If you’re babysitting home alone, you may want to wait to read this list of facts about the Halloween franchise! It’s been a long journey for Michael Myers since his debut in John Carpenter’s Halloween, released in 1978, and the iconic character is far from done: Carpenter confirmed that the next chapter in the franchise will hit theatres on October 19th, 2018, so you have a whole year to brush up on the Halloween series.
40. Scariest Day Of The Week
The majority of the original Halloween takes place on October 31, 1978. It was a Tuesday.
39. Morning After
Halloween II is the only Halloween film to show the morning after the 31st; every other movie ends on Halloween night.
38. Family Connection
Carpenter considered the choice to hire Jamie Lee Curtis to play the heroine in Halloween to be a tribute to Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock’s Psycho starred Janet Leigh in one of cinema’s greatest horror movie performances; Leigh is Jamie Lee Curtis’ mother!
37. Holiday Magic
The film was originally titled The Babysitter Murders. On the suggestion of Executive Producer Irwin Yablans, the film was modified to take place around the holiday, and the title was changed.
Halloween 1, 1978
36. Quick Turnaround
With the new holiday-themed title and premise, the film’s production had to be moved up to accommodate an October release. The film was shot in four weeks, with a preceding four weeks to prepare and a following four weeks to edit; that’s only 12 weeks, beginning to end!
35. An Inconvenient Scarcity
Although they’re everywhere in October, the production crew had great difficulty locating pumpkins because the film was shot in the spring.
34. The Shape
In the original script and credits of the first film, the character of Michael Myers is referred to only as “The Shape.” This term was used in the Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts in the 1690s to describe spectres or spirits accused of doing harm.
According to co-screenwriter Debra Hill, the character Laurie Strode was named after co-writer Carpenter’s first girlfriend.
32. Less Flattering
The killer was given the name Michael Myers after the European distributor of Carpenter’s previous film, Assault on Precinct 13. That film did well overseas, and the name was bestowed as a thank you.
Carpenter says that the look and feel of the first Halloween film was based on Roman Polanski’s Chinatown.
Roman Polanski’s Chinatown
30. Low Budget
Halloween was shot for a shoestring budget of $300,000 but went on to make $47 million. It remained the most profitable independent film ever made until that record was broken in 1999 by The Blair Witch Project.
The Blair Witch Project
29. Cheap Labour
Carpenter was paid only $10,000 to direct the first Halloween movie. Actor Nick Castle, who played Michael Myers, was paid only $25 a day.
28. Dark Lighting
The low budget of the film influenced production decisions: the dark lighting in the film wasn’t only to create mood; the crew simply didn’t have the budget for more lights.
27. Special Effects
Foley, or sound effects, were also affected by the low budget. The sounds of slashing flesh was created by stabbing a watermelon.
26. Doubling Up
Not only did Carpenter direct the first Halloween movie, he also composed the score. At the time, he couldn’t read music
25. On A Budget
The low budget also meant that a custom mask for Michael Myers was not affordable, so the production designer purchased a Captain Kirk mask, peeled off the hair and eyebrows, and spray painted it white.
24. Famous Face
William Shatner’s face wasn’t the only one in the running to be Michael Myers mark—other options included Richard Nixon and Spock.
23. Props Department
Though Halloween II is set the day after the original Halloween movie, in 1978, the sequel wasn’t released until 1981. Jamie Lee Curtis reportedly donned a wig that resembled her 1978 hairstyle, but eagle-eyed fans will notice that Michael Myers’s mask looks a little different. This is blamed on actor Nick Castle keeping the mask in his back pocket while the film was shooting, and on Debra Hill keeping the mask under her bed during the years between films, where the mask accumulated layers of dust and cigarette smoke residue. Plus, in the second film Michael Myers was played by a different actor with a differently-shaped head!
22. The Same Mistake
Producers thought Halloween II would be the last film in the franchise, so after filming they let actor Dick Warlock keep his wardrobe props, including the Michael Myers mask. When the character was revived for Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, a new mask and costume were assembled, which were then kept for subsequent productions.
21. All For Love
Carpenter and Hill were dating when they wrote the original two movies together.
20. Division Of Labour
Carpenter and Hill divided up the writing along gender lines: Hill wrote most of the dialogue for the female characters, so that the film would feature realistic-sounding teenaged girls. Carpenter focused on the speeches of Dr. Loomis.
19. Is There Anything He Can’t Do?
Director, writer, composer and… actor? Carpenter gave himself a cameo in the first Halloween movie; the voice of Annie’s boyfriend, whom she speaks to over the phone, is supplied by Carpenter himself.
18. Hard-to-spot Cameo
Producer Debra Hill also had a cameo in Halloween, but one that is harder to recognize: the child actor playing young Michael Myers was not available until the last day of shooting, so Hill’s hands were used for scenes where the child’s hands were needed. This accounts for young Michael Myers having a polished manicure.
