Halloween creator John Carpenter came very close to returning as director for 1998 sequel Halloween H20, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. While he hasn’t directed a feature film since 2010, Carpenter remains one of the most respected directors in horror, sci-fi, and action cinema. Halloween may well be his best film, but later efforts like They Live, The Thing, Escape from New York, and In the Mouth of Madness all have loyal cult followings, and have carved their own niche out in the annals of movie history.
One thing Carpenter has never really been keen on is making sequels. In fact, the only follow-up he’s ever directed is 1996’s Escape from L.A., the second adventure of Kurt Russell’s antihero Snake Plissken. The only other directorial work of his that was even based on an existing film was The Thing, and that was less a remake of 1951’s The Thing from Another World and more a re-adaptation of the book Who Goes There? by author John W. Campbell. In short, Carpenter doesn’t seem to like to repeat himself, or others for that matter.
However, it turns out that Carpenter almost did break his tradition of not making sequels by returning to direct one of the biggest entries in the Halloween franchise he created, Halloween H20. The project saw Jamie Lee Curtis return as Laurie Strode for the first time since 1981, but unfortunately, a reunion between Curtis and Carpenter didn’t happen.
It was actually Jamie Lee Curtis who pushed for John Carpenter to direct Halloween H20, as she wanted to try and reunite some of the original ingredients that made the first film work. Information has floated around over the years that Carpenter just flat out was against the idea of helming a Halloween sequel, but that’s actually proven to be incorrect. At one point, Carpenter agreed in principle to direct Halloween H20, but along with this agreement came a set of demands, and those proved too much for the sequel’s producers.
First off, Carpenter insisted he be paid $10 million to direct Halloween H20, which needless to say, is more than a bit high for all but the most bankable filmmakers. Carpenter also wanted Halloween H20 to be the first in a three-movie deal with makers Dimension Films. As far as the high salary goes, Carpenter reportedly asked for that due to feeling like he’d been cheated out of money he was rightfully owed by longtime Halloween franchise producer Moustapha Akkad. In an outcome one could argue Carpenter knew would probably happen, Akkad and Dimension said thanks but no thanks, refused Carpenter’s terms, and Steve Miner ended up directing Halloween H20. While the sequel ended up being fairly well regarded, one wonders what Carpenter could’ve done with the material.
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