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 that is still producing 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."
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 Pleasance. Pleasance 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 J.C. Penney.
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."
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 and actresses would scatter to try and collect all the leaves and get them back into the bags to be used again later.
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 Windburn, 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.