In late 1986 The Cannon Group (producers Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus) contracted producer Debra Hill and director John Carpenter to work on a screenplay for a new Halloween film to be titled "Halloween IV", as they were interested in optioning the rights, much like Cannon had for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986). Cannon did not like the treatment that Carpenter and Hill turned in and ultimately decided not to produce the film. Shortly afterwards Carpenter and Hill sold all their remaining interest in the "Halloween" series to producer Moustapha Akkad, who promptly developed this film with a completely new script, fashioned around the slasher film boom of the 1980s.
The girl Lindsey who drove Rachel and Jamie to the discount mart was going to be revealed as Lindsey Wallace from Halloween (1978) and have a larger part in the film as Rachel's friend and helping her babysit Jamie, but that was cut for budget reasons.
In the original script the opening shot was of a long hospital corridor suddenly blowing up and throwing Loomis from the explosion, in a reference to the end of Halloween II (1981). In order to show how Loomis survived. it was later decided the film should not have any connections to the predecessors and the explosive opening was never shot.
Series creator John Carpenter wrote a treatment for this film that had a more ghostly psychological approach to the Michael Myers mythos. It concerned the town of Haddonfield and what effect the events of the first two films had on its citizens. This concept was later rejected by the producers in favor of the typical slasher fare, at which point Carpernter bailed out of the film, making this the first in the series to have no participation from him.
In the schoolhouse, Michael's mask appears to have long, blonde hair. This is because the mask is a second type of mask made for the film and intended to use it, however the mask with darker hair was chosen but during re-shoots, the blonde mask was used and seen in multiple parts of the film, although the school scene is the only replacement mask.
Originally, when Jamie and Loomis were trapped in the school, Jamie hid in a classroom under a desk. Michael entered searching for her, throwing the desks over. Although due to time constraints this sequence was not shot for this film, it was remembered by producer Moustapha Akkad and later re-used in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998).
George P. Wilbur wore hockey pads under the jumpsuit to give Michael Myers a much more imposing figure. This is revealed in the documentary Inside 'Halloween 5' (2004), where it is revealed that Don Shanks, who played Michael Myers in Halloween 5 (1989), was big enough that this was not required.
After viewing a rough edit it was decided that the movie was too soft, so the producers brought in special effects expert John Carl Buechler for one day of extra "blood" filming. The thumb in the forehead and the redneck's head getting twisted were both done by him.
During production of the rooftop chase, Ellie Cornell was injured by a protruding nail as she slid down the roof. After a quick trip to the local hospital she finished the scene with her bandages in place. According to Danielle Harris, "It didn't even faze her."
In Jamie's introduction, she's sitting in the living room staring outside at the ambulance. Later, it shows the ambulance has disappeared. In the script, Jamie was staring outside at the rain, and the ambulance appeared after she had turned away. This was changed in editing for unknown reasons.
Two scenes in the script but never filmed was to show Michael following Rachel, Jamie and Lindsey to the Discount Mart like he did in Halloween (1978) and Rachel getting ice cream with Jamie as they talk about her getting adopted by her parents.
Like the doors of the house where Laurie Strode found the bodies in Halloween (1978), the doors and windows of Sheriff Meeker's house have locks that need keys to lock/unlock them from their insides, causing hazards to anyone needing to escape from danger if the keys are lost.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
The original ending had Rachel go upstairs to take a shower and replace the dirty, blood-stained clothes she was wearing only to have Jamie sneak up behind her and stab her to death. This scene was later changed to Darlene Caruthers but this scene was remembered for Halloween 5 (1989) and was used for Rachel's death scene.
In the original script, Sheriff Meeker was killed in a battle with Michael in the basement where the furnace was knocked over and caused the house to catch on fire. Originally, the house was supposed to be up in flames during the infamous rooftop sequence. This was eliminated due to budgetary constraints and Sheriff Meeker was kept alive.
This film pays homage to the original Halloween (1978) For example: Jamie is teased by the kids at school like Tommy was in the original. Michael eats a dog, Rachel's female friend is the daughter of the sheriff. When Michael chases after Jamie she screams "somebody help me". Jamie kills her foster mother the same way Michael killed his sister in the beginning of the original.
at around 1h 21 mins) Near the end of the film, Michael Myers is gunned down by a firing squad of State police officers; lead by Sheriff Meeker (Beau Starr). His weapon of choice is a military/law enforcement combat shotgun. The SPAS-12 (Special Purpose Automatic Shotgun) is a semi-automatic shotgun that fires12 gauge; 2 3/4inch shells. It is the same type of shotgun, The Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) used during the massacre at the police station in the original Terminator movie.