ByJancy Richardson, writer at
To avoid fainting, keep repeating 'It's only a movie...It's only a movie...'
Jancy Richardson

The '80s was a decade of excess, and nowhere more so than in the wonderfully gory and extreme slasher movies. Horror took a new turn, with serial killers and buckets of blood coming to the fore. We all have at least one favorite 1980s horror movie - but did you know these cool facts about some of the greatest the early '80s have to offer?

The Evil Dead (1981)

The Evil Dead - which remains banned in Germany to this day - had a lot of injuries on set. Hero Bruce Campbell sprained his ankle on a tree root - exacerbated by director Sam Raimi poking it with a stick, which he found hilarious - and Bruce also lost several teeth! This was caused by a camerman slipping and accidentally bashing Bruce in the face with his camera.

Things were pretty grisly off-set too - Bruce Campbell traveled home from a day's shooting in the back of a truck because he was so covered in fake blood that he'd have terrified other drivers on the road!

My Bloody Valentine (1981)

MBV - originally titled The Secret - was shot in real mines as far as 900 feet underground. The crew were limited in terms of which lighting equipment they could use to film the movie for fear of setting off lethal gas explosions under the shaky earth.

Make-up and SFX artist Thomas R. Burman proudly maintains that one of his gruesome creations was real-looking and gory enough to make director George Mihalka puke - perhaps this is why MBV is Quentin Tarantino's favorite ever slasher movie!

Did you catch the awesome folk song about killer Harry Warden at the end of the movie? It was sung by unaccredited artist John McDermott, though the song is usually attributed to prolific horror composer Paul Zaza.

Poltergeist (1982)

Remember the iconic face-ripping scene? The hands that tear the flesh off are actually director Steven Spielberg's... talk about a hands-on approach!

The movie is a massive coming-together of movie legends - with a collaboration between Spielberg and Texas Chainsaw Massacre creator Tobe Hooper - but it could have been taken further - Stephen King was approached to write the movie but terms were never agreed upon. On a side note, despite the enormous success of Texas Chainsaw, Poltergeist still remains the most financially successful of Hooper's career.

Heather O'Rourke - the cute child star who tragically died only six years after the movie's release - kept the pet goldfish seen in the film. The sad deaths continued with Dana (actress Dominique Dunne, strangled by an ex-boyfriend) and Pugsley (Lou Perryman, murdered with an axe in Texas in 2009).

Friday the 13th (1980)

Friday the 13th - originally titled Long Night at Camp Blood - was filmed at Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco, NJ. The camp is still active and proudly displays its heritage in a wall of Friday the 13th-related merchandise on site.

Little Jason could have been a lot different - director Sean S. Cunningham wanted his son, Noel, to take the role... until his wife refused! Jason was also originally named Josh, but writer Victor Miller decided that Josh sounded too 'nice.'

The iconic Mrs. Voorhees almost never took part in production - it was only because actress Betsy Palmer really, really needed quick cash for a new car that she deigned to join Friday the 13th, a movie she famously referred to on first impressions as 'a piece of shit'!

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

It seems poetic that the first time Robert Englund put on the Freddy glove, he badly cut himself on the knife fingers - which were genuinely sharp! The rest of the costume was not simple either - it took three hours to get Englund into his full Freddy make-up.

Here are some cool details about the infamous glove: the sparking effect was produced by attaching it to a car battery (dangerous much?!) and the scratching, scraping sound was made quite simply: by running a steak knife along a metallic chair.

You know the famous 'One, Two, Freddy's coming for you...' song? That was apparently written by Heather Langenkamp's boyfriend at the time!

The bath sequence below involved Heather Langenkamp sitting in a bath for TWELVE hours, although the scenes shot underwater - using a bathroom set built above a swimming pool - featured stuntwoman Christina Johnson. I'm guessing Heather was glad to have a break!

Sleepaway Camp (1983)

This blew my mind: Judy the bully (pictured above left) could have been played by 30 Rock's Jenna, Jane Krakowski! Something tells me she would have been awesome in the role... On the topic, Judy's grisly death was cut by the MPAA for being too disturbing.

The epic final scene was a nude guy wearing a mask made from Angela (Felissa Rose)'s face. This was the method decided upon after several prosthetic penises were made to fit to strap onto Rose... the guy involved apparently had to get pretty drunk before he had the balls (pardon the pun) to strip off!

Prom Night (1980)

The iconic line 'It's not who you come with, it's who takes you home' is said in all four Prom Night movies. In other random trivia, the van that slides off the ground was stolen during filming: the cast never managed to recover it.

Remember bad boy Lou in the movie? His story is actually really sweet. Actor David Mucci had a grave medical condition, so during the scene where he lay in the cramped space under the stage, he was very frightened that he might fall ill and get into trouble. Off-screen, director Paul Lynch was holding his hand the whole time to make him feel more comfortable. Awww!

The Burning (1981)

The Burning - originally titled The Cropsy Maniac - was always accused of badly ripping off Friday the 13th. However, writer Harvey Weinstein has always maintained that he wrote The Burning prior to Friday the 13th's release.

Due to the low budget of the movie, the cast wore their own clothes to avoid hiring wardrobe people and costumes. There are also a couple of bloopers - when Cropsy is set ablaze you can see the safety helmet the stuntman wore!

Director Tony Maylam came up with the idea of using garden shears as the murder weapon. He must have been very certain in his vision of the murderous shears because most of the scenes involving kills filmed the director's own hands wielding the weapon: he was simply not satisfied with the actors' handling of the shears and decided to do it himself!


What's your favorite classic horror movie from the early '80s?

Source: Youtube, Imdb


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