Did you know that E.T. was originally written as a horror film? That’s scary enough for its own reasons. Or that chocolate sauce was used for fake blood in your favorite black and white flicks (dark brown showed up much more dramatically than red on film)? The thrilling genre of Horror and Slasher movies have thrilled millions for decades – so with the season upon us, we’ve put together a some cool facts about some of your favorite scary movies so you can impress your fearless friends.
The Shining[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktqa1CnOYH8] “Heeeeere’s Johnny!” Probably one of the most iconic scenes in horror movie history comes out of this Stephen King classic where Jack Nicholson breaks down the door protecting his terrified family with an axe. And while it is true that most of what you see on screen is flimsy fake walls and props – nobody was expecting that Nicholson had worked as a volunteer firefighter and was quite skilled at chopping things. That flimsy prop door was quickly replaced with a real one to make the scene more believable.
The Blair Witch Project[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmYsRcLMvO8] A huge film at the time due to the realistic nature of the shooting style – and impressively shot with simple hand held camcorders and in only 8 days. It was so real in fact, that actor Heather Donahue was worried that the director had planned to make a snuff film. And if you don’t know what that is…
Much has been said about Halloween over the years as it’s certainly in the top five of most of the “best horror flicks of all time” lists out there. But to take a step away from the bloodshed for a moment, it’s pretty hilarious to know that the infamous mask used in this movie is a modified William Shatner (a.k.a. Captain Kirk) mask.
And on that note, Paul Rudd – who is now exclusively known for his comedic performances, had one of his first roles as a lead part in the sixth Halloween movie.
Poltergeist[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41tO0xwSsco] No good horror movie comes without curses. Perhaps it was because they used real human skeletons in this movie, but there are a few suspicious happenings incorporated into the production of this film (not nearly as many as The Omen, but we’ll get to that in a minute). Actors Dominique Dunne (Dana) and Heather O’Rourke (Carol Ann) both died young, at 22 and 12 respectively, as well as Will Sampson and Julian Beck. They died of relatively normal circumstances, but we won’t hold it against the film’s street cred.
First a quick shout out to Psycho:The high school in Carrie is named Bates High, after Norman Bates. Carrie was actually Stephen King’s first novel, published in 1973. Director, Brian DePalma read the book in 1975 and put the production into motion. Carrie was released in 1976, which is incredible compared to average film production these days. Inceptionis alleged to have taken something like…what, ten years to make? (Side note: Stephen King was so unknown at the time, his name is misspelled in the credits of the movie.)
The Omen[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLlSjyZupzU] You know what? I’m just going to do this:
- A producer was nearly struck by lighting while filming.
- John Richardson was involved in a car crash, beheading his girlfriend.
- Gregory Peck and scriptwriter David Seltzer actually were struck by lighting in two separate airplanes.
- Donner’s hotel was bombed by the IRA
- Lions killed a guard.
- A chartered plane that had engine trouble was elected to not be used by crew members. Instead, the pilot ended up flying with his own family. The plane crashed and everyone died.
- Gregory Peck’s son committed suicide just a few months before filming began.
And I’m sure there are some more of these curse like stories out there for this film, however I think this makes the point quite thoroughly.
On one final note:
- The Ring:Samara’s creepy walk was accomplished by filming her walking backwards and then reversing the footage.
- Dracula:Gary Oldman’s Dracula was parodied as Count Burns in The Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror IV”.
- The Blob:(1958) was inspired by a 1950’s report by the Philadelphia Inquirer that poice had found a mysterious, self-vibrating jelly-like substance that dissolved when touched.
- Nightmare on Elm Street: Also inspired by news articles published by the Los Angeles Timesabout Asian refugees who suffered “Nightmare Deaths.”
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