Film & video

6 Facts About Classic Halloween Movies You Probably Didn’t Know

From actors who could've been to box office hits, here’s some behind-the-scenes trivia about your favorite horror films

Halloween as a celebration can be traced back thousands of years to the Celtic festival of Samhain (where people would light bonfires and dress up in costume to fend off ghosts). But while the customs have changed since then, the holiday is still celebrated by countries around the world every year with traditions that range from the sweet to the downright spooky.

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IT (2017). Image: courtesy Warner Bros Entertainment.

Trick or treating, costume parties, and pumpkin carving are just a few of them, but no Halloween celebration would be complete without a scary movie marathon. With October 31 fast approaching, brush up on your scary film trivia with these facts from behind the scenes.

Halloween (1978)

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Halloween was Jamie Lee Curtis' big-screen debut at the age of 19. Image: courtesy Compass International Pictures.

What better place to start than with a film whose title is dedicated to the holiday. On the back of its success, Halloween has expanded beyond its 11 films and now makes up a franchise comprising comic books and a video game, among other merchandise. The film follows the story of Michael Myers, the murderous protagonist who killed his sister and escapes from the institution he was committed to years later in search of new victims.

What you might not have known was that John Carpenter wrote Halloween in just ten days. It was also actress Jamie Lee Curtis’ debut performance on the big screen (at the age of 19 years old). She’s since gone on to win numerous awards and also stars in the latest of the Halloween franchise, Halloween Kills, which was released earlier this month.

IT (2017)

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The story of Pennywise is the highest-grossing horror movie of all time. Image: courtesy Warner Bros Entertainment Inc.

IT is another classic horror that’s undergone a recent remake. Based on the famous Stephen King novel, the story revolves around a fear-hungry, shapeshifting monster that - most famously - takes on the form of clown Pennywise in a bid to lure in and terrify its victims.

The latest version, which came out in 2017, resurrects the well-known villain once again, proving that the old ones sometimes really are the best with the box office statistics to match. Beating The Sixth Sense, Jaws, and Ghostbusters to the top spot, the IT remake is the highest-grossing horror movie of all time, pulling in over 700 million USD.

Hocus Pocus (1993)

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The wicked witches in Hocus Pocus were almost joined by a different big-name co-star. Image: courtesy Walt Disney Pictures.

Despite receiving somewhat mixed reviews when it was first released back in 1993, Hocus Pocus has become a firm family favorite, ranking up there in all sorts of Halloween movie watchlists.

It tells the story of three witches who are brought back from the dead accidentally by unsuspecting teen Max Dennison (played by actor Omri Katz) and proceed to wreak havoc on the town of Salem.

Fun fact: Max was almost played by Leonardo DiCaprio, he revealed in an interview with Variety. He ultimately turned it down to take a role in What's Eating Gilbert Grape.

The film still features its fair share of big-name actors thanks to Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler, and Kathy Najimy. The wicked trio will also return for the Hocus Pocus sequel, set to premiere in 2022.

A Quiet Place (2018)

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Emily Blunt's agonizing bathtub birth scene. Image: courtesy Paramount Pictures.

A Quiet Place is one of the newer film franchises on this list, but it’s one that’s made quite a name for itself since the first of the two was released three years ago. Directed by John Krasinski (who also stars in both films alongside his real-life wife Emily Blunt), the largely silent film follows a family and society terrorized by monsters triggered by sound.

The characters spend a large majority of the film doing anything and everything they can to avoid making noise, but (spoiler alert) one of the most agonizing scenes in the film sees Blunt’s character forced to give birth in silence in a bath or risk her and her unborn child’s life. The most impressive part about the scene? It was filmed in just one take.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

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Freddie Krueger has been haunting nightmares since the '80s. Image: courtesy New Line Cinema.

When it comes to slasher movies, A Nightmare on Elm Street is undoubtedly one of the first that comes to mind. Released back in 1984, it features a group of teenagers tormented by dream-haunting villain Freddy Krueger. Years later, Krueger’s looks are still unmistakable, as is his voice which, according to Robert Englund (the actor who played him), was slowed down in post-production to make him sound scarier by adding a bit more base.

A Nightmare on Elm Street was also Johnny Depp’s movie debut and, like many of the other films on this list, it has since gone on to become a highly successful franchise featuring nine films.

Get Out (2017)

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Jordan Peele found inspiration for the name Get Out from an '80s comedy sketch. Image: courtesy Universal Pictures.

A film that’s terrifying on multiple levels, director Jordan Peele’s first film Get Out has won a whole host of awards, including an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Tackling racism in a post-Obama society according to Peele, the movie is centered around a young Black man (Daniel Kaluuye) whose visit to meet his girlfriend’s parents takes a twisted turn.

Did you know, though, that the film’s name was inspired by a 1980s Eddie Murphy comedy sketch? In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, when asked if Get Out was a reference to the famous comedian’s stand-up sketch, Peele responded: “Absolutely. I mean, Eddie Murphy is talking about the difference between how a Black family and a white family would react in a haunted house… It’s one of the best bits of all time.”

In this same interview, he also reveals that the movie was influenced by one of his own real-life experiences.

Feeling creative this Halloween? Learn the skills for making your own movies by checking out Domestika's film, video, and scriptwriting courses.

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