phantom limb /ˈfan(t)əm’lim/ n. an usually painful sensation of the presence of a limb that has been amputated.
Welcome to Phantom Limbs, a recurring function which is able to check out meant but unproduced horror sequels and remakes – extensions to style movies we love, appendages to horror franchises that we like – that have been sadly lopped off earlier than making it past the planning levels. Right here, we will probably be chatting with the creators of those unmade extremities to realize their distinctive perception into these follow-ups that by no means have been, with the discussions standing as hopefully illuminating however undoubtedly painful reminders of what may need been.
With this entry, we’re having a look at Halloween 8: Lord of the Useless, the unproduced follow-up to 1998’s Halloween: H20. Penned by Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers screenwriter Daniel Farrands, Lord would have acted as a sequel to each Curse and H20, marrying the disparate continuities of every movie whereas offering audiences with a surprising new tackle The Form.
Becoming a member of us is Mr. Farrands, who discusses the origins of this meant eight installment, the story it will have instructed, and why it by no means got here to go.
“In my youthful naivete, exuberance, no matter you need to name it, I simply wrote this epic factor the place it was like 35 pages and it was simply heaps and many stuff happening,” Mr. Farrands begins, noting how he tackled his authentic Halloween 6 therapy for franchise godfather Moustapha Akkad. “When he learn it, I didn’t know what to anticipate by way of his response. I assumed, ‘Nicely, I’m both going to get this job, or I’m going to blow it.’ However he learn it and mentioned, ‘I believe that is incredible, however you’ve method an excessive amount of right here. We have to minimize this in half, and the primary a part of it ought to be 6. And now now we have sort of a roadmap for what 7 goes to be.’ He was, I believe on the time, fairly severe about that.
“So the beginnings of this have been that authentic Halloween 6 therapy that was simply too large. too costly to make into one movie. I believe this was earlier than the times once they would greenlight back-to-back productions. On reflection, had issues been that method again then and so they’d mentioned, ‘Let’s do two’, we’d’ve had a Halloween 6 and seven and possibly closed out that story. However that was the origin of my persevering with story, above and past, Halloween 6.”
Followers will bear in mind the tip of Halloween 6 discovered survivors Tommy Doyle and Kara Strode making off into the night time with Kara’s son and Jamie Lloyd’s child, however Farrands reveals that his authentic ending had Kara Strode dying, with Tommy being blamed for her homicide. “That was the unique scripted ending. Not them driving off in a Jeep. There was a sort of coda to all of that, the place they go to the identical bus depot the place we noticed Jamie Lloyd make the cellphone name in the course of the night time, the night time earlier than. On this ending, which I assumed was a pleasant bookend, the heroes have been going to cease on the similar bus cease. Tommy, Kara and the youngsters get out. It’s raining, it’s pouring. It’s the identical sort of scene that we noticed beforehand. Tommy runs to the identical quaint cellphone sales space to make a name to 911 and might’t get via.
“As he’s making that decision, Kara has taken the children down into the restroom. We hear a scream, and he goes working down into the restroom space. He opens every one of many stalls. He finds a pool of blood popping out, and there’s Kara bent over, her throat slashed, reaching out for him, and the 2 kids are gone. You then hear sirens, and the implication is, ‘Oh, fuck. Tommy’s in plenty of bother.’”
From this level, Tommy would have gone on the lam, avoiding the authorities and Michael in equal measure. “I used to be a bit impressed by The Hitcher, so it turns into ‘Tommy vs. Michael’ on this darkish freeway sort of concept, till they arrived again in Haddonfield. The second a part of the film, the Halloween 7 therapy that I had inadvertently written, takes place in Haddonfield the place the murders are occurring. Persons are a bit bit like in [Halloween Kills], the place persons are simply sort of engaged of their Halloween stuff, they know one thing’s occurred, then persons are locking their doorways. There’s not a mob, however sort of like that. That group concern. Then a number of of them exit within the night time to attempt to hunt him, and people folks begin getting killed off.
“Then what we in the end would notice is that this coven, this secret society, was made up of plenty of the folks inside the city of Haddonfield. It wasn’t simply this group of underground folks on the sanitarium. It was nearly like a ritual. It was very impressed by Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery. I assumed for those who apply that to a Halloween story of the place a household is chosen to be sacrificed, and that this custom goes again to the early days of Druids and Halloween and the celebration of Samhain … and that was sort of the thought. On the finish, you’ll see that the entire city has come out in a Wicker Man form of method, and has chosen their last sacrifice.
