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The facts about horror movies in this episode of The List Show will have you screaming at the top of your lungs ... because of your enthusiasm for fun facts and historical trivia. You'll learn horror movie facts and scary movie mysteries, from Friday the 13th to Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manahttan.

Scary movie lovers and scream queens will want to watch. You'll learn horror movie facts about Sam Raimi and answer the question: "What was the first horror movie?"

The List Show is a weekly show where knowledge junkies get their fix of trivia-tastic information. This week, Craig takes a look at some classic horror films!


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Hello! I'm cat... just kidding, I was Craig all along. Welcome to the Salon. This is Mental Floss video.

And did you know that Steven Spielberg owned a video of Paranormal Activity that he thought was haunted? He tried to watch the movie at home, and then the doors in his bedroom locked on their own, according to Spielberg. So he brought the DVD back to DreamWorks Studios in a trash bag. Paranormal's director Oren Peli later commented, "So the whole story about the doors to his bedroom got locked from the inside... I personally believe it. It's not something the marketing department just came up with before releasing the movie." 

And that's the first of many fun facts from behind the scenes of horror movies that I'm going to share with you today because it's Halloween time... [creepily laughs] Oh my God! How did the cat mask get back on the shelf?! Ohhh nooo!


It's believed that the first horror film was a silent French movie from the 1890s called Le Manoir du Diable, or The Haunted Castle. It was a three-minute short.

And I Know What You Did Last Summer, the characters visit a place called Dawson's Beach. This is an inside joke, as the film was written by Kevin Williamson, the creator of another 90s favorite, Dawson's Creek, which some would also call a horror show. 

Williamson also wrote Scream, starring Drew Barrymore. She was originally cast as Sydney Prescott, the lead, before deciding that she preferred Casey and the opening scene. Scream was almost titled Scary Movie by the way; Harvey Weinstein suggested the title Scream after hearing Michael Jackson's song of the same name.

And the title for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Head Cheese. 

Speaking of original titles, the original title for the movie Halloween was The Babysitter Murders. It took only ten days to write the screenplay, and twenty days to shoot the film. That's exactly how long it takes to make a mental_floss video. And it's equally as scary. 

Joel Coen of the Coen brothers got his big break working as an assistant editor for Sam Raimi on The Evil Dead. 

The 2013 film The Conjuring is based on a supposedly real experience of two paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren. They actually approached director James Won about making the movie. The scary doll from the film Annabelle and spin-off is actually a Raggedy Ann doll in real life. As am I.

Stephen King wrote a screenplay for The Shining, but Stanley Kubrick refused to even read it. Instead, he collaborated with author Diane Johnson on the script, which backs up my theory that Stanley Kubrick can't read. 

Another movie based on a book, Rosemary's Baby, In fact the director bought the movie rights to the book even before it was published because he got his hands on a smuggled galley copy. 

Child's Play started out as a satire rather than a true horror film. Writer Don Mancini has said, "I wanted to write a dark satire about how advertising and marketing affected children. My father worked in advertising. I was always fascinated about it. It was interesting to see how the Cabbage Patch Doll phase was affecting all of America." [evil laughter] I'm not sure if he laughed or not...

In Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, Marianne drives a 1954 sedan. It's believed that this car was a prop borrowed from the set of Leave it to Beaver. They took it from Beaver. 

Speaking of Psycho, in Carrie the high school is Bates High S., referencing the Norman Bates character. 

The name version of The Grudge was directed by Takashi Shimizu, who directed the original Japanese version. He didn't speak any English so he had to communicate with Sarah Michelle Gellar using things like body language and tone. Gellar later explained, "You'd think it would be difficult when you don't have the words to rely on but you wind up connecting on this different level." 

So many people believe that the original Blair Witch Project was a real documentary that it impacted actor's real lives. According to actress Heather Donahue, "When Blair Witch first came out my Mom kept getting sympathy cares. It was all part of their marketing scheme... people thought I was dead." 

Chris Cooper had a small part in The Ring as a criminal who is being interviewed by Naomi Watts' character Rachel.  He only appeared in the first and last scenes and test audiences were confused as to why he disappeared during the entire movie, so he was cut out--and killed!  No, he wasn't killed.

Freddy Krueger of Nightmare on Elm Street got his name because director Wes Kraven, rest in peace, knew a boy named Freddie in elementary school.  Kraven also gave Krueger his signature for a reason.  He had read a scientific study claiming those shades of red and green side by side make it hard for the human eye to distinguish them, so his outfit is unnerving to look at.  

For the part of Damien in 1976's The Omen, there were two long days of casting in which four kids auditioned every ten minutes.  

Harvey Stephens got the role while acting out Damien's church-induced tantrum.  Director Richard Donner told him, "I'm gonna fight with you.  Even though I say stop, don't stop."  After a certain point, Stephens' family had to burst into the room and pull him off Donner.

Similarly, over 1,000 girls auditioned for the roll of Regan McNeil in The Exorcist, according to director William Friedkin.  He said it was important to find a young girl who could play the role well but also not be seriously affected by filming such a scary movie.  I was seriously affected by watching it.

His concern makes sense, because the set was said to be haunted.  The legend goes that nine people died and there were numerous other injuries while the film was in production.  Plus, a huge fire broke out that destroyed the set.

And because it's Halloween, let's get spooky and finish up with a few other horror movie sets that were said to be haunted.  Let's get spooky.

Ryan Reynolds, who starred in The Amityville Horror remake has said that during production, he consistently woke up in the middle of the night at the same time his character often does.  Even creepier, a body washed up on the shore right where the film was to begin shooting.

Finally, I return to the salon to tell you that a camera broke on the set of the remake of The Omen.  According to the director, John Moore, there was an error message: "Error 666".  Ooh.  But a camera technician informed him that there was no such thing as Error 666.  What the (bleep)?

Thanks for watching mental_floss video, which is made with the help of all of these scary people.  Let me know your favorite scary movie in the comments and have an awesome Halloween.  Scariest movie I've ever seen?  Confessions of a Shopaholic.  Bye.