Behind-The-Scenes Details About The Classic 'Halloween' Franchise

Still from 'Halloween'
IMDB | Compass International Pictures

The air is getting cooler, and the leaves are beginning to fall. It can mean only one thing: Halloween is right around the corner. That means there's no better time of year to put on a spooky movie — perhaps even one from the appropriately-named Halloween franchise.

The franchise grew from one movie on a shoestring budget to one of the most beloved horror franchises of all time. Let's get into the spooky season with some facts about Halloween.

Yes, the mask is a William Shatner mask.

Close-up of the Michael Myers mask
IMDB | Universal Pictures

Probably the best-known piece of trivia surrounding the Halloween franchise deals with the ghostly white visage of Michael Myers' mask. As it turns out, it was indeed a rubber William Shatner mask that the production designer bought from a store.

The director backed out because he wasn't paid enough.

By the time Halloween H2O came out, franchise director John Carpenter was a hot commodity. He asked for $10 million to helm the film, and when this request was denied, he backed out of the project.

Jamie Lee Curtis wanted to finally end Michael Myers.

Jamie Lee Curtis in 'Halloween H2O'
YouTube | Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers

Jamie Lee Curtis and her Laurie Strode character should have finally been able to kill Michael Myers in Halloween H2O. But because the Michael Myers character was literally contractually obligated to be unkillable, the compromise spelled out that Curtis could cut off his head — but he'd come back.

Dr. Loomis died during production.

Actor Donald Pleasance
IMDB | Unknown

Even though Halloween 6 had finished filming by the time Donald Pleasance, who played Dr. Loomis, had passed away, the movie could have benefited from some reshoots. But because of the unavailability of Pleasance, the final version was impacted.

'Halloween 4' came together fast.

Still from 'Halloween 4'
youtube | Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers

Halloween III was a bit of a bomb following the success of the first two movies, which forced Carpenter to go back to the drawing board. To this end, writers put together the screenplay for Halloween 4 in just 11 days.

The franchise was going to go the anthology route.

Title card from 'Halloween III' trailer
youtube | Forever Horror Video Archive

Halloween II was supposed to be the end of the Michael Myers saga. From there, Carpenter wanted the next film to be the first film in an anthology series — basically new stories that had nothing to do with Myers.

The franchise got more gory.

Still from 'Halloween II'
IMDB | Universal Pictures

Director Rick Rosenthal took over for Halloween II and intended the film to be light on gore. But John Carpenter exercised his right to creative control and gave the movie more gore and nudity than Rosenthal ever wanted.

Jamie Lee Curtis wore a wig.

Jamie Lee Curtis in 'Halloween II'
IMDB | Universal Pictures

Halloween II picks up right where Halloween left off, but was actually shot five years later. To ensure continuity and to have characters look the same as they did in the original, Jamie Lee Curtis — who'd cut her hair — had to wear a wig.

The director didn't like the direction of the second movie.

Title card from 'Halloween II' trailer
IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers

Halloween II adds to the lore with the big reveal that Michael Myers and Laurie Strode are actually siblings. Director John Carpenter, who originally wanted the story to consist of just one movie, didn't like the fact that backstory was given to Michael Myers.

One of Michael Myers' victims was a Playboy playmate.

Still from 'Halloween'
IMDB | Compass International Pictures

The character of Judith Myers, who was slain early in the first film by Michael Myers, was played by actor Sandy Johnson. Johnson initially made her name as a Playboy playmate in the June 1974 edition of the magazine.

It wasn't always called 'Halloween.'

Title card from 'Halloween' trailer
youtube | Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers

The franchise has a title that's arguably perfect, but it wasn't what the original movie was going to be called. At first, it was going to go under the bland title The Babysitter Murders. It's good that they went with Halloween. It just sounds better.

It went a little deeper than other horror exploitation films.

Still from 'Halloween'
IMDB | Compass International Pictures

One of the things that makes Halloween stand out is the deeper, more realistic dialogue you'll see in the female characters — highly unusual for slasher movies at the time. This is due to co-writer and producer Debra Hill, who wrote a lot of the dialogue.

Carpenter did double duty.

The director was in charge, naturally enough, of directing the movie. But Carpenter also composed the movie's legendary score. After an executive producer watched the un-scored film and said it wasn't scary enough, Carpenter wrote and added his score — in just three days — to give it the right vibe.

Who played Michael Myers?

Still from 'Halloween'
IMDB | Compass International Pictures

In a word, everybody. Well, that's not true, exactly. But the iconic monster was played by six actors in total, including Will Sandin who played Michael Myers as a child. For the pivotal unmasking scene, actor Tony Moran played the role.

They had to create an autumnal mood.

Still from 'Halloween'
IMDB | Compass International Pictures

Shooting a movie in Southern California gives it a certain vibe. To make it look more like the Midwest during the fall, the crew scattered bags of painted leaves all over the ground. Once shooting was done for the day, actors and crew would gather the leaves to be reused for other scenes.

John Carpenter really went for it.

The director was virtually unheard of when the original Halloween was in production, but he still made a big ask: getting his name displayed above the movie title and getting the final cut. Ultimately, a producer gave him both because he was able to do the movie on such a low budget.

Costume department? What costume department?

Jamie Lee Curtis in 'Halloween'
IMDB | Compass International Pictures

The first film in the franchise was a low budget affair, and one of the ways the production saved money was to have the actors simply wear their own clothes. Jamie Lee Curtis reportedly bought her wardrobe from JCPenney for under a hundred bucks.