Proceedings got emotional at Universal’s Halloween panel, not because things got scary but rather due to one man revealing to Jamie Lee Curtis that the classic horror movie, and her iconic character in particular, saved his life.
The unidentified man was first up during the Q&A session of the panel, taking place in cavernous Hall H. Instead of asking a question, he began recounting a home invasion involving a man with a weapon.
“The thought came to my mind, ‘What would Jamie Lee Curtis do?'” he recounted, then saying he reached for a pair of knitting needles that had been tossed in a trash can. He managed to get out of the house and run to a neighor’s home.
“I’m here today because of you,” he said. “I’m a victor instead of a victim because of you. You’re the only reason I came to Comic-Con this year.”
The roughly 7,000 strong crowd was on its feet as Curtis walked off the stage and embraced him.
The scene dovetailed with the beginning of the presentation where Curtis, next to filmmaker David Gordon Green and producers Malek Akkad and Jason Blum, whipped the crowd into a mini fervor describing how her character would not be defined by horrific events from her past.
“She is saying, ‘I am not my trauma,'” Curtis said. “She’s been waiting 40 years to have this person who she knows is coming and to say, ‘I am going to take back the legacy. I am going take back my narrative.'”
Curtis’ sermon-like speech brought up last week’s ESPYs at which the victims of Larry Nassar received an award for courage.
Earlier in the presentation, Green looked back at the impact Halloween had on him when he was at a sleepover at the age of 7. Someone played the movie on VHS, and he was so scared that he called his mom to come and take him home.
He also recalled pitching his take to John Carpenter, the filmmaker who created Halloween, among other influential genre movies, and how he was able to keep his composure during the meeting until it was interrupted by Carpenter’s cell phone ringing. The reason? The ring tone on Carpenter’s cell was the instantly recognizable Halloween score.
Akkad, meanwhile, talked about what in his mind makes Michael Myers a scary movie monster: that cold mask. “You can put what you fear on that,” he said.
After the emotional Q&A, Curtis took the presentation’s finale even higher when she called Halloween, which she appeared in when she was 19, the greatest job of her career and said that “Laurie Strode was the greatest character I ever played.”
“To think that 40 years later we’re at Comic-Con — it is mind-blowing and a privilege,” she added.
Universal and Blumhouse are releasing Halloween on Oct. 19.