Halloween released October 25, 1978

halloween Jamie Lee Curtis

Halloween is a 1978 American independent horror film set in the fictional suburban midwestern town of Haddonfield, Illinois, USA on Halloween. The original draft of the screenplay was titled The Babysitter Murders. John Carpenter directed the film, which stars Donald Pleasence as Dr. Sam Loomis, Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, and Nick Castle, Tony Moran and Tommy Lee Wallace sharing the role of Michael Myers (listed in the credits as “The Shape”). The film centers on Myers’ escape from a psychiatric hospital, his murdering of teenagers, and Dr. Loomis’ attempts to track and stop him. Halloween is widely regarded as a classic among horror films, and as one of the most influential horror films of its era. In 2006 it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

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Halloween was produced on a budget of $320,000 and grossed $47 million at the box office in the United States, equivalent to over $150 million as of 2008, becoming one of the most profitable independent films. Many critics credit the film as the first in a long line of slasher films inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960). The movie originated many clichés found in low-budget horror films of the 1980s and 1990s. However, the film contains little graphic violence and gore.

Critics have suggested that Halloween and its slasher film successors may encourage sadism and misogyny. Others have suggested the film is a social critique of the immorality of young people in 1970s America, pointing out that many of Myers’ victims are sexually promiscuous substance abusers, while the lone heroine is depicted as chaste and innocent (although she is seen smoking a joint). While Carpenter dismisses such analyses, the perceived parallel between the characters’ moral strengths and their likelihood of surviving to the film’s conclusion has nevertheless become a standard slasher movie trope.

Trivia:

  • There are numerous references in John Carpenter’s movies, particularly in this film, that are taken from the area surrounding the town he grew up in – Bowling Green, KY. The performance of the film’s musical score is credited to “The Bowling Green Philharmonic.” There is no Philharmonic in Bowling Green. The “orchestra” is actually Carpenter and assorted musical friends. In one scene the subtitle depicts the location as “Smiths Grove, IL.” Smiths Grove is actually a small town of about 600 people located 15 miles north of Bowling Green on I-65. There are also numerous references in Halloween to street names that are major roads in the greater Bowling Green area.
  • As the movie was actually shot in early spring in southern California (as opposed to Illinois in late October), the crew had to buy paper leaves from a decorator and paint them in the desired autumn colors, then scatter them in the filming locations. To save money, after a scene was filmed, the leaves were collected and reused. However, as Jamie Lee Curtis and John Carpenter note on the DVD audio commentary, the trees are quite full and green and even some palm trees can be seen, despite that in Illinois in October, the leaves would probably be mostly gone and there would be no palm trees.
  • Jamie Lee Curtis’ first feature film.
  • Due to its shoestring budget, the prop department had to use the cheapest mask that they could find in the costume store: a Captain Kirk (William Shatner) mask. They later spray-painted the face white, teased out the hair, and reshaped the eye holes.
  • The kids watch the opening of The Thing from Another World (1951) on TV. Carpenter would later re-make this film himself in 1982 as The Thing (1982).
  • Halloween was shot in 21 days in April of 1978. Made on a budget of $320,000, it became the highest-grossing independent movie ever made at that time.
  • According to screenwriter/producer Debra Hill, the character of Laurie Strode was named after John Carpenter’s first girlfriend.
  • Tommy Doyle’s name was from Rear Window (1954) and Sam Loomis’ name is from Psycho (1960).
  • Inside Laurie’s bedroom there is a poster of a painting by James Ensor (1860-1949). Ensor was a Belgian expressionist painter who used to portray human figures wearing grotesque masks.
  • The film takes place primarily in Haddonfield, Illinois. Haddonfield, NJ is the home town of screenwriter Debra Hill.
  • The performance of Halloween’s musical score is credited to “The Bowling Green Philharmonic”. There is no Philharmonic in Bowling Green. The “orchestra” is actually John Carpenter and assorted musical friends.
  • All of the actors wore their own clothes, since there was no money for a costume department. Jamie Lee Curtis went to J.C. Penney for Laurie Strode’s wardrobe. She spent less than a hundred dollars for the entire set. She shot the film while on hiatus from the sitcom Operation Petticoat (1977) (TV).
  • The character of Michael Myers was named after the European distributor of Carpenter’s previous film, Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) as a kind of weird “thank you” for the film’s overseas success.
  • Tommy’s Halloween costume is an Alphan uniform from “Space: 1999″ (1975).

