The “true” story behind John Carpenter’s Halloween!
“After I made Black Christmas, John Carpenter asked if I was going to do a sequel, but I said “No, I don’t intend to I’m not here to make horror films, I’m using horror films to get myself established. If I was going to do one, though, I would do a movie a year later where the killer escapes from an asylum on Halloween, and I would call it Halloween.” ~Bob Clark
I’ve told this story to many friends of mine who keep denying it’s truth, I keep telling it to them cause I like to see them get fired up..But the thing is, Bob Clark has however told this story over and over at just about every chance he gets to talk about it, including on the special features of the “Black Christmas” DVD.
Now I’m not saying John Carpenter is a thief but I’m not going to call Bob Clark a liar either.
The truth is, there may be no real truth to anything we’ve heard and we must use the term “truth” loosely when talking about it. It really depends on which story you’ve heard. Another story going around is as follows..
*As said by a poster on a forum*
In the commentary for Black Christmas, Clark does say that he offered the idea to Carpenter, but that he doesn’t know if it was actually that which inspired him, and notes that the tone and execution of Halloween was very different from what he would have envisioned.
So wait is Bob a liar?? Was this report false? We might never really know. Because clearly above at the start of this post Bob never said he offered Carpenter anything besides just his idea of what HE’d have done IF he made a second movie based on the original Black Christmas. He says so on a special feature on the DVD, but does he contradict that on the commentary on the same DVD?? Bob is an older fellow after all, and the mind is the first to go.
So I’m not here to clearly set on either side of the argument. I’ve only heard one tale from Bob and I’ve heard nothing from John so who’s really to say? But lets take a moment to show some similarities between the films shall we?
-The Killer’s First person P.O.V.
Well the P.O.V. is sure there in both films, but that doesn’t mean Black Christmas was the first to do this effect. BUT Carpenter was a known fan of the films so it’s possible he “borrowed” this for his film.
-Little to no gore
Both Bob Clark and John Carpenter went with the “less is more” when it came to blood on the films. Was this just a common believe in style or did John get this idea also from Bob?..It was just the 70’s after all.
-Both happen on Holidays
Yeah..that’s a stretch so never mind this one..If you take this into consideration wouldn’t we also have to add April Fools Day and other Holiday based films into the argument as well?? We’ll keep that can of worms locked.
If you take everything into consideration here, John Carpenter’s Halloween is a lot like Bob Clark’s Black Christmas. Little gore, first person P.O.V., similar build up to scenes and both films’ have ending that don’t necessarily leave you with closure. Many would argue Halloween is THE modern day slasher, the film that DID start the slasher craze that would follow the movie, and it did start it..but you know, Black Christmas did come first. And many of the camera tricks and style of Black Christmas was used in Halloween.
So in closing did we really get enough proof to lean one way or the other what the true story behind Halloween was? Not at all. What we have is a game of “he said, she said” that we probably will never get a solid answer to unless Clark and Carpenter set down together on screen and give us all the details. And that probably won’t happen.
So what do I think? I think we shouldn’t worry about it and just enjoy two very good horror films.