Director Joe Donte’s 1989 horror comedy starring Tom Hanks is one of the best movies of the era and a personal favorite. Halloween closing in on us, at the time of Halloween it is always a good thing of running down old horror movies and gather some “Fun Facts.”
Ray Peterson was supposed to be killed by Dr. Klopek in the original script. That all changed once Hanks was cast in the role. Apparently, the studio didn’t think the audience would appreciate witnessing his death on screen, so the ending had to be rewritten. It would have been a much darker film had Hanks’ character died.
Several alternate endings were shot for the film where things other than bones were discovered in the trunk of the Klopek’s car. Those included dead cheerleaders and the garbage men seen earlier in the film. I included one of the alternate endings below.
Corey Feldman and Michael Jackson were very close friends during the shooting of the film. Jackson never visited the set, but Feldman would bring his famous chimpanzee Bubbles along with him to work. He had to be confined to Feldman’s trailer while he was shooting. The chimp would poop in the trailer and spread the mess around the interior. This became a big problem, so Dante banned Bubbles from the set.
The Klopeks had a Great Dane named “Landru,” which was named after the notorious French serial killer Henri Landru.
Early on in the movie, Cory Danziger is eating breakfast, and a box of Gremlins cereal can be seen on the kitchen counter in the background. Dante directed Gremlins, and Feldman also had a role in the film.
The horror movies that Ray Peterson flips through on the TV wereRace with the Devil (1975), The Exorcist (1973), and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986).
This is the only Universal film to include the Universal logo at the end of the film. Why? Maybe because the opening of the movie included a Universal studio logo sequence that was an animated variation of the one used during the era the film was made.
Before all the main neighbors on the street go over to the Klopek’s house to formally meet them, Carrie Fisher says, “Before someone falls off a roof or sets themselves on fire…” What’s so great is that both of these things happen later on in the movie. Rumsfield falls off his roof, and Ray sets himself on fire.
There’s a sled in the Klopek’s with the name “Rosebud” on it, which is a reference to Citizen Kane.
At one point, Ray shows Carol the book on Satanic rituals he’s reading, and he had a theory that the Klopek’s have taken Walter for a human sacrifice. Carol says to Ray, “I wouldn’t have missed this for the world. A week (vacation) in Jonestown.” This is a dark reference to the tragedy of Jim Jones and his People’s Temple cult where 900 members committed mass suicide in the jungle of Guyana.