Since Halloween is almost upon us, it’s time to revisit those horror classics that terrified us as children. Even if they don’t scare you as an adult, they’re still fun to watch. But like all movies, a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff went on that you would never know about if it wasn’t for lists like these.
What happened while these movies were being filmed makes them weirder than we originally thought.
1.) Bram Stoker’s Dracula
There’s a scene where Dracula turns into a bat-like creature and flies away. Gary Oldman, the actor, didn’t feel the scene was all that scary. To make sure the other actors looked properly terrified, Oldman whispered something–no one knows what–into each of their ears. It was apparently something awful, because they all nailed the look of horror.
Doug Bradley was ignored at the post-production party and felt really bad about it. He wasn’t being snubbed, though. It was just that no one had ever seen him without his Pinhead makeup, and they didn’t recognize him. Poor Pinhead.
3.) Paranormal Activity
This film was effective at spooking Steven Spielberg so badly that he had to finish it in the morning. The authenticity of the actors comes from the fact that the movie didn’t have a script; the actors were given general directions and ad-libbed their lines.
While most directors on this list worked to make their sets more scary to elicit more genuine responses in their actors, Eli Roth had to make his set more cozy. This splatter film was shot in an abandoned psychiatric hospital in Prague, known for housing very violent patience. Since the atmosphere was inherently creepy, Roth toned it down for his actors and crew by having chamber music playing.
Heather O’Rourke, aged 7, completely fell apart from fear during the scene where she had to hang onto the headboard in a vortex of wind. This was the only time she was actually scared on set. Filming stopped, and director Steven Spielberg personally comforted her.
6.) Interview with the Vampire
The vampiric characters’ makeup features prominent blue veins to make them look translucent and deathly. To achieve this, the actors al had to hang upside down for a while before getting into makeup, making the blood rush to their heads, so that their actual veins could be traced.
7.) The Exorcist
To get the visible clouds of breath in the bathroom scene, the room was kept near-freezing, which was very uncomfortable for actress Linda Blair, who was clad in only a thin nightgown. She put on a god show, though–her delivery of her profanity-laced lines so startled Max von Sydow that he temporarily forgot his own lines.
8.) Night of the Living Dead
A lot of the zombies in this film aren’t actors. The Macgruder zombie in the beginning was a guy director Tom Savini found in a diner. He approached him and basically said, “Hey, you’d look great as a zombie. Wanna be in my movie?” The man was apparently flattered, and appears in the film.
Those are real bees in Tony Todd’s mouth. The only thing preventing him from swallowing them was a mouth guard, and the only thing preventing them from stinging him was apparently a serious sense of calm.
This movie was actually based on a story. In the original material, Norman Bates is described as a squat, older man who is decidedly unattractive. Hitchcock wanted to subvert this, and hired the young and handsome Anthony Perkins.
11.) The Thing
There are no women in this movie. The only thing remotely close to female is the voice of one character’s computer chess program. There was originally going to be a female member of the cast, but the actress got pregnant and had to take leave. She was replaced with a male actor.
12.) The Omen
Originally, everyone was supposed to die at the end, including the spawn of Satan. But after some deliberation, the studio head decided that you can never really kill the devil, so the ending has evil triumphing.
13.) The Rocky Horror Picture Show
With no heat and no bathrooms, the set of Rocky Horror sounds scarier than the movie. Susan Sarandon complained about the cold set, but was essentially told to suck it up. She caught pneumonia after filming the swimming pool scene.
14.) The Fog
Once seen features the name “H. Hawks” carved on a wall. Everyone freaked out trying to determine the symbolism behind it, but it turns out it was just a shoutout to director Jon Carpenter’s own favorite director, Howard Hawks.
15.) Nightmare on Elm Street
Wes Craven went through a few stuntmen looking for someone to play Freddy Kruger and finally settled on actor Robert Englund. Englund, who was not used to anything stuntlike, cut his hand very badly when first getting acquainted with the bladed Freddy glove.
16.) The Shining
Actress Shelley Duvall spent almost this entire movie in a state of hysteria, with a lot of crying. So much so, that she had to keep a lot of water bottles on set to keep from getting dehydrated.
17.) The Conjuring
In the Philippines, some theaters hired priests to bless moviegoers after some people complained that they felt a “negative presence” after watching the film. Uh, that’s why it’s called a horror film, you guys.
Michael Myers has his name because it was Jon Carpenter’s way of saying thanks to the European distributor of his previous film. Kind of a weird way to honor someone, but it did make Michael Myers a household name.
19.) The Ring
The flashes at the beginning and end of this movie show the deadly tape in its entirety, just as high speed. If you play the movie in slow motion, frame by frame, you can see the whole tape being played.
20.) Texas Chainsaw Massacre
This one takes the prize for being the most disturbing. The human skeleton at the end of this movie spooked the audience, sure, but even creepier? It’s not a fake. It’s a real human skeleton, bought from India.
I think most of you can probably safely say you’re glad Gary Oldman has never whispered something creepy in your ear.
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