15 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Horror Movie Costumes

Posted: October 10th, 2012 | Author: |

Evil Dead (1981) 

Ash’s Original Shirt Became A Giant Scab 

The first Evil Dead film was the goriest of the lot, with pretty much a truck-load of entrails and blood used during filming, that’s not even an exaggeration it really was a truck load!

Unfortunately after one particularly bloody scene Bruce Campbell took off his shirt and left it to dry on a radiator, obviously  this was a bad idea. When he went to put the bloody shirt back on, he found that he couldn’t, it had dried and hardened!

If you watch the film you might notice the change, he goes from being gore soaked to completely clean (I guess he didn’t like the idea of getting re-drenched in gore).


Carrie (1976) 

Sissy Spacek Wore Her Bloody Prom Dress For 3 Days

The prom dress in the final scene of Carrie was a complete mess. You’d think that thing would get thrown away after the first take and replaced. Oddly enough actress Sissy Spacek refused to take it off for the 3 days it took to film the finale because she didn’t want to screw up the continuity. She even sleet in the blood drenched dress.


Halloween (1979) 

Michael Myers’ Mask Was The Cheapest They Could Buy

We all know by now that the mask Michael Myers used was a William Shatner mask painted white but I bet a few of you don’t know why they used it.

If you’re thinking it’s because the cast and crew had a natural phobia of all things Star Trek you’d be wrong. The real reason is that they were shooting on a tight budget, a really tight budget… in fact virtually nothing for a movie that successful, just $320,000.

It turned out that buying and painting a William Shatner mask was the cheapest option at the time (less than a dollar) but there was an alternative mask considered though. The iconic face of the Halloween series was almost a clown mask.

An additional bit of trivia, there was no money to purchase costumes for the rest of the cast… they were all filmed in their own street clothes.


Halloween II (1981) 

Even Though The Mask Looks Different… It’s Not!

The original Mask was keep first by Nick Castle, the actor (actually John Carpenter’s friend that happened to be on set rather than an actor) that played the part of Michael Myers and then by Debra Hill, the screenwriter.

It has a faded yellowed look because Castle kept the Mask in his back pocket between shots on the first film and then it was left under the bed of Debra Hill, who was a heavy smoker.

The reason it doesn’t look like it fits is simply because it doesn’t, the mask wasn’t stretched it’s just on a much smaller actor, Dick Warlock (which sounds like the name from a medieval fantasy porn parody).


Friday The 13th Pt 2 (1981) 

The Original Jason Costume Was Based On Another Film

Here we have Jason being menacing…

Before the iconic hockey mask Jason looked very different. His original burlap sack mask [and in fact his whole outfit] was pretty much lifted from another film entirely. His costume was made to match exactly the hooded, burlap sack killer from The Town That Dreaded Sundown; a 1976 horror film based on a true series of killings in the ‘40s.

…and here we have the burlap sack killer from The Town That Dreaded Sundown.
Presumably he prescribes to the Bieber method of playing terrible music until his victims kill themselves.


Scream (1996) 

The Iconic Ghost Face Mask Was A Fluke Discovery

The face of this almost excessively genre aware horror movie could have been very different if Wes Craven had chosen to look at a different house while scouting film locations in California. Rather than there being any major effort or research into ideas for the final look of the killer, Wes simply saw something cool while rooting around a strangers house. He sent a picture to the studio who altered it a little so they wouldn’t have to pay the company that owns the copyright to the original mask. The changes made the warped features of the howling ghost face more pronounced.

The original mask had no hood or robe with it, they were later additions and they almost went with an all white costume.

Just think the whole of Scream could have been very different with a worse looking costume.


Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) 

The Grandfather Makeup Was 36 Hours Of Hell 

The surprisingly alive yet severely desiccated husk of the grandfather character in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was a nightmarish role for actor John Dugan. So much so that he only wore the costume once and stated that the first time with it on would be the only time because it was so uncomfortable.

Including the five hours of makeup time he spent a total of thirty-six hours straight in the claustrophobic combination of makeup and heavy suit, surrounded by rotting food and serious body odour because of the one-hundred degrees Fahrenheit temperature outside.

The worst part is he looks like a dummy or a puppet and they could probably have gotten away with something like that instead.


Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) 

Leatherface Stank Badly & Could Run In Heels

We all know the character, a big deformed brute in a shirt and apron wearing the face of his victims, Leatherface’s costume was repellent for an even stranger reason than simply having some human flesh in it though…

Because of the shoestring budget, Gunnar Hanson (Leatherface) had only one shirt to wear for his role, it was a dyed shirt that couldn’t be washed. This posed a rather nasty problem because the air in Texas was hot and humid and he had to wear it for three straight weeks of shooting. As if you needed another reason to keep away from a chainsaw wielding maniac.

To make the character a little more imposing, Gunnar Hanson wore boots with a three inch lifted heel, because of this and the limited vision of his Leatherface masks he kept hitting his head on doorways. While the heels made him a bit of a clutz on indoor shoots, outside he could run quite well, so much so that he could easily outpace Marilyn Burns, so he had to keep stopping to do random stuff like slicing up the trees during their chase.


Hellraiser (1987) 

The Crew Didn’t Recognise Pinhead Actor, Doug Bradley Without His Costume

It was a bit of a shock to Douglas Brady that nobody paid any attention to him at the post-production party. The entire crew simply acted as if they didn’t know him, which was pretty confusing as he’d thought he’d gotten on with them pretty well during filming.

It turns out that nobody on the crew actually knew what he looked like out of his costume and the iconic visage of Pinhead had pretty much overshadowed the actor.


Sleepy Hollow (1999) 

There’s a Beetlejuice Costume Reference In This Film

The dress worn by Christina Ricci’s character, Katrina, at the end of the film is patterned after Michael Keaton’s suit in the climax of Beetlejuice.


A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984) 

Freddy’s Costume Could Have Been More Gruesome

The horribly burnt, undead child-killer is a pretty nasty sight as it is but did you know that if the special effects had been practical the scarred face we all know and loathe would have been truly horrific!?

The costume was originally envisioned as having the flesh around the mouth burnt away and teeth showing through. There would also have been puss running from the sores left by his original death.

I assume from that description he’d look more like the Ultimate’s Deadpool (above)… hang on a sec! They’re both genre savvy, both like breaking the 4th wall from time to time, have a fondness for sharp objects and gained great power whilst also being horribly mutilated and neither one wants to stay dead for long! Have you ever seen them in a room together? I haven’t…

At the time such effects just couldn’t be done convincingly enough or they would have relied on puppets so it was scrapped.


Jeepers Creepers (2001) 

The Actor Playing The Creeper Couldn’t See In His Costume

The contact lenses used in the film by Jonathen Breck, ‘the Creeper’ left him unable to see while wearing them. He was acting completely blind for his close-up shots in costume.

Rather oddly, even though he couldn’t see while in costume the cast weren’t allowed to see him out of it before their characters met him in the film. This was done to give a genuine first reaction.


Nosferatu (1922) 

The Costume For Count Orlock Doesn’t Feature Much Makeup

You’d think something as different and visually disturbing as Max Schreck’s portrayal of the vampire, Count Orlok, in the classic horror film would require a lot of work from makeup and costume teams… it didn’t.

Apparently the director F.W. Murnau found the actor so ugly that he let him get by with just some pointy ears and false teeth.


Stephen King’s IT (1990) 

Pennywise’s Hair Was Real

That’s right, in addition to being so creepy in-character that nobody wanted to get near him on set, Tim Curry went to the extraordinary length of growing out his hair and shaving it back, then dying it to achieve the iconic clown hairstyle.

See Tim Curry can totally pull off long hair

Admittedly it does look better than a baldie-wig with fake hair but still, that’s pretty extreme. He’s probably the only person who can pull off a scary clown outfit and be genuinely terrifying in it.


Dog Soldiers (2002) 

They Did Werewolves The Hard Way

You’d think that for a film that wants to do full body shots of giant werewolves attacking a group of soldiers there’d be a decent bit of CGI or camera trickery to make someone in costume look more big and imposing… nope.

These werewolf costumes were made to scale, so as well as wearing a big bulky animatronic suit the actors inside were also on stilts to bring them up to their towering 7 ½ft height.

Watch that film again, can you believe anyone could move at all while wearing something that big and heavy!?


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One Comment on “15 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Horror Movie Costumes”

  1. 1: Andrew Liberty said at 9:55 am on October 16th, 2012:

    Great list. Everyone needs at least one of these costumes in thier lives!

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