11:00am PT by Jason R. Latham
How Meeting Jamie Lee Curtis Inspired a 'Halloween' Fan
In July, Joseph Scott was at the center at one of San Diego Comic-Con's most talked about moments. He brought Hall H to tears during the Q&A portion of Universal's Halloween panel, where he told star Jamie Lee Curtis that her character Laurie Strode inspired him to grab a pair of knitting needles when confronted by a knife-wielding home invader years ago. Curtis, who reprises her iconic Strode role in the new film, left the stage and made her way to Scott, embracing him in a moving scene that quickly went viral.
Scott, who works in retail in the Riverside, Calif., area, has since been inspired by his encounter with Curtis to advocate for men who have suffered trauma. On Sunday, he was able to again connect with members of the Halloween family, this time during a panel at the Halloween: Forty Years of Terror convention in Pasadena.
An emotional Scott again praised the filmmakers and said since Comic-Con, he has been approached by "countless" men who had been victimized, yet chose to remain silent despite struggling with post-traumatic stress.
"Men don’t talk about it, because they don’t want to be seen as weak, they don’t want to be seen as emotional," Scott told a panel that included Nick Castle, who portrayed Halloween villain Michael Myers in John Carpenter’s 1978 classic and its 2018 sequel, and P.J. Soles, who played Lynda in the original and has a small role in the new film.
"By getting up and talking about it, I’m trying to be a light for them [to come forward]," he said.
Speaking for more than four minutes, Scott fought back tears while describing his ordeal and the aftermath, as panel members sat silently. The incident happened in June 1982, when Scott was visiting a relative in Mill Valley, Calif. Though his family knew the story, a still-traumatized Scott said he "put it away," until his therapist urged him to stop holding it in.
"I knew I was in the arms of somebody who understood post-traumatic stress, who understood trauma," he recalled of being embraced by Curtis. "Thank God you guys made this movie, because I’m alive today."
Scott, who credits Curtis’ reaction for helping him discover his newfound purpose, said he now spends time working with trauma-affected youth through his church and connecting with survivors in the fan community at conventions.
Following his speech, Scott stood in the hallway at Pasadena Convention Center, still visibly shaken as he spoke with fellow attendees. He urged victims who haven’t come forward to "open up" without fear of being labeled "insecure" or less masculine.
"People are just uncomfortable with us," Scott told The Hollywood Reporter of men who have survived trauma. "Not everyone has to understand, [but] I’m more focused on the people who say, ‘Please come and talk to me.’"
He added, "I talked to a guy who’s 75 years old, [who said], ‘I’ve never been allowed to talk about being molested for 55 years.’ He’s been holding it in for 55 years. We need to start opening up, we need to start talking."
Curtis, who appeared via video message to fans at a convention afterparty, has been promoting Halloween 2018 as a trauma survivor’s story, one in which the former babysitter faces down her demon, Michael Myers, and turns the tables on him after 40 years of psychological torment.
David Gordon Green, who directed the new installment, elaborated on Strode’s journey during his Oct. 13 appearance at the convention. The director explained that in early conversations with Curtis, they discussed her character becoming a fully realized version of the "Do as I say!" Strode who defended herself with a knitting needle in the 1978 film’s climax.
"This movie will tell survivors that you don’t have to be defined by your trauma," echoed Scott, who had been in the crowd as Green spoke. "You don’t have to be defined by what someone else does to you.
"Every time you cover up, you’re letting whoever hurt you win," he said.