This interview contains major spoilers about Halloween Kills.
Let’s begin at the end: Judy Greer is Michael Myers’s final victim in Halloween Kills, and she loves it. Greer’s thrilling climax in 2018’s Halloween, in which she cocked a gun and left audiences yelping in delight, felt like a much-earned milestone after years of playing quirky sidekicks. Now she gets a classic horror-movie death at the hands of one of the genre’s spookiest stalwarts.
Halloween Kills picks up where Halloween left off, with Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis); her daughter, Karen (Greer); and her granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak) speeding toward a hospital as Laurie’s house burns. Much to their disappointment, Michael emerges from the inferno to continue menacing Haddonfield, particularly his childhood home, which is currently being occupied by a Minnie and Moskowitz–loving gay couple (Michael McDonald and Scott MacArthur). Karen spends most of the movie darting around the hospital in distress while wearing a Christmas sweater, eventually making her way to Michael’s old house to protect a vengeance-seeking Allyson. Unfortunately, Karen doesn’t make it out of the house alive.
Vulture talked to Greer about Karen’s fate, the clever way she duped people who had already predicted the character’s ending, and hanging out with Kyle Richards.
When did you find out about the ending of Halloween Kills, and what was your reaction?
David Gordon Green called me on the phone and said, “I want to talk to you before I send you the script.” He told me, and I tried to quit. No, I’m kidding. Someone’s gotta go, man! It’s not like it was a huge shock. I knew it wasn’t going to be Andi, so it was either me or Mom. They can’t kill Allyson because she’s the next generation of it, so I’m sort of caught in the middle. You cannot kill Jamie. And I would be pissed if they did because one of the things that I loved about our 2018 Halloween was how front and center she was. When I was approached about doing this reboot and heard David Gordon Green was directing, I thought it was bizarre.
Me too, at first.
I had a Zoom with him before Zoom was cool; I just want to say we were doing it first. I was like, I always knew I would work with you. I didn’t think it would be on a horror movie, but I’m down to party. Then they said Jamie was doing it, and I was just hoping it wasn’t going to be some random cameo in the back of a supermarket, like, There’s Laurie Strode! That would make me think a lot less of David Gordon Green. So then they sent me the script, and she was the star and she was kicking nonstop ass. I was so down with the story and the fact that she was doing even more than she did in 1978.
So back to me, of course. I wasn’t really shocked when he told me what the ending was, but of course I was super-bummed. Storytelling-wise, I think it’s the right thing. But I wanted to go and play with everyone because we have the most fun making these movies. Most of the crew comes back for them, so it’s not just the cast and David. We’re all pals. We party, and it’s total fun. That’s what I’m going to miss out on.
The average Judy Greer character doesn’t have to worry about getting slaughtered. Is it fun to die onscreen in such a dramatic fashion?
It was exciting because they had a placeholder in the script. Chris Nelson, our special-effects makeup god, and David come up with all the kills. They have to come up with them together because Chris has to build them all, so he is such an important part of this stuff.
When I showed up in Wilmington, North Carolina, for the Halloween Kills shoot, it was a Friday or Saturday night. I went to the production office to make sure the fucking Christmas sweater and those fucking jeans still fit me. Then I went to a bar where I was told everyone would show up at some point. They all did, and Chris showed up. That was when he told me what he’d come up with. It was very meta upon meta because it was an homage to Psycho, which we know stars our very own JLC’s mom. And because the movie is so gruesome, they wanted to come up with something kind of beautiful and poetic. It’s more of a dance or an opera than you watching Michael pull out my organs. I just think that would have been a lot.
It also mythologizes him. Built into your death is the explanation of that particular window being the epicenter of evil that led to all of this.
Yeah, and it didn’t really hit me as hard until I watched a screening of it myself at Blumhouse. I knew intellectually what I was doing. I knew that when people look out that window, they see the thing that Michael sees and then they understand. David was trying to foreshadow that in the hospital when I look at my own reflection in the glass from my mother’s room, and that’s kind of the start of it, where I look inside myself. Then it happens full-on when I’m up in that bedroom window. What is the evil in me? What is the evil inside all of us? I personally think that’s the point of the white mask and this Michael character. It’s representing a blank screen to project your own fears onto, the evil that you feel is inside you, the things you’re afraid of out in the world. Michael is kind of an Everymonster instead of an Everyman.
I want to go back to the placeholders you mentioned in the script. Were certain kills grislier in the movie than they were on the page?
The whole movie, to me, is amped up so much from what I read, even down to the crowd mania.
Is that because the script doesn’t match the experience of watching it, or is it because things are changing during the production?
