“Halloween” haunts theaters August 31st. Sound supervisors Perry Robertson, Barney Cabral, and Scott Sanders took a stab at the editorial. All linked to Earcandy Post (an editorial/design house in the valley), the two have worked together on Rob Zombie’s last, “The Devil’s Rejects” as well as continuing a working relationship with Jason Rietman, supervising his next, “Juno”. Re-recording mixersPatrick Cyccone Jr. and Daniel J. Leahy dubbed the film at Widget Post on their ICON driven stage Cyccone one of Alxeander Payne’s usual mixer’s, dubbed the directors last 3 films including 2004’s“Sideways”. While included in Leahy’s established mixing career, one of his first gigs was 1985’s “Back to the Future”. Production mixer Buck Robinson sleighed the sound on set. Robinson, another“Reject’s” alum, splits his production mixing time during the year between features and television shoots. While staying true to the source, Composer Tyler Bates was charged with the monumental task of revising Carpenter’s iconic score. Bates has had a big year already, composing for “300” and has been quoted as providing conceptual material for Zach Snyder’s next film, “The Watchmen.”
I only was turned on to the 1978 original last year, so I am late to the party. Carpenter’s version is great! Scary, intense, and the score is classic, so I am interested to see what Rob Zombie does with the material. I am always interested to hear about how young-in-the-tooth directors approach sound conceptually. It seems they would be more open to exploring what sound can achieve in their films, hopefully this is the case with Rob. I want to thank sound soup Perry Robertson for taking time for this Q and A and I can’t wait to hear his crew’s work this weekend!
Designing Sound: Michael Myers is a character that looks frightening but never actually speaks so how do you help him sound scary?
Perry Robertson: Believe it or not, his scariness comes from lack of sound. A lot of times in the film he appears without making a sound. When we do hear him move, because he is so large, his sounds are heavy; whether it is his weight walking down stairs or the large chains that are on him while he is in the sanitarium. The weight of the sounds just seems to make him that much more menacing.
DS: Is there a lot of Myers POV in the film? If so, how did you guys approach these sequences?
PR: The POVs in the film all have his breathing in the mask. Through his evolution in the film, Meyers wears several different masks. In ADR we had Tyler Mane breathe for us through the different masks. Our Sound Designer, Scott Sanders, also did some mask breaths, so between the two, when it came to the mix we could pick and choose which breaths worked best for the scene.
DS: This is your second film with Rob Zombie, who comes from a musical background. What is his approach to post sound?
PR: Rob is one of those dream directors. He knows exactly what he wants and can tell you. Rob and editor, Glenn Garland do quite a bit of sound while cutting the picture, which gives us a great template to go by. For the big sound scenes, picture assistant, Joel Pashby, will send us Quicktimes of the scenes they need help with. We will build those scenes, pre mix them, and send them back for use in the AVID. Rob relies heavily on music but, if we have an idea on something, we can play it for him and he listens with an open mind. Because of the schedule on this movie, a lot of the tonal design was from composer, Tyler Bates, with most of the scare hits coming from Scott.
DS: What’s so great about horror films is their reliance on sound for the scares. If you watch a horror film without sound it just doesn’t have the same creepy impact. What are your favorite parts in this film that deliver those stereotypical chills?
PR: I think the most fun are the scares. Because we can make sound so big today, I think our sound combined with the picture can definitely make you jump. With the sub woofer we can actually make you physically feel the impacts. The challenge for us on a film like this is to make it have dynamics; make the quiet scenes really quiet so that the loud scenes and scares really have an impact. We don’t want you to come out of the movie complaining it was too loud. Then you didn’t enjoy the movie. We can also help trick an audience into thinking something bad is about to happen when it doesn’t so that the moviegoer doesn’t know when to expect a scare.
DS: Did the sound in the original “Halloween” influence the choices you made for this remake?
PR: Not really. Obviously it influenced composer, Tyler Bates, with the theme but that was about it. If you listen to the original it was pretty sparse in sound. I go into every movie with the approach of making it sound as good as sonically possible and give the director exactly what he wants and more.
DS: What was your first gig like?
PR: Scary, because I knew I had to prove that I could do the job, yet I knew I had a lot to learn. I was still in college and went to work as an intern for a Post Production company in Dallas. I soaked up everything I could from the folks there and was working full time for them and going to school with in 6 months.