VENICE LIDO, Italy – Jamie Lee Curtis, buoyantly upbeat, was honored at the Venice Film Festival Wednesday with a premiere screening of “Halloween Kills” and presented with an honorary Golden Lion for career achievement.
Curtis, the daughter of ‘50s-era Hollywood royalty Janet Leigh (“Psycho”) and Tony Curtis (“Some Like It Hot”), was 18 when she made her film debut in the now-classic “Halloween.” As teenage babysitter Laurie Strode she alone survived a massacre by knife-wielding masked sociopath Michael Myers.
“I have played the same character for 43 years,” Curtis, 62, noted. “I think that’s unprecedented.”
“Halloween” is one of a trio of film Curtis cited as career favorites. The others are the cult comedy “A Fish Called Wanda” and James Cameron’s action comedy “True Lives.”
She amended that to add a fourth: “Trading Places, the Eddie Murphy comedy that changed her career, freeing her from being limited to a horror scream queen.
Curtis was amused to discover that here in Italy “Trading Places,” where she did a still-surprising bosom baring moment, plays often on television.
“I said, ‘They show ALL of it on television!’ And I’m thinking of 14-year-old boys seeing my incredible, beautiful 21-year-old self and thinking, ‘Wow! that’s very different than America.’ I love that movie, it’s still seriously funny.”
The new “Halloween Kills” is the middle film in a trilogy that began with the series’ reboot – and Curtis’ return to the role – in 2018. “Halloween Ends” begins filming in January.
Asked about her decades-long relationship with Laurie Strode, Curtis said, “The most exciting thing about being an actor is we all have changed. The beauty of human beings is we change. We’re battered and bruised. Our bones heal. That’s what I love about the humanness of Laurie
“Ultimately I think what it’s saying is you relate to Laurie because you are wounded too.
“There was a moment when it was my last shot of the 2018 movie and it was Laurie alone in her truck, watching Michael leave the prison and 40 years of that experience come back to haunt her. There is no dialogue. It’s me alone.
“As I approached the set — I like name tags so I know everyone — and the entire crew, the Teamsters, everybody, was standing in silent solidarity with their hands behind their back and names tags that all said, ‘We are all Laurie Strode and we are with you Jamie as you face it.’
“That was a profound moment for me as an actor because it said, ‘We’re all the same. All battered, all bruised. But still here.’”
Review Roundup For Halloween Kills
The Halloween series is as old as modern horror. Just like the genre itself, though, Michael Myers can’t and won’t die. He’s once again facing off against Laurie Strode who, when last we saw her, was fleeing as a burning house collapsed around the unkillable killer.
Originally set to release in October 2020, Halloween Kills was delayed almost exactly a year to October 15, 2021. The film premiered just last night at the 78th Venice International Film Festival, and reviews of the second film of this new trilogy (and 12th installment in the franchise) are starting to roll out.
Reviews are still early for Halloween Kills, so there’s plenty of time for critical consensus to change. They’re mixed right now, with most of the reviews in the positive-to-middling range.
Here’s what the critics had to say about Halloween Kills.
- Directed By: David Gordon Green
- Written By: Scott Teems, Danny McBride, David Gordon Green
- Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Thomas Mann, Anthony Michael Hall
- Release Date: October 15, 2021
The Hollywood Reporter
“I felt a genuine jolt of excitement as the first gut-churning electronic rumble is heard here over the Universal logo. But as in everything else, restraint has been abandoned. Carpenter’s son Cody and Daniel Davies share composing credit with the master, going big and bombastic, and layering in vocal elements. But instead of getting under your skin, the music hammers you over the head. Call it Halloween Overkills.” — David Rooney [Full Review]
“Never was there a film truer to its name. They’re sliced up with kitchen knives, hollowed out with a fluorescent strip light, bisected with a chain saw and impaled on banisters. The body count is phenomenal. We love this stuff. You know we do.” — Stephanie Bunbury [Full Review]
“The relentless nattering about the past–Michael is evil! And evil can never be killed!–is the sure sign of a desperate, bottom-line-fixated sequel. The other sign is that Michael Myers, stabbing knives and broken light fixtures into people’s faces, may not be scary anymore, but he’s still a charismatic figure of darkness. You’re relieved every time he shows up, and it’s all about that doleful, rubbery-gray, Hamlet-of-psychos mask. After 40 years, that mask is more expressive than any of the actors in Halloween Kills” — Owen Gleiberman [Full Review]
“Green seems less interested in rewriting the Halloween playbook than in giving audiences what they came for, from ghastly scares to a ghoulish score. It’s a strategy that promises to make the series as immortal as Michael Myers himself.” — Asher Luberto [Full Review]
“Halloween Kills inadvertently opens a window into its own screenwriting challenge, forcing you to ask: How do you make characters pop just enough to liven up a scene or two, but not too much that the viewer will feel torn about seeing them impaled on a halogen light bar? How do you weave a tapestry with one hand while tearing it apart with another? The answer would be: somewhat awkwardly.” — Ben Croll [Full Review]
“Halloween Kills suffers from being the second chapter in a trilogy, but it still delivers gory fun, fantastic performances, and an electrifying score from John Carpenter. There are enough callbacks to the original film to satisfy Carpenter fans while also expanding the mythology around Michael Myers and the town of Haddonfield in meaningful ways.” — Rafael Motamayor [Full Review]