Without a doubt one of the best horror film franchises of all-time, Halloween debuted in theaters in 1978 and the series has been brought back again and again ever since then. As is the case with many of these long-lasting franchises, the quality of the series has been a pretty mixed bag at times. That said, the series has left such an indelible mark on the horror landscape that viewers get excited whenever Michael Myers gets brought back to life.
Currently made up of eleven different films, with the most recent released in October 2018, the Halloween franchise has benefited from the efforts if many talented artists. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that a lot of fascinating things went on behind the scenes during the production of these movies. In fact, when you learn about how some of the memorable aspects of these films came to pass it is simply amazing that things turned out as great as they did on screen.
In order for a piece of information to be considered for possible inclusion in this list, it must, first and foremost, relate to the making of the Halloween series in one way or another. On top of that, something about it needs to be astonishing enough to hold the interest of the series' fans. Of course, it should be noted that every person’s knowledge base is different, so huge fans may be aware of some things to come.
Here are 20 Crazy Details Behind The Making Of The Halloween Movies.
The next time you watch 1978’s Halloween, the fact that 6 different people played Michael Myers in that film will enhance your experience even more. Starting out with the people that embodied the 6-year-old version of the character, Debra Hill was a stand-in for his hands during the point of view shot and he was played by Will Sandin when he could be seen.
On top of that, the adult version of the character was embodied in different scenes by Nick Castle, Tony Maran, and Tommy Lee Wallace, all of whom served a different purpose. If that weren’t enough, they needed a stunt person to double for Michael as well, and they hired Jim Winburn for that job.
Truly a huge departure for the Halloween franchise, Halloween III: Season of the Witch was the first film in the series that was not written by John Carpenter and Debra Hill. Of course, on top of that, the movie left behind the tales of Michael Myers, Laurie Strode, and Samuel Loomis. However, that does not mean that every star of the previous two films failed to appear in the third movie. Instead, in a really awesome Easter egg, Jamie Lee Curtis was brought in.
She voiced a telephone operator who can be briefly heard in Season of the Witch.
Clearly, you have to listen really close to pick up on the fact that it is her.
If there is anyone whose opinion of the Halloween franchise that should be taken seriously, it's John Carpenter. As such, the things he had to say about Rob Zombie’s reboot to the series must have been a really big disappointment for his successor.
Whhen Carpenter revealed his opinion about Zombie’s version of Halloween, he made it clear he had some hard feelings for Zombie, which we will touch on more later. Still, when he said of Zombie’s version of Michael, “he took away the mystique of the story by explaining too much,” that must have stung.
Able to create several memorable characters, the Halloween series spawned the likes of Laurie Strode, Samuel Loomis, Jamie Lloyd, and Annie Brackett. Despite all of them, there is no doubt that most people associate the series with Michael Myers above anyone else. Even though he was clearly a hit, when producers John Carpenter and Debra Hill were approached to make a third Halloween movie they made the surprising decision to go a wholly new direction.
They made an attempt to turn the franchise into an anthology series.
The plan was to have every sequel after Halloween III: Season of the Witch tackle wholly new characters and stories. While Seasons of the Witch is now seen as a cult classic, it was a failure in its own time, which is why Michael was brought back for the next film.
As it's meant to take place at Halloween time in the Midwestern town of Haddonfield, Illinois, when you watch 1978’s Halloween, it is hard to imagine it actually was shot in Southern California in May. One of the best ways of making it feel like the film takes place in the fall was to scatter leaves on the ground.
Since none of the leaves were there naturally, in order to make this happen the crew had to carry around bags of leaves that they would throw around in the background of scenes. Once filming in any area came to an end, those very same leaves would have to be bagged once again and taken to the next location.
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers’ introduced a new protagonist into the series with Jamie Lloyd, played by Danielle Harris. The star then returned for Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, which is a big deal.
Cast to play Laurie Strode’s daughter, Harris was set up to be the franchise’s main star for years to come.
As it turns out, the reason she was absent from the sixth film was reportedly because the producers only offered her scale to appear in it, which is the lowest amount a union actor can be paid to act in a film. Insulted by that, especially since she had paid to emancipate herself in order to work longer hours on the movie, Harris walked away from the series.
The movie that producers hoped would bring the Halloween franchise back to the forefront of the horror genre, Halloween H20: 20 Years Later wound up being a mixed bag. On the plus side, it did well enough at the box office and on video that it got a sequel. However, it was a minor hit, at best, and received mixed reviews from critics.
It is interesting to contemplate how different things could have been if H20 embraced a more comedic element like Scream did in the same era. According to the special features included on Halloween: The Complete Collection Blu Ray release, Jamie Lee Curtis wanted comedic actor Mike Myers to have an H20 cameo.
Filmmakers are artists, but in order to make their vision come to life, they often have to deal with studio heads. There are endless examples of executives forcing their will on to those involved in crafting a film. A great example of that kind of thing, when Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers began shooting, the film did not even have a finished script to work from.
It was rushed into production because the previous film in the series was a hit.
Ultimately, this left the fifth movie’s cast questioning many of its plot developments and arcs for their characters.
Far too many beloved films have gotten mediocre sequels that have tarnished the quality movies that came before them. With that in mind, stars who are approached to appear in a sequel often have to weigh the risks. This is something that Jamie Lee Curtis grappled with when she was approached to star in 2018’s Halloween. Fortunately for us all, she signed on and the movie has been positively received. Interestingly enough, it turns out that it took Jake Gyllenhaal to convince her to join the film.
Curtis told Variety that when her "unofficial godson" Gyllenhaal told her that the co-writer and director of 2018’s Halloween, whom he’d worked with, was talented, Curtis took his word seriously.