Both. When you read a script before you’ve even started production, the people who are building costumes and sets are already working. But there is a lot that happens between having these things finished and getting onto the actual set with cameras and with actors. Because David Gordon Green has known the scenes for so long now, there is a secret language that I see them all having. They read each other’s minds. The props people have to know the neighbor is flying the helicopter-drone thing but also how he shoots it, how he lights it, how he masters the kill, where the camera angles are, how much blood there is — that’s the stuff that happens on the day that you don’t really know about until you’re sitting in a screening room at Blumhouse almost vomiting into your jean jacket.
I know you know how enthusiastically audiences responded to your big climax at the end of the previous Halloween.
I mean, I lost my mind!
Is there a part of you that’s worried they’ll be disappointed by the way this one ends?
I actually want people to be bummed about it. I want the audience to be upset, but I want them to love the movie. I guess I would hope they’d have the same reaction I did, that it was the right thing to do. They have to embrace it and also be like, Nooooo!
You are, at least according to IMDb, also credited in Halloween Ends. Could that be a hint that Karen is actually alive?
Can I tell you a secret about that?
Yeah, please do.
I don’t know if I’m supposed to say this, but I started doing press for Halloween Kills maybe a month or so ago. The first question anybody asked me about the movie was “You’re not listed in Halloween Ends.” So I called Universal, and I said, “Hey, y’all, I don’t care, but I just want to point out that, as we move forward, it might be a good idea to put this on IMDb.”
That is so smart of you.
Well, I’m only doing it because you journalists and horror fans are so smart. Because it was the first question anyone asked, I was like, We’re going to have an issue here. I hope I don’t get in trouble for saying that, but yes, I was worried about that.
You do get a really fun moment when you stab Michael with a large garden fork. You really dig into him with that thing. What’s it like to film a scene like that?
It was just really fun because it was the first time I got to see Michael in the movie, and I’m protecting my daughter and trying not to actually kill an actor. That always makes it easier to perform because it’s scary no matter what. But it was also really exciting knowing how I was going to end up with the mask — it was all leading up to that.
It must be a pretty cool feeling to get to pick up the Michael Myers mask on an actual movie set. That’s years of history right there in your hands.
I know, and Chris Nelson is so protective of that mask. There’s only, like, two of them. People in the past have asked me, “Do you guys put them on and run around?” I wish! Between every setup, Chris is like, “I need it back, I need it back.” I’m like, “I’m not going to do anything to it!” And he’s like, “I just need it back.” I can be trusted with a mask. Maybe.
You do spend most of Halloween Kills in a state of distress. Karen is not having much fun. Does it take a toll on you to have to conjure these intense emotions?
It’s actually okay. It was an easy set to act on because everything is happening for real in front of me. There really were what felt like a million background artists stampeding toward us in the hallway at the hospital. I really was trying to protect Jamie Lee Curtis from being stepped on. And the gentleman who plays Tivoli has passed away since we shot the movie, but I really was trying to get him to hold my hand. He was slower, and I didn’t want all the background artists to get to him. I’m not a Method actor, but in scenes like this, it makes it really fucking easy. What I think is hard about acting is when I have to find it within myself, when I have to go back to moments in my own life to draw from.
You mentioned the Christmas sweater. How many of those things have you cycled through over the course of these two movies?
That’s a question for Emily Gunshor, our amazing costume designer, but there were a ton of them. There was a Christmas-sweater store that I think she went to for the first Halloween, and she bought a handful of them. Then when David said we were picking up again months later, the store was closed, and she had to call the guy who owned it and go dig through all the storage spaces this man rents out to find my stupid Christmas sweater. But the thing I realized I hated the most were the jeans, and that’s a funny story because Emily had a really hard time finding them. They were kind of specific — they had shit on the pockets. Then one day she was at work and one of the background artists had them. They were the actual jeans she’d worn to work, and Emily saw that, freaked out, and bought them off the woman’s body and gave her a new pair of jeans. She couldn’t find them anywhere anymore. She also hired a woman to hand-knit the Christmas-sweater duplicates, but the lady had some issues and couldn’t finish. That’s when she went back to the store, and the guy was like, “I will dig through all my crap and try to find you more.”
I wouldn’t have even thought to ask about the jeans. The sweater is Karen’s hallmark, especially in the second movie. It’s all we see her wearing.
I know, I told David I wanted him to hang it from the rafters like a retired sports jersey.
I don’t think you have any scenes with Kyle Richards, but did you interact with her at all? And are you a Real Housewives person?
I am not a religious watcher, but I love the show and I’m a big supporter of it. I find that I watch it more when I’m out of town, mostly because I don’t have to watch all the sports games with my husband. But we had lunch together when she was working. Before COVID, I would grab my lunch and go to my trailer and just take the opportunity to have a half-hour by myself. But on this movie, I ate lunch with everyone every day because we’re all friends and we love each other. I got to spend even better time with Kyle because we got to actually be social and not just screaming in each other’s faces because of a madman.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
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