‘Halloween’s’ Voice of Dr. Loomis Colin Mahan: The Horror News Network Interview

Casual fans of  horror movies, and Halloween in particular, always assume that the hardcore fans love Michael Myers or Laurie Strode the best.  But real fans love one man and one man only when it comes to the original Halloween films: the maniacal and hysterical Dr. Loomis (played by the inimitable Donald Pleasence).

When news of the remake started to circulate through the horror community, many fans wondered if the legacy of the great actor and his portrayal of Loomis would be honored.  Thankfully, Loomis’ voice made it into the film, but was the audio captured from a previous film or outtakes?  As it turns out, the recording of “the good doctor” was performed by voice actor and comedian Colin Mahan.  In this exclusive interview, Mahan discusses how he landed the job, the pressure involved in recreating the classic voice, and how comedy and horror are not too far apart on the entertainment spectrum.

Horror News Network: How did you become involved with voicing the Doctor Loomis character in the new Halloween film?

Colin Mahan: Out of the blue I got an email from someone claiming to be working on a new Halloween and who had somehow heard I did Donald Pleasence. My first thought was that it was a really specific phishing scam. I don’t have any Donald Pleasance online, and he is such a weird very distinct and niche impression that whenever I do him onstage it usually gets two comics laughing or silence. Then I Googled the guy, and he was in fact a movie producer!

At first I thought it was for a little audio for the DVD release of the original movie, and that was super cool. But then it turns out it was for the new sequel, and I was blown away. I immediately became very excited and incredibly panicked.

So I send some audition lines to the team and they like it. Then months go by, I try not to bug them, and I’m just trying to remain positive but also not think about it. A lot of things fall through in showbiz so you try to say ‘ez come, ez go.’ It could be they rewrote Loomis out, or someone hated my impression, or they had to do it quickly and grabbed another actor, etc etc. There are a million reasons. But then finally they’re finally ready to record, I head down to Blumhouse and do the lines with the director and sound engineer, and I get my check. So those parts are definitely concrete. They happened. But still I wait and try to forget about it, because the other thing that happens is that you’ll do a bit, but it might get cut out. You just have to get ready for that. Finally, I see the movie and it’s truly in there, and my name is even in the credits! That was a delight. It’s definitely the coolest thing to happen so far in my career.

I am now working on my Dr. Sartain and hopefully in 40 years I can do his VO in the re-sequel.

HNN: Donald Pleasence was a legendary actor, and his distinct voice was a key attribute of the Loomis character.  How did you prepare for the role and bringing Loomis back to life?

Mahan: Rehearse the lines excessively and practice doing Donald throughout my day. When I’m really working on an impression I try to do everyday lines as the person, not just the lines we all know and love, so I understand how that person will say anything. So I recited the famous Donald lines like, “I shot him six times! The woods are lovely dark and deep. You are the Duke of New York and you’re A number 1!!” but also just normal things like ‘I’ve got to pour this goddamn coffee into my evil cup and this Amazon package is evil on the porch and now I’m putting evil items into my goddamn MANPURSE GODDAMMIT!’ Every Donald line always ends with yelling.

Actually, I did do a lot of ‘crazy Donald’ line readings that they didn’t use in the movie, maybe it’ll show up on the DVD.

HNN: Were you a fan of the franchise before this job?

Mahan: Yes! That’s why this is such a thrill. when I was younger I used to just run around as Loomis. Donald Pleasance is one of my favorite actors and I love all John Carpenter movies. He was my favorite director when I was a kid. It’s hard to pick my favorite film of his. Halloween is great, but I did love Halloween 2, because it had a lot of Loomis running around and yelling at the sheriff and saying words like “Samhain” which was super great in his voice. Plus that’s when it really became like “Loomis VS Michael.” I even liked Halloween 3. So it’s kind of a childhood dream realized to be a part of this movie. Plus I really liked the movie, they obviously crafted the film with a lot of attention and care. I thought Jamie Lee Curtis was perfect.