17. So Many Cameos!
Jamie Lee Curtis, who played Laurie Strode in the original film, had an uncredited voice cameo in Halloween III as a telephone operator. 1998’s Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (which once again had Curtis in the lead role) featured a cameo by her mother, Janet Leigh, who played Curtis’ secretary.
16. What’s Your Number?
Movies are often shot out of order, and Halloween was no exception. To keep track of the overall tone of the film, and to build suspense, director John Carpenter developed a numbered scale ranging from one to ten. Before shooting a scene, Carpenter would tell Curtis a number to let her know how frightened she should act.
15. Not So Young After All
Though all the female leads are supposed to be in high school, in Halloween (1978), the character of Laurie Strode was the only teenage character played by a teenaged actress (Jamie Lee Curtis). This happened again in Rob Zombie’s remake, when Laurie Strode was played by Scout Taylor-Compton, the only teenaged actress on set.
14. Back And Forth
The Halloween franchise fits nicely into the canon of horror films. In Halloween, Laurie Strode tells her babysitting charges to “go down the road to the Mackenzie’s” for help. As an homage, this same line was written into Scream—said by Casey Becker’s dad to Casey’s mother. Halloween H20 takes this even further when Laurie Strode tells her son to “go down the street to the Beckers’,” repaying the reference to the Scream characters.
In 1978’s Halloween, the movie The Thing From Another World is playing in the background while Laurie is babysitting. John Carpenter, director of the first Halloween, went on to direct the remake of The Thing From Another World in 1982.
12. Paying Tribute
In Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake, the film that plays on TV in the background while Laurie babysits is White Zombie (1932), which was the namesake of Rob Zombie’s band White Zombie, popular in the 1980s and 90s. White Zombie’s song “I’m Your Boogie Man,” sung by Rob, samples audio from the original Halloween movie.
11. The Real Michael Myers
Comedian Dana Carvey had a brief cameo in Halloween II when he was still an unknown in Hollywood. Coincidentally, after his stint on Saturday Night Live, Carvey went on to star in his own film franchise, Wayne’s World, with an actor called—you guessed it—Mike Myers.
10. On Location
The house used in the Halloween films as the Myers home was, at the time of the original film, owned by a church. It has since become a chiropractic office.
9. Dream Home
In 2015, a North Carolina couple built an almost exact replica of the original Halloween Myers home. It stands on five acres of farmland, and while the exterior stays true to the original, the interior features larger bedrooms and an extra bathroom. The couple opens their home to visiting fans yearly.
8. All Grown Up
Neither actor who played Michael Myers in the 1978 Halloween original stuck with acting. Nick Castle, who played grown-up Michael, went on to become a successful director, with credits including Dennis The Menace and Major Payne. Will Sandin, who played Young Michael, became a police officer in Los Angeles.
Dennis the Menace.
7. Cultural Significance
In 2006, the Library of Congress selected 1978’s original Halloween film for preservation in the United States National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
6. No Budget For A Math Consultant
According to the film, Michael Myers is 6 when the film’s initial actions take place in 1963. The main section of the film is set in 1978, which would make Michael 21 years old. However, in the end credits, he is identified as “Michael age 23” for the scene where we see his face.
5. Where There’s Smoke
A scene in the first Halloween film sees Laurie and Annie investigating a hedge. Smoke filters into the frame, apparently provided by Carpenter, who was smoking on set.
4. Future Star
American heartthrob Paul Rudd got a career boost from Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers (1995), the sixth film in the franchise. It was one of his first starring roles; he’s credited as “Paul Stephen Rudd.”
Rob Zombie rebooted the Halloween franchise with a remake of the original film in 2007, though the film functions more as a “reimagining,” both a prequel and a remake, as more material is added. He followed the film up with a sequel, 2009’s Halloween II, which confusingly is not a remake of the original Halloween II (1981).
2. The Incredible Growing Michael Myers
The original actor Nick Castle, who played “The Shape” aka Michael Myers in 1978’s Halloween, was only 5’10. In Rob Zombie’s remake, Michael Myers is played by Tyler Mane, who stands a whopping 6’9 tall!
1. The Evil Within
Halloween’s Michael Myers may be one of the most blood-curdling, terror-inducing killers in the horror genre, but many fans don’t realize what made him murder his sister at age six: he was simply the personification of evil itself, according to John Carpenter.
Asked about the subject, his creator, John Carpenter, said Michael is an “almost a supernatural force–a force of nature. An evil force that’s loose.”
This seems to fit with the assessment of Michael made by Dr. Loomis:
“I met him, fifteen years ago. I was told there was nothing left. No reason, no conscience, no understanding; even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face and, the blackest eyes… the devil’s eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply… evil.”
However, Curtis Richards (the pseudonym used by Dennis William Etchison who wrote the novelization of Halloween) provided some additional insight. First, he exposes the role of mental illness, as Michael confesses to his grandmother that he hears voices. “Voices tell me to say I hate people.” He also suggests a hereditary component, revealing that Michael’s great-grandfather “shot a couple to death at a harvest dance on Halloween 1898 or 1899, and, before he was hanged for the murders, he identified his victims by names he’d heard in his dreams.”