It’s that season again…time for scary movies and trick or treaters. One of the scariest movies of all time, in my humble opinion of course, is Halloween. Yep, the original with Jamie Lee Curtis. If you’ve never seen it, do yourself and get it on Netflix. Here’s some trivia about the film…grab some popcorn and tell me how you like it!
–Due to its shoestring budget, the prop department had to use the cheapest mask that they could find in the costume store: a Star Trek William Shatner mask. They later spray-painted the face white, teased out the hair, and reshaped the eye holes. Shatner admitted that for years he had no idea his likeness was used for this film. It was only during an interview that someone mentioned his mask was being used. He has since stated that he is honored by this gesture.
–Inside Laurie’s bedroom there is a poster of a painting by James Ensor (1860-1949). Ensor was a Belgian expressionist painter who used to portray human figures wearing grotesque masks.
–The original script, titled “The Babysitter Murders”, had the events take place over the space of several days. It was a budgetary decision to change the script to have everything happen on the same day (doing this reduced the number of costume changes and locations required) and it was decided that Halloween, the scariest night of the year, was the perfect night for this to happen.
–The Halloween theme is written in the rare 5/4 time signature. John Carpenter learned this rhythm from his father.
–As the movie was actually shot in early spring in southern California (as opposed to Illinois in late October), the crew had to buy paper leaves from a decorator and paint them in the desired autumn colors, then scatter them in the filming locations. To save money, after a scene was filmed, the leaves were collected and reused. However, asJamie Lee Curtis and John Carpenter note on the DVD audio commentary, the trees are quite full and green and even some palm trees can be seen, despite that in Illinois in October, the leaves would probably be mostly gone and there would be no palm trees.
—Jamie Lee Curtis‘ first feature film. She was paid a reported $8,000 for her efforts.
–Halloween was shot in 21 days in April of 1978. Made on a budget of $320,000, it became the highest-grossing independent movie ever made at that time.
–All of the actors wore their own clothes, since there was no money for a costume department. Jamie Lee Curtis went to J.C. Penney for Laurie Strode’s wardrobe. She spent less than a hundred dollars for the entire set. She shot the film while on hiatus from the sitcom Operation Petticoat: Operation Petticoat.
–The opening shot appears to be a single, tracking, point of view shot, but there are actually three cuts. The first when the mask goes on, and the second and third after the murder has taken place and the shape is exiting the room. This was done to make the point of view appear to move faster.
–This was voted the fifth scariest film of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
–The “Myers” house was a locale found in South Pasadena that was largely the decrepit, abandoned place seen in the majority of the film. However, as the house had to look ordinary (and furnished) for the early scenes with the young Michael Myers, almost the whole cast and crew worked together to clean the place, move in furniture, put up wallpaper, and set up running water and electricity, and then take it all out when they were through.
–Of the female leads (all the girls are supposed to be in high school), only Jamie Lee Curtis was actually a teenager at the time of shooting.
–The scene where The Shape seems to appear out of the darkness behind Laurie was accomplished by using a simple dimmer switch on the light that slowly illuminated the mask.
—John Carpenter‘s intent with the character of Michael Myers was that the audience should never be able to relate to him.
–Dr. Sam Loomis is Michael Myers’ psychiatrist. Sam Loomis is also the name of Janet Leigh’s secret lover in Psycho.
–That Michael Myers could drive a car despite having gotten committed to an asylum at the age of six inspired many guffaws. The first movie novelization came up with a simple but effective explanation: when Doctor Loomis drove Michael to sanity hearings over the years, Michael simply watched very closely and carefully as Doctor Loomis operated the car. Remember, even if Michael sat in the back seat and there was a screen of bulletproof glass partition, Michael could still look over the Doctor’s shoulder without Loomis realizing the significance. Alternatively ‘Halloween 6; The Curse of Michael Myers’ provides a retroactive explanation to this question.
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