Horror is one genre of filmmaking that manages to evoke a very strong emotion from the audience – fear. There is a separate category of people who love watching scary movies and believe us, such films do have a huge fan base the world over and these also do fairly good business at the box office. Imagine a movie like ‘It’ with an average rating of 7.7 on IMDb!
While the final product on the big screen makes your blood curdle, there are certain light moments when a horror movie is made and also some little tidbits and pieces of information from behind the scenes that cheer you up. Read on for a list of amazing trivia from horror movies that is sure to brighten your day!
1. The Exorcist
The cult 1973 classic horror film ‘The Exorcist’, which scares the daylights out of many even to this day, was the first scary film that was nominated for the Oscars. None of the horror movies before it had the distinction to enter the Best Picture category ever (‘Jaws’, ‘The Sixth Sense’ and ‘Silence Of The Lambs’ followed it, amongst which only the latter won an award). Also, Warner Bros. studio wanted Marlon Brando to play Father Merrin and Jack Nicholson was considered for Father Karras’ part. Thank God they didn’t take it up!
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Alfred Hitchcock, who was also known as the ‘King of Suspense’, was too scared to watch his own movies. His 1960 film ‘Psycho’ was the first movie to ever feature the shot of a toilet. Also, Hitchcock, who loved to do cameos in his films, appeared in ‘Psycho’ too. But since he did not want audiences to lose track of the story while they searched for him in every scene, he appeared very early on in the film, wearing a cowboy hat and was seen through an office window.
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Steven Spielberg, who wrote ‘Poltergeist’, based the story on his own scary experiences as a child. Spielberg was terrified of clowns and a huge tree that stood right in front of his house, casting its ominous shadow through his bedroom window. He used both the ideas in the film and made Robbie’s character fear clowns and the tree from the window. Some experiences never leave you alone!
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4. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
Edward Gein, an American, who was known widely as a body snatcher and committed several murders during his time, was the inspiration behind three successful horror films. The real-life American killer gave Alfred Hitchcock the idea to make ‘Psycho’. Cult thriller ‘Silence Of The Lambs’, too, was loosely based on Ed Gein’s character, as was Leatherface from ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’ in 1974. Ed Gein sure gave some people sleepless nights!
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5. Paranormal Activity
Directed by first-timer Oren Peli, ‘Paranormal Activity’, which can also be touted as one of the iconic scary movies of modern times, was inspired by Peli’s personal experience. While he was sleeping once, a bottle of detergent fell off the shelf in the middle of the night and Peli said that it was placed so far off inside that it was impossible for it to fall down so hard. Also, the set used for the film was his home. So much for authenticity!
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6. The Conjuring
The film was based on the real-life story of the Perron family that lived in a haunted house. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga played paranormal activity investigators Ed Warren and Lorraine Warren respectively, which is a real-life ghost-hunting couple. Also, the film doesn’t contain any sex or nude scenes; it doesn’t have blasphemous or obscene language; it has bloodless violence depicted in it and also only fleeting scenes of alcohol and smoking. Yet ‘The Conjuring’ received an R rating. This was because of the film’s scare factor and nothing else! I would never watch it alone!
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7. The Ring
‘The Ring’ is considered as one of the scariest movie remakes of all time and it also happened to be the highest grossing remake of a horror movie, until ‘It’ came by in 2017 and broke its record. Also, there are no opening credits to the movie; but it does have flashes of the ring in the DreamWorks logo. Interestingly, the character of Rachael, which was played by Naomi Watts, was first offered to Jennifer Connelly, which went to Jennifer Love Hewitt, passed on to Gwyneth Paltrow and then to Kate Beckinsale, all of whom turned it down!
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8. Child’s Play
The 1988 film, which saw a doll on a rampage, was supposedly based on a true story. A doll called Robert The Haunted was the inspiration behind Chucky, which became very popular post the release of the film. When ‘Child’s Play’ was initially released, a huge crowd gathered outside the MGM studios calling for a ban on the film, saying it incited violence in children, which the makers denied. Surprisingly, a 16-year-old girl was kidnapped in Manchester and was tortured the way Chucky did to his victims!
9. The Sixth Sense
Toni Collette, who played Haley Osment’s onscreen mother in M. Knight Shyamalan’s ‘The Sixth Sense’, went through a bizarre sleeping pattern while shooting for the film. The actress once said that during filming, she would often wake up at night while her clock struck repeating numbers. So, whenever she awoke in her hotel room, the clock showed 1:11 AM, 12:12 AM, 3:33 AM or 2:22 AM or the like!
