Five Favorite Films

David Gordon Green's Five Favorite Films

The director of "destructive and lawless" slasher sequel Halloween Kills shares his passion for some '70s classic and gives a sneak peek of how he intends to end his Michael Myers trilogy.

by | October 13, 2021 | Comments

Halloween Kills

(Photo by Ryan Green / © Universal)

With Halloween Kills, his sequel to 2018’s critically acclaimed – and box-office–slashing – franchise reboot, Halloween, director David Gordon Green has made a horror film aimed squarely at the blood-thirsty hearts of true horror fans. Kicking off moments after the events of the first film, Kills sees Michael Myers surviving Laurie Strode’s (Jamie Lee Curtis) fire trap and beelining to Haddonfield for a killing spree like no other we’ve seen in this franchise – or any other. (Seriously, don’t even try to keep count of the bludgeoned/stabbed/impaled/twisted bodies Michael leaves in his wake this time – we ran out of fingers and toes in the first third, as did a few of his victims.)

Green is becoming one of horror’s hottest commodities – it was recently announced he would next develop a rebooted Exorcist trilogy and he is set to produce a Hellraiser TV series. It’s an interesting evolution for the filmmaker who, until 2018, was mostly known for an eclectic mix of stoner comedies (Pineapple ExpressYour Highness) and wrenching dramas (JoeStronger). Given his history of playing in different genres, it was perhaps unsurprising that when Green sat down with Rotten Tomatoes to talk about his own favorite movies, the choices were diverse: an iconic Western here, a classic sports comedy there, plus, of course, a few journeys to the dark side. Here, he talks about why the movies mean so much to him, and discusses the challenges of creating all that Halloween Kills carnage and how he plans to close out his current horror trilogy.


David Gordon Green’s Five Favorite Films


Deliverance (1972)

89%

I remember vividly the first time I saw it – probably too young, I was probably 14 at the time. It was a movie that I thought was going to be some sort of Burt Reynolds adventure film. Of course, I’d heard, “Squeal like a pig,” and some tropes from the film, but didn’t understand the reality of what I was getting into, and then ended up seeing this study of masculinity that has affected me so vividly to this day. It’s just an extremely powerful film with a beautiful blend of authentic naturalistic characters from within Appalachian culture, to the movie stars that inhabit the marquees.

I just thought it was just a brilliantly executed film and something that rattles me. A few moments of levity. A few moments of just disturbing poetry, like when Ned Beatty says, “This corn is special.” The appreciation of these strange little domestic incidents…. I could go on about Deliverance. The framed posters on one side of my office wall are Deliverance, Medium Cool, Badlands; on the other side, it’s The Jerk, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and Going Ape, the Tony Danza movie with the orangutans.

It is a beautifully shot, emotional, action/comedy/drama – it has everything in it – with an appreciation for a quality of character irreverence. Another beautiful Bill McKinney performance, who was the rapist in Deliverance, and here is shooting rabbits out of the trunk of a car and driving with a wheezing raccoon. I mean, just utterly hilarious absurdity, of the best s–tkicker variety. Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges never went wrong in the ’70s. Michael Cimino, pre-Deer Hunter – an incredible raw and very bold talent.

Just a beautiful way to look at the Western genre, that it kind of transcended genre. The Leonard Cohen score, the Vilmos Zsigmond cinematography, the amazing sound design with overlapping dialogue of the variety of characters. Again, the absurd humor that’s instilled into this drama, which has moments of graphic violence and beautiful performances all around.

The Bad News Bears (1976)

97%

Tatum O’Neal! Walter Matthau! Jackie Earle Haley! Incredible quotable dialogue for days. It’s a fearless movie about kids being kids, that’s not trying to pander to kids. Beer-guzzling, law-breaking… Again, just a portrait of youth, where there are no rules, and it’s got the spirit that made me feel like this movie was capturing me and my friends at the time it was made.

Magic (1978)

85%

Magic has the single greatest opening of any movie. The first five minutes of it are tremendously haunting and tell you everything you need to know about a character. Then it’s just such a simple study of madness, that I love it. It has very few characters and it could almost be a stage play. It’s just a study, a very simple portrait, of relationships and the mind of an artist, of a creative personality, that doesn’t know where reality begins and ends. I just find it fascinating and the more I watch it, the more I appreciate it. It went from a VHS box on my shelf in, probably 1998, to a movie that I’ve revisited, re-watched, and returned to for inspiration countless times since then.


Halloween Kills

(Photo by Ryan Green / © Universal)

Joel Meares for Rotten Tomatoes: In this new movie, Halloween Kills, I think slasher fans like myself are going to love that fact you just really go there. I feel like you’re just putting it all on the table. It’s so violent. It’s so extreme. The kills are so over the top. Michael’s completely unleashed. How fun was it to go so far, to just go ham?

