Halloween Night is an independent fan film that exists in the Halloween universe. Check out the teaser trailer and the full 60-minute film below. Plus, read on for a Q&A with director JP DeStefano and Rabbit in Red’s Quick Cuts review of the film.
It’s Halloween in Haddonfield, Illinois. The infamous Halloween Night of 1978 is all but a memory for the people of Haddonfield as the new generation of townspeople look to put the town’s marred legacy behind them. But Death has come BACK to their little town…
Full Length Film
Quick Cuts: Halloween Night is a new 60-minute fan film by director JP DeStefano and Thunder Knock Studios. The film follows the grandson of Dr. Sam Loomis, John (JP DeStefano), and his wife Samantha (Ainura DeStefano) as they face off against Michael Myers, who’s returned to his hometown of Haddonfield to kill again. This atmospheric sequel brings us back to the 1978 classic beginning with an outstanding opening sequence and Halloween-style credits right up until its climactic finale. Expect to be enthralled by the impeccable pacing, suspense buildup and character development as well as cinematography that captures the feel of the original. Kudos to John Schilling, who delivers the menacing essence of the shape perfectly, often stalking in dark shadows and creeping up on his soon-to-be victims. Halloween Night immerses you in Halloween spirit, paying homage to the Halloween we all know and love while delivering a fresh and chilling screenplay. Outstanding production value, a smooth storyline and the ability to deliver suspense rather than rely on gore = a memorable Halloween fan film and the best I’ve seen to date. 5 knives (Rabbit in Red)
Rabbit: First off, congratulations on not only directing but starring in Halloween Night! The film is getting a lot of press as well as praise from hardcore franchise fans. What made you decide to direct a Halloween fan film?
JP DeStefano: Thank you very much. I have to give credit to John Carpenter. He’s one of the masters of horror who inspired me to become a director. John Carpenter and Debra Hill were able to create Halloween on a small budget (in the eyes of Hollywood) and it went on to become a successful franchise. John and Debra wrote the script and scored the film rather quickly. It’s inspiring to know you can whip up a classic in just a matter of days! My brother, Daniel DeStefano was a big influence on me. He was the one who showed me John Carpenter’s Halloween for the first time when I was about 8 years old. Dan probably shouldn’t have shown me Halloween at that age but my mom had no idea and that’s what big brothers are for, right? Unfortunately, “Big Dan” passed away during the summer of 2014 and it was a huge shock to my family and I. Dan always told me (in a deep voice) to “do what makes you happy, little guy”. Dan’s classic advice was the driving force behind me becoming a filmmaker. I can now honestly say I am doing “what makes me happy”. I’m sure there’s a huge grin on the big guy in the sky.
Lastly, I’d like to give credit to Vincente DiSanti, who directed a Friday the 13th fan film, Never Hike Alone. DiSanti’s film set the bar for the genre and was well received by fans internationally. I learned that Vincente was able to make Never Hike Alone for a relatively low budget, and that got me thinking. I’ve always loved the Halloween franchise ever since I was a little kid, so naturally, I began browsing the internet for Halloween fan films. It’s interesting because there’s plenty of them out there, probably an oversaturation to be honest. The good quality Halloween fan films are few and far between and I have yet to find one that’s close to the quality of Never Hike Alone. I understood the potential of making a good fan film and how it could assist a filmmaker with exposure in the industry. Halloween is an established product that has a large fan base and if the movie is done the right way, the fans will breathe life into your product to help get your name out there. I’m learning as I go that Halloween fans are very loyal to the franchise and are not scared to let you know when you make a “cinema sin”. Directing this film has been a huge learning experience for me and I’m grateful for everyone who has helped me throughout the making of it. I wouldn’t have made the decision to direct this film unless I had a strong team around me. I am thankful for my co-producers, Zach Salazar, Michael Tula and John Schilling.
Rabbit: I noticed a lot of Easter eggs and homages to the original. What elements of John Carpenter’s Halloween inspired you when making this film?
JP DeStefano: Yeah the Easter eggs are there, some more obvious than the others. John Carpenter kept it simple. He was a master “theater of the mind” type of filmmaker and that was something I appreciated about his style. The “what if”, “where could he be” type of atmosphere created by Carpenter was something that always intrigued me. I tried my best to let the character’s circumstances speak for themselves through visuals, rather than expositional dialogue. Carpenter and Hill’s screenplay fit perfectly in the realm of the character’s circumstances and it felt very natural and grounded in reality. I think our screenwriter, Zach Salazar did a beautiful job at keeping the Halloween Night dialogue feel real yet still fun and relatable. If you can create tension when Myer’s is not on the screen, then I think you’ve already won.
Rabbit: I love the fact that you took the film back to its roots with Michael terrorizing a quiet, suburban neighborhood. We’ve seen some of the sequels derail with convoluted storylines. How important was it for you to capture a similar feel to the original?