“The top of the film was, Jamie Lloyd’s life was about to be taken by this mob and Michael, and abruptly out of this crowd seems a darkish determine. It seems to be Laurie, and he or she’s there to avoid wasting her daughter. And that was the tip of the movie.”
So the tip of this Halloween 7 would have left audiences with a cliffhanger? “Sure, yeah. It was purported to be the reappearance of Laurie Strode. I do bear in mind, and this all the time makes me chuckle now looking back all these years later, that Mr. Akkad’s response to that was ‘Nicely, that’s good, however Jamie Lee’s a giant star. She is going to by no means come again to the collection, so we have to consider one thing else.’”
Provided that cliffhanger, with Jamie’s life within the stability, one assumes that Laurie’s daughter hadn’t been killed through farm equipment or gunshot within the authentic model of this story. “No. That every one got here later on the behest of the bean counters on the studio. All this goes into the entire Danielle Harris controversy, which was horrible, and the way they needed to mainly pay her as a ‘scale plus 10 character.’ Like she was only a day participant, basically. She rightfully made the choice to stroll, however on a private fan degree, it was so disappointing that they handled her like that. The film fell prey to some nasty people on the studio degree, who I believe are getting their very own simply desserts now. You reap what you sow, proper?”
If we had certainly gotten this model of Halloween 7 with the Jamie/Laurie cliffhanger, one imagines that there was a plan in place for an eventual Halloween 8 to select up proper after. “Probably not, no! The truth that I used to be even requested to do 6 was simply so thoughts blowing to me on the time. I don’t suppose there was any greater image past that. And naturally, once they put the kibosh on having Laurie Strode are available on the finish of what I needed to be Halloween 7, and what Mr. Akkad needed to be Halloween 7, I might’ve had to return to the drafting board. Except 6 was so successful that we acquired momentum happening the factor and possibly [Curtis] would’ve come again and performed it. I simply thought it will have been nice. I nonetheless really feel prefer it’s sort of a cheat. Seeing Jamie Lee Curtis with Danielle Harris would have been such a cool method to carry the entire thing full circle. That might have been a pleasant method to join all of the dots.”
Whereas this initially meant model of Halloween 7 by no means got here to go, this author wonders if Farrands had even been requested to put in writing a follow-up to the Halloween 6 that ultimately made it to screens after a fraught manufacturing and appreciable reshoots involving, amongst different issues, fetuses in tanks and inexperienced ooze pouring from Michael’s masks after a Tommy Doyle-administered beatdown. “I don’t suppose you would. Truthfully, in the event that they’d requested me to comply with that up, I might be like, ‘I don’t even know the place to start as a result of I don’t even know what the fuck that is about anymore.’”
Whereas H20 was ultimately produced as a substitute of Farrands’ Halloween 7, the author was introduced again in to pitch a take for a possible Halloween 8, which might have had the problem of reviving Michael Myers after Laurie Strode took his head off with an axe within the closing moments of the prior movie. “I used to be nonetheless very shut and involved with the Akkads, and their plan was all the time that, ‘Nicely, you already know, though she chops his head off on the finish of H20, he’s coming again. We already know that he’s coming again, and we sort of have an concept the way it’s going to occur.’ However in speaking to Malek [Akkad, Moustapha’s son and current Halloween producer] and his dad, they mentioned, ‘Yeah, go forward. Write one thing up and ship it to us.’ I did. It was referred to as Halloween 8: Lord of the Useless. I believe that was the identify that I picked and stamped on the duvet web page of no matter therapy I despatched over to Malek and his father, and it by no means went out. I doubt it went additional than their very own workplace as a result of I believe Dimension Movies had their very own concepts of what it was going to be.”
Farrands’ take acted as a sequel to H20, but additionally managed to succeed in again into the continuity that existed previous to the mushy reboot that the twentieth anniversary movie had offered. “So in my take, I sort of took some cues from that authentic expanded therapy for six. I assumed, ‘Nicely, you already know, there’s sort of an attention-grabbing concept right here, however Michael Myers is clearly lifeless on the finish of H20 … however they need the franchise to maintain going.’ So I wrote up this very transient take, drawing from components of that authentic Halloween 6/7 therapy that I had written again within the day, and I up to date it in order that it will sort of decide up from the occasions of H20, but additionally sort of taking it again to the place we left off with 6. I used to be sort of attempting to do some injury management, too. Like, ‘Let’s not completely write off what we did. Let’s not spend an excessive amount of time on it, however let’s not completely write it off both.’
