Movie trivia is always fun, but there's something about horror films that bring out the most absurd facts. There's always the stories of extreme budgetary restrictions that result in now-iconic moments, or hidden meanings in details that were assumed mundane, or directors withholding information from the stars of the film to get more genuine reactions. All of those and more are on this list of 37 lesser-known horror movie hfacts about your favorite scary flicks.
1. Evil Dead's Remake? Sequel? Requel?
Evil Dead II (1987)
Evil Dead II is often mistaken as a remake of Evil Dead (1981). After all, why would Bruce Campbell’s character, Ash, visit an obviously haunted cabin in the woods twice? In reality, it’s a mix of sequel and remake, as the creators of the second movie wanted to recap the story elements of the first, but
2. Carrie's High School Heritage
3. Innovative Bathroom Plumbing in Psycho
4. A Vampire's Gentle Kiss
Let the RIght One In (2008)
5. Tight FIlming Schedule for Blair Witch
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
6. Final Destination 3's Not-So-Final Shot
Final Destination 3 (2006)
7. From Saving Lives to Terrorizing them: Breaking Down Doors in The Shining
The Shining (1980)
8. Blood Elevator? Kubrick Out
Speaking of The Shining, the film's iconic scene of the elevator doors opening to unleash a wave of blood was actually filmed without Kubrick in attendance. It's not that Kubrick was squeamish. He was instead overwhelmed with worry. The famed director, and well-known perfectionist, was so concerned about the stunt not working out to his liking, that he evacuated the set just before the cameras rolled. Kubrick was certainly justified in his concern; the scene took weeks of preparation and required hundreds of gallons of fake blood. Needless to say, things went swimmingly; the shot was captured on the first take.
9. Deep Thoughts in Nightmare on Elm Street
Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
10. The Deep-Rooted Fear of Freddy Krueger
Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
11. The Numbers Behind Paranormal Activity's Cheap Trip to Success
Paranormal Activity (2009)
The third most profitable movie, based on return on investment, is the original Paranormal Activity. The film's production budget was $450,000; the film's approximate profit was well over $89,000,000. That works out to about a 19,885% ROI.
12. No Actors Were Disarmed in the Making of The Thing
The Thing (1982)
13. The Thing's Nearly Happy Ending
The Thing (1982)
14. Genuine Surprise in Alien
The cast of Alien shows genuine shock and horror during the well-known ‘chest-burster’ scene, where John Hurt’s character is host to the title creature. This is because the details of the scene were ultimately a surprise to the rest of the actors, with Ridley Scott citing a desire for a genuine reaction. He definitely got it.
15. 'Who' Supplied the Lights?
16. Giger's Ghastly Alien Prop
17. Poltergeist's Skeleton Stew
Following trends of real human bones and shocking performers for genuine reactions, actress JoBeth Williams had no idea that the huge tank of mud she slid into in Poltergeist contained The sequence was shot over multiple takes, taking four or five days, and Williams didn’t find out the human remains were real until after she finished. The filmmakers claimed that making replicas out of plastic and rubber was too expensive.
18. Ancient Mythology in The Exorcist
The Exorcist (1973)
The first horror movie to be nominated for an Oscar, The Exorcist tips its hat to one of the oldest entities in the history of humankind: . A king of demons in Assyrian and Babylonian mythology, the name is never explicitly stated in the original film, but Father Merrin finds a ruined statue of the demon at the start during a dig in Iraq.
19. Nosferatu: Undead, Unyielding, Unblinking
While the effects and themes of vampire movies may come off as tired now, Nosferatu still remains fresh before the bloodsucker was buried in cliche and staked with parody. Adding to the eeriness, Count Orlock, adapted from Dracula, is only seen blinking once in the film at the end of part 1.
20. A Condemnation, In Any Other Genre
The Witch (2016)
The Satanic Temple’s endorsement would make many people wary, but it only served to bolster the appeal of Robert Egger’s The Witch. As their spokesperson, Jex Blackmore, , “It’s a criticism of a theocratic patriarchal society and a fair representation of the stresses that puts on a community.”
Related: 16 Bone-Chilling Witch Movies That'll Put a Spell on You
21. Another Potential Classic
Eggers also announced in 2015 that he planned to remake Nosferatu, although the project is currently on hold. While the film and story have been a lifelong obsession for the writer/director/production designer, Eggers says that the opportunity due to his smaller filmography, “It feels ugly and blasphemous and egomaniacal and disgusting for a filmmaker in my place to do ‘Nosferatu’ next.
22. Gremlins: Crazy Energetic, Crazy Expressive, and Crazy Expensive.
With no adequate CGI available at the time of filming, the lovable/terrifying little critters in Gremlins were all animatronic puppets. But with an astounding average cost per gremlin of , it’s surprising they had the puppets perform so many stunts in the movie. It's also understandable why the filmmakers hired security to guard the ghoulish figurines after hours.
