Kyle Richards: The Real Housewife Of Haddonfield

Kyle Richards talks THE REAL HOUSEWIVES and revisiting Haddonfield in HALLOWEEN KILLS

By Louis Peitzman · @LouisPeitzman · October 15, 2021, 12:06 PM PDT
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HALLOWEEN KILLS (2021)

Editor's Note: The following may contain what some may consider mild spoilers. Proceed with caution if you've yet to see Halloween Kills. Otherwise, enjoy!

Kyle Richards recently came face-to-face with terror. Audiences have been clamoring for the tense showdown, but it left her feeling broken and spent. When it was all over, it took her two full days in bed to recover, and she still speaks about the experience with a sort of weary resignation.

That was, of course, the Season 11 reunion of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Sure, long nights on the set of Halloween Kills were challenging, Richards acknowledged in a recent interview with FANGORIA, but nothing compares to her annual tradition of filming a Housewives reunion. This is where producer and host Andy Cohen gathers the cast members of the reality series after the season's episodes have aired to hash out months-old conflicts for hours on end.

"You have this adrenaline that kicks in when you're acting, especially doing a horror film, and doing scenes with Michael Myers, and being chased," Richards said. "The Housewives is just emotionally draining. I mean, I have to sleep for two days after a Housewives reunion. I know it sounds crazy, but that's literally the truth. Everybody. All the cast across the board, like two days, we don't leave our bed."

Richards is something of an expert on the subject of Housewives and horror. She's what's known as a Housewives OG, having stuck around on RHOBH for all eleven of its seasons. But she's had an even longer career making horror films. Between the ages of seven and ten, she appeared in a number of genre movies: 1976's Eaten Alive (directed by Tobe Hooper), 1977's The Car (co-starring her sister and former Housewife Kim Richards), and 1980's The Watcher in the Woods.

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Her most notable role as child star scream queen, however, was in 1978's Halloween, in which she played little Lindsey Wallace, the girl Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is babysitting on the night Michael Myers wreaks havoc on Haddonfield.

It's an experience Richards has fond memories of, and the staggering influence of Halloween means it's one she's revisited over the years. But it wasn't until David Gordon Green's Halloween Kills that she stepped back into the role of Lindsey again, donning her childhood bangs once more to play a woman whose encounter with Michael Myers as a little girl has colored the next forty years of her life.

Halloween Kills picks up immediately after the events of 2018's Halloween, Green's direct sequel to the original John Carpenter film. The latest film expands the world of Haddonfield and draws in more characters who Michael terrorized in the first movie, with Nancy Stephens and Charles Cyphers also reprising their roles more than four decades later, and Anthony Michael Hall taking over the part of grown-up Tommy Doyle, the other kid who survived the massacre alongside Lindsey.

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While Richards has done a bit of acting in the years since RHOBH's 2010 premiere, this is her first major return to film. It didn't take much convincing to lure her back. "David Gordon Green wanted to meet with me, and we sat down. He probably wanted to get a sense of who I am, not from seeing me on television in recent years, and we had a conversation, and then I got a call that they wanted me to be in it," she recalled. "I was just thrilled from the beginning to be doing what I love most, which is acting, and to be back on the big screen again is really exciting for me."

Even though it had been over forty years since Richards first ran from The Shape, she didn't have a hard time tapping into that terror to recreate the character for a new generation. "It's like riding a bike. It really was very natural for me, and being in front of the cameras, I just felt great," she said. "We'd go to work at 5 [p.m.] and come home at 7 in the morning, and I never felt tired because I was so excited to be there with this incredibly creative team of cast and crew."

The real challenge, she confides, was filming Halloween Kills in the middle of Season 10 of RHOBH. (The reality series is now concluding its eleventh season, because while the COVID pandemic delayed the release of Halloween Kills, the Housewives never really got a break.) "I'd have to fly back to film the TV show, and I'd be so exhausted doing that," Richards said. "I'm like, Why am I so exhausted here, but I'm wide awake at 3 in the morning being chased by Michael Myers?"

Housewives devotees could tell you that Season ten was not Richards' finest performance over the course of her impressive tenure on the series. She was crying more than usual, butting heads, and sometimes struggling to keep up with her castmates—particularly at the beginning of the season, when filming of her two projects overlapped.

"I didn't have any balance," Richards admitted. "I was flying between North Carolina to do Halloween, LA to film The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and New York to launch my clothing line … When I was filming The Housewives, I wasn't quite myself, because I was exhausted and I was emotional, and I had bangs to top it off. It was just all a hot mess."

The bangs were especially divisive—Housewives fans "had very strong opinions about my bangs, like they do about everything else," Richards noted—but they helped complete the look. Whether Lindsey would still maintain her childhood hairstyle is an open question, but it's a conscious choice designed to both reflect her stunted development and to evoke nostalgia for an audience who grew up with the original Halloween. And it pays off: the character of Lindsey in Halloween Kills, thanks more to Richards' performance than to her hair, is a triumph.

In fact, Lindsey's confrontation with Michael Myers, in which she gets to finally transform from victim to aggressor, is a clear highlight of the film. Knowing that Richards accidentally broke her own nose behind the scenes while filming the pivotal moment makes her commitment that much more impressive. (Her subsequent nose surgery, paired with some cosmetic enhancements, was documented on RHOBH.) However, at the time of filming, she was most concerned with not injuring the actor behind the Michael Myers mask.

"Once I hit myself in the face, and I realized that actually could hurt somebody—[the bag of bricks] I was using—I found myself at first wanting to hold back from hitting Michael Myers' stunt double," Richards recalled. "I went up to David, our director, and I was like, 'So, um, I just have a question, because you know, this is actually painful.' I didn't want to say I'd just hurt myself, because I didn't want the stunt double taking over for me, and he's like, 'We're losing darkness, the sun's coming up, we've gotta get in there and do this. It's why they're paid the big bucks.' And I was just like, Ooh, god, and I just looked at Michael Myers through the mask, the stunt double, and I said, 'I'm really sorry to do this to you.' And I just had to go for it, and had to just detach."

Richards' gutsy performance in Halloween Kills is certain to surprise horror fans who thought she was out of the game, and Housewives fans who never knew she had it in her. But when it comes to her return to the genre, she maintains that she never really left it. "I've been doing horror films my whole life, since I was a little girl," she said. "And I've been doing The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills eleven years, so that's got a little horror aspect to it, too."

But while Richards could easily bolster her adult scream queen status with more horror roles down the line, right now, she's just excited to be making movies again. Her next film, the Christmas comedy The Real Housewives of the North Pole, will be premiering on Peacock in time for the holidays. "Acting is my first love," she gushed.

In the meantime, Richards continues to weather dinner parties from hell and more hair-raising confrontations on the series that has made her a reality TV icon. And for someone who claims to be conflict-averse, the fighting on RHOBH can be more harrowing than anything Michael Myers can unleash. Through it all, Richards has proven herself to be a survivor with remarkable staying power, outlasting a dozen other Housewives who have met bitter ends. In Bravo parlance, she's an OG, but in the language of horror that Halloween helped write, you might just call her a Housewives Final Girl.

Halloween Kills is now playing in theaters and streaming on Peacock, click below to stream now.