SOUTH PASADENA >> The director of the classic horror flick, "Halloween," graced Council Chambers Wednesday so that City Council could proclaim Oct. 31 "John Carpenter Night."
The 1978 slasher film starring Jamie Lee Curtis gave the boogeyman a makeover. The fictional Michael Myers became such a scream that Carpenter's endearing work spawned six sequels and a 2007 remake.
"Thirty-five years ago, I was a kid scouting locations for a low- budget movie," said Carpenter, from Hollywood Hills. "I started driving the streets of South Pasadena, and it is beautiful. South Pasadena has some of the most cinematic streets I have ever seen. It's a stand-in for an imaginary town in mid-America. So in a very, very profound way, South Pasadena is a star of Halloween."
Set in imaginary Haddonfield, Ill., "Halloween" creeps people out with very little bloodshed. Evil incarnate squishes into the body of 6-year-old Michael Myers, who stabs his sister to death on Oct. 31, 1963. After 15 years in a psychiatric institution, Myers escapes, returns to his hometown and resumes his slashing spree with a new intended victim, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis).
On the 35th anniversary of the film's theater release, Carpenter said he is most proud that "Halloween" made it into the National Film Registry. The Library of Congress established the cannon in 1988 and selects 25 "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant films" each year. To enter this acclaimed group, a film must be at least a decade old. As of 2012 only 600 motion pictures have been included.
Although Carpenter has directed "Dark Star," "Big Trouble in Little China" and "They Live," Mayor Richard Schneider was most interested in "Halloween." He praised Carpenter for using South Pasadena as the primary backdrop for the movie.
Filmed in some 20 days on an estimated budget of $320,000, the motion picture put South Pasadena on the Hollywood map with "Nichol's Hardware Store" at 966 Mission St., "The Myers House" at 1000 Mission St., and a home at 1115 Oxley St.
" 'Halloween' also used many real-life South Pasadena trick-or- treaters in various scenes in order to help keep costs down," Schneider read from the certificate he handed to Carpenter. " 'Halloween' and subsequent films such as 'Halloween II' and 'Christine' utilized many other sites in South Pasadena."
The Community Room, 1115 El Centro St., will screen "Halloween" on Oct. 31. For a $10 ticket, people will have access to light refreshments, a special guest and a Q&A session. Proceeds go to "Friends of the South Pasadena Library" and sCARE Foundation, which helps homeless teens.
Because the movie is rated R, people younger than 17 will need to be accompanied by an adult, said Steve Fjeldsted, city librarian.
"It is rated R, but it would never be rated R in this day and age. If 'Halloween' came out today, it'd probably be PG-13," Fjeldsted said.
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