Can you imagine your favorite film being called “Teenage Sex Comedy That Can Be Made For Under $10 Million That Your Reader Will Love But The Executive Will Hate”? Well if your favorite comedy film is “American Pie” then that’s exactly what its original working title was. So let’s take a look at some other working titles from some of the best loved horror films of all times, and don’t forget to sound off in the comment section below.
Scary Movie (Scream)
Let's start off with a working title that most horror fans will be familiar with. Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson's genre-defining horror flick was originally, and quite simply, called "Scary Movie". But they both decided that the name was too comedic-sounding for the film's darker tone, forcing the name change. The Wayans Brothers must have agreed, as they adopted the name for their spoof series, which kicked off four years later (and is unfortunately still going).
Wimpy AND Production 9401 (Psycho)
Alfred Hitchcock was so determined to keep as many details of "Psycho's" plot line secret throughout production that he made the working title "Wimpy" on many clapboards throughout its production. This was both an attempt to keep it secret, but also a fun nod to second unit cameraman Rex Wimpy.
Candy Cane AND Highway Horror AND Squelch (Joy ride/Roadkill)
"Joy Ride" (also known as "Road Kill" in the UK and New Zealand) is a stalker-type horror thriller along the same lines as Steven Spielberg's "Duel". It revolves around a desperately-in-need-of-a-sense-of-humor maniacal truck driver intent on exacting revenge on some unwitting teens who decide to play a joke on him over the CB radio. There were several working titles in the U.S. (Squelch, Highway Horror, Candy Cane) before “ Joy Ride” was settled on.
The Babysitter Murders (Halloween)
"The Babysitter Murders" clearly creates an idea of what the viewer is about to watch, but with the plot of "Halloween", it's not a completely accurate picture for what is in store. The title (and also the date) of the script was written by both John Carpenter and Debra Hill, but were then rewritten at the request of indie producer Irwin Yablans. Following on from the rewrites, Yablans then promptly raised the film's production budget, earning a worldwide box-office sum of $70,000,000.
A Long Night at Camp Blood (Friday the 13th)
The first appearance of Jason Vorhees was being written by screenwriter Victor Miller under the working title "A Long Night at Camp Blood". At the same time, director Sean S. Cunningham was busy testing out the response for his much simpler title - "Friday the 13th". Prior to the development of the story, a logo and a promise had already been advertised - "The most terrifying film ever made!" Following on from ten sequels, one remake, one possibly on the way, a television series and countless comic books later, the title is a brand unto itself.
Batteries Not Included (Child's Play)
Hold on a minute! If you're thinking to yourself, "I remember that 1980's Steven Spielberg-produced cheese-fest alien movie" then you would be right. And for this reason alone is precisely the reason why the producers needed to change the original title. Spielberg may well have won this name game, but we don't see any follow-ups or re-imaginings of his work in the pipeline.
Star Beast (Alien)
While reading through the original work, screenwriter Dan O'Bannon noticed how frequently the word "Alien" appeared in the script. O'Bannon, together with the writer who created the story together, Ronald Shusett, also appreciated the fact that Alien could be interpreted as both a noun and an adjective.
Headcheese "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"
Is bigger always better? In the case of the title for "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", then clearly it is. "Headcheese" "Stalking Leatherface" and originally just "Leatherface" were all ideas which were in the pipeline for the title of the film.
Sex Crime of the Century AND Krug AND The Men's Room (The Last House on the Left)
Having an original title of "Sex Crime of the Century" probably wouldn't have brought cinema-goers in their hordes to see this film. Together with an original X-Rating, a name change was probably a good idea.