David Gordon Green: Well, it was the lawlessness of being a middle child. You don’t have the authority of being the first film in the franchise that shows up and says, “Here are my characters and here’s what we’re setting to do.” You don’t have the responsibility of showing up at the end and having to wrap it all up in a tidy way. Here, we really just got to be destructive and lawless. It was a lot of fun.

At the same time, it was a lot of stress, because for the amount of ambition that we had for this movie, and the short number of days that we had… or should I say nights – it was seven weeks of all night shooting. When you’re looking at the ambition, where there’s no simple scene in the entire movie, there’s no exposition of two people sitting in a room talking, other than maybe a moment or two in the hospital with Hawkins and Laurie. But for the most part, every day was dominated by logistics.

So, for all of these kill sequences, we never got more than two or three takes; more often than not, we did it in one. It was rehearsing. It was ironing out all the logistics. It was getting the spectacular ability of [makeup and FX designer] Chris Nelson and our makeup department, to bring their A-game and expertise to this so that we could really make this a standout movie, in terms of Michael Myers and his aggression and… questionable attitude.



Rotten Tomatoes: “Questionable attitude” – I like that! You mentioned that the final film, Halloween Ends, there is a different kind of responsibility. I’d read somewhere that you said it is going to be, – and correct me if I’m wrong – but a slightly more constrained, or contained story. Is that true? And as you’re about to film Ends, what is your mental state going into closing out this trilogy?

Green: I just have to say, it’s less chaotic and we’re kind of getting back to the basics, a little bit. I think we stirred it all up in the middle one and I think now, we can process the emotion. In a leap of time, we can process the emotion that we left the traumatic evening of Halloween 2018. We also experienced the world and its upside-down nature, over four years, following that moment. We’re going to pick up in 2022, with characters that we have grown to love, a couple of new ones, but for the most part, it’s a structured movie.

Again, it changes and evolves so I don’t want to say too much. It’s connecting the pieces, emotionally, between Laurie and Michael, with a sense of resolve. Hopefully, we can think, “This is 40 plus years in the making.” How do we want to leave this mythology, at this point? To leave for the next generation, the next great idea, the next wave of filmmaker or storytellers, to approach in their own way. I want to wrap it up nicely and generously with the fan base, and lovingly of the characters that I’ve come to know and connect with.

Halloween Kills is in theaters and available on Peacock from Friday October 15, 2021. 


On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Thumbnail: © 20th Century Fox Film Corp, Everett Collection

