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Halloween: 10 spooktacular things you never knew about classic horror movie


Halloween (the original movie that is) is 40-years-old this year! To celebrate its birthday, horror masters Blumhouse are releasing a new Halloween movie, simply titled Halloween, that wipes all those sequels since 1978 from the franchise canon.

But before that, we are excited to say that we'll be showing the classic 1978 version of Halloween for its 40th anniversary for one night only – and that night is tonight! To mark this special occasion, here are 10 bits of Michael Myers-related trivia...

1. Its original title was The Babysitter Murders

That was John Carpenter's preferred title, until producer Irwin Yablans suggested that the story might work better based around a specific holiday… Thus, Halloween!

2. The famous Michael Myers mask is actually William Shatner

Yes, that mask that has given you umpteen sleepless nights is actually the face of Captain James T Kirk. The filmmakers found it in a shop for $1.98, cut out its eyes and thus cinema's first slasher icon was born.

3. Dr Loomis was named after another famous horror character

There's a fair degree of Hitchcock in John Carpenter's horror classic. Not only is his lead actress the daughter of Psycho's female lead, but Donald Pleasance's character, Dr Sam Loomis, is named after John Gavin's character in the 1960 movie. To complete the connection, Janet Leigh (Jamie Lee Curtis' mother and Norman Bates' victim in Psycho) popped up in Halloween H20, with the film's composer John Ottman even using a few bars of Bernard Herrmann's iconic music.

4. The human Michael Myers was played by Tony Moran

Michael's real face is only glimpsed fleetingly in the original Halloween, and although stuntman Nick Castle plays him for the majority of the film, it's 20-year-old actor Tony Moran, who was the older brother of Happy Days actress Erin Moran, who played him for the split-second unveiling.

5. Dennis Quaid was nearly in the movie

PJ Soles played the ditzy, and ultimately doomed, Lynda Van Der Klok in the movie. At the time of filming, she was dating Dennis Quaid (they'd later marry), and the up-and-coming actor was initially pegged to play her (similarly doomed) onscreen boyfriend Bob Simms. Sadly, a scheduling conflict prevented him from taking the part. The role would eventually be filled by John Michael Graham, and it remains his only acting credit to date.

6. The Halloween franchise is one of the most complicated in movie history

It sure ain't easy to follow the Halloween series. The first eight films are officially part of the same continuity, although the series had to rewrite events in the seventh film after it was said in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers that the character of Laurie Strode had died. Laurie returned in Halloween H20 but really did die, on screen this time, in the eighth film, Halloween Resurrection. After that, the series was rebooted with fresh continuity with Rob Zombie's two movies, Halloween and Halloween 2. The latest is a direct sequel to the first, ignoring all the sequels and the rebooted series. What's more, the third sequel of the original run, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, doesn't even feature Michael Myers or Laurie Strode!

7. Donald Pleasance wasn't the first choice to play Dr Loomis

Carpenter originally wanted horror stalwart Peter Cushing for the role of Michael's psychiatrist Dr Sam Loomis. When Cushing turned him down, Carpenter then offered it to the actor's Hammer horror buddy Christopher Lee. When he also turned it down, producer Irwin Yablans suggested Donald Pleasance, who said yes to the role as his daughter was a big fan of Carpenter's previous film, Assault on Precinct 13.

8. A favourite film of Carpenter's features in the movie

The movie that Tommy and Laurie are watching on TV is Howard Hawks' 1951 sci-fi thriller The Thing from Another World. John Carpenter was a massive fan of the film and only four years later would remake it as The Thing. 

9. John Carpenter was paid just $10,000 for his work on the film

But in exchange for this comparatively low salary, he got final cut, total creative control, his name above the title and a cut of profits (so he did all right out of it in the end!).

10. Haddonfield doesn't really exist

The town of Haddonfield is entirely fictional, at least in Illinois. There really IS a Haddonfield, but it's in Kentucky (where co-screenwriter Debra Hill was born). Also, the movie's Haddonfield wasn't even filmed in Illinois, but in southern California: Pasadena and Hollywood, specifically.

Click here to read the latest reviews of Halloween, which will creep into Cineworld on 19 October. And click here to book for the 40th anniversary screening of the original Halloween.