“As I recall, it opened with sort of a summation of the occasions of 6 and H20, nearly in a newscast form of method. Clearly some years had handed, however then Tommy was nonetheless sort of like on the lam and form of hiding. He in the end comes out of hiding and is attacked by what he thinks is Michael Myers, and finally ends up working again to Haddonfield.
“The plot needed to do with Tommy Doyle wanting via Loomis’ diaries, the e-book that he was writing in Halloween 6, and sort of placing collectively the items of Michael’s historical past. He was actually delving into that and turning into much more of an obsessed, haunted man. I believe I described him as having a full beard, nearly turning into Loomis.
“So plenty of it was instructed as sort of a backstory of Michael’s years within the sanitarium, the way it affected Loomis, and concurrently with that there was this entire story of the continued murders round Haddonfield, and that Tommy Doyle was suspected of committing the [the murders in 6]. There was some speak about what occurred in H20, however this undoubtedly took it again to Haddonfield.
“The twist of my pitch was that, as soon as the hell breaks free and the murders started and we see all of this mayhem happening, with Tommy form of taking over the function of Loomis, the massive finale once they’re going to lastly unmask Michael Myers reveals that the killer is definitely Laurie Strode.
“She’s gone utterly batshit loopy and got here again to relive the murders that she barely survived, and he or she’s change into like The Form. It sort of made sense to me, as a result of on the finish of Halloween: H20, what you hear, after she chops his head off with an ax, is that she’s respiratory closely like Michael on the finish of the unique film.
I assumed that was an ideal setup understanding, as a result of that they had instructed me, ‘We now have Jamie Lee for 5 minutes.’ That she was contractually obligated to be within the subsequent film. And I mentioned, ‘Nicely, make them the very best 5 minutes. Don’t simply kill her off in the beginning,’ which sadly they did. I assumed, you already know, for those who’re going to carry her in once more, simply don’t inform the viewers. Make it a giant, large shock. Give it a twist. Put her in on the finish, don’t even say she’s in it, after which when the masks comes off, Laurie’s the killer.” Farrands additional notes that, very like little Jamie on the finish of Halloween 4, Laurie would apparently be taking over the mantle of The Form by the tip of the movie.
That large reveal is similar to the tip of the three-issue Chaos! Comics run from again within the early aughts. “That’s proper. [Chaos!/Halloween comics writer Phil Nutman] had come to me as a result of he knew that I had performed one of many Halloweens and he mentioned, ‘You recognize, I don’t actually know these films, actually not such as you…do have one thing that I can sort of draw from?’ So I handed him that therapy and I mentioned, ‘Nicely, that is by no means going anyplace, so right here you go!’ I believe no matter he did with that comedian was partly based mostly on what I had written in that pitch.
“In order that was sort of it. It was little bit of a piecemeal kind of factor. I truthfully knew they in all probability wouldn’t take any of it severely as a result of I simply knew how the politics have been with this entire factor at that time. It was sort of ugly, with the Dimension/Miramax camp all the time at odds with the Dusk/Akkad camp. It simply wasn’t a pleasant, amicable relationship after 6. I believe they tried to play good when it got here to H20, however I believe there was simply all the time a pressure, an unease and an unhappiness. It was simply not a very good marriage in any respect. And I believe that the Akkads would have cherished to have divorced themselves from it many, many instances over time, however as a result of [Dimension] had a rolling possibility, in the event that they greenlit one other film inside a sure time frame, they might proceed to regulate the sequels.
“I don’t even know if I ever heard an official go. I believe it simply was like, ‘Okay.’ You recognize, I believe it was simply in all probability in a stack of different therapies, but it surely was good that they even opened the door to me. Malek and his dad have been all the time very sort and supportive of every thing that I’ve performed. We’ve all the time remained on actually, actually good phrases. However after I despatched that in, I by no means actually held out any hope that anyone would even take it severely as a result of 6 didn’t do properly, and I used to be related to that. I don’t suppose anyone at Dimension would have given a second thought to something I needed to say at that time.”
In closing out our chat, Mr. Farrands presents his last ideas on Halloween 8: Lord of the Useless: “The Halloween universe is continually increasing and rising and taking totally different turns. It’s sort of like Select Your Personal Journey. It’ll be attention-grabbing to see after this trilogy concludes within the subsequent 12 months or two the place the franchise will go subsequent, as a result of I do know for a proven fact that it’s not over. Halloween is like Christmas and Thanksgiving. It’s going to stay eternally.”
Very particular because of Daniel Farrands for his time and insights.