HNN: You are also a comedian. Do you think that there is a thin line between comedy and horror?

Yes, especially when the comedy is horrible (insert rimshot sound effect here)!

Both horror and comedy work well when they move slightly faster than you or shock you in an unexpected way. A good scare is like a good punchline in that it’s great when you don’t see it coming.

I think both genres are gut level and best left unexamined. Once you start to dissect why it worked it loses the effect. Everything is so over-scrutinized now and blathered incessantly about in think pieces. “Why was that funny? Why was that scary?” Why do we need to understand it? Just go along for the ride. Not to say always check your brain at the door, but what is the fun in trying to be jaded and overthinking it? It’s escapism, so escape.

Also, some of the best jokes or scares stick with you later, like a John Carpenter ending where you’re thinking of it for decades. “I can’t believe John Nada was killed a the end. What happened after he exposed the aliens?! Did humanity fight back?!” “Was MacReady the thing, or was Childs the thing?””Did Chevy Chase ever get his molecules back?” (for JC fans only).

HNN: How did you become an actor known for your impressions? What other voice work have you done in the industry? What other people or characters do you enjoy doing impressions of?

Mahan: Lonely childhood + hours of unsupervised TV and movies + William Shatner = explosion of nerdiness fit only for a comedy stage or writer’s room! I started out in the 90s during the dot-com boom, and thank god for that because it let a San Francisco comic stay in San Francisco for awhile instead of prematurely going to LA. There were animation and production houses in SF that you could actually earn a living writing for until they irresponsibly burned though millions of cash and imploded the economy. But eventually I did move to LA and did a lot of cartoons and stuff.

Current impressions are The Rock, Jack Black, Vin Diesel, Adam Driver, Kurt Russell. I still love doing Tom Cruise. And Bruce Willis is sort of my flagship impression but we are both too old now to matter. The best thing about doing Kurt Russell is that it translates pretty easily into a Wyatt Russell so I’m extending my viability with the youth market!

In the 90s when I started out, impressions were considered sort of gimmicky and hack, like parlor tricks, but they were also sort of rare. I took a lot of flack from other comics because the thinking went that impressions make it easier to delight an audience and that’s not fair, it’s like magic or props. But I always had sort of a sci-fi weirdo angle to my comedy so it offset that. I didn’t really do ‘What would happen if Ah-nold was at the grocery store?” my stuff was more about “What would happen if Ah-nold stumbled onto a plot about a terrible conspiracy in which humanity is enslaved by a global conglomerate run by Michael Caine? Would Nicolas Cage have to perform an elaborate show tune? I think that would go something like this…” So that had the effect of negating any goodwill earned by my impressions and it served to alienate and confuse audiences, which made them hate me, which made the other comics like me. At the same time, they also grudgingly liked my impressions so after an extended period of psychological discomfort, I was accepted into the SF comedy scene and everyone has regretted it ever since.

Nowadays, YouTube has given a platform to many many impressionists of varying degrees of competence, so it’s kind of like ‘who cares?’ But their still is a visceral thrill when a live audience is surprised by the voice I’m doing. Live is the best. It’s exciting. Especially when I do my Burn Notice bit, and people are like ‘How the hell could Burn Notice have been the number one show in its time slot for years and no one has ever seen it!? Who was watching Burn Notice?!’

HNN: Any projects that you are currently working on?

Mahan: Yes, I have a voice over of an ex-president in an upcoming indie film (I’m sort of Hollywood’s go to guy for old, obscure voices), and I’m doing an audio sketch series with my pal Al Madrigal and some other folks. And of course I’m pitching ideas to Blumhouse about how to keep Loomis in all future Halloween movies. Maybe a Loomis animated series?

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Scream Factory Details Upcoming Blu-ray Release of John Carpenter’s ‘Starman’

One of the upcoming Blu-ray titles Scream Factory announced at SDCC earlier this year was John Carpenter’s 1984 sci-fi film Starman, and we’ve got full release details for ya today.

