, which is fine. I like that, and it works, it does function as what it means to say. But if you commit a violent act, sometimes you get returns. What are the repercussions of being a violent entity? In that case, Halloween Returns could mean a number of things.”
Dunstan also understands where the power of Carpenter’s movie lies — not in blood and gore or effects. He intends to go back to those solid roots.
“[Co-writer Patrick Melton and I] went back to the original screenplay too and just read it, John Carpenter’s draft, and timed it with watching the movie, and line for line it keeps the same clock as watching the movie.
Michael Myers is subtlety and suspense. Suspense isn’t expensive. A karate fight in a burning room is expensive.”
The director is hunting down William Shatner…his mask, that is. And when the film’s first teaser comes out, he hopes to have a Star Wars: The Force Awakens moment:
“[Myers and his mask will] resemble the classic profile from John Carpenters original Halloween. I think one of the first key images has got to be that carefully set up Instagram photo of the mask in profile with that border edge lighting, so you know right away what the intent is. If it looks anything at all disparaging to anybody, than we’ve failed. Our goal is to have that Han and Chewie moment.”
“I want to make The Dark Knight.”
High aspirations; I like it.
Halloween Returns will follow the events in Halloween 1 - 3, disregarding the happenings of Halloween 4, Halloween 5, The Curse Of Michael Myers, H20 and Resurrection. The general plotline reintroduces Michael Myers, now on death row for his crimes. The adult offspring of one of Myers’ victims, and the daughter of a cop who’d been obsessed with the case attend Myers’ execution — which of course never happens. Myers somehow escapes and goes after the pair.
Finally, Dunstan already has a lead actress in mind (presumably the cop’s daughter role).
“I really like this actress Gillian Jacobs. She’s known for all this comedy on Community, and yet I didn’t know her from Community first, I knew her from a movie called Gardens of the Night, which is one of the most wrenching dramas, and she’s excellent. I thought, ‘I wonder if this great performer would do that again, would like to go there, and I think so.’
If Marcus Dunstan truly intends to recalibrate — to adjust his film and measure it against the standard set by John Carpenter — we could be in for a real (no trick) treat.