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Halloween (1978) Poster

(1978)

Trivia

Carpenter approached Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee to play the Sam Loomis role (that was eventually played by Donald Pleasence) but both turned him down. Lee later said it was the biggest mistake he had ever made in his career.
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Due to its shoestring budget, the prop department had to use the cheapest $2 mask that they could find in the costume store: a Star Trek (1966) 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.
P.J. Soles went to a screening of the movie after it was released, sitting in the 4th row of a regular audience. She was very amused, when during her nude scene and line of "see anything you like?" a male audience member in front yelled out "hell yes I do!" unaware she was right behind him.
Carpenter considered the hiring of Jamie Lee Curtis as the ultimate tribute to Alfred Hitchcock who had given her mother, Janet Leigh, legendary status in Psycho (1960).
Prior to the movie, a book was written by Curtis Richards, and reveals more of the story behind Michael's rage. However, the book is very rare.
The Halloween theme is written in the rare 5/4 time signature. John Carpenter learned this rhythm from his father.
Dr. Sam Loomis is Michael Myers' psychiatrist. Sam Loomis is also the name of Janet Leigh's secret lover in Psycho. Also, Annie is played by actress Nancy Loomis.
Halloween was shot in 20 days in the spring of 1978. Made on a budget of $300,000, it became the highest-grossing independent movie ever made at that time.
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.
When Laurie and Annie are driving in the car they are listening to Don't fear the reaper by 'Blue Oyster Cult'. This is on whilst Micheal Myers is driving behind them...
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 one hundred dollars for the entire set. She shot the film while on hiatus from the sitcom Operation Petticoat: Operation Petticoat (1977).
John Carpenter's intent with the character of Michael Myers was that the audience should never be able to relate to him.
Carpenter and co-writer Debra Hill have stated many times over the years that they did not consciously set out to depict virginity as a way of defeating a rampaging killer. The reason why the horny teens all die is simply that they're so preoccupied with getting laid that they don't notice that there's a killer at large. Laurie Strode, on the other hand, spends a lot of time on her own and is therefore more alert.
As the film was shot out of sequence, John Carpenter created a fear meter so that Jamie Lee Curtis would know what level of terror she should be exhibiting.
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, as Jamie 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.
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.
Donald Pleasence confessed to John Carpenter that the main reason why he took the part of Loomis was because his daughter Angela loved Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13 (1976).
The movie playing while Laurie is babysitting is The Thing from Another World (1951). John Carpenter would later go on to direct the remake in 1982.
This was voted the fifth scariest film of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
John Carpenter was quite intimidated by Donald Pleasence, of whom he was a big fan and who was easily the oldest and most experienced person on set. Although Pleasance asked Carpenter difficult questions about his character, Pleasance turned out to be a good-humored, big-hearted individual and the two became great friends. Pleasance went to appear in two other Carpenter films.
A young Jamie Lee Curtis was so disappointed with her performance that she became convinced she would be fired after only the first day of filming. When her phone rang that night and it was John Carpenter on the phone, Curtis was certain it was the end of her movie career. Instead, Carpenter called to congratulate her and tell her he was very happy with the way things had gone.
The opening POV sequence took 2 days to film.
For its first airing on television, extra scenes had to be added to make it fit the desired time slot. Carpenter filmed these during the production of Halloween II (1981) against his better judgment.
From a budget of $300,000 the film went on to gross $47 million at the US box office. In 2008 takings that would be the equivalent of $150 million, making Halloween (1978) one of the most successful independent films of all time.
John Carpenter told production designer Tommy Lee Wallace to go out and find a "government-looking" car to be used by Dr. Loomis and Marion in the opening scenes, which Michael Myers ultimately steals and uses throughout the film. Wallace went to the nearest car-rental agency and a 1976 Ford LTD station wagon was the only car there that looked the part. Wallace hired it for two weeks, installing a wire-mesh divider between the front and rear seats, and slapping Illinois state decals on the front doors. Carpenter loved it, and the car-rental agency had no idea of the LTD's use in the film.
For years after 'Halloween' was released, people would tell writer/director John Carpenter how horrified they were by Michael Myers grotesquely disfigured face, glimpsed when Laurie pulls his mask off for a moment towards the end of the film. But actually all they saw was the ordinary face of the actor playing the role, perfectly normal except for the small knife wound inflicted by Laurie during their struggle in the closet which was created using Special Effects makeup. Carpenter cites this as evidence of the power of suggestion in cinema, that the audience saw a monster on-screen so assumed that he must look like a monster underneath the mask.
In the documentary short, Halloween 2000: Unmasked, it was revealed that the crew had chosen two masks for Michael Myers to decide on. The first was a Don Post Emmett Kelly smiling clown mask that they put frizzy red hair on. This was an homage to how he killed his sister, Judith in a clown costume. They tested it out and it appeared very demented and creepy. The other mask was a 1975 Captain James T. Kirk mask that was purchased for around a dollar. It had the eyebrows and sideburns ripped off, the face was painted fish belly white, and the hair was spray painted brown, and the eyes were opened up more. They tested out the Kirk mask and the crew decided that it was much more creepy because it was emotionless. This became the Michael Myers mask.