Scream announced, “John Carpenter’s extraterrestrial classic receives a long-overdue upgrade and today we reveal the final list of extras that will be on our upcoming Blu-ray release.”

Special features will include:

  • NEW They Came from Hollywood: Re-visiting STARMAN – Featuring Director John Carpenter, Actors Jeff Bridges and Charles Martin Smith, and Script Supervisor Sandy King-Carpenter
  • Audio Commentary with Director John Carpenter and Jeff Bridges
  • Vintage Featurette
  • Teaser Trailer
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots

Planned street date at this time is December 18, 2018.

John Carpenter’s ‘Halloween 3’ Theme Song Featured in Amazon’s New Series “Homecoming”!

Earlier this month, Amazon unloaded the debut season of Julia Roberts-starring series “Homecoming, which I haven’t yet gotten around to watching for myself. But reader Shawn Crawford sends us the scoop this morning that the season’s seventh episode (as we’ve confirmed by streaming it for ourselves) ends with the use of the Halloween 3 theme song!

If you’re asking me, the score for franchise gem Halloween 3: Season of the Witch is some of John Carpenter‘s best work, and one of the downright best horror scores of all time. Carpenter composed the score alongside Alan Howarth, and it’s the “Main Title” theme that plays over the visuals for several minutes at the end of Season 1’s seventh episode.

This of course isn’t the first nod to H3 in the world of 2018 entertainment, as David Gordon Green’s Halloween featured a cameo from the infamous Silver Shamrock masks!

The Carpenter resurgence continues. And we’re damn sure loving it.

Alternate Opening for HALLOWEEN 2018 Would Have Killed Off Iconic Character

On a recent episode of Shockwaves, podcast co-founder and Blumhouse Director of Development Ryan Turek talked about an alternate opening that was considered for 2018’s Halloween (currently screening in theaters nationwide). It turns out, director David Gordon Green wasn’t just keen to reshoot the original Halloween’s iconic ending from a different point of view, he wanted to kill off one of the franchise’s most iconic characters.

When talking about Halloween, three characters immediately spring to mind: Michael Myers, Laurie Strode, and Dr. Loomis. In the scrapped opener, however, Loomis (played by Donald Pleasence) would have met his match back in 1978. As reported by ComicBook.com, Turek explained:

“The first scripted opening was a re-envisioning of the finale of Halloween. David wanted to f-ck things up, man. He wanted to just mix things up a little bit. So, initially, he had a scene in which we came in at the end of Halloween, and Loomis sees the screaming kids, comes inside, sees the struggle between Laurie and Michael. Michael puts his mask back on, Loomis shoots him, pushes Michael back through the doorway into the bedroom. Laurie is cowering on the ground, Loomis charges into the bedroom, where Michael gets the upper hand and jumps him. Loomis drops the gun and then Laurie is holding onto the gun, but she’s shaking so much she can’t actually pull the trigger.

“And then Michael chokes out Loomis, kills him, and then Laurie decides to pull the trigger and knock Michael back. So, we had that, and then…we were trying to figure out how to pull that off…and it was just crazy, you know…And I remember [original director] John [Carpenter] read that draft and he was like, ‘Uhhh, why would you want to change that? Why would you want to change my ending?’ And [sequel director] David [Gordon Green] took that to heart.”

The fact that Pleasance passed away in 1995, not to mention the fact that Jamie Lee Curtis is 40 years older, means extensive CGI and other anti-aging techniques would have been necessary to bring Green’s original vision to fruition.

If you’ve yet to see Halloween for yourself yet, check out the synopsis and trailer below.

It’s been 40 years since Laurie Strode survived a vicious attack from crazed killer Michael Myers on Halloween night. Locked up in an institution, Myers manages to escape when his bus transfer goes horribly wrong. Laurie now faces a terrifying showdown when the masked madman returns to Haddonfield, Ill. — but this time, she’s ready for him.

Have you seen Halloween 2018? What do you think of the alternate opening that would have killed off Dr. Loomis? Sound off in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!

