What It Really Takes to Make a Horror Movie: 10 Behind-The-Scenes Secrets You Never Knew
CARRIE: SISSY SPACEK SLEPT IN HER BLOODY GOWN FOR THREE DAYS
Okay, it was fake blood, but still. The star was so devoted to making sure the movie's horrific prom scene came out legend-worthy that she refused to take her "bloody" gown off for days in order to preserve continuity. This meant she spent some nights sleeping in her trailer covered in would-be pig's blood.
Spacek's costar P.J. Soles discussed her dedication in a 2013 Vulture interview. "[Spacek] had a trailer pulled behind MGM Studios in Culver City, and she slept in that blood for three days. I was like, 'You're amazing that you would wanna sleep in that sticky, icky stuff.' And she was like, 'No, it's gotta match, I want it to look great,'" she said. We don't know if "great" is the word we'd use, but the look certainly made an impression.
IT: BILL SKARSGÅRD USED HIS DEMONIC SMILE TO TERRORIZE HIS BROTHER FOR YEARS
The haunting Pennywise grin that just recently began wigging out moviegoers was actually years in the making. "My older brother Gustaf — who's an actor as well — he had this ability to point his lip in a very strange way," Skarsgård revealed on Conan. "I don't know how I understood I could do it as well, but I was maybe 10 years old and I [started doing it]. And I came up with this character called Jurgen, which is a Swedish name, and I would pull my T-shirt up like, over my head so you could [only see my head] and then I would chase my little brother and scare him."
THE EXORCIST: DIRECTOR WILLIAM FRIEDKIN WOULD FIRE BLANKS FROM A GUN TO KEEP EVERYONE ON EDGE
Director William Friedkin was not playing around on set for the 1973 possession fright-fest. "I would sometimes have the prop man fire blanks off the set to get a sudden reaction from the actors," he confirmed in a 2012 Reddit AMA. “This was originally done by the great American director George Stevens on his film, The Diary of Anne Frank, to provoke a sense of fear in his actors, who were supposed to be hearing the Nazi sirens … When I heard about this technique, I thought it would produce similar results on a number of films I made. It's of course very difficult to say to an actor, 'Now you are looking at the face of the demon' and expect him or her to be frightened, when he or she is in fact looking at the face of a 12-year-old girl in makeup. The unexpected sound of a gun helps to produce the desired response.”
HALLOWEEN: MICHAEL MYERS' MASK WAS A REPURPOSED STAR TREK COSTUME
That creepy face you work to avoid every October was originally the likeness of Captain Kirk. John Carpenter, the director of the 1978 slasher classic, gave all the details about how the iconic look was created in a 2015 interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
"There was a choice we had to make, because we didn't have any money to make a mask," he shared. "So the art director went up to Bert Wheeler's magic shop on Hollywood Boulevard, which was right up the street from our offices, and he got two masks. One was a clown mask, and one was a Captain Kirk mask. It was supposed to be Captain Kirk. It looked nothing like William Shatner, nothing like anybody, really. It was just a strange mask, which was perfect for us. So we spray-painted it, altered the eye holes and just did a couple things with the hair — and there you had it. I like to think it’s Shatner, but it's not really."
MOTHER!: JENNIFER LAWRENCE HYPERVENTILATED SO MUCH THAT SHE TORE HER DIAPHRAGM
Ladies and gentlemen, this is commitment. The Oscar winner got so into her role in the disturbing new thriller that she acquired a very real injury.
"You'll know what scene I'm talking about if you see the movie, but I had trouble calming down and cutting back after he called, 'Cut.' Sometimes it's hard to summon all of these feelings and just snap out of it," she explained to Variety. "I've always been fine snapping out of it but I've never had to go this dark before, so I just lost control of myself, and I tore my diaprham and popped my chest rib out."
PSYCHO: JANET LEIGH WAS SO TRAUMATIZED BY HER SHOWER DEATH SCENE THAT SHE STARTED ONLY TAKING BATHS
Audiences weren't the only ones who had trouble forgetting Alfred Hitchcock's iconic scene. Janet Leigh, who played the unfortunate hotel guest who was stabbed repeatedly while showering, was so traumatized by filming that she had to permanently adapt her bathing habits.
"I stopped taking showers and I take baths, only baths," the late actress told The New York Times in 1995. Extra precautions were taken whenever she found herself in a hotel or friend's house where only a shower was available: "I make sure the doors and windows of the house are locked, and I leave the bathroom door open and shower curtain open. I'm always facing the door, watching, no matter where the shower head is."
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: WRITER/ DIRECTOR OREN PELI WAS INSPIRED BY A REAL INEXPLICABLE EXPERIENCE
As he told The Wrap, Peli was inspired to write the 2007 hit following strange occurrences in his San Diego home. "I never thought the house was haunted, I was just conscious of every little noise and creak," he shared. "But one weird thing that happened was that we kept the laundry detergent on a shelf, pushed back all the way back to the wall. One time, in the middle of the night, it fell off the shelf — but it was nowhere near the edge. It made me think of the concept of setting up a video camera, and reviewing footage … and what if you saw something?"
ALIEN: THE ACTORS DIDN'T KNOW WHAT THEY WERE IN FOR WHEN SHOOTING THE INFAMOUS CHEST BURST SCENE
Filmmakers had a surefire way of making the space crew’s reaction to a mysterious creature emerging from their coworker’s (John Hurt) chest realistic. "The reactions were going to be the most difficult thing. If an actor is just acting terrified, you can't get the genuine look of raw, animal fear," director Ridley Scott said about why he kept the truth about what was going to pop out a secret.
"All it said in the script was, 'This thing emerges,'" star Sigourney Weaver explained of the process. "Everyone was wearing raincoats — we should have been a little suspicious. And, oh God, the smell. It was just awful."
THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT: ACTORS WERE GIVEN LESS FOOD EACH DAY ON SET
In order to make the actors look and feel increasingly uneasy during the short shoot, the production decreased the amount of food they were given each day. Star Michael C. Williams told Entertainment Weekly that filmmakers said, "So by the end, you're not going to starve, but you're going to be hungry. We want to make this uncomfortable for you."
Director Dan Myrick gave some more background on the process during an interview with Bloody Disgusting. "When they first went into the woods, we wanted them all charged up, ready to go, and as time moved on, they had less and less sleep, they we hungrier and hungrier, and it allowed them to stay more in character. I mean, they were really tired. They look exhausted in the film. So we let that work for them in their performance," he said.
SCREAM: THE MAN WHO VOICED GHOSTFACE WAS HIDDEN FROM THE OTHER ACTORS
The actors portraying scared teens really didn't have any idea who they were talking to on those phones. "When [voice actor Roger Jackson] came to set, we hid him from the actors, so they never saw who they were talking to," producer Marianne Maddalena told Dazed.
Jackson and the other actors would both be on set talking on the phone, but no one knew where exactly the Ghostface voice-maker was.