Jeffrey Landman interview: Celebrating 30 years of Halloween 5

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 05: A cosplayer dressed as Michael Meyers attends New York Comic Con 2019 Day 3 at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center October 05, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for ReedPOP )
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 05: A cosplayer dressed as Michael Meyers attends New York Comic Con 2019 Day 3 at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center October 05, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for ReedPOP ) /

October 13th marks the 30th anniversary of the theatrical release of Halloween 5. 1428 Elm caught up with actor Jeffrey Landman to discuss his experience working on the film.

One thing producer’s love more than a successful film is a successful follow-up. Even though “The Golden Age of Slasher Films” had come and gone by the last 1980s, with its popularity left waning, Fred Krueger and Jason Voorhees were still attracting moviegoers; and in 1988, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers proved too successful to ignore. This, of course, led to Halloween 5.

Released on October 13, 1989, (8 days shy of a year after Halloween 4’s October 21, 1988 theatrical release) Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers hit theaters, much to the audience’s anticipation. Bringing in just over $11 million from a production budget of $5 million, Halloween 5 is one of the franchise’s most controversial entries.

It continues the story set up in Halloween 4 by showing Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris) in a children’s clinic and Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) returning to stop Michael. Along with familiar faces, we’re introduced to several new ones as well — one of which is Billy Hill, played by then 10-year-old Jeffrey Landman. We had a chance to chat with Jeffrey about his experience working on the film.

1428 Elm: What was the auditioning process like for you?

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Jeffrey Landman: I was working on Broadway at the time, and my agent sent me to a meeting with the casting director. I was put on tape twice and booked the movie from those tapes.

Most of the audition scenes dealt with the stuttering, but I didn’t meet Danielle Harris or anyone from the production until I arrived in Salt Lake City to begin filming.

1428 Elm: Were you aware of the popularity of the franchise during the production of Halloween 5?

JL: Being only 10 years old, I wasn’t really a huge horror film expert, so once I booked the movie, I played catch up. The night before I left New York to start filming, my mother and I rented Halloween 3 – so of course that confused us even more.

When we arrived in Salt Lake City, Danielle and her mother had a copy of Halloween 4, which we all watched together – that clarified a few things for us.

1428 Elm: Other than when you were shooting your scenes, did you get to stick around the set to watch?

JL: I came by the set a few times on my days off, but mainly had to spend my down time with my tutor. Luckily, whenever there was a big stunt (the car crashes, the explosions, etc), they made sure we were all on set to watch. I have many, many memories of watching the car chase sequence being put together — everyone loved watching stuff blow up.

1428 Elm: The stuttering in the movie is pretty convincing. Did Dominique or somebody with the production team work on it with you?

JL: The stuttering was always written into the script, but they brought Danielle and I to Salt Lake City a week before filming began to work with a speech pathologist. She worked with us on the sign language as well as discussing with us the pathology of stuttering, why people stutter, as well as under what circumstances the stutter would become more prominent.

For example, during the pageant scene, Billy stutters much more than during other points in the movie. These sort of specific ideas were developed throughout the filming process.

1428 Elm: Do you have a favorite on-set memory?

JL: I have a lot of wonderful memories of hanging out during dinner breaks with the cast and crew. Don Shanks especially was wonderful to me and Danielle. He was constantly removing the mask to make sure we were comfortable.

The best memories I have are of sitting around with Donald Pleasence and hearing stories about his storied career and legacy. Now, as an adult, I wish I could go back to that table and get it, now that I understand what an icon he was.

1428 Elm: Shortly before the SWAT team arrives at the children’s clinic, Jamie repeatedly says your name. Were you present for the additional footage at the clinic?

JL: I was supposed to be in the scenes taking place at the clinic at the end of the movie, but unfortunately they had already sent me home to New Jersey when they filmed those scenes. In the script, it was clear that Billy had survived, but in the final movie it remains unclear as to whether or not Billy lived. I like to think he’s still alive.

1428 Elm: How many days/nights did you shoot for?

JL: We shot for one week during the day, and six more weeks overnight. I know they shot another week on a sound stage in Los Angeles, but it was the laundry chute scene and the sex scene, neither of which Billy appears in.

1428 Elm: Looking back at Halloween 5, 30 years later, how do you feel about the film and your part in it?

JL: I am immensely proud of the film and my part in it. The Halloween fans are a wonderfully loyal group, and to have been so welcomed into the mythology of this amazing franchise has been one of the great joys of my career.

1428 Elm: Hypothetically, if someone came along and pitched a direct sequel to Halloween 5 and you were asked to reprise the role of Billy, what do you think — or hope — your character would be like today?

JL: I like to think that Billy is a speech pathologist working with kids who have survived trauma. That’s my happy ending dream for him.

Next. Netflix: 10 best horror movies to watch on Halloween. dark

Special thank you to Jeffrey Landman for taking the time to chat with us — we’re beyond thankful for the opportunity! Halloween 5 is available on DVD and Blu Ray, or you can catch it this month during AMC’s FearFest lineup.