The post Alternate Opening for HALLOWEEN 2018 Would Have Killed Off Iconic Character appeared first on Dread Central.

Halloween (2018) Steelbook Blu-ray Now Available for Pre-Order

Although director David Gordon Green’s Halloween – the most successful slasher film in the history of cinema (having just crossed $229 million at the global box office) may still be in theaters, it appears that Universal Pictures have made ready

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That Time Freddy Krueger Went to Haddonfield

No, we’re not talking about a fan film or a comic book crossover—this actually happened!

Even the most studied fans of the Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween movies are probably unaware of Robert Englund’s connection to both franchises. Everybody knows that Englund is synonymous with the Springwood Slasher aka Freddy Krueger, but the actor actually spent some time in Haddonfield on the set of John Carpenter’s Halloween in 1978, though very much behind the scenes—and only for a single day.

Here’s what he told Access Online:

“It’s so funny, I actually had a roommate, back when they did the original Halloween… the John Carpenter one. And he conned me into going to Pasadena one day, with garbage bags full of dead leaves. And we were working on the set of the original Halloween, throwing the dead leaves around. So it looked like Autumn… it looked like Fall back in the Midwest.”

Englund was able to reprise Freddy recently on an episode of the sitcom The Goldbergs.

While a new Nightmare on Elm Street movie remains elusive, a sequel to 1978’s Halloween has been slaying the box office since its release on October 19th. If you’ve yet to check it out for yourself, give the synopsis and trailer a look-see below.

It’s been 40 years since Laurie Strode survived a vicious attack from crazed killer Michael Myers on Halloween night. Locked up in an institution, Myers manages to escape when his bus transfer goes horribly wrong. Laurie now faces a terrifying showdown when the masked madman returns to Haddonfield, Ill. — but this time, she’s ready for him.

The post That Time Freddy Krueger Went to Haddonfield appeared first on Dread Central.

Halloween Overtakes Scream to Become the Biggest Slasher Film of All Time

Michael Myers has indeed come home. Three weeks into its release, David Gordon Green’s Halloween has earned a whopping $229.6 million worldwide, unseating Wes Craven’s 1996 meta classic Scream as the most successful slasher film of all time. And right

The post Halloween Overtakes Scream to Become the Biggest Slasher Film of All Time appeared first on HalloweenMovies™ | The Official Halloween Website.

John Carpenter’s “Live Retrospective” Concert is Now Available on Blu-ray!

Back in 2016, I got to see John Carpenter play his most iconic movie themes live at the Playstation Theater in New York City, and it was genuinely one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had. With clips from his movies playing on a screen behind him, Carpenter rocked all his greatest hits, including his themes from Halloween, The Fog, Christine and They Live.

That very same year, Carpenter took his “Live Retrospective” to London and Chicago as well, and those two concerts were professionally filmed and have now been released on Blu-ray!

Available now through Revolver Merchandise, “See John Carpenter and his band perform tracks from his Lost Theme albums as well as songs from his films Halloween, Escape From New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Fog, They Live, Prince of Darkness and more!

NTSC (North America) and PAL (Europe & Asia) versions of the Blu-ray are available, and they’re both selling for $19.99. A small price to pay for one of the coolest concerts of all time.

Grab your Blu-ray today!

Top Five Chilling Moments with Iconic Villains

As the season of fear (and cheer) comes to a close, lets take a look back at some of the horror genres most beloved characters and their creepiest moments that spiced up Halloween for many years to come. Every entry was chosen because of the effectiveness of the makeup and/or practical effects of the scene. […]

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All 11 ‘Halloween’ Films Ranked From Weakest to Strongest

Halloween is in the air (literally), and from witches to ghosts, monsters to demons, madmen to psychopathic killers, nothing rings in the spine-chilling season of spookiness quite like… well, the Halloween franchise of course! With David Gordon Green’s newest entry smashing all kinds of records-not only within the franchise but in the horror genre as a whole-we […]

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