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5 Hidden Details That Change How You’ll Watch Famous Horror Films

 

 

 

Halloween is Very Obviously Filmed in California

The original Halloween is a classic. It popularized (and arguably created) the slasher genre, it made an assload at the box office, and it remains one of the scariest films ever made to this day. That said, it wasn’t always the behemoth that it is now. The classic movie started its life as an extremely low budget movie called The Babysitter Murders, and though the title eventually changed, the extremely low budget remained the same.

The movie eventually went on to make millions and millions of dollars, but the film was made for a little over $300 thousand dollars which is the filmmaking equivalent of surviving on a food budget of $3 a week. The end result was astonishing and John Carpenter does an amazing job at making the most of that budget. One famous example of this is the fact that Michael Myers’ mask, arguably the most iconic aspect of the film, was created from a $2 Captain Kirk mask that was slightly modified. Unfortunately, there are some things that even skilled direction can’t work around, and one of those things is the MOTHER FUCKING PALM TREES.    

Halloween is set in Haddonfield, Illinois and as you might imagine based on the title, it takes place during the autumn. Unfortunately for production, autumn looks very different in a suburb of Illinois than it does where the film was actually filmed: Pasadena, California.

Since their measly budget obviously prevented them from shooting on location in the fictional town of Haddonfield, the production team had to come up with a way to bring a real midwestern fall all the way to sunny Los Angeles. The way they came up with involved grabbing a bag of dead leaves and blowing them around the shot. It’s a simple solution that actually works fairly well if you’re not paying attention. If you ARE paying attention, though, it can start to get distracting.

Rewatching the movie with this in mind, the fact that you’re actually looking at Pasadena becomes frustratingly obvious. There may be brown leaves on the ground but the trees above them are conspicuously green. What’s more, if you look closely enough, you can see some classic California palm trees in the background:

It’s a small detail that can take you out of the movie just a little bit and make it harder for you to believe that you’re ACTUALLY watching an immortal super-being murdering a bunch of teens.

The Turtle God Cut Out Of IT

Stephen King’s novel “IT is a classic, but it’s also the insane ramblings of a man whose blood was mostly cocaine at the time he was writing it. When it came time to adapt it to a single film in 2017, the filmmakers had to cut many, MANY, aspects of the book just to make it fit into a running length shorter than the time it takes to gestate a child.

In some cases, the things cut from the novel are nowhere in the film. Mercifully, there is no trace of the infamous child orgy in the film because…well, I don’t think that would be legal. In at least one instance, though, there is an homage to some cut material that’s very brief, but still manages to speak volumes.

Do you see it?

What about now?

What if I did this?

Still nothing? Weird.

Well, this still is from a scene when our protagonist Bill goes into his dead little brother’s room to mourn. He grabs some legos by his bed and sits sadly in the darkness because the stresses of being stalked by a murderous clown are clearly getting to him. The legos are in the shape of a turtle and this is clearly a reference Maturin, the gigantic cosmic turtle god…No, seriously. That’s a thing.

In the novel, the titular It is defeated by the Losers Club by way of a battle of wills called The Ritual of Chüd. As you can imagine, the kids didn’t just assume this was the only way to kill their shifty clown foe. Instead, they discovered the monster’s one weakness when it is telepathically communicated to them by Maturin.

Maturin is a giant cosmic being who is said to remain withdrawn in his shell for the majority of his many millennia of existence. One of the few times he emerged was due to a stomach ache he had resulting in him poking his head out to BARF OUT THE KNOWN UNIVERSE! Maturin and It are said to be adversaries as they are both eternal super beings who existed before the universe itself. Maturin, for example, was said to be around for 20 billion years before its untimely demise… the 1980s…when he chokes to death on some galaxies…Yeah…

I could go on like this, but let’s just say that that once you know the background of it, that one shot of a turtle can change the way you look at the movie as a whole. What once felt like a fairly contained and intimate horror story quickly becomes the tip of a whole lot of crazy created by a man with pound of cocaine and the ability to type faster than Jesus. It doesn’t add or detract anything. It just makes it feel different.      

