Review–The behind-the-scenes guide to the Halloween trilogy

Review by C.J. Bunce

It was an audacious and ambitious effort: David Gordon Green harnessing a group of people under Blumhouse and other production entities to roll out a reboot of John Carpenter’s 1978 Halloween movie that was also a sequel.  Full of bits of good stuff as well as bad, some audiences loved it, some didn’t, and others saw it as a mix of both.  An official companion book released this week takes a look at all three movies.  Halloween: The Official Making of Halloween, Halloween Kills, and Halloween Ends (available now here at Amazon) is the complete look at the film series from idea to story writing to casting and production, filled with behind-the-scenes photography and interviews with cast and crew.  This is really a big deal–and a win–for fans of Hollywood horror makeup, which sets the genre apart from everything else.

Back in 2018, Halloween was a fun retro fix, especially if you saw it with a good crowd in theaters.  A direct sequel to the 1978 movie that pretty much ignored 40 years of sequels in between, it’s a good standalone film, much like Halloween H2O, the supposedly final film released 20 years prior.  This behind-the-scenes book by frequent film book writer Abbie Bernstein both reflects and leans into what brings audiences back for more:  the heroine, Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, and the villain, Michael Myers, the guy in the used and abused William Shatner mask, played by Nick Castle and James Jude Courtney.

Laurie Strode and the residents of Haddonfield once again fall prey to escaped killer Myers as the police desperately try to track him down.  In each movie, one of three acts, they sort of win and sort of lose.  The first movie sees Myers rise from the ashes, the second forms a thoroughly nostalgic trip back to 1978 as Myers seeks revenge on some victims he missed, and the third act finds Laurie literally grinding Myers into nothing.  Hence the “Ends” in the title.  It’s over, over, over.  No, really.  Check out my review of the first film here, Halloween Kills here, and Halloween Ends here.

Fans of the series and horror in general will appreciate the detailed analysis in this book of stunts, costumes, production design, and makeup effects.  Expect the gory and the gross.  Bernstein spends a lot more time with the director and writers, as well as star and producer Jamie Lee Curtis, describing why story decisions were made and how the direction of the films was adjusted throughout production.

My own favorite characters in this trilogy were Will Patton and Thomas Mann’s turns as Officer Hawkins, along with Anthony Michael Hall as grown-up Tommy Doyle, neither the focus of interviews in this volume, unfortunately.  But other key cast take part in interviews.  The genre is about the special effects, and that gets more than adequate treatment.  The explanation and images of the effects reimagining the late actor Donald Pleasance’s Dr. Loomis from the 1978 movie are particularly worth checking out.

Ready for Halloween 2023 and a must for all horror fans, especially fans of the trilogy, Halloween: The Official Making of Halloween, Halloween Kills, and Halloween Ends is available now here at Amazon from Titan Books in a hardcover edition with book jacket.

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