Why Halloween Used That Cool Opening Scene

Michael Myers in Halloween
(Image credit: (Blumhouse Productions))

The new Halloween is a culmination of the conflict between Michael Myers and Jamie Lee Curtis' Laurie Strode after the cult-classic hit theaters 40 years ago. While the film's chilling opening fits seamlessly into the movie by amping up the suspense right away, it wasn't the original opening scene the filmmakers had in mind. Director David Gordon Green explained his original vision and why it didn't end up making it into Halloween:

Up until production, the opening was going to be a prologue that gave us some context of our narrative. It was going to back up in time; 1978. As we were approaching production and we had 25 days of principal photography schedule in front of us, it wasn't going to make sense. We had to do all this period recreation and specific stuff that became too daunting considering our short shooting schedule. So we had to come up with something really quickly.

Although the Halloween filmmakers were stinted by the tight production schedule set by Blumhouse Productions at first, if you've seen the film it doesn't look it. The opening scene has British podcasters visiting Smith's Grove Sanitarium to see deadly serial killer Michael Myers, who has been locked up there since his last run-in with Laurie Strode all those decades ago. Since the silent murderer doesn't say much of anything and they are gunning for an interview with him, they pull out the iconic mask for him to see as Myers sits in chains. The audience isn't clued into what happens next, but the terrifying reactions by the other patients surrounding him opens the film with quite a few chills.

Director David Gordon Green said they scrapped the original, more complex idea and decided upon the new opening for Halloween just six days before shooting began in January. While it would have made sense for the direct sequel to include a recap of the forty year gap between the two films, the opening they went with is much more in line with the circumstances behind the filming of the original Halloween.

John Carpenter's original horror movie was filmed in just 21 days, and the director enlisted his college friend, Nick Castle to become the man behind the mask. It was filmed in the springtime in Pasadena, California with set designers painting leaves orange to make it look like it was October. The new Halloween comes after several sequels, but ignores the timelines and events set up therein to assure that the property remains an iconic one that moviegoers are excited to revisit. And, the revised opening certainly seems to help with that. In his interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Green continued to explain, saying:

I've been making indie movies for 20 years so it's not unusual, but it's funny making a movie now that has this big studio profile and support and campaign, but if you put us back in time in January where we are like, how is it even possible to film this in that number of days? I was confused and upset that I didn't think we could accurately achieve this prologue. We did have this really cool location we found that had this weird checkerboard courtyard and we were going to meet Michael. We just came up with a heightened environmental atmospheric opening that was going to be inexpensive.

Filmmakers David Gordon Green and Danny McBride came onto Halloween as super fans of the franchise, eager to continue what John Carpenter started and expand on it with their own signature. The setback of not having enough time, or money, initially, to make the opening scene they set out to was likely a frustrating process, but by embracing the low-budget circumstances of the original, they seem to have come out of it on top.

Halloween is currently in its debut weekend at the box office, with an expected record of $70 million by the end of it. The direct follow-up to John Carpenter's classic has been thrilling fans of the original, horror fans and critics alike, so head to the theater and see if the opening scene successfully sets up the action to come for yourself.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.