‘Halloween’: How Long Did It Take to Film the Original 1978 Horror Movie?

Who would have thought the 1978 simple slasher Halloween would become a cult classic? It’s because it’s not a stale horror flickā€”it reflects what lies beneath the concept of Halloween. The cute trick-or-treat celebration originates from legendary terrors.

Many horror enthusiasts know basic facts about the flick, such as how it was initially titled The Babysitter Murders. But do they know how long filming lasted?

Tony Moran acting on the set of original Halloween 1978 horror movie
Tony Moran on the set of Halloween | Compass International Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

No one made a film about Halloween before Carpenter

By 1978, there were horror hits like Psycho and Rosemary’s Baby. Some of the most famous horror classics came from the ’70s, such as The Exorcist, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes, and Jaws. Audiences became familiar with graphics and jump scares.

However, Hollywood hadn’t recognized any movie based on Halloween night. There might have been multiple Halloween-themed projects in development, but they weren’t promoted before John Carpenter’s film. Halloween was the first to focus on the so-called kids’ holiday, amplifying its roots of fear.

Some critics claim Halloween defined the slasher genre. Several horror franchises either followed or satirized the movie’s concept. While it has a different plot, Friday the 13th concentrates on a masked serial killer hunting down a group of teenagers. Conversely, the 1996 Scream movie mocks the old slasher for its teen naivety.

Halloween also accentuates its recurring notion that evil never dies. Dr. Loomis’ chilling line catapulted the future franchise to its success: “I realized what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply evil.”

Filming ‘Halloween’ didn’t take long in 1978

There are a few claims that claim Carpenter wrote the screenplay in 10 days or three weeks. However, filming a project is different from writing a script.

After Carpenter co-wrote the script with producer Debra Hill, he also scored the film. The infamous eerie piano-based “Halloween” anthem plays throughout the film. Carpenter reportedly composed the music in a short amount of time.

Similarly, the director shot the film over a small time frame of 20 days. The flick is recognized for its Steadicam use, following other characters from Michael Myers’ point of view.

Before production began, the designer Tommy Lee Wallace looked for the Michael Myers face mask. He bought a cheap Captain Kirk (Star Trek) mask and expanded the eye holes and spray-painted it. Wallace erased any resemblance to William Shatner’s character.

The modern franchise is set after the original 1978 ‘Halloween’ movie

Halloween Kills will premiere on Oct. 15, 2021, three years after the 2018 Halloween sequel. Jamie Lee Curtis reprised her role as Laurie Strode. The character is different from her teenage 1978 self.

Strode trained for a showdown with Michael Myers, but her family didn’t believe “the boogeyman was real” until now. Laurie, her daughter, and granddaughter thought they left the masked killer for dead in 2018. But horror fans know that evil can’t die.

Carpenter’s classic took a sharp turn and this installment conveys a different edge. Michael is more ruthless in Halloween Kills than in the 1978 movie. Laurie thinks he “transcends” every time he kills a person. Now that he’s damaged Haddonfield once again, the locals want to hunt him down.

Halloween Kills took nearly two months to film, starting in mid-September 2019 and ending in November.

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