The new Halloween movie is getting rave reviews, which is impressive considering the franchise’s long history of corny sequels diminishing box office returns.
But there’s one thing you can’t deny: Michael Myers is one of the scariest, most infamous movie villains of all time. In honor of 40 years of terror, here are 15 frightful facts about one of the most iconic movie franchises out there haunting your dreams.
The original Halloween film, released in 1978, is one of the most successful independent films of all time. The budget was a mere $300,000, and it raked in $47 million at the box office.
2. The famous mask
Horror buffs know this, but non-weirdos might not. Michael Myers’ mask is actually a William Shatner/Captain Kirk mask. The props department bought the cheapest mask they could find, spray painted it white, stretched out the eyes, and messed up the hair. The result? A terrifying, iconic image.
3. A different title
Halloween was originally called The Babysitter Murders, but the small budget made Carpenter and his team decide to set the film in one day rather than over the course of several days.
Director John Carpenter spent nearly half of his $300,000 budget on Panavision cameras so the original Halloween could be shot in widescreen. Carpenter and his crew had to get extremely creative to complete the rest of the film.
5. Fear meter
1978’s Halloween was shot out of order, so the actors often weren’t sure how scared they were supposed to be in a given scene. John Carpenter created a “fear meter” that showed Jamie Lee Curtis how frightened she was supposed to be during specific scenes.
6. Don’t bother with the sequels
The newest Halloween was written by David Gordon Green, Danny McBride, and Jeff Fradley as a direct sequel to the original film, not taking into account any of the films that followed the original 1978 classic.
7. Scream queens
All the girls in 1978 film were supposed to be teenagers, but only Jamie Lee Curtis was under 20 years old at the time. Curtis was 19, and her role as Laurie Strode cemented her role as a scream queen.
8. The mask: Take Two
The mask in Halloween II, released in 1981, is the same one from the original film. It looks different in the sequel for several reasons. The first is that the paint was peeling off because actor Nick Castle always put the mask in his pocket between takes during the original film. It looked yellow in Part II because producer Debra Hill kept the mask in her house between films and she was a smoker. Also, a different actor played Michael Myers in Part II – Dick Warlock (what a name) took over the role from Nick Castle, and the two men had different shaped faces.
9. The morning after
Halloween II (1981) is the only film in the series not set on the actual day of Halloween. In that film, the chaos takes place the day after, on November 1.
10. Still creeped out
When Jamie Lee Curtis appeared in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later in 1998, she admitted that seeing Michael Myers on set still scared her.
11. Not a moneymaker
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) is the lowest-grossing movie of the series.
12. Future star
Paul Rudd’s first film role was in 1995’s Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. It wasn’t too much later that he became a star after appearing in Clueless.
13. Bangin’ it out
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) was written in only 11 hours. Writer Alan B. McElroy knew a writer’s strike was looming and he was determined to get the film written before the strike started.
14. That fall look
Surprisingly, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers was the only film in the series filmed entirely in the fall. Movie magic!
15. No more John
John Carpenter wrote a treatment for Halloween 4, but the producers were looking for a standard, by-the-book slasher film, and they weren’t interested in Carpenter’s take on the story. Because his script was thrown out, Carpenter decided he didn’t want anything to do with Part 4, which made it the first Halloween movie he wasn’t involved with.