JP DeStefano: It was crucial that we simulate the Haddonfield from ’78. Everything from the landscapes, work environment and even the character’s social status. It had to feel like your quintessential small-town America. Being in the south (Houston, TX) with a very different layout of how things look, proved to be a challenge but it was important that we keep the spirit of that old classic town alive. We had to simulate the small-town vibe from working in the warehouse and giving off the feeling that these people never left town. Living in close proximity to friends makes the random killing by Myers seem like it could happen to the people you know. I wanted to represent this in the opening tableau shot of Halloween Night. Prior to the opening credits, the camera rises on a crane after the father (Anthony Hernandez) discovers the body of Tracey Mackenzie (Erin Wasmund). The camera cranes up revealing the scenery around the family. Much like how Carpenter reveals a young Michael Myers as the killer in the classic opening of Halloween. I wanted to have this moment in time stand still for the family, while painting a picture in the audience’s mind that you are vulnerable, even in small-town America.
Rabbit: The cast was solid and you can see elements of past characters in some of them. Were a lot of them already fans of the Halloween series? If not, how did you prepare them for their roles?
JP DeStefano: Most of the cast had seen the original 1978 film and then there’s my wife, Ainura (Samantha Loomis), who absolutely hates horror films. I showed her the original film a few weeks prior to filming her scenes and to my surprise, she enjoyed it! I think we are slowly breaking her in. As far as John Schilling (Michael Myers), he’s probably the biggest horror hound out of all of us. John studied Nick Castle and James Jude Courtney. Surprisingly, John also studied Kane Hodder’s movements to try and get a rhyme and reason as to why you can be imposing while doing stunts. I think there are moments in the film where fans have said: “Oh hey, that’s something Jason would have done!”. John also took inspiration from Arnold in the original Terminator as the terminator was searching for Sarah Connor during the tech-noir scene. He’s a shark, searching for his prey. John had a natural understanding of how Myers moved but was able to bring his own flair to it, which makes it unique in its own right. We did a few dress rehearsals and practised the “walk”. John was determined to get the Myer’s walk down perfectly. He would constantly say “WE GOTTA GET IT RIGHT!” It’s nice to have a determined Myers. 🙂
Rabbit: The babysitter scene had me on the edge of my seat! The camera angles, score, acting, everything was on point! How long did it take to shoot?
JP DeStefano: The first 3 days of shooting the film were dedicated to shooting the kids inside the home along with Sandra’s death. We shot all of the kid’s scenes in the house first and then sent them home before moving on to the bloody stuff. Sandra is an acting coach in The Woodlands Texas where she teaches child actors. Two of her students were cast to be in Halloween Night, who you saw on screen as Chloe (Julia Glessner) and Gavin (Carson Dorn). I thought it was a great idea to have Carson and Julia act alongside their acting coach. The kids felt comfortable on camera and I think it was special to have their coach there in the scene with them. Sandra is a very talented actress and it’s pretty evident she can handle a lot of tasks thrown at her. This was my first time working with her and I have to give thanks to Zach Salazar, who recommended her for the role. Sandra was able to bring emotion along with her physical ability and that’s something pretty rare to find.
Rabbit: What were some of your other favourite scenes to shoot?
JP DeStefano: I really enjoyed shooting the opening scene with Dave (Dustin Sturgill). Dustin brought positive energy to set that uplifted the cast and crew. I actually had met Dustin working on the set of a Dodge Ram commercial that was shot in Austin Texas. Dustin and I hit it off on set and I remember telling him that, I would work with him down the road. Well, here we are! I also enjoyed shooting the “Karate Kid” scene with Clay (Woody Almazan) and Jesse (Cade Garrett). Those guys bonded well and it was just a good vibe on set that night.
Rabbit: I like that the film introduces new characters that are tied to the original storyline. We’ve seen relatives of Laurie pop up in the past. What made you decide to introduce a relative of Loomis?
JP DeStefano: I was always curious as to how all the emotional trauma that Loomis had with Myers would affect his family. I didn’t want to talk too much about it in the film, but rather show this through with images and memories John and Samantha had with their grandpa. I think it’s clear that after all these years of Myers being Dr Loomis’ patient, the stories must have been passed down generations in the Loomis family.
Rabbit: What’s your favourite Halloween sequel in the series?
JP DeStefano: Part 2 in the hospital for sure. Love the vibe of the film and the dark gothic score adds a nice touch.
Rabbit: What are some things you’re hoping to see in Halloween Kills?
JP DeStefano: I hope to see more stalking from Myers. I would like the film to be darker while utilizing more of the blue light hue.
Rabbit: 60-minutes was a nice run time for the film but it could have been even longer! I didn’t want it to end. Do you have any plans for a part 2?
For full cast and crew, visit Halloween Night’s IMDB page here.
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Sponsored feature: Thunder Knock Studios
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