Scary Commentary: ‘Halloween Vol.3’ (Carpenter, Curtis, And Hill)


The Night He Came Home


Welcome back, Deadites, to your weekly dose of Scary Commentary. For the third volume on the iconic 1978 film Halloween, this week we have a track featuring Writer/ Director John Carpenter, Writer/Producer Debra Hill, and Actress Jamie Lee Curtis. So sit back, grab that laptop, and enjoy as I divulge the important details of this serviceable track for the 1978 horror classic, Halloween. Lazy Sunday is now Crazy Sunday, fright fans.

This track was originally recorded for the 1994 Laserdisc edition of the film. The track can be found on The Complete Collection released by Scream Factory in 2014, as well as the Blu-Ray that was released before the 35th Anniversary Edition debuted on the market.

-Overlapping information from Vol.1 and Vol.2 will not be reported

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

Carpenter’s original opening was going to open with a shot where the camera is dolling down the street and the camera stops on a shot of a mask in front of a gutter. Carpenter says it wasn’t stylistic enough. (00:00:16)

Iconic opening was inspired by both Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil and the many works of Alfred Hitchcock (as well as the entire style of the film). (00:02:38)

Flash of light, supposedly lightning, that happens at running time 00:07:27 was an artificial optical flash. (00:07:29)

Death has come to your little town, sheriff. -Dr. Sam Loomis

Film was so low budget, no one was given a trailer or standard movie accommodation (custom on the studio level). Star Donald Pleasence was given a Winnebago for the five days he was on set. (00:08:57)

Carpenter and Hill liked the idea of an English actor playing Dr.Loomis because they believed it would give the character’s lines more importance. Christopher Lee was offered role but turned it down. (00:09:17)

Hill wanted Curtis for Laurie (she has the potential for attention because of Curtis’s mother Janet Leigh) , but Carpenter’s first choice was one of the daughters on the popular show Lassie. (00:12:32)

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Dialog is looped in scene between Tommy Doyle and Laurie Strode walking on sidewalk because the squeaking dolly was heard in shot.(00:13:14)

Curtis wasn’t aware of Pleasence‘s work before filming Halloween.(00:14:37)

Pleasence stayed in the Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood while filming. (00:14:53)

Carpenter says the idea that Laurie was the only one who can see The Shape comes from the idea that she’s repressed, and that makes her alert and gives her instincts. The directors caller her a “watcher” and says she’s “just like The Shape.” (00:16:13)

Carpenter opens the film with wide lenses and used progressively smaller lenses as the film progressed to give the picture an increasing sense of claustrophobia. (00:16:43)

Scene between Tommy Doyle and school bullies was the second scene shot on the first day of filming. (00:17:00)

Both the phone booth and Haddonfield sign had to be placed in a scouted location when Loomis warns authorities. (00:18:38)

Carpenter originally had written dialog in the phone booth scene involving Loomis’ wife. Pleseance rejected this saying he didn’t want a backstory for Dr. Loomis. Carpenter said he was too young and afraid to contradict the veteran actor. (00:19:01)

Carpenter and Hill were the oldest people on set, aged 30.(00:20:13)

Carpenter likens his own score for Halloween to that of Dario Argento’s Suspira (1977) and William Friedkin’s The Exorcist (1973). The director says Halloween was heavily inspired by Suspiria. (00:23:12)

As the two were writing the script, Carpenter would call Hill to the piano and play what would become the Halloween theme. (00:23:24)

Sheriff Leigh Bracket is named after the writer of The Big Sleep (1946) and El Dorado (1966). (00:25:25)

The line “Well kiddo, I thought you outgrew superstition,” was written by Hill. Carpenter says he still doesn’t know what it means. I laughed way too hard hearing this. (00:26:16)

Carpenter says he dislikes reshooting scenes. (00:27:10)

First part of the car scene, before they stop at hardware store, between Laurie and Annie was filmed on the second day of shooting. Carpenter says it was difficult to shoot. (00:29:24)

 PART II (00:30:00-01:00:00)

Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper” is one of Carpenter’s favorite songs. (00:30:18)

Scene between Annie and her father Sheriff Bracket was filmed during rush hour traffic. Los Angeles residents were very displeased. (00:32:06)

Car scene with the conversation and Ben Tramer was filmed on the last day because the running time on the film was going to be short (scene directed by Hill with Carpenter absent). (00:33:58)

Hill thought the Myers house looks like a face. (00:36:34)

