Finally

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It figures that it would take news about a Halloween movie to get me to blog for the first time in almost two months. I’ve been busy. But today’s news is worth getting excited about.

Details about the new project, Halloween Returns, started popping up online over the weekend. It wasn’t until this morning that an official announcement came at the HalloweenMovies.com website. The new film isn’t a sequel, or prequel, or reboot — according to the producers, it’s a “recalibration” of the Halloween story. Whatever that means. If I’m going to take a guess, I’m going to say it’s a new Michael Myers story, not connected to the previous films, but acknowledging that they exist. Kind of the like the Halloween comics or (shameless plug coming) Halloween: Masks.

I’m good with that. I don’t know if we need to connect this new film to any of the previous Halloweens, and I’m not sure the audience would be interested in seeing those older films anyway.

I’m looking forward to seeing what Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton are going to bring to the Halloween mythos. I’m not really a Saw fan, but I’ve seen all the films, and I’ve seen Feast and The Collection. I’m sure they’ll bring a different vision to Michael Myers, and right now anything’s better than how the last film ended. Let’s not even talk about it.

So I’m excited about this Halloween. Production starts next month, and although no release date has been announced, you have to figure the film is on track to open in 2016.

By that time, it will have been seven years between Halloween films. That is the longest layoff in franchise history, so we’re really overdue.

Tryon Studios to release new ‘Halloween’ tale in October

 

Michael Myers is coming home this fall.
Michael Myers is coming home this fall.

The sun is setting up here in Seattle, so there’s still enough time for me to grab the coattails of today’s Halloween Blu-ray news and make some noise of my own.

In case you missed it, Anchor Bay and Scream Factory announced the upcoming release of the 15-disc Halloween: The Complete Collection box set, featuring new interviews and unreleased versions of films (including the Halloween 6 Producer’s Cut).

Amazon is already taking pre-orders for the collection, which runs $118.99 for the Limited Deluxe Edition.

And if, after all that, you hunger for more Halloween, Tryon Studios has another treat for you!

I figured this was as good a time as any to intentionally let it slip that my friend Devon Heffer and I are working on our next project, to be released in October.

We launched our creative partnership, Tryon Studios, last year and released Halloween: Masks. The response was very kind, and we want to keep exploring the possibilities within the Halloween universe.

This upcoming project will not be a follow-up to Masks, although I would like to go back to the characters we created – Bradley and Jessica – and see what happens to them.

“This time around I really wanted to explore an established character,” Devon said. “Someone the fans already know and love. It’s gonna be a lot of fun.”

While we’re keeping the title and plot details under wraps, I will say the story focuses on a character from Halloween 2, which is my favorite film in the series.

Having experienced last fall’s Halloween: 35 Years of Terror convention in person, I know the series still has a huge fan base, and while it may be another couple of years before a new film is released, it’s nice to know there’s enough room in the universe to add more stories in print.

Updates to come.

— Jason

‘Halloween’ star Michael Myers to haunt ‘Call of Duty’

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While Halloween fans wait (patiently, for now) for the next installment in the film franchise, video game developer Activision is giving them a taste of what it’s like to be serial killer Michael Myers.

Sounds cheerful, doesn’t it?

The company this week announced plans to feature Myers in a map for Call of Duty: Ghosts. The map, titled “Fog,” also features John Carpenter’s Halloween theme and pays homage to other 80s slasher films with a trek through a campsite and cabin in the woods, according to Video Gaming 24/7.

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An early 8-bit Michael Myers stalks his victim.

This would mark Myers’ first appearance in a game (unless you count Sims and GTA skins) since Wizard Video Games released Halloween for the Atari 2600 in 1983.

I’ve never played the game or even laid my eyes on a cartridge, but there are plenty of gameplay videos on YouTube. By all accounts, it’s laughably bad.

Perhaps that’s part of the reason Michael Myers never made the leap to Nintendo like fellow 80s slashers, Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger.

Those two starred in games based on the Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street films, respectively.

While neither game was a bestseller, fan support inspired toy company NECA to release action figures based on each character’s video game appearance last year.

McFarlane Toys acquired the license for Call of Duty a few years ago. Perhaps, someday, we’ll finally see a Michael Myers video game figure on store shelves.

