Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Blog Hop Contest Rules and "Halloween" Series Trivia

     Welcome to another blog hop, this one sponsored by Coffin Hop.  As in the previous hops, I’m including a contest.  Like before, you can enter simply by leaving a comment on any of the posts, from this one through October 31st.  You can also enter multiple times, although once per post, meaning if I have five posts during the blog hop, you could potentially have five entries.  The winner will be drawn randomly and will get a free copy of either of my ebooks, Dead Reckoning or Kaishaku.  I’ll announce the winner on my blog on November 1st or 2nd.  And please don’t forget to check out the many other authors’ blogs—the last time I checked it was over ninety participants.
     Given that the holiday is coming soon, and this is a horror-themed blog hop, I thought I’d go into some trivia about the Halloween film series.  The little indie 1978 film grew into a series of ten movies, spanning over thirty years.  While it wasn’t the first slasher movie (Black Christmas, among other possible candidates, predated it by four years), it was the most influential, spawning the 1980’s slasher craze, for better and for worse.  Without further ado, then…

1) Michael Myers’ plain mask is a modified Captain Kirk (played by, of course, William Shatner) mask, purchased for $1.98.  It was modified by widening the eye holes, and by adding a coat of bluish-white paint.

2) At least eighteen different actors have portrayed Michael.  I say at least eighteen because more uncredited stuntmen may have played The Shape for brief stunt scenes.  However, most of the guys who played adult Michael were stuntmen, so they may have done most or all of the stunt scenes. 
     a) Will Sandin—played six-year-old, clown-costumed Michael in Halloween.
     b) Nick Castle—played adult Michael, for most of the original film.
     c) Tony Moran—portrayed adult Michael at the end of the original movie, including his face during the brief unmasking scene.  He’s also the brother of “Happy Days” actress Erin Moran (Joanie Cunningham).
     d) Tommy Lee Wallace—the production designer/co-editor for the first film, and creator of the mask, played The Shape during the closet scene. 
     e)  James Winburn—stuntman who played Michael for the scene where he falls out of the window after being shot by Dr. Loomis in the original movie.
     f)  Unnamed dog trainer—is Michael during the scene in which he kills Lester the dog in the original film.  (Couldn’t find out this man’s name.  Anyone out there know?)
    g)  Dick Warlock—adult Michael in Halloween 2.
    h)  Adam Gunn—Michael as a child in Smith’s Grove Sanitarium, in the flashback scenes in Halloween 2.
    i)  George Wilbur—adult Michael in Halloween 4 and Halloween:  The Curse of Michael Myers (6th film in series).
    j)  Don Shanks—adult Michael in Halloween 5.
    k)  Chris Durand—adult Myers in Halloween: H20 (7th in series).
    l)  Brad Loree—adult Michael in Halloween: Resurrection (8th in series).
   m)  Daeg Faerch—played ten-year-old Michael in Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake (9th in series).
   n)  Tyler Mane—portrayed adult Michael in Zombie’s Halloween and Halloween II (9th and 10th films in series).
   o)  Chase Wright Vanek—played child Myers in Halloween II remake.
   p) (Just rewatched movie, and forgot one)  Debra Hill--in additon to producing and co-writing Halloween, she played 6 year old Michael during the stalking and stabbing his sister scenes, where it's his POV and you only see "his" hands and arms.  This was due to difficulties with child actor rules about working long hours into the night.
   q) (Another late addition) Tom Morga--adult Michael in some scenes at the beginning of Halloween 4.
   r) (And yet another) A. Michael Lerner--played adult Michael in some scenes in Curse of Michael Myers (#6 in series), especially during the reshoots.
(And in case you’re wondering, “What about Halloween 3?”, remember that one, inexplicably, didn’t have Michael Myers in it—instead there was a goofy plot about an evil company marketing masks to kids which somehow caused snakes and bugs to come out and kill them.)