Myers house was inspired by Carpenter’s hometown of Bowling Green, Kentucky. (00:33:58)

The dialogue from Loomis about Michael being locked away for 15 years was inspired by a college field trip while attending Western Kentucky University. Carpenter says he saw a kid that fit the description Dr.Loomis gives to Sheriff Bracket. (00:38:49)

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Annie dressing down to only panties and a button up wasn’t for sexuality, but for vulnerability say Hill. (00:43:10)

Nick Castle was terrified of the Wallace family dog Lester.(00:43:38)

TV Playing The Thing From Another World (1951) at the Doyle house belonged to Carpenter. (00:44:10)

Laundry scene was one of the most difficult scenes to shoot in the film. (00:45:42)

The scene where we see Annie’s butt was edited out of the infamous NBC television cut. (00:48:32)

Shot where Tommy scares Lyndsey was one of the only hand-held shots in the movie. (00:54:44)

Carpenter says Halloween’s success could be linked to the “Jones Town Massacre.” (00:58:14)

 PART III (01:00:00-01:31:00)

Part of Lynda was written for PJ Soles. Carpenter said she had the part figured out before filming even began. (00:59:00)

Carpenter and Hill wanted to have Dennis Quaid play Bob, as he and Soles were together at the time. (00:59:08)

Carpenter finished the TV movie Someone’s Watching Me (1978) only two weeks before Halloween began shooting. (01:01:22)

Scene where Lynda and Bob make love was the first love-making scene Carpenter ever shot. The director says he gets shy and uncomfortable shooting sex scenes. (01:03:15)

Hill says Lynda being strangled with the telephone cord is an attempt at irony because teenage girsl “know and love” the telephone the most. (01:08:03)

Carpenter says scene where Laurie walks to the Wallace house is a typical Hitchcock shot and on of the longest Panaglide shots of his career. (01:10:53)

Carpenter says “traditionally you don’t shoot your leading actress from a low angle with a 35MM lens, but with Curtis ,because she’s so beautiful, it’s acceptable.” (01:13:40)

Curtis loathes horror movies, says she can’t watch them. I find this to be mind blowing. #irony (01:13:54)

It’s Halloween, everyone’s entitled to one good scare.-Sheriff Leigh Bracket

Curtis says Carpenter taught her the real way to vulnerable as an actress. She said she thought it meant you were weak and she found out that’s not the case. If they care for you then it makes the movie work. (01:14:58)

The scene where Laurie finds the bodies, there was no prior blocking before shooting. ACurtis says the director didn’t know how to get Laurie in and around the room, but that he knew where she needed to be in order for the scares to work. Carpenter and Curtis simply discussed the logical way someone would react to the situation. (01:15:25)

Actor who played Bob was hanging by his knees and arched backwards in the body discovery scene. (01:16:11)

Scene where Laurie falls in the grass while being chased by The Shape was shot at four in the morning in Hollywood and a long stretch of road was blocked off. (01:17:57)

Hill says Laurie going to protect the kids mirrors John Wayne in The Searchers (1956). Says this was intentional on Carpenter’s part. Carpenter fans will remember the director is fond of the acting legend and the films of Howard Hawks. (01:18:32)

Hill says Laurie protecting the kids is mainly why the character works being that she could have ran down the street for help, but she protects the kids. (01:18:45)

Curtis says scene where Laurie throws the knife in the living room should have been shot closer because as is you can’t see the disgust on her face. It looks as if she’s just throwing it away. (01:21:02)

Carpenter says the idea of Halloween, the fact that evil never dies, came from Michael Crichton’s Westworld. There, a robot never died, and the director said he wanted to take it one step further. (01:22:28)

Carpenter and Hill made little money on the first film and part of the reason the two participated in the sequel was to get some money out of their creation. (01:29:00)

At the time this was recorded, around 1993 or 1994, there were only five Halloween films. Carpenter says “there’s four or five of them I believe, and there’s gonna be six. That’s kind of sad.” (01:29:57)


There you have it, Deadites. The track was one of those where the people featured aren’t actually in the same room together, often pieced together by a strange narrator announcing the next speaker. I did learn a few new bits that were awesome and I’m sure you guys will like them as well. Now I must return to the darkness of the digital disc to bring you guys more treasures of the tracks. Enjoy the rest of your Black Sabbath, until next time loyal readers.

Join me next Sunday as I take on a new commentary from 1981’s Halloween II featuring director Rick Rosenthal and Actor Leo Rossi.