Horror Month – June 2015
We spoke with actor Erik Preston; known for his role as Young Michael Myers in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and has gone on to numerous other film roles including Danielle Harris’s 2012 film Among Friends.
“I was raised on horror films and have been watching them long before I can even remember”
What inspired you to become an actor?
I don’t really know how to answer that. I began acting when I was like 4/5 years old. I’m sure, at that age, the idea of being on TV was probably my motivation for wanting to get into acting. As an adult, I just like trying to entertain people.
You portrayed ‘Young Michael Myers’ in Halloween 4 – how did this role come about?
I was a local actor in Salt Lake City at the time that Halloween 4 was casting. I originally auditioned to play the role of the Frankenstein kid in the school halls when they’re teasing Jamie about her mom being dead. I remember the casting seemed to be pretty quick in that I think I auditioned on a Monday and was attached to the film by Wednesday.
I could easily be wrong on the turn-around time since I was 8 years old when it all happened. Anyway, my agent contacted my parents and basically told them that casting liked me but they wanted me to play Young Michael instead of the part I auditioned for.
What was it like working with Halloween/Horror icon Danielle Harris?
Danielle has become my friend over the years and is a great person in general. My interaction with her while shooting Halloween was very limited. However her and I have worked on a couple of projects together as adults. We have also made multiple convention appearances together.
Why do you think the Halloween Franchise has had such longevity?
I think it all starts with the beginning. John Carpenter was onto something when he made the first movie. He used atmosphere and lighting to his advantage for creating that film- rather than relying on blood and special effects. In doing so I think he made stronger choices in how ‘The Shape’ would interact with his victims. Regardless of how a franchise/series may go, audiences tend to use the “first” as their blueprint that they always go back to. In other words, you could have a horrible first film, make an amazing second film, and audiences (generally speaking) will tend to use that first film for their opinion of the series. So, for example, if you look at Nightmare on Elm St., audiences tend to forgive/forget that Nightmare 2 was even made. However, I don’t think they would be as forgiving if Freddy’s Revenge was the first of the series, followed up with what we know as the original NOES film – if that makes sense?
Are you a fan of the Halloween Franchise and if so which is your favourite instalment?
I wish I could provide some amazing answer here. But the answer is very simple- the original Halloween. Pretty much for the reasons I stated in the last question.
What has it been like meeting fans on the convention circuit?
It’s always a pleasure meeting and speaking with fans. There is often a strong passion behind them that is exciting. We all need to have some kind of passion in life- something that makes you smile. I’m fortunate that I get to be a part of that for some people.
Are you a fan of horror films yourself?
I am. I was raised on horror films and have been watching them long before I can even remember. I was a fan of Freddy, Jason, and “the man in the white mask” (aka Michael) when I got the audition for Halloween. As an adult I’m more picky about the horror films that I’ll watch / become a fan of. There are some great modern day horror films (It Follows, Trick r’ Treat, etc). Then there are a ton of horrible horror films (too many to even try to list).
In your eyes what makes a good film?
Story is number 1. You have to have a good story and interesting characters. If you watch the behind the scenes footage of when they were shooting Star Wars: Episode 3 – there is a point where George Lucas finalizes his first draft of the film and makes the comment that there’s “a lot of cheating as the pages just say ‘they fight.’ “. I think that’s telling. There are a lot of horror films that rely too heavily on blood and jump scares rather than story line and creating true tension through atmosphere. If a filmmaker’s final goal is to be “as bloody and violent as possible,” then that’s fine- there’s an audience for that. However I’m probably not going to see that film and rave about it with my friends or people at conventions.
What is your favourite movie of all time?
I don’t have one specific favourite film. There are comedies that I love, horror films, dramas, etc. I just like being entertained- and sometimes a movie will be made that I will see over and over. Some of the best movies that I’ve seen in recent years were “Her” and “Whiplash” I also really loved “The Guardians of the Galaxy.” But I also enjoy the original Halloween, NOES, American Gothic (which is a horror film that I don’t think gets enough love), Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Can’t Hardly Wait, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and again the list goes on and on.
Do you have any upcoming projects?
I am attempting to create my own content. I was writing a comedy pilot for a TV show (I should probably start working on that again). I’m also developing a web series called Altynsarin, VA. I don’t want to reveal too much about the project other than I can say is that I am looking to do something very unique for the audience. I do not think that it has been done before – so hopefully the audience will enjoy it once I actually release some of the content.
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