Jamie Lee Curtis on How ‘Halloween’ Differs From ‘Halloween H20’

20 years after 1978’s Halloween, star Jamie Lee Curtis returned for 1998’s Halloween H20: 20 Years Later. Another two decades after, Curtis is back again as Laurie Strode in 40-years-later sequel Halloween.

H20 was because it was 20 years and I thought it was cool and I went to [Halloween writer-director] John [Carpenter] and [writer-producer] Debra [Hill] and said, ‘We’re still in show business, let’s make a movie,” Curtis told TIFF Originals during the Toronto International Film Festival, where the Halloween revival held its premiere to rave reviews.

That film, commemorating both the real-life 20th anniversary of Halloween and the in-universe events of Michael Myers’ 1978 October 31st murder spree, found Laurie living under the assumed name of Keri Tate, a functioning alcoholic and headmistress of a California boarding school.

Despite witnessing Myers’ apparent fiery death by way of an explosion caused by the obsessive Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance), Laurie was haunted by her serial killer brother, who ultimately returned to menace her and only son John (Josh Hartnett) on Halloween night 1998.

“In that example, Laurie Strode was running. She was running for her life, she had changed her identity, she had moved away, she didn’t have the name ‘Laurie Strode’ anymore, and she was running as fast as she could. That movie was a lot about alcoholism and running from your fear,” Curtis said.

Before she was approached by Halloween writer-director David Gordon Green, Curtis “had no intention of ever pretending to be Laurie Strode again — and with no malice except great respect for her.”

“I’ll read [the script] and if I like it I’ll say yes, and if I don’t like it, I’ll say no,” she recounted. “That’s how quick [it was]. And I think I called him the next day and said yes.”

40 years after Michael Myers nearly killed Laurie Strode — fended off only by the timely intervention of a gun-toting Loomis — Laurie is deeply scarred by a trauma that has left her estranged from daughter Karen (Judy Greer), who has attempted to shelter her own daughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) against Laurie’s overprotective paranoia.

The newest Halloween, which ignores every installment since Carpenter’s 1978 original, is “a family trauma story,” Curtis said. The actress coined the term “Hallowomen,” citing the central focus on the three generations of Strode women.

“I liked that it was a movie about trauma and I liked that it explored it through generations. And it just so happens that we’re at a time in the universe where women are confronting the trauma of their lives and, quite frankly, the perpetrator of that trauma,” Curtis said.

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“And saying ‘no more, I’m going to take back the narrative of my life.’ And so the combination of that and the fact that they were talking about it through the lens of three generations: mother passing that trauma and fear and anxiety onto her daughter, and then passing it onto her granddaughter.”

Halloween opens October 19.