2018 ‘Halloween’ Director Explains Why the Original 1978 John Carpenter Film Was So Scary

John Carpenter — who directed and wrote the score for the 1978 Halloween movie — will go down in history for composing one of the eeriest, most foreboding scores of all time. From the sound of impending doom and Michael Myer’s steady and imposing disposition to the masked identity, Halloween lives on as a frightening masterpiece. Yet, what in the storyline — what precisely about the themes makes the movie so scary? 

an actor dressed as Michael Meyers Halloween premiere
An actor dressed as the character of Michael Myers attends the Universal Pictures’ ‘Halloween’ premiere | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The director of the 2018 Halloween movie, David Gordon Green, discussed the Halloween franchise with Rolling Stone. He noted what made the first movie so scary and what he was aiming to capture with Laurie Strode four decades later. 

David Gordon Green talks about John Carpenter’s ‘Halloween’

The 2018 movie is a direct sequel to the 1978 film, virtually ridding of some of the hodge-podge that came in the middle. The movie focuses on Strode and Myers — protagonist against antagonist decades later — and examines how such an unparalleled trauma has shaped Strode’s entire existence. 

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When discussing the creative process behind the 2018 movie, Director Green explained that he thought back to the 1978 film. He shared: 

“We just started asking ourselves what made the original movie scary, and we realized it’s the fact that it could happen to you…”

Rolling Stone

Green says the ‘Halloween’ ‘boogeyman’ must be ‘less motivated’  

Green explained that as soon as motive and personal factors come into play, the Halloween concept loses a great deal of its appeal. What is so frightening is that the massacre is untargeted. Green said: 

“It could be anyone. It could be anywhere. The more specific his mission, targets, ambitions or inspirations were, the less it affected me personally. So if we were going to create this boogeyman, it had to be less motivated…”

Rolling Stone 

Green didn’t expect Jamie Lee Curtis to sign on to the movie when he requested she come back. Yet, after presenting the concept for the 2018 movie, how could she refuse?

The film went on to become a box office success, raking in over 250 million dollars, and it premiered to strong critical and audience reception. Curtis came back to play Laurie Strode once more — a Laurie committed to ending the saga once and for all — a Laurie no longer weak and afraid but scarred and empowered.