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  • The opening shot appears to be a single, tracking, point of view shot, but there are actually three cuts. The first when the mask goes on, and the second and third after the murder has taken place and the shape is exiting the room. This was done to make the point of view appear to move faster.
  • The name of the sheriff is “Leigh Brackett”. Leigh Brackett was also the name of the screenwriter of Howard Hawks’ classic Rio Bravo (1959), which was the inspiration for John Carpenter’s previous film, Assault on Precinct 13 (1976).
  • Kyle Richards, who plays Lindsey Wallace, is the sister of Kim Richards, who appeared in John Carpenter’s previous film, Assault on Precinct 13 (1976).
  • Half of the $320,000 budget was spent on the Panavison cameras so the film would have a 2:35:1 scope. Donald Pleasence was paid $20,000 for 5 days work.
  • Carpenter approached Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee to play the Sam Loomis role (that was eventually played by Donald Pleasence) but both turned him down. Lee later said it was it was the biggest mistake he ever made in his career.
  • Morgan Strode’s black Fleetwood (seen in the driveway when he is talking to Laurie early in the movie) belonged to director John Carpenter, while the Phelps Garage truck was owned by the company that catered for the film.
  • Anne Lockhart was John Carpenter’s first choice for the role of Laurie Strode.
  • None of the big studios at the time was interested in distributing the movie, so executive producer Irwin Yablans decided to distribute the film via his own company (Compass International). MCA/Universal produced and distributed the next two sequels in the early ’80s.
  • Aside from dialogue, the script cites Michael Myers by name only twice. In the opening scene, he is called a POV until he is revealed at age 6. From the rest of the script on out he is referred to as a “shape” until Laurie rips his mask off in the final scene (which he never reapplies in the script). “The Shape”, as credited in the film, refers to when his face is masked or obscured.
  • P.J. Soles was dating Dennis Quaid at the time of filming, so John Carpenter and Debra Hill wanted to cast him in the role of Bob. Unfortunately, Quaid was busy working on another project and John Michael Graham was cast in the role instead.
  • John Carpenter provides the voice of Annie’s boyfriend, Paul, whom we hear on the phone talking to Annie.
  • The original script, titled “The Babysitter Murders”, had the events take place over the space of several days. It was a budgetary decision to change the script to have everything happen on the same day (doing this reduced the number of costume changes and locations required) and it was decided that Halloween, the scariest night of the year, was the perfect night for this to happen.
  • When they were shooting the scenes for the start of the film (all the ones seen from Michael’s point of view) they couldn’t get the 6-year old child actor until the last day, so the movie’s producer, Debra Hill, volunteered to be Michael for any scenes where his hands come into view. This is why the nails on young Michael’s hands look so well manicured and varnished.
  • The cinematography for the Halloween sequence in Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) was the inspiration for the look of Carpenter’s color scheme.
  • Donald Pleasence did all of his scenes in only 5 days of shooting.
  • When Dr. Loomis is talking to the doctors in the empty classroom, Dr. Loomis is sitting in seat #37.
  • Sheriff Brackett was named after film-noir writer Leigh Brackett.
  • According to Don Post Jr., President of Don Post Studios, the famous California mask making company, the filmmakers originally approached his firm about custom making an original mask for use in the film. The filmmakers explained that they could not afford the numerous costs involved in creating a mask from scratch, but would offer Post points in the movie as payment for his services. Post declined their offer, as he received many such proposals from numerous unknown filmmakers all the time, but suggested that they repaint/refurbish the “Captain Kirk” masks eventually used in the film, which eventually was done, and which netted Mr. Post a profit of less than $100. Post later estimated, after the film became a hit, that if he had accepted the original offer for points in the film in exchange for his creation of an original mask, his profit would have run well over $100,000.
  • Yul Brynner’s robot character from Westworld (1973) was the inspiration for the character of Michael Myers.
  • The song that is playing on the radio when Laurie and Annie are in the car is “Don’t Fear The Reaper” by Blue Öyster Cult.
  • This was voted the fifth scariest film of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
  • The “Myers” house was a locale found in South Pasadena that was largely the decrepit, abandoned place seen in the majority of the film. However, as the house had to look ordinary (and furnished) for the early scenes with the young Michael Myers, almost the whole cast and crew worked together to clean the place, move in furniture, put up wallpaper, and set up running water and electricity, and then take it all out when they were through.
  • Much credit for the concept must go to its producer Irwin Yablans, who had the concept originally for a horror film called “The Babysitter Murders”. Upon further research, Yablans discovered to his surprise that no previous film had been titled “Halloween” and thought it would be a great concept to set these “babysitter murders” on the holiday. With these ideas, Yablans convinced an excited John Carpenter to write and direct a film around them.
  • The wealthy film producer Moustapha Akkad had admittedly little interest in this film and helped make it primarily due to the enthusiasm of John Carpenter and Irwin Yablans. However, when the film turned out to be a huge box-office smash, Akkad saw an opportunity and has since facilitated every ‘Halloween’ sequel.
