Todd Farmer Talks 'Hellraiser', 'Halloween 3D'

Screenwriter Todd Farmer (Jason X, My Bloody Valentine 3D) recently chatted with Bloody-Disgusting about the current statuses of the Hellraiser remake and Halloween 3D that he and director Patrick Lussier were in line to do...
Bloody Disgusting: So what is the status with 'Hellraiser'? Are you guys still involved?

Todd Farmer: I don’t think so. We developed several versions for Dimension, but in the end we never saw eye to eye creatively. We wish them the best and look forward to seeing what they come up with.

BD: How did you get involved in the first place?

TF: We expected when we came back from 'Drive Angry' that we would jump on 'Halloween 3D'. But they wanted to do 'Hellraiser' first, and we were sort of intrigued by the idea. We’ve done probably three different outlines at this point; we haven’t gone to script yet.

BD: Would it be a sequel, or a reboot?

TF: It’s not a sequel, Clive’s already told his story. Basically we wanted to reboot, take his world and tell a new story inside his world. The current story is extremely different from the story we pitched. It’s changed dramatically since we started, and it will probably change a lot more before it’s all over.

BD: Was it something that you and Patrick developed together?

TF: Yeah, before 'Drive Angry' we pitched 'Halloween', 'Hellraiser', and 'Scanners' to Bob Weinstein. We did our draft of 'Halloween' right before we went off to do 'Drive Angry', then, right AFTER 'Drive Angry' they asked us to do 'Hellraiser'. Originally what they wanted was epic and dark, rated R. It was in our contract. So... if WE do 'Hellraiser', it’s rated R; if they want to do PG-13 then they have to get rid of us.

BD: So is 'Halloween' in the same boat? Do they want to go PG-13 with that as well?

TF: I know PG-13’s always discussed. To me it seems impossible to do 'Hellraiser' as a PG-13, and it seems DIFFICULT to do 'Halloween' as PG-13. What we wrote was definitely not PG-13. Probably the biggest change is that since so much time has gone by, is that I don’t think a sequel to Rob’s 'Halloween II' would still play, so I’m not sure that our original script would work. We literally started ours five minutes before Rob’s movie ended. So much time has gone by... there have been other things discussed, other ways to tell that story.

BD: And unlike Hellraiser you actually DID write a complete script for 'Halloween 3D', right?

TF: Yeah, I think it was September of 2009, we had eight days to write the script if we were going to prep it, shoot it, and wrap it before we had to go prep for 'Drive Angry', it was all supposed to be done very fast. At the end of the day there was just no time or money to pull it off.

BD: Now that 3D is seemingly not a big draw anymore, you think it might be 2D if/when it happens? Was the 3D element really important in the script?

TF: We had some “Comin at ya!” stuff written into it, but it could be done 2D. I think 'My Bloody Valentine' and 'Drive Angry' both play great in 2D perfectly well. I don’t know what THEY’RE thinking, but if I was the boss, I wouldn’t do it in 3D at this point. I think 'Final Destination' is a perfect movie to do in 3D, I don’t know if 'Halloween' is. It’s still huge overseas though, but I think people are just tired of it here in the States. James Cameron style epics will keep 3D alive, not this other stuff.

BD: But they still want SOMETHING with the 'Halloween' name, right?

TF: Absolutely. The date has been set. October of 2012. And even that can be pushed forward if the movie’s ready, like the last couple. They’re listening to ideas and pitches... I don’t know what the future holds, but I know there will be another one.

BD: Another horror director hinted last week he went in for a meeting on a slasher franchise and they want it to be found footage... tell me that’s not what they’re doing for 'Halloween'.

TF: There’s another slasher franchise that’s discussing found footage, I think that’s the one he was talking about, not 'Halloween'. But again, if they’re no longer following Rob’s movie, then what DO you do? So I know found footage was brought up as an idea, but there were a bunch of things that were mentioned. I know I’m not a fan of doing Michael Myers with found footage, but that’s just me. I like found footage when I can go in and believe that it’s possibly real, like 'Paranormal Activity' or even 'Blair Witch'. With Freddy or Michael or Jason, it seems harder to me – I know those guys aren’t real. Doesn’t mean it can’t be scary movie or even done well, if the right guy comes in with the right idea it could work.

BD: Give us a tease, what was your original 'Halloween 3D' story?

TF: Basically we opened at the end of Rob’s movie; the whole first act is the end of Rob’s movie, at the end of which Michael is killed. But instead of Scout stabbing Michael... Rob had these visions and things, so we had it so that she thinks she’s killing Michael, but it’s a vision and she’s actually been stabbing Loomis. And then Michael puts the mask on her and she stumbles outside (as we see in the theatrical version of 'Halloween II'), and then when she takes the mask off that’s when we’d switch to 3D. It would be flat until then. Anyway, Laurie survives and is taken to a mental institution, and then Michael returns, but it’s not Rob’s Michael that returns, it’s the Shape – he stalks, he gets the original white mask back, and the coveralls. So it’s still in Rob’s world, but with the Carpenter version of Michael. And of course we had a great role for Tom Atkins; he’d be playing the doctor of the hospital. And the whole time the TV in the rec room would be playing the Silver Shamrock theme, and at one point Atkins would walk by and yell (Farmer switches to a damn good Atkins impression) “Turn that shit off!” And I’d keep my pants on this time. Also, there was never anyone cast. Our intention was to bring his cast back, but it never got that far. Scout may have seen an outline, but no one was ever in negotiations, I’m certain no one was officially attached.

BD: But it was going from the theatrical ending of 'Halloween II', not the director’s cut version?

TF: Yeah, when we were hired the theatrical was all that was available. We never saw Rob’s original ending.

BD: So what is next for you, for sure?

TF: Well Patrick and I are pitching a TV show. And we’re also pitching a horror movie based on an idea Patrick and I had, I don’t want to say the name. Someone had a script, and it’s not the best script I’ve ever read, but it’s not the worst either... it was similar, so we figured out a way that we could take our idea and slide it into this script. Kind of excited for that, see how that goes. And then one other big juicy franchise that we are discussing a reboot on. We’ll probably piss off some people with that one, but I think we do remakes OK (laughs).
Thanks to Bloody-Disgusting for the interview.