Interview with Jason Blum – Founder of Blumhouse Productions and Producer of ‘Halloween Kills’

Michael Myers is back with Halloween Kills hitting Australian movie theatres on October 28! Coinciding with the films release, the awesome team at Universal Pictures Australia set up a phone call with the film’s producer and the man behind some of the biggest horror franchises of the last decade, Mr. Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions. Read below as we discuss how Michael Myers is the scariest character of all time, how the horror genre is a female dominated space and how sick and twisted the Halloween Kills screenwriters, David Gordon Green and Danny McBride, really are!

Slasher films have the hardest job of balancing the two most disconnected elements of a movie. You have to make something like Halloween Kills incredibly brutal and violent, yet completely fun and entertaining at the same time. When you first read the script for this movie, was the balance of these things something you were able to see on the page?

When I first read the script, I thought: “Wow. This may be the most violent Halloween that has ever been made”. The first movie sets the violence up so that it wouldn’t be such a shock, but I was very excited about it. And then I called David (Gordon Green) and Danny (McBride) up, and obviously the script changed a lot from that first draft I read, but the violence was there and I thought it was great.

And touching on the violence, this movie definitely steps up the creativity with the gore. Working with David and Danny, did you get any creative input into any of Micheal’s kills?

Did I get any creative input? I did not need to give any creative input! Danny and David are two of the sickest people you have ever met! 

You don’t have to spoil it if you don’t want to – but do you have a favourite kill in the movie?

It was one of the most original kills I’ve seen, but the one where one of the characters gets stabbed through the eye. By far my favourite.

That one got a good reaction out of our audience!

I bet it did!

A big theme that this movie explores is both the positive and negative sides of a ‘mob mentality’. The positive aspect explores the unity of people for a greater cause, and the negative showcases the metaphorical ‘blindness’ we can have when we let our emotions take too much control. How important was it to you and the creative team to also portray the psychological terror that Michael brings?

I think John Carpenter created one of the scariest characters of all time, and part of the reason he is so scary is exactly what you said. You know, there’s something supernatural about him, there’s the physical violence, there’s ‘toying’ with people. I mean, he’s three-dimensional horror! All of those things add to him being the scariest character ever created.

I feel like Halloween Kills has successfully avoided the ‘final girl’ trope without completely disregarding its roots in horror, with Alyson and Karen heroically stepping up alongside Laurie Strode even more so in this sequel for the task of hunting Michael down. Thinking back to even the first Paranormal Activity, was having strong female leads and presence in horror films something you were actively pursuing?

You know, it sort of is. Our horror audience is 55% female and 45% male. I always encourage our filmmakers to have female protagonists, because the audience is more female than male. It’s good business! 

How much of Jamie Lee Curtis’ performance as Laurie Strode is Jamie acting, and how much is it Jamie just being her bad-ass self?

I’ve heard her answer this question, and I think there’s a lot of Laurie Strode in Jamie, and a lot of Jamie in Laurie. They’ve grown up together from the time that she [Jamie] was a teenager. So, I really do think there is overlap between them, they’re really strong, really powerful women.

I saw on Twitter recently that you are doing 15 minute long ice baths with 10 bags of ice in each bath. As someone who does cold showers every morning – I’d love to know what your mental trick is to stay in for that 15 minutes, because I can only do 3 minutes?!

[laughs] Look, I find the first 60 seconds is horrible, and then after that it just doesn’t matter. My hands are out and my head is out of the bath, I’m usually on Slack for something mindless to do. And, I don’t know, I set a timer and find it goes by really quickly! It’s really just the first minute that is hard, but you just have to hang in there! If you can do it for 5 minutes, you can do it for 15. That’s my horrible advice [laughs].

I love that you’re productive while in the cold bath! I’m usually just thinking about how long until I have to get out! Jason, thank you so much for talking today and congratulations on the movie!

Thank you, I appreciate it.

Thank you again to the team at Universal Pictures Australia for setting up this interview, and remember to check out Halloween Kills, in cinemas October 28.

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Nick L'Barrow
Nick L'Barrow
Nick is a Brisbane-based film/TV reviewer. He gained his following starting with his 60 second video reviews of all the latest releases on Instagram (@nicksflicksfix), before launching a monthly podcast with Peter Gray called Monthly Movie Marathon. Nick contributes to Novastream with interviews and reviews for the latest blockbusters.

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