Welcome to Commentary Commentary, where we sit and listen to filmmakers talk about their work, then share the most interesting parts. In this edition, Rob Hunter subjects himself once more to Halloween Kills.
Halloween began life in 1978 as the creation of John Carpenter, Debra Hill, and Moustapha Akkad, and the forty-four years that followed have left us with twelve films in the franchise. It’s been a mixed bag, unsurprisingly, but the series found its biggest success yet with 2018’s direct sequel to Carpenter’s original. David Gordon Green’s Halloween kicked off a new trilogy, one set to end later this year with the appropriately titled Halloween Ends, but we’re here to talk about the middle movie — Halloween Kills (2021).
The film was a box-office success during the pandemic, no small feat, but some grisly gore aside it is an absolute dumpster fire of a film. My thoughts on this extremely stupid movie are well-documented, but there’s no denying the talents involved. A rewatch earlier this year confirmed its spot atop the list of the decade’s dumbest films, but I’m going in for a third time. Keep reading to see what I heard on the commentary track for Halloween Kills.
Halloween Kills (2021)
Commentators: David Gordon Green (director/co-writer), Jamie Lee Curtis (actor), Judy Greer (actor)
1. They’re all enamored by the font used for the credits, and Curtis asks what it’s called. “It’s called Halloween font,” says Green, and that’s probably true.
2. There’s a radio tower in the background of the opening scene (seen clearly at 3:33), and “it comes into play” in the upcoming Halloween Ends.
3. Greer texted Dylan Arnold (plays Cameron) after watching the film and told him his mother should not see the movie.
4. Will Patton thought he was dead at the end of 2018’s Halloween. He was not that lucky.
5. Curtis says the bully girl at 5:24 is “so nasty,” and Green adds that he had to “out-nasty” the ones from the original Halloween (1978).
6. Toby Huss played Karen’s (Greer) husband in the prior film, and the pair were recently filming another project together. He asked her to talk a lot about him during this commentary. Per IMDB, they haven’t worked together since this film, though, so it’s unclear what the other project is. She never mentions him again.
7. Six houses were built on stage including the Myers house, and both it and the ones on either side are modeled after the Pasadena, CA location used in 1978. The ones across the street are modeled on the ones used in the 2018 film.
8. Greer is unclear on the franchise’s timeline. She is one of us.
9. They had discussed various options regarding how to bring back the character of Dr. Loomis, from voice-only to CG, but then they noticed that their construction coordinator, Tom Jones, “bore an uncanny resemblance to Donald Pleasance.” They added minor makeup f/x to his brow and nose to complete the illusion.
10. The opening credits with multiple pumpkins is meant to begin suggesting the mob mentality that will run throughout the film.
11. The song playing at 14:27 is a Coup De Villes track. They’re a band formed in the late 70s by John Carpenter, Nick Castle, and Tommy Lee Wallace.
12. The bartender is played by Brian Mays, owner of Sam’s Bar-B-Que in Austin, TX. He appears in Green’s Joe (2013) and Manglehorn (2014) as well.
13. The burning house, a stand-in for the one in the 2018 film, was previously used in Uncle Frank (2020) which also starred Greer.
14. They had discussions as to when you can “break the rules of Michael and do things that he hasn’t done before, when is that fun and compelling for the audience, and when does it betray.” The brutal sequence where Michael repeatedly stabs the husband (Lenny Clarke) while his injured wife (Diva Tyler) watches is one example and a scene that he wouldn’t have included in the 2018 film.
15. The black & white picture of a teen at 34:15 is actually Bob Odenkirk. There was a rights issue clearing a photo of the original Bob (John Michael Graham) from 1978, so Green Googled “70s Bob yearbook” and found this one. “It was a pretty quick approval, and he didn’t ask for any movie.”
16. J. Gaven Wilde is the kid in the skeleton mask at 40:09, and he also plays the younger version of Danny McBride’s character in The Righteous Gemstones.
17. Curtis thinks Andi Matichak looks a lot like her own mother, Janet Leigh.
18. The three kids masks in the park are a nod to Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982), “an underrated sequel in the franchise, but one I personally enjoy.”
19. This film is referred to as “Halloween 12” in contracts.
20. “I think if we would have had more time,” says Green, they would have killed off Lindsey (Kyle Richards) too.
21. “I’m the logic-person,” says Curtis on the commentary for Halloween Kills.
22. Curtis says “laid the pipe” at 1:06:04 when she means to say “laid the tracks,” and nobody laughs but me.
23. Green prefers placing actors known for their comedic abilities into dramatic roles because “you see the humanity and vulnerability.”
24. Ross Bacon, the actor who plays the inmate mistaken for Michael Myers, passed away a few months before the film’s opening. He also played a clown in The Righteous Gemstones.
25. “The scariest sequence” in the 2018 film for Curtis is the babysitter’s death.
26. They all rightfully talk about Tivoli’s death as an emotional one — the only one in the film, if we’re all being honest — and the discussion turns to stunts and people jumping to their death. Greer says it reminds her of 9/11, and understanding/respecting the reference has not prevented me from laughing for three minutes straight.
27. Green says “one of the most exciting and nerve-racking parts” of making this film was showing it to Carpenter.
28. Karen’s move up the stairs and her subsequent death sequence are inspired by Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960).
29. In a first for a commentary track I’ve listened to, they stop speaking a full minute before the movie ends and the five minutes of credits kick off. No goodbyes, no thanks to cast and crew, no final thoughts… very weird!
Best in Halloween Kills Context-Free Commentary
“I was both the bully and the bullied.”
“This is too scary for me Dave, sorry.”
“We have to talk about the Loomis recreation.”
“If you haven’t watched The Righteous Gemstones, listener, watch it now. Stop this movie now and watch Righteous Gemstones.”
“What is wrong with you?”
“Literally, this is not good.”
“You’re weird, David.”
“There is a penis.”
“By the way, art departments are really sick.”
“At a point you just gotta stop editing cause you’ll just go crazy.”
“Logic police probably should have left this movie twenty minutes ago.”
“Why don’t they leave the house?”
“People are spoilers, they want to spoil people’s thrill.”
“Getting stabbed in the armpit, I had not seen in a movie.”
“Why doesn’t he just run down?”
“Yeah, I was very confused by that.”
“David, I’m putting my hand up to you to say ‘why.'”
“I’m not watching this, because it’s awful!”
“Why don’t I just kill him when he’s on the stairs?”
“A lot of the kills that we had planned we didn’t get to achieve them.”
“You end the movie with this, David?”
Final Thoughts on the Halloween Kills Commentary
Halloween Kills is still an endlessly stupid film. From logic gaps that make 80s slashers seem smart by comparison to a plot that woefully misunderstands its characters in pursuit of “importance,” it’s a cash grab as filler. Still, there’s some fun to be had with this commentary track as Green and two of his leads share anecdotes and observations. Curtis and Greer frequently flinch at the gorier beats, and Greer questions the film’s logic more than once, but it’s clear they’re all having a good time. Curtis does have a habit of talking over the others, even to the point of interrupting them, but what are ya gonna do.
Read more Commentary Commentary from the archives.