 

‘Halloween: Masks’ is here!

Click the image to read the story, and further below you can read about how this whole thing came together.

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It took about a year to finish Halloween: Masks. I pitched the idea to my friend, Devon Heffer, telling him I wanted to write a story that would fit in with the expanded universe of John Carpenter’s Halloween.

Those short stories and comic books usually feature minor characters from the films and keep Michael Myers in the background until it’s time for him to, you know, do his thing.

(Recommended reading: Halloween: Sam and the Halloween: 30 Years of Terror tale Repetition Compulsion)

Spoilers Below!

So, I came up with the idea of a boy living in a town near Haddonfield about five years after the events of the original Halloween.

The boy, Bradley, would have an older sister – mirroring the Michael and Judith Myers characters from the film.

As the story progressed, Bradley would become a suspect in a series of crimes that were actually committed by Michael Myers. The adults in Bradley’s town would overreact, thinking the boy was infected by the same “evil gene” as Myers.

In the end, Bradley would be committed to the same sanitarium as Myers, where he’d realize the boogeyman was never out to get him – he just wanted him out of the way so he could get to his sister.

Devon took the idea to another level, adding a personal connection for Myers, linking Bradley’s family to a character from the first film. This gave Myers a motivation that we’ve seen before – his need to target people for Halloween pranks and not let go.

The adults in the story were never going to believe Myers was the killer, so Devon gave Bradley unsympathetic qualities that could make him a suspect.

“I didn’t want Bradley to be a victim. I wanted Bradley to maybe… just maybe… be a killer,” Devon said.

He also introduced the reader to Bradley’s father and expanded the characters of Bradley’s crush, Misty, and her boyfriend, Justin.

Visually, we wanted the story to look like it could fit right in with other Halloween short stories, so we used similar title fonts and reached out to another friend, artist and publisher PJ Perez, for help on the cover.

PJ came through with a dynamite cover that shows Bradley staring at a wall of Halloween masks, like he does at one point in the story.

Among them you can see Michael Myers’ mask, along with the skull, pumpkin and witch masks made by Silver Shamrock (Halloween 3!!). PJ also threw in some characters popular for the era in which the story takes place.

A lot of work went into this short story, we hope you enjoy it. And we’re not done. Devon and I are already talking about a new story for Halloween 2014, we’ll see what happens.

–          Jason

Vintage toy collectors wheel, deal in downtown Vegas

Las Vegas is flush with pawn shops and antique stores, but I hadn’t noticed until about a year ago that a handful of vintage toy stores have shown up around town.

There’s Toy Shack at Neonopolis, two Collector’s World stores at the Boulevard and Galleria malls, and — my favorite — Rogue Toys in downtown Las Vegas.

I just got back from the monthly trade night at Rogue. It’s exactly like it sounds: vintage and new toy collectors swap everything from Hot Wheels to Star Wars.

I don’t own much of anything from those two franchises, and the vintage toys I own — G.I. Joe, Visionaries, Marvel and DC superheroes — aren’t worth as much because they’re all loose.

(By the way, if you’re interested in taking a toy trip through the 80s and 90s, check out My Old Toys on Tumblr.)

So I spent most of trade night talking to other collectors and browsing the shelves. Nearly everyone who showed was able to make a trade and walk away happy, but I think the most fun comes from bonding with people who have similar interests and reliving childhood memories when you see some of the merchandise.

I’m talking about really obscure toy lines like Crystar and Supernaturals, and toys I never thought I’d see again, like the Dukes of Hazzard action figures and some creepy purple guy from the original Battlestar Galactica.

I could have spent a good chunk of my evening (and I have on other nights) picking up each item and taking a personal trip down memory lane. I appreciate the fact that the owner, Steve, doesn’t mind when people just come into the store to browse and talk toys.

michael-myersOf course, I couldn’t leave without making a trade, and I scored big time. How about this NECA Michael Myers signed by stuntman Jim Winburn! That’s big time!

I’m a big fan of NECA collectibles, I wish they would have made these figures when I was a kid.

For a couple of years now, I’ve been collecting figures of horror film characters from my childhood. Finally, tonight, I was able to get my hands on this Michael Myers.

The autograph is just a bonus, this one’s going in the permanent collection of Halloween memorabilia.