17 Bizarre Stories From Behind The Scenes Of The Halloween Movies
Premiering in 1978, Halloween was a low-budget film that changed the world. Written and directed by novice filmmaker John Carpenter, featuring virtually no famous actors and shot in the span of 20 days, the film somehow managed to revolutionize a genre and spawn a series of sequels, even to this day. The Halloween movies have inspired a cult following, so what magic transpired behind the scenes to make these films?
This list includes some of the most interesting behind-the-scenes stories from the Halloween series as well as interesting tidbits of Halloween movie trivia which demonstrate how the formative series developed and evolved over the years. This is what went into the making of the bogeyman, a force that is "purely and simply evil."
The Actors Wore Their Own Clothes In 'Halloween'
To say the film was low budget is an understatement. The initial budget was $300,000, only increased to $320,000 so that the crew could afford actor Donald Pleasence. Pleasence was the only one in the cast to receive the star treatment, with a trailer and other accompaniments. Non-actor Nick Castle, on the other hand, earned $25 per day for his work as Michael Myers.
To cut costs, the actors wore their own clothes on set - Jamie Lee Curtis picked up her entire film wardrobe for under $100 from JCPenney.
John Carpenter Had Two Audacious DemandsPhoto: Thomas Peter Schulz / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
His first demand was that he get his name above the title. The second demand was that he get final cut. Both of these were unheard of for a novice director, as Carpenter was at the time.
Executive Producer Irwin Yablans told him that if he could make the film for the ridiculously low budget of $300,000, "then you can have anything you want."
In Halloween, Fall Was Created With A Few Bags Of Painted Leaves
One of the challenges that the crew faced was turning a Southern California suburb into Illinois in the fall. In one scene, you can actually see a palm tree in the background. The low-budget solution to this problem was to film on a street with some spooky, gnarly looking trees and dump a few garbage bags of painted leaves on the ground.
When the wind picked up, the actors would scatter to try and collect all the leaves and get them back into the bags to be used again later.
Michael Myers Was Played By Five Different People In The Original Film
It was actually six, if you count the kid, Will Sandin, who played Michael as a child. Michael was referred to simply as "The Shape" in the script and was primarily played by John Carpenter's friend from film school, Nick Castle. It was determined that Castle's face just wasn't right, though, so they got actor Tony Moran to act in the unmasking scene.
In addition to that, stunts were done by Jim Winburn, and production designer Tommy Lee Wallace played a few scenes because he knew how to hit the breakable special effects correctly. Debra Hill even played just his hands pulling a knife from the kitchen drawer when no one else was immediately available.
John Carpenter Wrote The Legendary Score HimselfPhoto: Robert Brook / via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0
Before the score was added, Carpenter showed the film to an executive producer who was interested in his work. The executive was not impressed, saying it just wasn't that scary. Afterward, Carpenter composed the entire score himself (mostly for economic reasons).
When the executive saw the film with the score added, she was forced to retract her previous assessment.
Co-Writer And Producer Debra Hill Beefed Up The Women Characters
At the time, Hill had only worked as a script supervisor (which she was on Assault on Precinct 13).
The decision to trust her in the expanded role turned out to be a stroke of genius. She wrote much of the dialogue for the girls, adding depth to their characters that was extremely unusual for an exploitation film.