Horror Movie Titles That Almost Were
What’s a name anyway? Well for starters, people are going to remember it. The idea behind the title of a movie is to grab people’s attention. Think of some of your favorite horror movies and what the title is. Pretty catchy, right? Some are bold and right to the point, while others are just plain catchy. Titles like Halloween or Friday the 13th stick to the name of the day they are celebrating, since they are well known, giving it a special kind of ring and get you in the mood to view them come the holiday.
But not all titles are, well, very good. Some of the most cherished and beloved horror films out there were originally supposed to be named under a different title, but fortunately due to a last minute decision by a marketing person or producer, the title was changed to what you know and love. Let’s take a look at some of them, shall we?
The Babysitter Murders (Halloween)
It’s hard to imagine a series so iconic as Halloween being called something else. Of course, this was before a franchise was in mind. The first, and originally thought to be a stand alone, film was originally supposed to be called The Babysitter Murders, which to me sounds like a Lifetime movie loosely based on real events. Supposedly the events of the film were to take place over the span of several days, but due to budget reasons, the film ends up taking place over the same evening and what better evening than the scariest night of them all than Halloween? I heard John Carpenter was influenced by Bob Clark’s shocking slasher Black Christmas and wanted to do a sequel based on that wherein the killer would be escaping an asylum and wreaking havoc on Halloween. In any case, I’m sure we are all glad the title was switched, giving us a reason to marathon the series every October.
The Book of the Dead (The Evil Dead)
Producer Irvin Shapiro said it best to director Sam Raimi when he said, “Nobody will want to see a movie if they think they have to read!” Fearing that the younger audience might be turned off at literally interpreting the title, Raimi ended up changing the name to The Evil Dead. Sounds much better, don’t you think? While the title is pretty catchy, it goes without saying that The Evil Dead is by far more eye catching and more alarming. Good Call, Irvin.
A Long Night at Camp Blood (Friday the 13th)
Here’s another that sounds like it would have belonged somewhere else. I’m picturing a drama/comedy centered around camp counselors telling ghost stories while trying to hook up. This was never the shooting title, however, but Victor Miller’s working title for the script (Jason was also called Josh at this point), but his partner in crime, Sean S. Cunningham, believed that a catchier title, say Friday the 13th, was much more interesting and rushed out (he had previously been wanting a movie with this title, but had no idea what it would be until he read Victor’s script) to place an ad in Variety. The rest is history. Can you imagine if the original title stuck? I don’t know about you, but A Long Night at Camp Blood Part VI: Josh Lives doesn’t sound nearly as frightening. Sounds like Josh pulled through that operation who were hoping he would.
Scary Movie (Scream)
Well, isn’t this a coincidence? Although the parody film Scary Movie would later use that same title, riffing Scream, believe it or not, that was its working title. It’s fitting all the same, Scream being a meta-flick on all the scary films of the 80’s, poking at the tropes, but a single word representing what you do when you are most terrified certainly fits the bill much better. Of course now we can’t imagine the original title being nothing more than a series of parody flicks recycling the same jokes.
Star Beast (Alien)
I actually love the original title for this. Star Beast sounds like one of the dozen Star Wars/Alien clones that Roger Corman would later shovel out or perhaps something Troma would distribute alongside Nightbeast. As much as I do love that title, it wasn’t fitting for the realism and world Dan O’Bannon and Ridley Scott created, so to O’Bannon’s distaste for the title, he changed it to Alien after noting how many times the word appeared in the script. It’s the perfect example of how impactful one word can be, as it’s both a noun and an adjective. Also I can’t picture James Cameron’s sequel Star Beasts or the later Star Beast: Resurrection and Star Beast Vs. Predator once the crossover happened.
Batteries Not Included (Child’s Play)
You mean that cute film about apartment tenants seeking the aid of a mechanical alien so their building won’t get destroyed? Nope, I’m talking about the film where a serial killer possesses a doll. Unbeknownst to Tom Holland and crew that Steven Spielberg was already in production with a movie under that same title, it was changed to Blood Buddy, which doesn’t sound that good when you think about girls becoming women… (ok, that’s lude and I apologize), so another change was made to the memorable Child’s Play. Although, the Batteries Not Included title does play a part in the scene where Andy’s mother discovers that her son’s doll was operating the whole time without batteries in a very memorable scene.
