Over the past six years, ever since the release of Peter M. Bracke’s wonderful ‘Crystal Lake Memories’ detailing the entire history of the Friday the 13th franchise, looking back seems to have become the new looking forward.
We have had ‘His Name Was Jason’ a documentary film about the Voorhees tale, as well as probably the finest work of all; Never Sleep Again, a 4 hour marathon detailing every fact you could ever want to know about the Nightmare on Elm Street series.
So it would be rude for the third sibling of the slasher genre, everyone’s favourite son of Hallows Eve not get in on the act.
Enter Justin Beahm, who is set to release Halloween: The Complete Authorised History in October 2013, the first real definitive look at everything Michael Myers.
Whilst the book remains in production, with many interviews still to attain, Beahm was kind enough to answer some questions about the genre itself, Halloween 3 and where he might take the franchise given the opportunity.
Inspiration for the book came from like for many others; another writing assignment. Justin was pitching a story for Fangoria about the story arc between Halloween 4 & 6, and decided at this point it would be more satisfying to hear the whole story for the first time about the series.
“It was something I’d been thinking about for a while,” he mused.
“As I started interviewing for the Fangoria feature, I realised I might as well tell the whole story. Publishers (when approached about the book) were very enthusiastic about the project, so it wasn’t hard to convince them of the worth of something like this.”
One thing Beahm was keen to point out, is that he will not be looking at the films from an analytical point of view, but more from the fans perspective. He feels that this is one of the reasons why Bracke’s Friday memoir reads so well.
“Peter’s book is great, and its success definitely illustrated the potential in something like this. You can tell it’s by fans, for fans. That means a lot, and that’s exactly how I am approaching my book.
“I am not approaching any of the films with a critical eye, it’s really the story behind them all, more so than looking at the good and bad in each,” he noted.
Strangely Beahm actually saw the second Halloween (released in 1981) before watching John Carpenter’s revered classic, but maintains the original as the horror film to have the most effect on him to this day.
“I’ve said this before, but the pacing, atmosphere, music and work with such genius in John’s original. I grew up in the Midwest and Haddonfield is just like my hometown, which made the experience even more intense,” he said.
With the scheduled releases of Halloween II & III by Scream Factory next month, it was impossible not to ask about the now cult third entry in the franchise.
“I love it!”, Beahm proclaimed.
“It is great to see it finally getting the kind of release it deserves, and nice to see people coming around to it. Excellent film”
Justin also believes the Adam Green helmed Hatchet series certainly has the legs to carry the genre beyond its third entry due out next year.
“The first Hatchet film was fun, but aside from Tony Todd’s death in the sequel, I didn’t love it. All the same I am thrilled it’s going strong, and the third film is in production. We need new icons in the genre, and Kane Hodder’s Crowley can definitely endure,” he commented.
When put on the spot though, Beahm could not choose his favourite potrayal of Michael, with valid arguments made for each.
“Nick Castle is the ultimate in the original, whereas George Wilbur took a stronger less human, more mechanical approach. Don Shanks had a more emotive role to play, and brought some humanity back to the role, Chris Durand was more evolved, faster and more focussed with Brad Loree carry this on in Resurrection.
“Tyler Maine was absolutely brutal, destructive, and by far the most violent of the lot,” he noted.
The eternal regret that remains with Justin during production, is the fact he was never able to interview the late Donald Pleasance who passed away shortly after production of Halloween VI: The Curse of Michael Myers, in 1996.
“It would have been the ultimate treat,” Beahm said.
“The book overflows with love for him from everyone who was fortunate enough to share the set with him. One of the all time greats, what an amazing man!”
As a film maker himself, it would be rude not to ask how Beahm would carry on the series after the bizarre ending to Zombie’s Halloween II three years ago.
“If it was to pick up after Rob’s Halloween II, I would love to see the story follow Brackett and Laurie,” he revealed.
“I thought Brad Dourif was just starting to spread his wings in that role in H2, and can see him becoming the protector of Laurie as they leave town and head somewhere to start a new life. Loomis was also marginalized in that film, and I think Myers needs a sympathetic alter ego Loomis-like figure to exist.”
“I’m all over the place on where I would pick it up from, sometimes I think after Resurrection or why not pick it up after Curse.”
While we are on the subject of the ill-fated Busta Rhymes starring eighth entry in the franchise, Beahm points out that the internet plot device amongst other things was one of the film’s biggest downfalls.
“It is the entry I watch the least,” he admitted.
“I didn’t care for the internet stuff, because it instantly dates the film. Besides the technology used in Halloween 3, most of the other entries are timeless. There was definitely some missed opportunity with Halloween Resurrection.”
Beahm is adamant that the suburban roots of the series, are of the reasons it has survived for over 30 years.
“The core story of Halloween is universally relatable, at least to suburban kids,” he said.
“Michael Myers is a human being, and I think that is the much more frightening than something from outer space or any kind of supernatural terror. This could happen anywhere. It speaks to rational fears that we all understand and deal with.”
You can hear Justin Beahm audio commentary on the brand new releases of Halloween 4 and Halloween 5 on Blu Ray.
Halloween: The Complete Authorised History will be released in October 2013.
For updates on the book please visit www.officialhalloweenbook.com or www.facebook.com/HalloweenBook or @JustinBeahm.