Tag Cloud

cancelled TV shows revenge HBO Go cars renewed TV shows superhero anthology Broadway Disney streaming service Sundance Now stop motion kids mcc Universal Pictures chucky Drama Spring TV Song of Ice and Fire Premiere Dates boxing political drama series richard e. Grant TV movies dc LGBTQ Women's History Month toronto indie Elton John name the review YouTube Acorn TV dceu Hallmark Fantasy Rocky suspense finale Britbox Music streaming movies Ghostbusters YouTube Red 72 Emmy Awards 2020 NYCC USA Network films razzies trailers New York Comic Con Comic-Con@Home 2021 Comedy crime drama Shudder canceled TV shows Lifetime Christmas movies Disney Plus Tags: Comedy Food Network travel Tomatazos Family italian YouTube Premium Awards Tour quibi RT21 Fall TV Disney VOD a nightmare on elm street Best and Worst japanese TCA Winter 2020 Superheroes MSNBC emmy awards Film Festival Toys Emmys Wes Anderson 2019 book Netflix APB Pacific Islander rt labs critics edition PBS teaser rt archives marvel cinematic universe GLAAD versus justice league football Watching Series E3 GoT mockumentary ITV science fiction Sundance TV biopic screen actors guild gangster Hallmark Christmas movies toy story Rom-Com thriller docudrama hidden camera BET Awards TV Land binge laika Musical Mindy Kaling PaleyFest worst casting streaming ESPN BAFTA Tarantino zombie 90s Trailer natural history japan documentaries robots indiana jones Spike WarnerMedia San Diego Comic-Con Paramount Action DGA jamie lee curtis Pop theme song 21st Century Fox dramedy sequel disaster Paramount Plus composers posters boxoffice Disney+ Disney Plus Avengers SundanceTV Arrowverse diversity rom-coms target 2017 talk show FXX comedies HBO live event 2018 dexter aliens james bond critics Winners The Walt Disney Company scorecard Amazon Studios psycho reboot south america black Nat Geo kaiju dark rotten movies we love 71st Emmy Awards Sneak Peek Grammys RT History Winter TV OneApp halloween Academy Awards king kong police drama Amazon Superheroe dogs saw TLC 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards social media 2015 Trophy Talk christmas movies 73rd Emmy Awards new zealand adenture MTV Trivia Mystery zero dark thirty Christmas Apple TV+ President Cannes venice remakes Hear Us Out scene in color Awards Sci-Fi french 4/20 spider-man joker game show ID sports Discovery Channel Film worst movies based on movie Polls and Games Martial Arts comic books Nickelodeon Musicals Amazon Prime Video cooking cancelled directors art house TCA Showtime asian-american Quiz singing competition spider-verse kong Animation independent CBS SDCC IFC Marvel mutant cancelled TV series transformers TIFF Binge Guide Reality Esquire Pixar miniseries Lucasfilm crime sequels VH1 franchise Adult Swim Fox News Ovation Star Wars HBO Max BBC One book adaptation cinemax space FX on Hulu mission: impossible Comics on TV Dark Horse Comics Cartoon Network sopranos The Witch Heroines scary movies olympics Tumblr X-Men award winner dragons TV USA blockbuster El Rey 007 monster movies ABC 24 frames 45 Certified Fresh discovery cancelled television Chernobyl Tubi Epix Turner Classic Movies spanish language Neflix spinoff doctor who 2016 The CW pirates of the caribbean facebook international Marvel Studios Year in Review NBA medical drama romance what to watch archives serial killer comics Paramount Network romantic comedy Writers Guild of America adventure Red Carpet golden globe awards spy thriller Apple Sony Pictures Crackle Black History Month CW Seed unscripted Baby Yoda OWN cartoon Captain marvel Super Bowl blockbusters Logo movie war green book Ellie Kemper movies live action adaptation Marathons LGBT parents Comic Book Hulu Shondaland new york action-comedy CBS All Access Holiday Election Pride Month Endgame best screenings feel good video Television Academy Set visit latino Podcast anime Calendar classics PlayStation telelvision Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt fast and furious Spectrum Originals festivals Pirates Hollywood Foreign Press Association Peacock Mary poppins Masterpiece Instagram Live 93rd Oscars Box Office politics Starz satire FOX FX Anna Paquin cats die hard breaking bad TruTV spanish TNT GIFs strong female leads documentary Netflix Christmas movies comiccon ghosts Turner Mary Poppins Returns TCA Awards Warner Bros. basketball YA slasher cults Character Guide Kids & Family SXSW animated hist The Academy BBC America IMDb TV DC Comics Black Mirror Oscars Bravo legend marvel comics Infographic Reality Competition Rock 20th Century Fox 1990s batman VICE Horror 79th Golden Globes Awards Pop TV women twilight A&E Fox Searchlight ABC Signature MCU NBC Travel Channel Schedule Lifetime Television Critics Association cops Rocketman BBC news high school Star Trek CNN Alien Walt Disney Pictures nbcuniversal Freeform Universal king arthur jurassic park See It Skip It canceled godzilla AMC Plus Columbia Pictures spain slashers ABC Family golden globes docuseries psychological thriller young adult leaderboard vampires rotten werewolf tv talk reviews BET video on demand mob DirecTV hollywood hispanic heritage month free movies DC Universe comic book movie IFC Films Crunchyroll black comedy The Purge History hispanic Summer Interview game of thrones Vudu Country Marvel Television Western Holidays Image Comics TCA 2017 concert foreign comic book movies nature nfl Teen The Walking Dead National Geographic 2021 stoner First Look TBS American Society of Cinematographers Classic Film australia Lionsgate Disney Channel AMC CMT harry potter universal monsters Video Games genre DC streaming service criterion true crime 99% Tokyo Olympics crossover Mary Tyler Moore new star wars movies Comedy Central lord of the rings Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Stephen King Brie Larson critic resources Funimation Thanksgiving elevated horror fresh technology A24 TV One festival HFPA First Reviews scary witnail Biopics ratings halloween tv deadpool supernatural Creative Arts Emmys Sundance sitcom sag awards royal family Photos E! zombies wonder woman stand-up comedy child's play Cosplay superman comic Opinion historical drama Amazon Prime Legendary Mudbound The Arrangement WGN TCM vs. aapi dreamworks Valentine's Day debate Pet Sematary prank Syfy know your critic Emmy Nominations Countdown rt labs blaxploitation obituary trophy Extras all-time Nominations children's TV Apple TV Plus TV renewals television Prime Video Exclusive Video ViacomCBS period drama crime thriller biography Fargo popular heist movie