Psycho only went under the production title of Wimpy, but was never truly intended to be named that. It was rather a nod to second-unit camera man Rex Wimpy who appeared on clapboards and production sheets, as well as some stills. If they had actually gone with that name, I can’t imagine a film called Wimpy scaring the pants off of people for the past 55 years.
Head Cheese (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
That title sounds like it should be a teen sex-romp in the vein of Porky’s or Meatballs, but it’s a reference to a meat jelly (my new band shall be called Meat Jelly) made from the flesh of the head of calf or pig. Mmm, meat jelly sure does sound appetizing. Sure, if you know what head cheese is, it fits the content in the movie, but doesn’t quite have a ring to it. Before Head Cheese, the film was to be named Leatherface, which was used later for a sequel, but the creators landed on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Why? Because it puts a picture in your head before you’ve even seen the movie. It’s visceral, it’s mean and it gives the image that the film is much more bloody than it actually is.
Rabbits (Night of the Lepus)
MGM was right in thinking that a movie called Rabbits wouldn’t suit a horror film. Your friends would make fun of you for being scared of a movie called that. Instead, they opted for the latin term lepus, meaning hare, and figured a ‘night of’ would be wildly successful since it worked for Night of the Living Dead. Well, they were halfway right.
Here Comes the Boogeyman (Jeepers Creepers)
Hmm, that title is okay, but it sounds like something from the 80’s that nobody remembers. So let’s change that title to something else, like maybe after the name of a familiar and catchy jingle? I don’t know if that was how the decision actually went down, but for whatever reason, the title was changed to Jeepers Creepers and nobody has made a loveable tune seem so dark and creepy since Halloween II using ‘Mr. Sandman.’
Did I miss one? Let me know in the comments below!
Nick Groff Reveals “Truth” Behind ‘Ghost Adventures’ & Zak Bagans
It could be argued that the American paranormal documentary and reality TV phenomenon started with Ghost Adventures back in 2004 when then-unknown investigator Zak Bagans and his team filmed a documentary that allegedly revealed actual footage of paranormal activity on camera. That movie wouldn’t become widely available to viewers until it aired on the SyFy (nee Sci-Fi) Channel in 2007.
The movie, titled Ghost Adventures, inspired a television reality show of the same name that premiered on a different network, The Travel Channel, in 2008.
It must be noted that the hugely popular paranormal investigation reality show Ghost Hunters was already a mainstay on SyFy since 2004 and would go on to span 11 seasons.
Since then both original shows have found new life on Discovery+ with each brand having spin-offs and new seasons.
Lately, Ghost Adventures has become the topic of rumors and harsh accusations, especially against its host Zak Bagans. From allegations of career sabotage to being hard to work with, Bagans has recently been vilified by some people formerly on his team.
One of the original creators of Ghost Adventures, Nick Groff went on Twitter this week to speak about his former business partner, and let’s just say Bagans didn’t fare well. Groff doesn’t mention Bagans by name in the video, he often refers to him vaguely, as in, “the host who I was working with.”
IT’S TIME FOR THE TRUTH pic.twitter.com/9BXKieDzVZ— Nick Groff (@NickGroff_) March 19, 2023
To be fair, the paranormal behind-the-scenes drama is really nothing compared to the success that the original Ghost Adventures team wrought. Since Bagans was the face of the show (and still is), and apparently a sex symbol in that field, it was mostly his persona that propelled the brand into reality stardom.
That isn’t to say no one else from his team didn’t work hard to make the show as iconic as it is, Groff even says he helped come up with the name. But comparatively, Bagans is like the lead singer of a rock band and his investigators just aren’t as visible.
However, Groff, having gone solo, is himself a pop culture favorite. His show Paranormal Lockdown, which he executive produced, found a huge following. Many fans were upset that it ended in 2019 as you will see in his Twitter Q&A above.
Tell us what you think of this reality drama in the comments.
‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2’ Comes to Brilliant 4K UHD From Vinegar Syndrome
Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is on its way to us from Vinegar Syndrome. The new release comes with an entire heck load of special features to boot. From new interviews with Tom Savini to Caroline Williams and more the disc is loaded with all kinds of new features to dig into. Of course, the new collection also made sure to include all the previously released special features. This makes for one hell of an absolutely complete collection.