There’s a Hidden Significance to the Door Knobs in Suspiria

Suspiria is like if you took Final Destination, made it slightly gayer, then took three hits of acid. The movie takes place in a dance academy run by witches and basically just consists of a bunch of people getting killed in manners that exist on the border between grotesque and beautiful:  

The film was made by Italian filmmaker/crazy person Dario Argento. Argento is an innovator in a lot of ways but he’s also the person who years later became responsible for a movie called Dracula 3D in which Dracula takes the form of a giant praying mantis in order to kill someone:

What I’m getting at is that not ALL of his ideas are winners. One such less than stellar was his initial desire to have the girls being murdered in gruesome ways be no older than the age of 12. The producer he was working with didn’t love this idea because of…well, the whole watching children be murder thing, and so Argento agreed to raise the age of the characters. Unfortunately, that’s literally all he did.

Though the actresses they ended up using were closer to the age of 20, the script they shot remained unchanged. The characters you see look older, but they’re still speaking the words of a preteen. Rewatching the movie with this in mind, some of the character’s actions and behaviors start to make more sense. Basically, it explains why they’re all kinda dumb. It also explains a blink-and-you-miss-it easter egg:

Did you catch it? What if I just show you a still?

The door knobs in this movie are placed way higher up than you’d expect and there’s a reason for it. Since the shooting script was written for 12 year olds, Argento raised all the door knobs on the set so that they were at the relative height that a door knob would be for someone of that age. Basically, Argento was so hellbent on watching children get brutally murdered that he designed his whole set around it.

Eraserhead had an insane shooting schedule

Eraserhead is the movie you watch when you decide in college that you’re a person who’s into movies. It’s a surrealist masterpiece that earns its spot on this list of horror movies only because it’s too bizarre to fit into any other genre. The film was made by a young upstart named David Lynch before he had a dime to his name, but that doesn’t mean that he wasn’t already a horrible tyrant as a director.

The film was approved by AFI but they were under the assumption that the films 24 page script would result in a 24 minute movie…What they didn’t take into account were the meticulously shot scenes of silence that comprise the majority of the film. Basically, Lynch bit off more than he could chew, but he wasn’t going to stop until he swallowed every last bite. He had a vision and he was going to complete it no matter how long it took, and it took a LONG time.

The production of Eraserhead took literal years to complete which is an insane amount of time. From the sound of it, they’d film until the money ran out then stop until they got more. This weird filming schedule meant long stretches of time passed from scene to scene. According to Lynch, there’s one shot in the movie in which a character opens a door knob and by the time he walks through the door a year has passed in real world time. That’s passion!

The best part of knowing this, aside from an increased appreciation of the filmmaking process, is knowing that actor Jack Nance was so dedicated to Eraserhead that he kept his character’s iconic haircut for for the duration of production. That crazy motherfucker willingly looked like this for years solely so he could pick up and start filming whenever new money came in:

Talk about dedication.

There’s a Real Life Serial Killer in The Exorcist

The Exorcist is widely regarded as the scariest movie of all time by listicle writers who don’t want to piss off readers by picking anything else. Though it’s not the most exciting pick, it earns its spot at the top by being genuinely disturbing and building an insane amount of tension located entirely in a child’s bedroom.

Scary as the film is, though, there’s a behind the scenes story that’s even scarier and it involves an extra by the name of Paul Bateson. He can be seen in the background of the scenes where Regan gets checked out in a hospital, and he looks like this:

Also, he’s a serial killer!

Paul Bateson is responsible for the “bag murders” of the late 70s wherein gay men of New York were murdered and dismembered, before being shoved in a trash bag and thrown in the Hudson River. He was caught when he murdered a man named Addison Verrill by beating him with a cast iron pan. He was then taken Rikers Island where he bragged about committing the other crimes and he’s believed to be responsible for as many as 7 deaths in total. His reason for doing so? According to him, it was just for funsies.

If you thought this story couldn’t get any more upsetting, you’ve clearly never heard a story involving crimes against gay people before. Though Bateson more or less admitted to the killings, none of his victims’ deaths were ever really investigated beyond the one that got him locked up. Cops back then didn’t really have much motivation to look into the deaths of a bunch of gay man, particularly those involved in the underground leather scene. As far as they were concerned, the victims were deviants as well and law enforcement’s time was better spent helping straighter, more wholesome people.

Once you know who Bateson is, that scene unintentionally becomes one of the creepiest in the entire movie. You can’t help but focus on what he did and seeing this actual proof that he actually exists is chilling. What’s worse is the fact that watching a real life child interact with a real life child is almost as disturbing as watching a fictional child masturbate with a crucifix…Almost…

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