That Michael Myers could drive a car despite having been 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.
Jamie Lee Curtis' first feature film. She was paid a reported $8,000 for her efforts.
According to screenwriter/producer Debra Hill, the character of Laurie Strode was named after John Carpenter's first girlfriend.
Half of the $300,000 budget was spent on the Panavison cameras so the film would have a 2:35:1 scope. Donald Pleasence was paid $20,000 for 5 days work.
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.
Donald Pleasence did all of his scenes in only 5 days of shooting. The total duration of his scenes is just over 18 minutes.
Laurie remarks that she would rather go out with unseen character "Ben Tramer". The name came from Bennett Tramer, an old college friend of director John Carpenter.
Carpenter wrote the part of Lynda for P.J. Soles after seeing her performance in Brian De Palma's Carrie (1976).
John Carpenter composed the score in 4 days.
The film takes place primarily in Haddonfield, Illinois. Haddonfield, NJ is the home town of screenwriter Debra Hill.
The character of Michael Myers was named after the European distributor of Carpenter's previous film, Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) as a kind of weird "thank you" for the film's overseas success.
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.
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.
As the film was made in spring, the crew had huge difficulty in procuring pumpkins.
Originally, Nick Castle was on set just to watch the movie be filmed. It was at the suggestion of John Carpenter that he took up the role of Michael Myers.
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.
Morgan Strode's black Fleetwood (seen in the driveway when he is talking to Laurie early in the movie) belonged to director John Carpenter, while the Phelps Garage truck was owned by the company that catered for the film.
P.J. Soles was dating Dennis Quaid at the time of filming, so John Carpenter and Debra Hill wanted to cast him in the role of Bob. Unfortunately, Quaid was busy working on another project and John Michael Graham was cast in the role instead.
When they were shooting the scenes for the start of the film (all the ones seen from Michael's point of view) they couldn't get the 6-year old child actor until the last day, so the movie's producer, Debra Hill, volunteered to be Michael for any scenes where his hands come into view. This is why the nails on young Michael's hands look so well manicured and varnished.
According to an additional scene in the extended television version, Michael Myers' middle name is either Audrey or Aubrey.
Debra Hill wrote most of the dialog for the female characters, while John Carpenter concentrated on Dr Loomis' speeches.
Features groundbreaking use of Panavision's recent panaglide camera system as operated by Raymond Stella.
Anne Lockhart was John Carpenter's first choice for the role of Laurie Strode.
Much credit for the concept must go to its producer Irwin Yablans, who had the concept originally for a horror film called "The Babysitter Murders". Upon further research, Yablans discovered to his surprise that no previous film had been titled "Halloween" and thought it would be a great concept to set these "babysitter murders" on the holiday. With these ideas, Yablans convinced an excited John Carpenter to write and direct a film around them.
Michael Myers' full name is never mentioned in the final film. In fact, the only time anybody refers to him by name is in the opening scene.
Kyle Richards, who plays Lindsey Wallace, is the sister of Kim Richards, who appeared in John Carpenter's previous film, Assault on Precinct 13 (1976).
As Annie and Laurie are frantically trying to put out the cigarette in the car and they drive up to Sheriff Brackett and the burglarized hardware store, the sign on the light pole says Mission Street. The street exists both in South Pasadena, California (where the movie was filmed) and in Carol Stream, Illinois - the latter being the state the movie setting was taking place.
None of the big studios at the time was interested in distributing the movie, so executive producer Irwin Yablans decided to distribute the film via his own company (Compass International). MCA/Universal produced and distributed the next two sequels in the early '80s.
According to Don Post Jr., President of Don Post Studios, the famous California mask making company, the filmmakers originally approached his firm about custom making an original mask for use in the film. The filmmakers explained that they could not afford the numerous costs involved in creating a mask from scratch, but would offer Post points in the movie as payment for his services. Post declined their offer, as he received many such proposals from numerous unknown filmmakers all the time.
The wealthy film producer Moustapha Akkad had admittedly little interest in this film and helped make it primarily due to the enthusiasm of John Carpenter and Irwin Yablans. However, when the film turned out to be a huge box-office smash, Akkad saw an opportunity and facilitated every 'Halloween' sequel. This does not include the two remakes, which were produced after his death in 2005.
Was released theatrically with the short Mark Macready and the Archangel Murders (2009) in some theaters during Hallowe'en 2009.
None of the comic books ("Neutron Man," "Tarantula Man," etc.) in Tommy's collection are real. Copies of Howard the Duck comics stood-in for the fictional titles.
In an interview, Moustapha Akkad said that John Carpenter had envisioned making the movie for around $300,000. Coincidentally, Moustapha Akkad said he was producing and filming a major motion picture at the same time starring Laurence Olivier which was costing his company roughly around $300,000 a day. When John Carpenter told him the fixed price of his movie, he immediately funded it.
When Dr. Loomis is talking to the doctors in the empty classroom, Dr. Loomis is sitting in seat #37.
On the 25th anniversary disc, John Carpenter states that the original title sequence was to show a long shot of a sidewalk ending with a Halloween mask on the floor. The idea was dropped and the more iconic title sequence of the Jack O'Lantern was used.
As has been noted, the killer is referred to as The Shape in the script and credits for this film. The word "shape" was used by Cotton Mather and Nathaniel Hawthorne in reference to the Salem Witch Trials to describe specters (or spirits) of the accused doing mischief or harming another person.
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Director Cameo 