  • The adult Michael Myers was portrayed by Nick Castle in almost every scene, except for some pick-up shots and the unmasking scene, where he was replaced by Tony Moran. Castle was a school-buddy of John Carpenter and was thought of by Carpenter because he was tall and had what Carpenter considered an interesting walk. Castle admitted he was disappointed to not be the face shown, but understood that Carpenter wanted a more “angelic” face to juxtapose with Myers’ ghastly deeds. Castle has gone on to become a successful director.
  • John Carpenter was quite intimidated by Donald Pleasence, of whom he was a big fan and who was easily the oldest and most experienced person on set. Although Pleasance asked Carpenter difficult questions about his character, Pleasance turned out to be a good-humored, big-hearted individual and the two became great friends.
  • Of the female leads (all the girls are supposed to be in high school), only Jamie Lee Curtis was actually a teenager at the time of shooting.
  • The long tracking shot at the beginning was inspired by the tracking shot in Orson Welles’s Touch of Evil (1958). The shot would have been impossible to achieve on the film’s budget if it wasn’t for the recent invention of the steadicam tracking system.
  • P.J. Soles says the word “totally” eleven times.
  • Before Don Post became involved, Michael was going to wear a clown mask.
  • Laurie remarks that she would rather go out with unseen character “Ben Tramer”. The name came from Bennett Tramer, an old college friend of director John Carpenter. The real Bennett Tramer has also had a career in the motion picture industry as a writer and producer.
  • A young Jamie Lee Curtis was so disappointed with her performance that she became convinced she would be fired after only the first day of filming. When her phone rang that night and it was John Carpenter on the phone, Curtis was certain it was the end of her movie career. Instead, Carpenter called to congratulate her and tell her he was very happy with the way things had gone.
  • The Halloween theme is written in the rare 5/4 time signature. John Carpenter learned this rhythm from his father.
  • The scene where The Shape seems to appear out of the darkness behind Laurie was accomplished by using a simple dimmer switch on the light that slowly illuminated the mask.
  • One of the characters is named “Marion Chambers”. Marion was the first name of the female protagonist of Psycho (1960), and Chambers was the last name of the sheriff in that movie.
  • That Michael Myers could drive a car despite having gotten committed to an asylum at the age of six inspired many guffaws. The first movie novelization came up with a simple but effective explanation: when Doctor Loomis drove Michael to sanity hearings over the years, Michael simply watched very closely and carefully as Doctor Loomis operated the car. Remember, even if Michael sat in the back seat and there was a screen of bulletproof glass partition, Michael could still look over the Doctor’s shoulder without Loomis realizing the significance.
  • According to an additional scene in the extended television version, Michael Myers’ middle name is Audrey.
  • Carpenter wrote the part of Lynda for P.J. Soles after seeing her performance in Brian De Palma’s Carrie (1976).
  • Although Nick Castle plays the part of Michael Myers throughout the film, when his mask is removed by Laurie at the climax, another actor Tony Moran was used.
  • The opening POV sequence took 2 days to film.
  • Carpenter composed the score in 4 days.
  • For its first airing on television, extra scenes had to be added to make it fit the desired time slot. Carpenter filmed these during the production of Halloween II (1981) against his better judgment.
  • Donald Pleasence confessed to John Carpenter that the main reason why he took the part of Loomis was because his daughter Angela loved Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13 (1976).
  • Carpenter considered the hiring of Jamie Lee Curtis as the ultimate tribute to Alfred Hitchcock who had given her mother, Janet Leigh, legendary status in Psycho (1960).
  • Carpenter’s intent with the character of Michael Myers was that the audience should never be able to relate to him.
  • Carpenter and co-writer Debra Hill have stated many times over the years that they did not consciously set out to depict virginity as a way of defeating a rampaging killer. The reason why the horny teens all die is simply that they’re so preoccupied with getting laid that they don’t notice that there’s a killer at large. Laurie Strode, on the other hand, spends a lot of time on her own and is therefore more alert.
  • As the film was shot out of sequence, Carpenter created a fear meter so that Jamie Lee Curtis would know what level of terror she should be exhibiting.
  • Debra Hill wrote most of the dialog for the female characters, while Carpenter concentrated on Dr Loomis’s speeches.
  • As the film was made in spring, the crew had huge difficulty in procuring pumpkins.
  • Production designer Tommy Lee Wallace picked the iconic mask in a dime store. It was a mask of Captain Kirk and cost $1.98. Wallace spray painted the eyes to change the appearance (and also to avoid the risk of litigation).
  • From a budget of $325,000 the film went on to gross $47 million at the US box office. In 2008 takings that would be the equivalent of $150 million, making “Halloween” one of the most successful independent films of all time.
  • Prior to the movie, a book was written by Curtis Richards, and reveals more of the story behind Michael’s rage. However, the book is very rare.
  • Nancy Kyes (Annie Brackett) starred in at least three other Carpenter films, one being another of the Halloween franchise; Halloween III: Season of the Witch. The others are The Fog and Assault on Precinct 13.

