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Halloween: Why John Carpenter Didn’t Cameo In Rob Zombie’s Sequel

John Carpenter’s Halloween is a horror film that has remained relevant for decades, but there was a lot of controversy in the horror community when Rob Zombie briefly took over the franchise.

John Carpenter’s Halloween has been frightening audiences since 1978 and the director had no idea that he wouldn’t just create one of the most memorable horror icons, but he’d launch a whole franchise and help breathe new life into the slasher genre. Granted, the Halloween sequels have seen diminishing returns, but the franchise has taken some interesting pivots, which is part of the reason that these films are still getting made. One of the more interesting moments for the Halloween franchise was Rob Zombie’s tenure with the property.

Zombie’s Halloween and Halloween II from 2007 and 2009 took the framework of Carpenter’s film, but went much deeper into Michael’s childhood and backstory, as well as Laurie’s own fractured mental state. The films were controversial reboots of the Michael Myers character, but Rob Zombie definitely put his own stamp on the franchise. One of Rob Zombie’s traditions within his films is that he likes to include horror icons in limited capacities. This usually amounts to a fun Easter egg for horror fans. However, there was one cameo for Zombie’s Halloween films that he couldn’t secure.

Perhaps as a nod to Alfred Hitchcock, John Carpenter has made sly cameos in many of his own movies. Many of Carpenter’s cameos are inconsequential, like minor voice work in Dark Star, They Live, and Halloween (he’s the voice of Paul Freedman, Annie’s boyfriend), or showing up as a background extra in Big Trouble in Little China and The Thing. Even his role in Village of the Damned has the director’s back to the camera for his brief appearance. The most blatant of these is in his anthology film, Body Bags, where he plays the movie’s Cryptkeeper-like master of ceremonies. However, Carpenter also makes a small cameo in Nick Castle’s The Boy Who Could Fly, presumably repaying the favor from his work in Halloween as the Shape. Carpenter also surprisingly pops up in the parody picture, The Silence of the Hams, and in the short film, The Puppet Man, which pays tribute to his filmography and style.

Cameos aren’t regular things for Carpenter, but he has done them, especially in his own work, so to appear in another director’s version of Halloween wouldn’t be out of the question. It’d at least be on brand with the director’s passion for the horror genre. In spite of this, when Zombie reached out for Carpenter to appear in Halloween II, Carpenter rebuked his offer. Carpenter’s dismissal of Zombie went so far as to turn into a feud, albeit one that might have been founded on a misunderstanding. Zombie had spoken about Carpenter’s cold reception to him and his ideas regarding Halloween when the director had come to him back in 2007. Carpenter, however, would later insist that he wasn’t trying to be rude to Zombie, but rather told him to make the film his own and not be afraid to go in his own direction with it. This sort of angle would likely not include things like appearances from the original film’s director.

Even though Carpenter and Zombie disagreed over Zombie’s decision to heavily fill in the blanks to Michael’s past, the hatchet has since recently been buried between the two of them and they’ve managed to let bygones be bygones. Carpenter has lent his musical talents to David Gordon Green’s new Halloween sequels, but he didn’t cameo in Halloween (2018). Perhaps Carpenter’s approval of the new films could result in a brief appearance in either Halloween Kills or Halloween Ends.

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