John Carpenter:  the voice of Annie's boyfriend, Paul, whom we hear on the phone talking to Annie.

Director Trademark 

John Carpenter:  [Bowling Green]  There are numerous references to Carpenter's childhood hometown of Bowling Green, Kentucky. The performance of the film's musical score is credited to "The Bowling Green Philharmonic." There is no Philharmonic in Bowling Green. The "orchestra" is actually Carpenter and assorted musical friends. In one scene the subtitle depicts the location as "Smiths Grove, IL." Smiths Grove is actually a small town of about 600 people located 15 miles north of Bowling Green on I-65. There are also numerous references in Halloween to street names that are major roads in the greater Bowling Green area.

Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The total body count is seven: first the sister, Judith; then the truck driver's body lying in the tall grass by the train tracks; then the two dogs; and the three teens - Lynda, Bob and Annie.
Originally the script had Dr. Loomis having a surprised reaction to the disappearance of Michael Myers's body from the lawn at the end of the film. Donald Pleasence suggested his character's reaction should instead be an "I knew this would happen" look on his face. They shot it both ways and ended up using Pleasance's idea.
The adult Michael Myers was portrayed by Nick Castle in almost every scene, except for some pick-up shots and the unmasking scene, where he was replaced by Tony Moran. Castle was a school-buddy of John Carpenter, and was on set just to watch the movie be filmed. It was at the suggestion of John Carpenter that he took up the role of Michael Myers, as he was tall and had what Carpenter considered an interesting walk. Castle admitted he was disappointed to not be the face shown, but understood that Carpenter wanted a more "angelic" face to juxtapose with Myers' ghastly deeds. Castle has gone on to become a successful director.
The only blood seen in the movie is when Judith Myers is killed and the body of the man Michael killed for his clothes after Loomis makes the phone call along the railroad tracks. It is also see on Laurie's hand and arm after escaping from Michael.
Aside from dialogue, the script cites Michael Myers by name only twice. In the opening scene, he is called a POV until he is revealed at age 6. From the rest of the script on out he is referred to as a "shape" until Laurie rips his mask off in the final scene (which he never reapplies in the script). "The Shape", as credited in the film, refers to when his face is masked or obscured.
Because P.J. Soles' shirt was open for the scene where she is strangled with the telephone cord, an alternate version was shot for the trailer and publicity shots where she is wearing a bathrobe.
Body count: 5.
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