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The 1996 horror film was originally named ‘Scary Movie’, which was later changed to ‘Scream’. Also, Courtney Cox, who was tired of her “goody-two-shoes” role on the sitcom ‘Friends’ wanted to try her hand at bitchy roles, which is why she took this film up. She fell in love with her co-star David Arquette on the sets of ‘Scream’, married him three years later and got divorced in 2013. Another piece of info for the uninitiated: Phones with caller ids became quite a rage post this film!
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11. The Blair Witch Project
While the film took only eight days to complete, it would have wrapped up earlier had the actors not gone missing! The script required the actors to trek in a jungle and the directors had to provide GPS trackers and walkie-talkies to the actors so that they did not get lost in the deep woods. However, Joshua Leonard, Heather Donahue and Michael C. Williams still got lost thrice over while filming!
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12. The Omen
Before ‘The Omen’, which released in 1976, was offered to Gregory Peck, the star had retired from acting and didn’t want to take up the project. But when the story of the guilt-ridden, harrowed father was narrated to him, he gave it a go because the character connected with the actor on a personal level. His son Jonathan had committed suicide a year before the film’s release and sadly enough Peck wasn’t there when his son needed him the most.
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‘It’ happens to be one of the scariest works of Stephen King. True to its nature, the film had terrified the people of Pennsylvania too. Close to the film’s release, pranksters tied red balloons – synonymous with the movie – around sewers, which not just scared the citizens but also the police department! Also, director Andy Muschietti had warned the children of ‘The Losers Club’ that Bill Skarsgard, who plays Pennywise, looked scary in make-up, which the children laughed off. But when Bill came out to shoot with the kids, they were genuinely scared of him!
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Once director Steven Spielberg saw a book called ‘Jaws’ in a large stack of newspapers in his office and passed it up thinking it was about dentistry. Only later when he went through its pages did he realize that the book was good material for a feature film! Also, the full-sized shark prop used in the movie kept sinking during takes. The crew that saw it sinking in the water for the first time nicknamed it Flaws immediately – making everyone laugh during serious moments!
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Not many people know but long before chat show host and comedienne Ellen DeGeneres became famous, she first moved into a Los Angeles apartment, which was also where the scary 2014 movie ‘Annabelle’ was shot. While the actors of ‘Annabelle’ were on her show to promote their film, she recalled the time that she spent in the apartment and how it was scary back then too!
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16. The Grudge
A lot of horror movies in Hollywood are remade from Japanese films, which are not just super scary but have a good storyline too. Unlike other Japanese horror remakes, where the entire plots were shot in America to suit the audiences, ‘The Grudge’ had its story set in Japan, which was quite appreciated by the fans.
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‘Orphan’ was one movie that really gave us the goose bumps. One interesting fact related to the film is that Leonardo DiCaprio happens to be one of the producers of the movie. Also, Isabelle Fuhrman, who played the protagonist, developed an interest in knitting as she watched co-actor Vera Farmiga pass her time knitting during filming breaks. A good thing learnt!
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18. Pet Sematary
Stephen King, the undisputed King of Horror, had many of his scary novels transformed into movies, which like his books, were instant hits. ‘Pet Sematary’ was one such movie, where King was associated with the screenplay for the first time. He requested the makers to set the film in Bangor, Maine, where he spent most of his childhood. Also, the movie was shot in a real-life pet sematary, where King’s daughter’s pet cat was buried.
19. The Shining
One of the greatest horror movies of all time, ‘The Shining’, directed by Stanley Kubrick, would not have been what it is had jack Nicholson not been a part of it. But did you know that Kubrick wanted to cast Robert De Niro for the role and also considered late funnyman Robin Williams to play the lead character? There was also a time when Kubrick thought Harrison Ford would make for a great Jack Torrance, which thankfully, only Nicholson pulled off in the final product!
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20. The Hills Have Eyes
Considered to be among some of the best horror movies to watch before you die, ‘The Hills Have Eyes’ was one cannibal movie that evoked a positive response from the audience. It was shot mostly in the deserts of Nevada, where the temperatures did not favor the cast and crew, making them fall ill over and over again. Also, there’s a scene featuring a rattlesnake, which once escaped in the narrow crevasse while filming. The entire crew immediately fled the scene, delaying the shoot, which later resumed, when a professional managed to bring it back!
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