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‘Halloween’ 40th Anniversary: John Carpenter Says Why One Scary Scene Made Jamie Lee Curtis Laugh

Filmmaker also shares with TheWrap how he really feels about the new sequel’s exact-same title

John Carpenter’s breakout horror film “Halloween” came out 40 years ago today, but the filmmaker told us he remembers making it as if it was yesterday.

One moment has stayed with him for years: the culminating scene when Michael Myers tries to get to Jamie Lee Curtis in the closet where she’s hiding. And his account of what really happened behind the scenes is probably not what diehard “Halloween” fans might expect.

“I remember directing Jamie Lee inside the closet, and I was sitting in there with the camera and she was in there, and I remember directing her,” Carpenter told TheWrap. “This was happening and this was happening and I said, ‘Pick up the knife and stab the son of a bitch!’  So we had to do the take again. She said, ‘Can you please not say that? I am going to laugh!’ I remember the look on her face — we had a great time.”

In David Gordon Green’s new “Halloween,” Curtis steps into the role of Laurie Strode 40 years after she first took on the role of the 17-year-old babysitter who was viciously attacked by serial killer Michael Myers. Since the new film’s announcement, many wondered why the it bears the same title as the original, when it’s clearly a movie about Laurie seeking revenge on Michael — and vice versa.

“It’s odd,” Carpenter said. “I backed David’s decision to name it something different but the absolute geniuses at Universal decided to name it ‘Halloween.’ And I don’t know. I guess it’s OK. Everyone seems to be happy. That’s all that matters. There are powers above me that move in mysterious ways that I don’t understand.”

Carpenter just had one piece of advice for Green.

“It has to be simple — simple and relentless,” he said. “That’s it. That’s the secret to really getting to an audience.”

Forty years ago, that’s exactly what Carpenter did. “When I made the movie in 1978, I was just trying to make a low budget exploitation movie where I could show off my stuff and maybe get another job. It was always about getting another job. I threw in everything I wanted to see in a horror movie. I never ever expected it to be anything like this.”

Carpenter weighed in on the new sequel: “I really like the movie. I think it’s terrific. I think that the new ‘Halloween’ is a standalone fabulous slasher film, and I love that about it. I haven’t seen one like it. I was hungry for it and I didn’t even realize it.”

“Halloween” opened to $76 million last weekend, breaking multiple box office records. The film also stars Judy Greer, Anti Matichak, James Jude Courtney, Nick Castle and Will Patton.