You know they made you sleep with the lights on, but what are some of the horror movie facts behind the making of your favorite chilling films? Sometimes the action behind the scenes was as dramatic, exciting - and yes, scary - as the final cut.
A Few Horror Movie Facts
These horror movie facts might make you view your favorite scary movies in a whole new light:
Friedkin William, the director of The Exorcist, went to great lengths to keep his cast off balance and on edge so that the intensity would translate onto the screen. He was known to have crew members sneak up behind actors and fire air guns to scare them. When Linda Blair and Ellyn Burstyn had to film scenes involving harnesses, he demanded that they both be shaken more violently and longer than necessary; they were both injured in the process. Father Dyer, who was played by a real priest rather than an actor, was smacked in the face by the director right before a scene.
Father O'Malley, the priest who played Father Dyer, was involved in the case that inspired the movie. He claims that the plot of the movie is based on an exorcism of a young boy in Maryland and that the movie is 80 percent factual.
So much has happened behind the scenes of the Poltergeist trilogy that it is said there is a Poltergeist curse. In the six years it took for the trilogy to be completed, five people attached to the film died:
- Dominique Dunne, the oldest sister in the first movie, was murdered by her boyfriend.
- Heather O'Rouke - main character Carol Ann in the trilogy - died of septic shock as a result of an obstructed bowel.
- Julian Beck, who played Kane in Poltergeist II, died of stomach cancer.
- Louis Perryman - Beck from the first movie - was murdered.
- Will Sampson - The Medicine Man in Poltergeist II, died of kidney failure
Robbie, played by Oliver Robbins, was injured filming a scene in which he was being choked by a mechanical clown. The choking became too tight, and when he began to yell that he couldn't breathe, everyone thought he was acting. No one realized what was happening until his face turned purple.
The 1960's Psycho is the first US movie made to ever show a flushing toilet on screen.
The famous shower scene in Psycho took seven days to shoot and involved 77 different shots. Rumor has it that Janet Leigh did not know that her character would be murdered during that scene so that she would truly look scared to viewers. Hitchcock did not want to use the music that plays in the scene in the movie, but when he saw the completed scene with the score, he doubled the salary of the person who suggested the music.
Stanley Kubrick, director of The Shining, followed the same principles as Friedkin William to get real reactions out his actors. Kubrick tormented Shelley Duval on set and convinced the rest of the crew to do so as well, so she would feel off balance and better portray the stress her character was going through. Duval herself became sick from the stress of the mood on set during the filming. She lost a lot of hair during the making of the movie.
The original ending of the movie showed Duvall's character learning that her husband's body could not be found but it was changed when early reviews criticized the ending.
Stephen King, author of the book that inspired the movie, was displeased with Kubrick's film and thought Kubrick had removed all of the important themes of the book.
Halloween cost $320,000 to make and has earned $47 million dollars to date. Director John Carpenter did the movie for no wage.
The famed mask worn by Michael in the movie was actually a Captain Kirk mask that the crew painted white. They also made the eye holes wider. The actor who played Michael was paid $25 per day of filming.
Director John Carpenter composed the now instantly recognizable film score.
A Final Word
Horror movie facts can be as scary as the films themselves. Who doesn't love soaking up the rumors surrounding the on-set scandals, scares, and more? Finding out more about what went on behind the scenes can make watching a scary movie even more interesting.