Who can forget the first time they saw Michael Meyer's haunting mask? A facial piece that perfectly fits the soulless nature of Michael, his mask looks as plain as possible, yet audiences are able to read all kinds of malice in its unmoving face.
It would make a lot of sense to assume that a team of special effects experts created an entirely custom mask for the character.
Instead, it turns out they found a mask that was supposed to be William Shatner as Captain Kirk, spray-painted it, altered the eye holes, and added the attached hair. The other option was a clown mask, but they clearly made the right call.
Considering how fearsome Michael Myers is, how compelling Samuel Loomis is, and how easy it is to root for Laurie Strode, you would think they would be the most lasting things to come out of Halloween. However, in a lot of ways, the most influential part of the Halloween franchise is its iconic theme song.
Largely composed by the director of the original film, John Carpenter, the theme has been sampled time and time again and it is likely to put a smile on the face of fans of the series as soon as they hear it. For that reason, it is simply amazing that Carpenter and Dan Wyman wrote the film’s score in just three days while using “tube synthesizers, a piano and a recorder”.
It is hard to imagine the franchise without Donald Pleasance’s fantastic performance as Samuel Loomis. A doctor obsessed with keeping the potential victims of his former patient Michael Myers safe, Pleasance’s version of the character was afraid of Michael but still determined.
Sadly, the talented actor can never appear in the series again since he passed away prior to the release of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. In fact, he was meant to be a bigger part of that film but he met his demise before he could take part in reshoots, which necessitated the use of a body double for some scenes.
When a major union is set to go on strike, everyone in the business rushes to get as much done before that window closes.
When it came time to work on the script for Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, a major writer’s strike was right around the corner.
As a result, the screenwriter for the film, Alan B. McElroy, rushed to pound out the script for the movie in only eleven days. The fact that he finished in time was very fortunate for everyone involved as that strike lasted an amazing 155 days, which would have left the cast and crew without a job for a long time.
For anyone who has never seen the cult classic film Halloween III: Season of the Witch, the plot of the movie heavily revolves around a jingle that airs on TV during children’s programming. As is the case with most advertising directed at kids, the point of the clip is to exert a certain degree of power over those youngsters, albeit for much more sinister reasons this time.
The first time the commercial plays, it is really annoying, but before too long, its earworm quality has many viewers humming along with the silly tune. The movie’s director, Tommy Lee Wallace, did a great job on the commercial, as it had to be believable that kids would enjoy the little tune.
When John Carpenter directed 1978’s Halloween, he helmed one of the best horror films of all time. Able to pull off that feat with the help of an incredible cast and crew, he also put on a lot off hats during the production of the film. For instance, he also worked on the screenplay and notably wrote the score that has come to mean so much to legions of Halloween fans.
Continuing to serve as the series’ composer up until Halloween III: Season of the Witch, he then left that role in the franchise for more than three decades. However, in an exciting piece of news, it turns out that he enjoyed 2018’s Halloween continuation so much that he put on his musical cap and composed the music for it.
For devoted Halloween fans, the only thing that matters when it comes to the titles of the movies in this series is that the word Halloween is a part of them. That said, it would be ignorant to think that it would make no difference if a film in this series has a stupid title.
Released in 1995, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers was given a solid name that had a pretty good chance of drawing in less devoted moviegoers who enjoyed the mayhem of the series’ main villain. That said, their indecisiveness likely caused some confusion in the marketplace since a trailer for the movie came out that told viewers the movie was named Halloween 666: The Origin of Michael Myers.
Despite being rated at a meager 11% on Rotten Tomatoes, Halloween: Resurrection didn’t even break the threshold from just awful to "so bad it's good." Despite seeming like they may have been thought up at the last minute, in reality, the movie’s opening moments were a result of negotiations between Jamie Lee Curtis and producers.
Willing to work on H20 in part because she wanted a Halloween movie to end with her dispatching Michael, Curtis was upset since producers wanted to keep their cash cow going. H20 ends with Laurie supposedly taking out her brother Michael, only for Resurrection to reveal she dispatched someone else due to mistaken identity.
In recent years, many of John Carpenter’s movies have been remade, rebooted, or given a prequel. In fact, on top of the Halloween franchise continuing, other directors have added to the legacy of The Thing and The Fog over the last several years, and a remake of Big Trouble in Little China is in the works.
Rob Zombie said that while he was working on the Halloween reboot,Carpenter was not open to him.
Clearly angered by that, years later, Carpenter said of Zombie’s claims: “he lied about me” and that his only instructions for Zombie were to “make it your own movie." From there, he referred to Zombie in vulgar words we can’t include here.
The first movie in this series that featured a reboot of sorts, Halloween H20: 20 Years Later asked fans to ignore the existence of several other films in the franchise. Since H20 featured Jamie Lee Curtis’ return to the series, they had to deal with the fact that in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, her character had passed away.
Laurie was said to have perished in a car accident.
Producers either had to explain away or ignore aspects of the previous films in the series. Despite initially intending to address what was said about Laurie in Halloween 4, 5, and 6, in the end, it was decided it would be confusing for audiences, so H20 is a direct Halloween II sequel instead.
There is life left in this franchise, forty years after its debut! Critics have embraced 2018’s Halloween and it was a huge success at the box office. It is about time that one of the best horror franchises of all-time returned to form.
Just because the movie works does not mean that the process of bringing it to life was an easy one.
In fact, when talking about the writing process, director David Gordon Green revealed that “it was probably eight months of 80 drafts, exploring different ways we could go and following different characters." According to Green, all that work took place prior to them learning Jamie Lee Curtis wanted to be in the movie.
Do you have any Halloween movie trivia to share? Let us know in the comments!