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halloween 4 poster

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers is a 1988 independently-released horror film and the fourth installment in the Halloween series. The film revolves around Michael Myers once more after his absence in Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Directed by Dwight H. Little, the film stars Ellie Cornell as Rachel Carruthers, Donald Pleasence as Dr. Loomis, Danielle Harris as Jamie Lloyd, and George P. Wilbur as Michael Myers. The central plot focuses on Michael Myers 10 years after his 1978 killing spree in Haddonfield, Illinois. It is revealed that he is comatose and barely alive at the Ridgemont Federal Sanitarium, and his sister Laurie Strode has been killed in a car accident. While Michael is being transferred to Smith’s Grove, he escapes and goes to Haddonfield, where he attempts to kill his niece Jamie Lloyd — revealed to be Laurie’s daughter.

As the title suggests, Halloween 4 marks the return of Michael Myers, the central villain of Halloween and Halloween II, due to his absence in Halloween III. Initially, John Carpenter and co-producer Debra Hill retired the Myers plot outline after the second installment of the series, intending to feature a new Halloween-related film every sequel, of which Halloween III would be the first. However, due to the lack of success of the third film, Halloween 4 re-introduced a Michael Myers related plot.

Tagline:  Ten Years Ago HE Changed The Face Of Halloween. Tonight HE’S BACK!

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Trivia:

