1. Freddy Kruger's middle name is Charles
Created by Wes Craven in the 1984 masterpiece 'A Nightmare on Elm Street', Fred Kruger has been haunting our dreams in his trade Mark Fedora and striped sweater for thirty years now. He has been given several pseudonyms over the years, The Springwood Slasher and The Bastard Son of 100 Maniacs. However the name he was given at birth was Frederick Charles Kruger.
2. Mary Shelley never described how Frankenstein brought his creature to life.
We are all familiar with this iconic scene. The castle laboratory, whirring machine, thunder and lighting. A flash of light and the electricity passing into the bolts in the creatures neck. However, the scene above was first shown in the the Boris Karloff starring universal film version. It is a movie that takes a lot of liberties with the story of the book. In he book though Shelley gives a rather ambiguous description of the process as being a mix of chemistry and alchemy
'It was on a dreary night of November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils. With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet. It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs.'
Frankenstein: Chapter Five. Mary Shelley
3. The Loomis Connection.
The surname Loomis is one that appears frequently in horror movies, particularly in the key movies of the slasher genre. Sam Loomis is the name of Marion Crane's boyfriend in 'Psycho', often considered to be the first slasher movie. Dr Samuel Loomis is the name of the psychiatrist desperately hunting the masked killer, Michael Myers, in 'Halloween'. This is of course the film that set up the rules of the slasher movie that were stuck to throughout the 70's and 80's. Finally we get Billy Loomis, the moody boyfriend in the first 'Scream', Wes Craven's 1996 film which brought on a new wave of self referential slashers.
4. Virginia Madsen was actually hypnotised in Candyman.
Candyman is one of my favourite horror films of all time. Based on a short story by Clive Barker, the film deals with urban legends and the nature of belief. There are several scenes in which the lead actress, Virginia Madsen, comes under the spell of the eponymous, hook handed, boogeyman. In these scenes, she looks completely out of it, as though she was in some other state of mind. The reason for this is hat the films director, Bernard Rose, actually had her hypnotised and given a trigger word that he could use to put her back in a trance like state. Rose would walk up to her and whisper the word in her ear just before shouting action.
5. The Blob Actually Happened.
The Blob (1958) is probably most famous for featuring a young, relatively unknown, Steve McQueen. However did you know this tale of flesh eating dessert was actually based on a true story? Well kind of anyway. In 1950 The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that police had discovered a large quantity of a strange,jelly-like, substance. What made the jelly weird was that it vibrated on its own. One of the brave officers explained that when he touched the substance it dissolved leaving behind an “odorless scum.”
6. Stephen King's Son Starred in One of His Movies.
Joe Hill, the author of horror novels such as 'Horns' and 'Heart Shaped Box' is the son of another horror author, Stephen King. This is quite a well known fact, however did you know that Joe played the little boy in the Stephen King/George A. Romero movie 'Creepshow'? You do now.
7. Dracula Looks a Lot Like Bram Stoker's Boss.
Irish author Bram Stoker is now synonymous with his most famous literary creation, Dracula. The titular Count is as we all know based on the real life Vlad 'The Impaler' Dracul. However when writing he novel, Stoker was working as manager for the famous stage actor Henry Irving. Though the two were friends, Irving had a reputation of being tyrannical to work for. The following is a description of Dracula from the novel.
'His face was a strong, a very strong, aquiline, with high bridge of the thin nose and peculiarly arched nostrils, with lofty domed forehead, and hair growing scantily round the temples but profusely elsewhere. His eyebrows were very massive, almost meeting over the nose, and with bushy hair that seemed to curl in its own profusion. The mouth, so far as I could see it under the heavy moustache, was fixed and rather cruel-looking, with peculiarly sharp white teeth. These protruded over the lips, whose remarkable ruddiness showed astonishing vitality in a man of his years. For the rest, his ears were pale, and at the tops extremely pointed. The chin was broad and strong, and the cheeks firm though thin. The general effect was one of extraordinary pallor.'
Now doesn't that sound a lot like this guy? Stoker based the physical description of Dracula on the imposing figure of his boss, Henry Irving.
8. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre wasn't the original title of the movie.
Certain films instantly pass into the realm of legend. Tobe Hooper's 1974 classic 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' is certainly one of these. The film exceeds in being an aural and visual assault on the senses unlike anything ever seen. Based in part on some of the exploits or real life serial killer Ed Gein, the title of the film sets it up to become the stuff of hype, cult and legend. However this was not the original title for the film. When hooper was working in the script he title was 'Head Cheese' named after a European dish where meat from an animals head (brains, eyes, lips and so on) are made into a terrine with jelly. In fairness this is a far more disturbing title, but not as instantly attention grabbing as what they went with.
9. Poltergeist used real corpses.
Returning to the career of Tobe Hooper, in 1982 he directed the Steven Spielberg written, and produced horror movie Poltergeist. The film is one of my all time favourites, and should be everyone's intro to horror movies in my opinion. Who can forget that scene in the cemetery where the father of the paranormally plagued family discovers that his home is built on top of bodies? The message was clear, if you disrespect the dead, you will suffer. Obviously it's a message that the filmmakers themselves missed, as in the scene towards the end where coffins start popping up from the ground and spilling their rotting inhabitants, they used real skeletons!
10. Sissy Spacek got buried for Carrie.
Nowadays Stephen King is a legend in the field of horror fiction. One of the most successful and prolific authors in the world. Once upon a time though he was a writer who had just had his first novel published. The rights to that novel, 'Carrie' were bought by Brian DePalma. The film was a huge success that has inspired a sequel and two remakes. One of he most memorable scenes in the film is not in the book. Where Susan Snell visits the grave of Carrie White to leave a flower at the end, and the hand shoots out of the ground and grabs her. What you might not know was that this was not done by a stunt woman buried under the dirt. The hand that shoots up from the grave is that of Sissy Spacek, the actress who portrayed Carrie in the film. Spacek was so committed to the role that she refused to let anyone else do it, and insisted on being buried herself.
11. Psycho's bathroom scene was groundbreaking.
As mentioned earlier Alfred Hitchcock's movie Psycho is often scene as the birth of the slasher movie. The film, and the novel it was based on, where inspired by serial killer Ed Gein, ( who would later inspire 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' and 'The Silence of the Lambs'). Perhaps the most famous scene is when Janet Leigh is butchered to the sound of shrieking violins in the shower. This however is not the most groundbreaking bathroom based moment in the movie. 'Psycho' contains the first ever scene of a toilet being flushed on film. It seems trivial now but actually caused Hitchcock grief with the censors at the time.