Scary Commentary: ‘Halloween: Vol 2’ (Cundey, Wallace, And Castle)



Welcome back, Deadites, to Scary Commentary. This week I focus my reporting on a Halloween commentary track featuring Director of Photography Dean Cundey, Production Designer/Editor Tommy Lee Wallace, and “The Shape” Nick Castle. I was excited to tackle another track after the slew of cinema gold I got from the last week’s track, featuring actress Jamie Lee Curtis and Writer/Director John Carpenter. So sit back, grab the popcorn, and enjoy the read. Lazy Sunday is now Crazy Sunday, Deadites.

PART I (00:00:00-00:30:00)

Debra Hill ran the set (in a garage) that shot the famous pumpkin opening title sequence. (00:00:57)

The crew thought producer Hill was just there because she was the Carpenter’s girlfriend. That assumption went away in a matter of days as she was a hard worker.(00:01:16)

Opening panaglide shot was the longest in film history at the time.(00:03:02)

Wallace was following the camera with a paint brush and a bucket of blood in the film’s iconic opening.(00:03:51)

A camera shadow can be seen to the right when the POV (Point of View) shot goes from the kitchen to the dinning room.(00:04:11)

The room where Judith and her boyfriend were making out was re-lit three times during the opening, once during the film’s first long take.(00:04:27)

The house was really old and torn to bits. The crew had to work to get the house to look lived in. Everywhere else the camera wasn’t going to point to looked rundown and abandoned.(00:04:40)

Staircase was narrow and extremely hard to get the Panaglide camera up the steps to continue the shot.(00:05:06)

Hill did the stabbing in opening, as well as remove knife from kitchen drawer.(00:06:02)

A generous amount time was allowed to film the iconic opening.(00:07:06)

Scene featuring Dr. Loomis and Marion Chambers driving to Smith’s Grove was filmed in a garage and fitted with lights, simulated rain, and people to shake the car to give the scene a realistic effect.(00:08:37)

Lighting for the car scene featured a light on a rotation device similar to a helicopter.(00:09:23)

Hand that grabs Chambers belongs to Wallace.(00:10:11)

Editors Charles Bornstein and Wallace often imitated Donald Pleasence’s Dr. Loomis while cutting the film.(00:10:59)

Leaves that were painted to give the film an autumn look were purchased at a floral supply store in downtown LA. The crew bought branches and subsequently removed leaves.(00:12:18)

When Tommy Doyle is first introduced as he and Laurie are walking across the street, a Volkswagen Beetle can be seen in the background. The car belonged to Wallace.(00:13:00)

Leaves were a big chunk of the Art Department’s budget.(00:13:14)

Michael Myer’s stolen station wagon was dubbed the “Shape Mobile” and was used as the main mode of transportation for the Art Department.(00:16:03)

The Night He Came Home

Doyle’s school was the school Cundey’s son attended. The Cundey family lived one block from the school.(00:18:24)

Production assistant Berry Bernardi, now a producer, cameos as the dead Phelps Garage truck driver. Scene was shot in San Dimas.(00:19:50)

Haddonfield High was actually South Pasadena High.(00:20:27)

Several places claims a town in Illinois was the model for Haddonfield, even going so far as to create maps with signified destinations mirroring that of the many locations in the film.(00:23:26)

Cundey had worked on nine low budget movies where the camera was simply there to record actors talking and Cundey found Carpenter’s use of the camera as a storytelling device refreshing(00:24:17)

John Carpenter had three production musts, as he did on his previous film Assault on Precinct 13. They were: the film shot in Panavision Anamorphic Widescreen, film developed at MGM lab (“Best place at the time,” says Wallace on the commentary), and post-production sound preformed at Sam Goldwyn Studios (also supposed best in town). (00:26:17)

First time dailies were looked at was in a hotel room rented to a producer. (00:26:55)

Bedroom scene where Laurie sees “The Shape” outside of her room was shot in Wallace and then-wife Nancy Loomis’ bedroom. (00:28:01)

More from Horror News

The bedroom scene was actually a reshoot. Carpenter felt it needed more and went back. (00:28:03)

Cundey’s kids can be seen dressed up as Superman and Little Red Ridding Hood when Laurie has the pumpkin and is waiting to be picked up. (00:28:48)

The Coup DeVilles, a band consisting of Carpenter, Wallace, and Castle, can be heard in the car as Laurie is picked up. The band helped with the music on many student films at USC. (00:29:30)

PART II (00:30:00-1:00:00)

Hardware store Michael steals the infamous mask and supplies is on the corner of Meridian and Mission in south Pasadena, California. It’s  slightly visible in film. (00:32:08)

Hill shot the car scene with Laurie and Annie with a handheld camera in the back seat. (00:34:01)

Carpenter named a lot of the streets and characters after real events in his life. (00:42:43)

Scene where Annie drops off Lindsey and speaks to Laurie in the kitchen, the kitchen took an extra long time to light. (00:51:23)

Shot of Michael carrying Annie when Tommy sees them was actually Nick Castle and Nancy Loomis. No stand-ins for either one.(00:55:20)

Carpenter often told crew, including when Wallace was editing the picture, to keep it simple. (00:56:36)

There were a lot of discussions on set about how much nudity to show in scene where Lynda bares her breasts. (01:03:57)

PART III (1:00:00-1:31:00)

Scene where The Shape looks at Bob, then tilts his head, was one of the only moments that Carpenter gave direction to Castle. He told him to look at Bob as if “you’re admiring your work.” (01:06:14)

When the test original masks were shown to the crew, it wasn’t Nick Castle as the test subject. (01:11:00)

The film was shot 100% on location and makes it more impressive that Cundey’s lighting technique was so well executed. (01:15:54)

Judith’s head stone was made of styrofoam. Randy Moore did the lettering as he and Wallace went to the same design school.(01:16:06)

Wallace again acted as the hand double in the shot where Laurie breaks the glass to escape the Wallace house. (01:17:57)

Wallace says he was chosen to hand double most of the film’s solo hand shots due to him being the Production Designer and likely getting the shot in one take as he knew were to hit the mark just right. (01:18:15)

When Dr. Loomis tells Sheriff Bracket that he’s seen that car, a big fan was out in the bushes to give it a better fall feel. (01:21:45)

Wallace plays The Shape in the scene where Laurie hides in the closet. He says he couldn’t go method and hurt her because he liked actress Jamie Lee Curtis off set so much. (01:23:15)

Montage of empty places at the end of the film were taken from small moments in takes before and after the slate marked the scene or before an actor entered the shot. (01:29:00)


There you have it fearful readers. It was a good track that opened with a lot of cool information, but fizzled out towards the end. It was obvious that the three were reaching for information in the second half of the commentary. Still, it was a solid track. I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed listening. Until next time Deadites, remember, I listen to the commentary so you don’t have to.

Join me next week as I report back on a track featuring Actress Jamie Lee Curtis, Writer/ Director John Carpenter, as well as late Writer/Producer Debra Hill in a commentary recorded for the 1994 Laser Disk edition.