  • Series creator John Carpenter wrote a treatment for this film, that was a more ghostly psychological approach to the Michael Myers mythos. It concerned the town of Haddonfield and what effect the events of the first two films have had on the it’s citizens. This concept was later rejected by the producers in favor of the typical slasher fare, at which point in time John Carpernter bailed out of the film, making this the first film in the series to have no participation from him.
  • The girl who drove Rachel and Jamie to the costume store was named Lindsey and is approximately 17 years old. In Halloween (1978), Jamie Lee Curtis babysat a seven year old named Lindsey.
  • After viewing a rough edit it was decided that the movie was too soft, so they brought in special effects wizard John Carl Buechler for one day of extra “blood” filming. The thumb in the forehead and the redneck’s head getting twisted were both done by him.
  • A construction paper cutout of Michael Myers can be seen on a door on the second floor of the school just as Jamie and Dr. Loomis climb the stairs.
  • Melissa Joan Hart auditioned for the role of Jamie.
  • Alan B. McElroy wrote the script in 11 days and beat the writer’s strike by mere hours.
  • Mike Lookinland (Bobby Brady) of “The Brady Bunch” (1969) was the production assistant. His wife, Kelly Lookinland, played the dead waitress.
  • The gaffer, Garlan Wilde, was seriously injured during the filming of the Michael and Brady confrontation. Garlan was putting up a light and fell and cut his wrists; he was quickly rushed to the hospital.
  • Leaves had to be imported and squash was painted to look like pumpkins.
  • Dwight H. Little did extensive research on the history of Halloween and many of its harvest images were put in the creepy opening sequence.
  • The shoot lasted about 41 days and Ellie Cornell and Danielle Harris were required to be on set for 36 of those days.
  • During production of the rooftop chase, Ellie Cornell was injured by a protruding nail as she slid down the roof. After a quick trip to the local hospital she finished the scene with her bandages in place. According to Danielle Harris, “It didn’t even faze her.”
  • The drugstore set was also used in Stephen King’s _”Stand, The” (1994) (mini)_.
  • Originally, when Jamie and Loomis were trapped in the school, Jamie hid in a classroom under a desk. Michael entered searching for her, throwing the desks over. Although they had no time to film this in Halloween 4, the sequence was remembered by Moustapha Akkad and later re-used in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998).
  • In the schoolhouse, Michael’s mask appears to have blonde hair. This was actually the original Captain Kirk mask used in Halloween (1978) and over time the hair had changed gradually. The filmmakers had the intention of reusing the mask in this sequel but felt it had changed too much and decided to make their own. Several scenes were re-shot with the replacement mask.
  • In the original script, Sheriff Meeker was killed in a battle with Michael in the basement where the furnace was knocked over and caused the house to catch on fire. Originally, the house was supposed to be up in flames during the infamous rooftop sequence. This was eliminated due to budgetary constraints and Sheriff Meeker was kept alive.
  • In Jamie’s introduction, she’s sitting in the living room staring outside at the ambulance. Later, it shows the ambulance has disappeared. In the script, Jamie was staring outside at the rain, and the ambulance appeared after she had turned away. This was changed in editing for unknown reasons.
  • In the original script, Rachel hit Michael with the truck five times. While shooting they reduced it to three and in editing it came out as one.
  • In the original script the film opened with a shot of a long hospital corridor suddenly blowing up and throwing Loomis from the explosion, in a reference to the end of ‘Halloween II (1981)’ in order to show how Loomis survived. It was later decided the film should not have any connections to the predecessors and the explosive opening was never shot.
  • Jamie’s name was Brittany in the original script but was changed in homage to Jamie Lee Curtis.
  • Rebecca Schaeffer auditioned for the role of Rachel.
  • George P. Wilbur wore hockey pads under the jumpsuit to give Michael Myers a much more imposing figure. This is revealed in the documentary “Inside Halloween 5″, where it is revealed that Don Shanks, who played Michael Myers in Halloween 5 (1989), was big enough that this was not required.
  • At the bottom of the stairs where the TV is in Meeker’s home a pair of plastic hands are visible. This is possibly a direct reference to the silver hands seen in mother’s bedroom in Psycho (1960).

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Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers

 

 

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers is the 1989 sequel to the popular horror film, Halloween. It was directed by Dominique Othenin-Girard and starred Donald Pleasence, who again portrayed Dr. Sam Loomis and Danielle Harris, who returned to play Jamie Lloyd. The film takes place exactly one year after the events depicted in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. The Shape has returned to the sleepy town of Haddonfield, Illinois to murder his niece, Jamie, who is now mute. Dr. Loomis tries to save the day with the help of Sheriff Meeker.

This is the least successful Halloween film in the franchise. The film was rushed into production too quickly, without even a final draft of the script. The tagline for the film was “Michael Lives. And This Time, They’re Ready!”

