In 2018, the new Halloween, starring icon Jamie Lee Curtis, killed at the box office, earning more than $250 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing chapter in the franchise’s four-decade history. Now, in 2021 Halloween Kills returns as the second movie in a new trilogy that will become part of a four-picture saga that starts with John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) and will complete with the movie, Halloween Ends.
One of the film’s producers Jason Blum, is founder of Blumhouse Productions. His multimedia company is considered the driving force in the current horror renaissance. Blum has been included on the TIME 100 Most Influential People list and has appeared on Vanity Fair’s New Establishment list. In 2016, he received the Producer of the Year Award at CinemaCon. He is on the board of The Public Theater in New York and a member of the board of trustees for both the Sundance Institute and the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.
After checking out the film, I got to do an early morning interview with producer Blum and they dug into Halloween Kills.
A/REEL: I really enjoyed Halloween Kills. I think it’s got the biggest kill count I’ve ever seen. How was it as a producer? Logistically it looked like a nightmare.
J BLUM: it was a nightmare for two reasons. It’s killing people on screen and making it look real. It is hard to do and also expensive. Low budgets, killing and corpses don’t go together. There’s also so many people involved in the franchise and they all have very specific opinions, and sadly they rarely agree with one another. So, getting everyone on the same page was tricky. The single best decision was picking David Gordon Green. He did a terrific job writing directing the movies, but also being a leader and keeping everyone excited and keeping everyone on the same page.
A/REEL: You’ve got so many extras. There are so many people in some of those scenes, especially the ones at the hospital. So how did it work with all those extras?
J BLUM: You know that their union rules you. We’ve got to pay everyone the same daily rate.
A/REEL: I reckon you could you could put the call out Halloween fans if they want to be a background extra and you’ll probably get about 20,000 plus rocking up.
J BLUM: You’re right, but it’s illegal, so I I’d be put in jail.
A/REEL: You’re producing a lot of projects, you’ve got your TV work as well. And your Amazon deals. You’ve got so much going on. Do you still try and get out and spend time on every set? How does it work for you these days?
J BLUM: I try to get on set as little as possible. COVID has made that much easier. We have almost 100 people who work at the company, so now we have executives on the set. Before COVID, I would go for a day to go say hello and cheerlead everybody. Since it’s a pretty big company now, my time is not very well spent on that side of the movies. And Halloween is no exception.
A/REEL: What’s it like working with Jamie Lee?
J BLUM: She’s become a good friend of mine. She was really instrumental, not only in front but behind the camera as well. She and David have a special relationship. She and John Carpenter have a special relationship. She refers to herself as the Halloween cheerleader, which is a very appropriate title for her. It’s been terrific to work with it, just great.
A/REEL: Obviously, you have a lot of projects going on, and you probably get a lot sent to you. Do you get together in a team and have a bunch of scripts and talk about each one? How does it work?
J BLUM: The process involves a bunch of people in the room. And we have certain criteria for the movies. They have to be scary. They have to be exciting, but I think what’s different about our company is we focus on low budget movies. The traditional studios are so expensive. They can’t green-light a movie without comparing it to another movie that’s made a lot of money. That’s one thing we don’t do. You know one of our criteria is does the movie feel original? Does it feel unique? And we are lucky to be able to do that because our budgets aren’t too high.
A/REEL: Do you have a white whale of a franchise that you would love to get a hold of? Or a white whale project that you would love to do that you just can’t grasp a hold of?
J BLUM: Friday the 13th. That’s my white whale. I can’t seem to get my hands on it but I’m trying.
A/REEL: Fantastic. I was hoping you were going to say that or Freddy Krueger.
J BLUM: Friday the 13th is my dream. Someday I’ll get it.
A/REEL: Jason, thanks very much for talking to me and I’m sure this film is going to go gangbusters. So thanks very much.
J BLUM: Well, thank you, I appreciate it.
Header Image – Producer Jason Blum (left) and Director, Writer, Executive Producer David Gordon Green (right) on stage as Universal Pictures presents the US premiere of Halloween Kills
Interview – Darran Price