Eight years ago, low-fi home invasion horror The Strangers hit our screens, shocking and dividing audiences with its unflinching portrayal of unprovoked violence against the innocent. If you have love for this chilling horror, check out 10 facts you probably never knew about The Strangers.
1. What's in a Name?
The movie was originally called The Faces. The film was shot totally chronologically, and only used hand-held or steadycams, giving it a horribly realistic feel.
2. The Trials of Tyler
Director Bryan Bertino elicited a truly genuine performance from Liv Tyler by getting her to do intense workout activities to get her breathless, then lying to her about when to expect loud noises for a frightened reaction. She also had tonsillitis during filming, which would have upped the stress factor of the situation!
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3. Movie Music
The song that features many times in The Strangers is the 1968 song "Mama Tried" by Merle Haggard and the Strangers.
4. Behind the Mask
Despite their terrifying roles in the movies, Sackhead, Pin-Up Girl and Dollface are really quite lovely looking in real life! Don't judge a psychotic masked killer by its cover?
5. Don't Say a Word
The movie originally used a lot more dialogue from The Strangers themselves, but this was cut to retain more mystery and make the masked intruders scarier. It certainly worked!
6. Is It All True?
The opening of The Strangers claims that the film is "inspired by true events," but horror fans know that this is a common boast. The Strangers certainly drew some inspiration from real events. Check out the real-life inspiration behind the movie here.
7. A Very Big House in the Country
The farmhouse used to shoot the film was designed to create unease by resembling a place "your brother could have lived in, that you could have grown up in." However, the interiors were all shot on a sound stage.
8. Static Shock
Some cinemas were sent faulty reels of The Strangers, which had static instead of the proper audio for the movie. The low-fi effect of the film was so absorbing, however, that most audience members simply thought this was an intended feature of the film.
9. Good Things Come To Those Who Wait
We've been waiting eight years for a sequel, but The Strangers 2 has been set for release December 2, 2016. The first Strangers film had some difficulties too — originally due to release Summer 2007, it eventually came to theaters May 30, 2008.
10. That's the Spirit!
Liv Tyler was desperate to be in The Strangers after reading Bryan Bertino's script, saying the she:
"Couldn't put it down. It was the first time in a couple of years that I knew I was reading something I absolutely wanted to do. I saw layers in it of love story, drama and horror — all of them unconventional. I especially liked Bryan's way of saying a lot, but not saying everything. Often in movies, it's all spelled out for you, and the dialogue is very explanatory.''