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Trivia:

  • The bus that the Man in Black gets off of stops outside the exact same store where Jamie and Rachel went to get a Halloween costume in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988).
  • Rachel was originally supposed to be stabbed in the throat with scissors but the actress, Ellie Cornell, felt it was too gruesome an end for her character, so it was changed.
  • Don Shanks revealed in an interview that many of the scenes involving the man in black had him playing the character, because of speculation that he was a blood relative of Michael Myers. He also admitted that even the writers uncertain about the man in black’s identity.
  • The Man In Black shots were re-shot in the UK for unknown reasons with an unknown British extra. The extra was uncredited.
  • The scene where Michael Myers drives a car while wearing a different kind of mask was initially scripted to have him wear a Ronald Reagan mask. However, the idea of a Reagan mask was soon rejected in order to keep the film devoid of any political subtexts.
  • On the audio commentary for the DVD it’s stated that Greg Nicotero and Wendy Kaplan were seeing each other during filming.
  • KNB Effects had designed grotesque facial makeup for Michael Myers’ unmasking towards the end of the film. The producers told them to do so as an option, either showing Michael’s badly scarred face or keep it in the dark. They went for the latter.
  • In the infamous laundry chute scene, Jamie was originally stabbed in the leg but the shot was cut from the film by the MPAA because it was deemed “too disturbing”. Danielle Harris still owns the prosthetic leg.
  • The laundry chute scene was filmed with 30 different sections of the laundry chute. Some were full props, others were positioned horizontally to run the camera through on a dolly, and others were various sections that had cut-out portions for filming. Although the scene was very complex, it was all shot in one night.
  • As part of the opening, an alternate scene was shot but never used. The scene shows a man who finds Michael Myers body at the beginning and removes his mask, staring at it weirdly. The filming of it can be seen in the documentary, “Inside Halloween 5″.
  • For some reason, the directors chose to renovate one of the homes in Utah to recreate the Myers house instead of using the original Myers home, which would be later used in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995).
  • Director Dominique Othenin-Girard’s name is incorrectly spelled “Dominique Otherin-Girard” in the opening credits.

 

Amazon Specials!

Amazon Specials!

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William Friedkin Birthday – August 29

Friedkin_William

William Friedkin (born 29 August 1935 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American film director, producer and screenwriter best known for directing The Exorcist and The French Connection in the early 1970s. His recent film is Bug (2006) for which he won the Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique (FIPRESCI).

After seeing the movie Citizen Kane as a boy, Friedkin became fascinated with movies and began working for WGN-TV immediately after high school. He eventually started his directorial career doing live television shows and documentaries, including The People vs. Paul Crump which won several awards and contributed to the commutation of Crump’s death sentence. In 1965 Friedkin moved to Hollywood and two years later released his first feature film, Good Times starring Sonny and Cher. Several other “art” films followed (including the gay-themed movie The Boys in the Band), although Friedkin didn’t necessarily want to be known as an art house director.

friedkin_recent_set

In 1971, his The French Connection was released to wide critical acclaim. Shot in a gritty style more suited for documentaries than Hollywood features, the film won five Academy Awards, including Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director.

Linda Blair and William Friedkin

Linda Blair and William Friedkin

Friedkin followed up with 1973’s The Exorcist, based on William Peter Blatty’s best-selling novel, which revolutionized the horror genre and is considered by some critics to be the greatest horror movie of all time. The Exorcist was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Following these two critically acclaimed pictures, Friedkin, along with Francis Ford Coppola and Peter Bogdanovich, was deemed as one of the premier directors of New Hollywood. Unfortunately, Friedkin’s later movies did not achieve the same success. Sorcerer (1977), a $22 million dollar American remake of the French classic Wages of Fear, starring Roy Scheider, was overshadowed by the box-office success of Star Wars, which was released around the same time. Friedkin considers it his finest film, and was personally devastated by its financial and critical failure (as mentioned by Friedkin himself in the documentary series The Directors (1999)).

