With his 1978 thriller Halloween, John Carpenter created a horror icon in Michael Myers, kickstarted a franchise that is still releasing films to this day, and arguably gave birth to the slasher genre.
Halloween was made for a lowly $300,000 and yet went on to make a staggering $70 million at the box office worldwide.
Here are 13 things you didn’t know about the film…
1) Captain Kirk mask
The famous Michael Myers mask is actually a Star Trek Captain Kirk mask that the props team came back from the store with. The sideburns and eyebrows were ripped off and the mask was painted white.
2) Christopher Lee was offered the role of Dr Loomis
Although he’s now synonymous with the role, Donald Pleasance wasn’t John Carpenter’s first choice for Dr Loomis. In fact, the director offered the role to Dracula himself, Christopher Lee. Lee turned down the role on account of the pay being poor (Peasance received just $20,000 for his part in the film). Lee later said that turning down the role was the biggest mistake he’s made in his career.
3) Freddy Kreuger spread leaves on set
John Carpenter hired none other than Freddy Krueger himself Robert Englund to spread dead leaves around the set. Englund spent an entire day doing this. He wouldn’t go on to play Kreuger until 6 years later in 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street.
4) The cast wore their own clothes to save budget
The budget of the film was so low that they didn’t have much – if any – money to put towards the costume department. So, the cast wore their own clothes.
5) Fruity sound effects
Every time somebody is stabbed throughout the film, you’re actually hearing the sound effects team plunging a knife into a watermelon!
6) Director and composer
To save money on a composer, John Carpenter composed the score himself. As was the theme of the production, Carpenter worked fast. It took just four days to compose the film’s entire score.
7) The lighting is dim because the production couldn’t afford more lights
There’s a reason the film is dimly lit in parts, and it wasn’t just for moody effect; in actuality, it was simply because the budget for the film was so low that they couldn’t afford much lighting.
8) Pumpkin shortage in spring
Although the film is set at Halloween, which demanded an abundance of pumpkins onscreen, the movie was filmed in spring, which made it very difficult for the team to source pumpkins.They managed to scrape enough just enough to pull it off.
9) Michael Myers is named after a former colleague
The name Michael Myers comes from the European distributor of John Carpenter’s film Assault on Precinct 13, which came out two years earlier in 1976.
10) The film was so low budget, its events were shortened to one night
The original script was actually based over several days, but this would have proven too expensive as the characters would have had to wear different costumes each day, and more locations would have been needed. To save on budget, the events were shortened to just one night.
11) The film was originally going to be called ‘The babysitter murders’
When the film was set over a few days, it was titled, ‘The babysitter murders.’ However, when the budget constraints meant the film would instead have to be a single day, the producers decided to make that day Halloween, as it was the spookiest day. And so the name ‘Halloween’ came to pass.
12) Jamie Lee Curtis had a ‘fear meter’
As is often the case, the film was not filmed in order. So, since Jamie Lee Curtis’ character would obviously grow more afraid and distressed throughout the finished film, John Carpenter created a ‘fear metre’ so that she would know how scared to act in each scene.
13) The POV sequence took 2 days to shoot
The entire film only took 20 days to shoot. It says a lot, then, that the POV sequence at the start of the film, where we see through Michael Myers’ eyes, took two whole days to film.
There you have it – 13 things you might not have known about 1978’s Halloween.
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