Michael Myers, the masked silent Shape that emerged from the shadows of Haddonfield, Ill., to stalk generations of moviegoers, will return to theaters this Halloween season for a re-release of John Carpenter’s landmark 1978 horror film “Halloween.”
Trancas International Films, in partnership with Compass International Pictures and Screenvision, will open “Halloween” in roughly 560 theaters in the U.S. and more in the U.K. this week, marking the film’s widest release since its original run. There will be showings at Wehrenberg Galaxy 16 in Cedar Rapids and Sycamore 12 in Iowa City in Eastern Iowa.
A compete list of theaters featuring the return of "Halloween" can be found at www.halloweenonscreen.com
With the 35th anniversary of “Halloween” arriving next year, it seemed the right time to resurrect Carpenter’s classic in a proper theatrical setting, according to Eastern Iowa native Justin Beahm, Trancas’ vice president of licensing and new media.
“A majority of the people who are (fans of the franchise), most of them have never seen any of these movies in the theater,” Beahm said. “This is a nice way to reintroduce fans — reintroduce the world, in a way — to Michael Myers as the Shape.”
To highlight the “cultural impact” of the “Halloween” films and the character of Michael Myers, Beahm, who is originally from Marion, directed a new 10-minute documentary “You Can’t Kill the Boogeyman,” which will screen in theaters with the “Halloween” re-release.
In Cedar Rapids on Tuesday there will be photos and activities before the 11:45 p.m. showing and a question and answer session following.
Although Myers has anchored nine films so far — with a new installment in the series being eyed for release next year — it’s fair to say that none has had the gut-punch impact of Carpenter’s original, which opens in 1963 with young Michael, clad in a brightly colored clown costume, stabbing his older sister on Halloween night.
Fifteen years later, Michael — referred to in the movie’s credits only as the Shape - escapes from the mental hospital where he has spent the intervening time and heads back to his neighborhood, where he terrorizes the resourceful Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis in her debut feature role).
“Halloween” became a box-office hit, spawning a raft of imitators, even if reviews were mixed at first. Writing for the Los Angeles Times, critic Kevin Thomas described the film as a “well-made exercise in unredeemed morbidity” and found it “depressing” that Carpenter, a University of Southern California film school alumnus, had devoted his talents to such a “grisly” enterprise.
Beahm attributes the enduring appeal of “Halloween” and the unfeeling villain at its dark heart partly to the fact that Michael Myers has been treated in a more straightforward fashion than, say, such slasher movie stalwarts as Freddy Krueger in the “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies and Jason Voorhees in the “Friday the 13th” films.
“There was a commercial for Burger King ... where Freddy was going through the drive-through,” Beahm said. “Michael has been kept free from all of that.”
Beyond that, though, he says that the “Halloween” movies have given form to the shapeless evils lurking in sunny suburbia, and for that, they’ve found an everlasting onscreen life.
“In so many films, you have to venture into the darkness or into the mysterious whatever to find the creature,” Beahm said. Michael exists in the shadows in our own homes. He’s in the closet. That never goes away, that’s always going to be relevant to people and there’s a real timelessness to it.”