3) Director John Carpenter and producer Debra Hill used places from their past in the screenplay to the original movie.  The name of the town Halloween is set in, Haddonfield IL, is taken from Hill’s childhood home of Haddonfield, NJ.  Similarly, many of the street names are taken from actual ones in Carpenter’s hometown of Bowling Green, KY, and Smith’s Grove (where the sanitarium is) is a neighboring town of Bowling Green, too.

4) Sadly, the Laurie Strode/Ben Tramer romance was not to be.  He’s supposed to be the red herring “Michael” accidently hit and killed by the police car in Halloween 2.  He’s not immediately identified, but later it’s mentioned that a drunken Ben is missing.

5) When Halloween was first shown on television, the network wanted a longer movie to flesh out the two hour time slot (minus commercials).  Therefore Carpenter got Curtis and  Donald Pleasence, among others, to shoot twelve more minutes of scenes.  Some DVD copies incorporate these extra minutes of screen time.

6) Aside from Jamie Lee Curtis, a couple of other, unlikely actors made their debuts in a Halloween movie.  Comedian Dana Carvey has a bit part in Halloween 2, playing a TV crew assistant in the beginning of the film.  Comic actor Paul Rudd has a starring role as the grown up Tommy Doyle in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers.

7) Danielle Harris and Jamie Lee Curtis have appeared in the most Halloween movies, none with each other.  Danielle played Jamie Lloyd in Halloweens 4 and 5, and then Annie Brackett in both of Zombie’s remakes.  Curtis was Laurie Strode in Halloweens 1,2, H20, and Resurrection.  Oops, obvious mistake here--Donald Pleasence played Dr. Loomis in five films--1,2,4,5, and The Curse of Michael Myers (#6).

8) According to an Entertainment Weekly article on drugs and Hollywood in the early 1990’s, Halloween 3 was notorious for its illegal chemical use.  A source claimed that all but a handful of the people involved in the movie were using cocaine.

9) Carpenter and Hill also used character names based on real life friends, or as homages to movies they liked.  Laurie Strode was the name of one of Carpenter’s former girlfriends, and Michael Myers was an English producer who helped Carpenter enter an earlier film of his, Assault on Precinct 13, into some European film festivals.  Tommy Doyle is the name of the lieutenant in Hitchcock’s Rear Window, and (Dr.) Sam Loomis is the name of Marion Crane (Janet Leigh—Curtis’s mother)’s boyfriend in Psycho.

10) The 1979 novelization of Halloween by Curtis Richards gives a surprisingly clear explanation for Michael Myers’ nature.  (Spoilers ahead, obviously)  A prologue tells of a disfigured boy named Enda, who lives in northern Ireland at the dawn of the Celtic race.  He’s in love with King Gwynwyll’s daughter Deidre, but she rejects him in a humiliating way.  Embittered, he publicly kills her and her fiancé during the Halloween-precursor holiday of Samhain.  In turn, he’s immediately killed by the festival-goers, but his soul is cursed to walk the earth, recreating the events of that night.  In another scene, Michael’s grandmother discusses how Michael is behaving uncomfortably close to his great-grandfather, who committed an unspecified violent act.  Therefore, the book suggests that Michael is possessed by Enda, and slaughters those who remind him of his spurned crush, her lover, and anyone who gets in his way.  (The fact that his main targets appear to be female family members also suggests some disturbing incestuous yearnings.)  Obviously the movies didn’t include these scenes, or put out alternate theories (especially The Curse of Michael Myers, and Zombie’s remakes).

     If any readers have any other interesting bits of Halloween trivia, or corrections, please don’t hesitate to post them.
     Coffin Hop link is below:

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  1. Wow, Paul. Thanks for the 'Halloween' movie trivia. I remember watching the first couple or so in my teenage 'horror movie watching' years. :)

  2. A Captain Kirk mask? Holy cow. That is frightening. Happy hopping!

    milojamesfowler at gmail

  3. Eleni and Milo--appreciate you stopping by. Eleni--I also saw the first few in my teens. Writing this post motivated me to go back and rewatch them. Milo--according to the Halloween team, the mask was a poor one, and didn't really resemble Shatner that much, but still, kind of a weird choice.