This self-published paperback is his story — emphasis on The Man, not Halloween. The making of that 1978 now-classic movie is only a small part of the autobiography, which covers his entire life.
Luckily, Yablans is an engaging storyteller who’s full of amusing anecdotes — some of which are intentional (John Wayne declaring his wish to “piss on Eleanor Roosevelt’s grave”), some of which are not (his Hollywood mogul brother and sister-in-law holding a press conference to announce their adoption of an African-American infant … only to give the boy back soon after).
He’s also a smart and savvy businessman. Witness his theory about moviegoers: The amount of money that matters to them is not how many millions of dollars were spent on any given film, but whether it’s worth their five bucks. (Or $12.50, as the case may be today.)
Yablans’ conversational style makes his book a quick read, and his no-bullshit frankness offers an intriguing behind-the-scenes look at the Hollywood studio system. I only wish he had hired an editor, because the errors number many. For example:
• Terrence Malick didn’t direct Heaven’s Gate, and his last name isn’t spelled “Malik.”
• Titles are capitalized and italicized inconsistently, which is to say often not at all.
• Neither Barbara Hershey nor Lalo Schifrin has won an Academy Award.
And that’s just for starters. The mistakes definitely distract, but don’t kill the thing. We’ll leave that to Michael Myers’ knife. —Rod Lott