Sorcerer was shortly followed by the crime-comedy The Brink’s Job (1978), based on the real-life Great Brink’s Robbery in Boston, Massachusetts, which was also unsuccessful at the box-office. In 1980, he released the highly controversial gay-themed crime thriller Cruising, starring Al Pacino, which was protested against even during its making, and remains the subject of heated debate to this day.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Friedkin’s films received mostly lackluster reviews and moderate ticket sales. Deal of the Century (1983), starring Chevy Chase, Gregory Hines and Sigourney Weaver, was sometimes regarded as a latter-day Dr. Strangelove, though was generally savaged by critics. However, his action/crime movie To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), starring William Petersen and Willem Dafoe, was a critical favorite and drew comparisons to Friedkin’s own The French Connection (particularly for its car-chase sequence), while his courtroom-drama/thriller, Rampage (1987), received a fairly positive review from Roger Ebert despite major distribution problems. The Guardian (1990) and Jade starring Linda Fiorentino received minor success by critics and audiences.

In 2000, The Exorcist was re-released in theaters with extra footage and grossed $40 million in the U.S. alone.

Friedkin’s involvement in 2007’s Bug resulted from a positive experience watching the stage version in 2004. He was surprised to find that he was, metaphorically, on the same page as the playwright, and felt that he could relate well to the story.

Later, Friedkin directed an episode of the hit TV series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, entitled Cockroaches, which re-teamed him with To Live and Die In L.A. star William Petersen. He would go on to direct again for CSI’s 200th episode, Mascara.

William Friedkin and Laurence Fishburne CSI set

William Friedkin and Laurence Fishburne CSI set

Trivia:

The night he won his Academy Award for directing The French Connection (1971), he was riding with his manager when their Rolls-Royce broke down several miles from the ceremony. They had to hitch a ride from a driver at a gas station in order to arrive in time.

His video for Laura Branigan’s song “self control” has never been shown in its entirety on MTV. Friedkin’s uncut version features a brief shot of a female breast.

Was going to work with Peter Gabriel on a film project, but Gabriel was caught up with work with his former band Genesis on the album “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway”. The project was called off.

He was believed to be the youngest person to win the Best Director Oscar, at age 32. Later, he was discovered to have actually been born in 1935, and was 36 at the time. The record returned to Norman Taurog.

Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. “World Film Directors, Volume Two, 1945-1985″. Pages 372-375. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1988.

After The Exorcist (1973), he was planning on making a film about Aliens and Atlantis. But, after Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) went into production, he abandoned the film and made Sorcerer (1977), instead.

While on his first directing assignment for “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour” (1962), he was reprimanded by Alfred Hitchcock for not wearing a tie.

Friedkin and wife Sherry Lansing

Friedkin and wife Sherry Lansing

Began his career in the mail-room of WGN-TV in Chicago. Within two years, he was directing live television.

In 1985, was sued for plagiarism by Michael Mann, who claimed that To Live and Die in L.A. (1985) stole the entire concept of Mann’s TV series “Miami Vice” (1984). Mann lost the lawsuit.

He directed 5 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Jason Miller, Ellen Burstyn and Linda Blair. Hackman won an Oscar for The French Connection (1971).

Does not like to work with storyboards.

Was offered the chance to direct The Exorcist (1973) by producer William Peter Blatty after Blatty screened The French Connection (1971). Warner Bros. had been pressuring him to use another director but after seeing the Friedkin’s film, Blatty decided he wanted the film of his novel to be infused with as much energy as Friedkin had brought to “The French Connection”.

Eli Roth and William Friedkin

Eli Roth and William Friedkin

His two most famous films, The French Connection (1971) and The Exorcist (1973), both begin in a foreign country, in which something in that country is brought over to America and then dealt with by American “authorities” in that field. The French Connection (1971) has drugs coming from France and then dealt with by American narcotics officers; The Exorcist (1973) has a demonic presence (from an idol) coming from Iraq to America, and dealt with by American priests.

Has two sons: Jack with Lesley-Anne Down and Cedric with Australian dancer Jennifer Nairn-Smith.

Directed his first opera, “Salome” by Richard Strauss, at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich (2006).

Profiled in “Conversations with Directors: An Anthology of Interviews from Literature/Film Quarterly”, E.M. Walker, D.T. Johnson, eds. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2008.

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