From Blumhouse Productions, executive producer/creative consultant John Carpenter and director David Gordon Green (who also wrote the film with Danny McBride), Halloween is a terrifying look at the after-effects of the trauma that Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) experienced when Michael Myers put on the mask and went on a killing spree in Haddonfield, Illinois on Halloween night, four decades ago. But now, there’s also Karen (Judy Greer), the daughter who was taken away from her and who struggles with her mother’s non-stop paranoia, and the teenaged Allyson (Andi Matichak), who’s stuck in the middle of the rift between her mother and her grandmother, to keep safe, by any means necessary.
At the film’s Los Angeles press day, held on the appropriately Halloween-decorated back lot of Universal Studios, actress Jamie Lee Curtis spoke at a roundtable interview about returning to Laurie Strode, why it’s such an important character to her, exploring the impact of trauma on the female psyche, having a bit of a role reversal between Laurie Strode and Michael Myers, Easter eggs, and her friendship with original Halloween writer/producer Debra Hill and the affect that she had on her, personally and professionally.
Question: When you heard about the possibility that Laurie Strode was coming back, what was your first reaction to that?
JAMIE LEE CURTIS: That was a call from Jake Gyllenhaal, who had worked with David and said, “My friend David, who I love and had a really good experience with, wants to talk to you about a thing. You’ve gotta call David.” So, we spoke, and he sent me the script. I read it, and I called him that day. The two things that popped in to my mind, right when I read it, and I read it on vacation, was that there was a scene where Allyson went on a run in the neighborhood and then she went into her house to get ready for school, and she opened the closet door. It’s not in the movie, but that was on page 2, and I thought, “Oh, that’s beautiful.” Forty years ago, I ended in that closet, and now, here was my granddaughter, opening the closet and getting ready for school, to go on with her day. I thought that was beautiful. I thought the journalists were great, and that they were British was just perfect. Right away I was like, “Okay, this is fantastic.” I finished it and thought it was great.
This film really explores trauma on the female psyche and how that impacts your character and her daughter.
CURTIS: Trauma is generational. I’m sure many of us have friends whose grandparents or parents were Holocaust survivors, and you see how that trauma goes through generations. Obviously, that’s a very heavy thing to reference, and this is fiction, but trauma is generational and it is passed on, unless it’s helped. Of course, now there are a lot of people that spend their lives helping people through traumas. There are a lot of trauma centers and a lot of recovery centers for that. There was nothing in 1978. I believe Laurie Strode went to school on November 1st. I think she went to school with a bandage on her arm, and maybe some stitches from the emergency room. I think her parents sent her back to school. And of course, two days before, she was an intellectual honor student, heading off to be the valedictorian of her class. She was gonna get out of Haddonfield and go off and expand her mind. Two days later, she was a freak. Two days later, she walked down the hall and everybody was like, “Oh, my god, there’s Laurie Strode. Holy shit! Hi, Laurie!” That’s the trauma that violence does to people. It took 40 years for her to work through it. Obviously, she had no help, nothing.