October 31, 2011
HALLOWEEN 2002 - a trip to Haddonfield, California
I keep falling for it. The caption near the start of John Carpenter's Halloween (1978) says 'Haddonfield, Illinois' and I believed it. In the cinema, on TV, multiple viewings and I kept falling for it. Yes, it looks like it was shot in a small town in middle America. Then Carpenter himself pointed out in a TV documentary the palm trees visible at the end of the road, in one scene where Jamie Lee Curtis is walking around. It was all filmed around Los Angeles! So, always assume Hollywood movies and TV series are either filmed at the studios or very close by. Until proven otherwise.
On a holiday in LA in 2002, I then couldn't believe how very close to 'Hollywood' the two main locations were. Directly off Sunset Boulevard! While the daylight scenes were shot around South Pasadena, giving it a convincing smalltown vibe, the nighttime scenes of the houses where the teenagers are babysitting are in West Hollywood.
Here's me in front of the house where Jamie Lee Curtis' character Laurie Strode was babysitting and where the final showdown takes place. Below is the house opposite where she first meets The Shape. These houses actually stand diagonally opposite each other, as they appear to be placed in the film.
Disappointingly, this house, where Annie (Nancy Loomis) was babysitting, has since changed its iconic appearance. The chilling scene where The Shape stands beside the corner of the porch can no longer be recreated - the house has been extended on that (the left) side. Michael Myers can no longer carry a body around that corner and into the front door! We were too late in to see it unchanged as I believe the house had been renovated only months before.
These are of course both private residences, one had a sign up about a security firm protecting the grounds, so we didn't stay very long. It looks like an unremarkable suburban street - amazing how lighting and cinematography can make it all look so large, spread out, and scary. Also, how they managed to shoot around the huge trees outside both properties.
A guide to filming locations in the Halloween series can be found here.