The entire Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 experience on its own is a brilliant one. Director, Tobe Hooper took things in a vastly different level from that of the first film. Gone are the greasy, dirty, sweat-drenched Texas summers with the underlined stench of a cattle feed lot. Instead, Hooper went in a direction that underlined a comicbookish feel to the characters and the evil undeground lair in which The Saw and The Family took to hiding. It isn’t a direction everyone woul have gone with but Hooper wasn’t everyone and his brilliance shined through immensely with this gigantic choice.
The Vinegar Syndrome Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 special features include:
- 4K Ultra HD / Region A Blu-ray Set
- 4K UHD presented in High-Dynamic-Range
- Newly scanned & restored in 4K from its 35mm original camera negative
- Presented with it’s original 2.0 stereo theatrical mix
- Brand new audio commentary with film critic Patrick Bromley
- Audio commentary with director Tobe Hooper
- Audio commentary with actors Bill Moseley, Caroline Williams and special effects makeup creator Tom Savini
- Audio commentary with director of photography Richard Kooris, production designer Cary White, script supervisor Laura Kooris and property master Michael Sullivan
- “The Saw and Savini” – a brand new 2022 interview with special effects makeup creator Tom Savini
- “Stretch Lives!” – a brand new 2022 interview with actress Caroline Williams
- “Serving Tom” – a brand new 2022 interview with special makeup effects artist Gabe Bartalos
- “Remember The Alamo” – a brand new 2022 interview with actor Kirk Sisco
- “Texas Blood Bath” – a brand new 2022 interview with special makeup effects artist Barton Mixon
- “Die Yuppie Scum” – a brand new 2022 interview with actor Barry Kinyon
- “Leatherface Revisited” – a brand new 2022 interview with actor Bill Johnson
- “Beneath The Battle Land: Remembering The Lair” – a brand new 2022 featurette with actors Caroline Williams, Barry Kinyon, Bill Johnson, and Kirk Sisco
- Never-before-seen extended interviews with director Tobe Hooper and co-producer Cynthia Hargrave – from director Mark Hartley’s documentary “Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films”
- “It Runs In The Family” – an 85-minute documentary on the making of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
- “IRITF Outtakes” – extended interviews with L.M. Kit Carson and Lou Perryman
- “House Of Pain” – an interview with makeup effects artists John Vulich, Bart Mixon, Gabe Bartalos and Gino Crognale
- “Yuppie Meat” – an interview with actors Chris Douridas and Barry Kinyon
- “Cutting Moments” – an interview with editor Alain Jakubowicz
- “Behind The Mask” – an interview with stunt man and Leatherface performer Bob Elmore
- “Horror’s Hallowed Grounds” – a featurette on the locations of the film
- “Still Feelin’ The Buzz” – an interview with author and film historian Stephen Thrower
- 43 minute behind-the-scenes video footage shot during the film’s production
- Alternate Openingl
- Deleted Scenes
- Original theatrical trailers for U.S. and Japan
- TV Spots
- Extensive promotional still and image gallery
- Reversible cover artwork
- English SDH subtitles
Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is coming to 4K UHD from Vinegar Syndome. Head over HERE to place your order before they are all gone. (They are selling out fast!)
‘Bambi’ Meets ‘Apocolypse Now’ Fever Dream ‘Unicorn Wars’ Coming to Blu-Ray
Director, Alberto Vázquez brings the animated fever dream Unicorn Wars to life in a must-see spectacle and surprisingly heavy political statement. Fantastic Fest 2022 selected Unicorn Wars as part of its programming and it didn’t let down in the heavy genre fest. The film which is best described as Apocalypse Now meets Bambi is an incredible film with surprisingly heavy drama for being such a squishy, and happy animation style. That juxtaposition makes for an incredible and singular viewing. Luckily for us, the radical experience is coming to Blu-Ray from G Kids and Shout! Factory.
The synopsis for Unicorn Wars goes like this:
For ages, teddy bears have been locked in an ancestral war against their sworn enemy, the unicorns, with the promise that victory will complete the prophecy and usher in a new era. Aggressive, confident teddy bear Bluet and his sensitive, withdrawn brother Tubby could not be more different. As the rigors and humiliation of teddy bear bootcamp turn to the psychedelic horrors of a combat tour in the Magic Forest, their complicated history and increasingly strained relationship will come to determine the fate of the entire war.
Unicorn Wars Bonus Features
- Interview with the director Alberto Vásquez
- “Working in Blender” featurette
- Feature-length animatic
Unicorn Wars arrives on Blu-Ray beginning May 9. Are you excited about the insanely over-the-top experience? Let us know in the comments section.