23. A Sympathetic Monster, and A Horrific Society
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
While colorful and often comedic, Edward Scissorhands undoubtedly carries horror themes. The movie is supposed to be seen from Edward’s eyes, which is why the neighborhood comes off as so fantastical and distorted, leading to the character feeling even more estranged from the sunny attitudes of the rest of the cast.
24. Silent Hill's Murderous, Dancing Nurses
Silent Hill (2006)
25. Video Game or Film, a Work of Passion
Silent Hill (2006)
It’s not surprising that Silent Hill turned out better than most game-movies do, being a passion project for director Christopher Gans. The filmmaker spent five years in pursuit of the right to make a movie adaptation of the game. When he did, he ensured the movie felt like the video game he so adored. Music from the video game's score appears in the movie and many of the video game's characters are present. Gans even kept the original game running on set as a point of reference, regularly returning to the live game to ensure he was capturing the right mood and angles.
26. It Follows' Nightmarish Inspiration
It Follows (2015)
It Follows terrified viewers and sparked serious discussion among its fans when it hit theaters in 2014. Director David Robert Mitchell recognizes that the interpretation of the movie's malevolent force as a kind of contagious sexual disease is valid. That said, the filmmaker cites as the movie's original inspiration.
27. Saw's (In)Competent Surgeon
The character of Lawrence Gordon in the Saw series is supposed to be a surgical doctor. And yet, he never mentions the body in the middle of the room hasn't turned yellow, and its blood never turned black, calling his competency and intentions into question early on.
28. Hereditary's Characters Were Dolls In a Playhouse
Ari Aster’s feature film debut, Hereditary, had an extreme amount of detail put into the set to create a for the family’s home. Not only handy for filming in cramped spaces, this dedication also conveyed the sense that the cast was being maneuvered and toyed with.
Related: Every A24 Horror Movie, Ranked
29. "Beep Beep"
While not as thoroughly explained in the film adaptation as the book, the phrase “beep beep, Richie” is often used as a stand-in for “shut up, Richie.”
30. Spielberg Doubted the Jaws Theme
31. "Where No Masked Murderer Has Gone Before"
Like most of horror’s most striking visuals, the mask of Michael Myers in Halloween has a frugal origin. The Shape's haunting visage was originally a purchased at a magic shop, which the crew then spray-painted and distorted to create Mikey's iconic look. Seeing this mask in the middle of the night will make you want to set phasers to something a bit stronger than stun.
32. American Werewolf in London's Scratched Full Frontal Scene
AN American Werewolf in London (1981)
Horror-comedy American Werewolf in London is a unique entry in Jewish cinema, with the witty but socially misunderstood David Kessler portraying, well, an American werewolf on the loose in England. The famous transformation scene, was planned to have full-frontal nudity of star David Naughton, intended to show that the character was circumcised to bolster the Jewish themes of the film. Naughton wanted the role so badly that he apparently lied about being circumcised in his audition for John Landis. The full-frontal shot was, err, cut when they finally got to filming the scene.
33. Ringu's Bizarre Walk
Ringu, the original Japanese version of The Ring, contains some of the most unsettling imagery in the history of horror. To capture the disjointed and janky movements of the character of Sadako Yamamura’s ghost, actress Rie Inō , later reversed to achieve the bizarre steps she takes towards the camera.
34. Young Frankenstein: Too Funny for the Cast & Crew
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Ok, it’s more comedy than horror, but Young Frankenstein deserves to be in any list it can squeeze itself into. Star Gene Wilder reportedly held up takes of multiple scenes by breaking into fits of laughter over the content. Director Mel Brooks even to have spent $1,000 on handkerchiefs for the crew to laugh into to dampen their laughter during filming.
35. Zombie Lovers Playing Zombies in Land of the Dead
Land of the Dead (2005)
References and nods galore, George Romero’s Land of the Dead, the fourth installment of his Dead series, includes cameos from fans of his zombie flicks. Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright appeared as the photo-booth zombies in the carnival and barroom sequence, a casting choice made after their movie Shaun of the Dead paid tribute to previous undead films by Romero.
36. Candyman's Deal that Tasted Sweet as Honey
The 1992 slasher Candyman is set to receive a spiritual sequel in late September, directed by Nia DaCosta and written by Jordan Peele, Win Rosenfeld, and DaCosta. For the disturbing scene where bees engulf Candyman and pour from his mouth, original Star Tony Todd used queen-bee pheromones to pacify the bees. That didn't stop him from getting stung over 20 times, something he's actually grateful for in the long run as he was compensated $1,000 for each sting.
37. Horror Legend and Future Author in Creepshow
Horror anthology Creepshow, which was based on the E.C. horror comic books of the 1950s, included a cameo from a young Joe Hill as the boy in the opening and closing segments. Many horror book fanatics will recognize that name as the pen name of successful horror author Joseph Hillstrom King, son of Stephen King. Stephen King wrote the original screenplay for the movie, thus marking his screenwriting debut. He also performed in the movie, playing the doomed farmer Jordy Verrill.
Featured Still from "The Shining" via Warner Bros.