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The best horror movies had actual gory horrors happen on set

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What was a teenage Jamie Lee Curtis like on set of her first big film? How did they pull off those gory scenes without any digital effects?

Streaming on Oct. 12, Netflix’s series “The Movies That Made Us” sheds light on some of the darkest modern horror classics: “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Halloween,” and “Friday the 13th” — three scrappy productions that went on to see massive, enduring success.

The show’s creator and director, Brian Volk-Weiss, took The Post behind the scenes of those films, revealing little-known facts about what it was like making scary movies before the genre had any juice, the origins of some of the creepiest characters — and actual horrors experienced on set.

Halloween’ (1978)

In the “Halloween” screenplay, killer Michael Myers is also called The Shape. When director John Carpenter began shooting, his buddy, Nick Castle, who had come by to watch, donned the rubber mask — a spookily altered Star Trek Captain Kirk mask — to appear in a shot as The Shape. It was not deeply thought out, Volk-Weiss told The Post. “Basically it was all these friends hanging out. ‘Oh, you want to play the bad guy? Sure!’ ” Castle ended up playing The Shape for most of the film — but in the scene in which Myers is unmasked, he’s played by actor Tony Moran. (Castle would go on to play The Shape in subsequent “Halloween” movies on top of directing his own films.)

Jamie Lee Curtis was just 19 in the first "Halloween."
Jamie Lee Curtis was just 19 in the first “Halloween.”
Courtesy Everett Collection

Donald Pleasence, the veteran English actor playing psychiatrist Doctor Loomis, did not love being in the movie, and drank heavily. Shooting a scene in which his character rides in a car with a nurse, Pleasence was two bottles of wine deep — but thanks to a talking-to by Carpenter, who had tried to avoid confronting his only famous actor before that point, he managed to deliver a sober performance.

As a newbie actress, however, Curtis charmed everyone as Laurie Strode. It was her big break, and, at just 19, she would even help carry film equipment. “I’m friends with [‘Halloween Kills’ director] David Gordon Green, and he says she still does that,” said Volk-Weiss. (Curtis is reprising the role of Laurie for the sixth time in the franchise’s latest installment, “Halloween Kills,” out Friday).

Inevitably, “Halloween” has goofs: When the killer shatters a car window, you can spot a wrench taped to the actor’s hand. Volk-Weiss has a theory about another error being edited out in new versions: “I am positive, when I first saw this movie, I could see the Steadicam reflected in the window,” he said. “I’m convinced if you found a VHS tape from the ’80s, you could see it.”

Friday the 13th’ (1980)

“This film started off as a poster,” said Volk-Weiss. Eager to capitalize on “Halloween,” director Sean Cunningham ran a Variety ad for “the most terrifying film ever made” in hopes of attracting investors. It worked. “There was a good reaction to the poster, so they made a movie!”

The genre was just beginning. “The term ‘horror movie’ didn’t really exist until ‘Halloween’ and ‘Friday the 13th,’ only a couple years after ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ and ‘The Exorcist.’ In the case of ‘Friday,’ they had all the correct ingredients — good-looking men and women, blood, a scary thing.”

Kevin Bacon's sliced throat in "Friday the 13th" was a simple yet spectacular special effects feat.
Kevin Bacon’s sliced throat in “Friday the 13th” was a simple yet spectacular special effects feat.
©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Col

One of the things it doesn’t have is Jason, who (spoiler alert) isn’t the killer and doesn’t appear until the final frame. In fact, the infamous hockey mask doesn’t even turn up until the third installment. “I remember watching it and being like, ‘Where’s the hockey mask?’ ” said Volk-Weiss. “Imagine if in the first Batman movie, he didn’t dress up as Batman.”

“Friday the 13th” was made by a rookie crew. “The cast was kids, the crew was kids,” said Volk-Weiss. The makeup department was tasked with improvising gory character deaths. Kevin Bacon’s Jack Burrell dies with a gushing arrow-to-the-throat wound — that visual being courtesy of a special effects guy who hid under the bed, blowing liquid up through a tube. “If you look at that now, it looks great!” said Volk-Weiss. “It’s the most simple trick in the world.”

Actor Harry Crosby — son of Bing Crosby — saw his effect go awry. “Making this film, everything was lowest common denominator,” said Volk-Weiss. This included the fake blood, which was made with cheap, hazardous chemicals. Crosby’s arrow-through-the-eye makeup leaked, blinding him for six months.

Despite an anemic budget, they found a composer, Harry Manfredini, who nailed the score: an echo of the first syllables of “kill” and “mommy.”

“One of the hardest things in a low-budget movie is that you get sh–ty music,” said Volk-Weiss. “The fact that they were able to find this guy, who made one of the most memorable soundtracks ever — right place, right time.”

Bing Crosby's son Harry was actually temporarily blinded by his toxic "Friday the 13th" fake blood makeup.
Bing Crosby’s son Harry was actually temporarily blinded by his toxic “Friday the 13th” fake blood makeup.
Alamy Stock Photo

A Nightmare on Elm Street’ (1984)

Nascent director Wes Craven was inspired by a story he’d read in the Los Angeles Times about a series of deaths-while-sleeping in a Cambodian community; relatives thought nightmares were to blame. “Nobody knows if it was really true, but the people in the community, that was their takeaway,” said Volk-Weiss.

Freddy Krueger's knife-gloves actually caused nicks on set.
Freddy Krueger’s knife-gloves actually caused nicks on set.
Alamy Stock Photo

Craven named his villain after Fred Krueger, a schoolyard bully from his childhood. “It’s a very personal movie,” said Volk-Weiss. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned from directing ‘The Movies that Made Us,’ for these films to work at this level, it doesn’t happen unless you’ve made a personal movie.”

In one scene, Tina (Amanda Wyss) is slashed to death as she thrashes around her bedroom, up the walls and onto the ceiling. Craven’s crew built a rotating room that, Wyss said in the episode, gave her vertigo. “The spinning room is bonkers — it still looks so good,” said Volk-Weiss. Another standout: the scene in which Depp’s character is sucked into his bed, which erupts blood — an homage to “The Shining.” The spinning room was used again, but the fake blood leaked into the equipment, sending electric shocks through some of the crew. “Not to the point of death,” said Volk-Weiss, “but I wouldn’t like that experience.”

Also dangerous was the iconic knife glove; Krueger actor Robert Englund nicked himself when he first tried it on. “Sometimes it just looks better on film,” said Volk-Weiss, “and you have to bite the bullet and just make sure everyone’s careful.”

The risks paid off. “Five or six dozen other horror films came out that year, and none of them were remembered,” said Volk-Weiss. “The fact that we’re still talking about this film tells you there’s heart in it.”

Johnny Depp was just 21 in "A Nightmare on Elm Street."
Johnny Depp was just 21 in “A Nightmare on Elm Street.”
©New Line Cinema/Courtesy Evere

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These fatty foods could be destroying your memory, say scientists

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Ready meals and fast food could be destroying your memory.

Scientists say highly processed foods, crisps, and deli meats containing preservatives were linked with abrupt memory loss in older brains.

Researchers warn the amygdala — the part of the brain which regulates fear — is also affected.

So a bad diet could mean some dangerous decisions.

But diets with extra omega-3 fatty acid DHA, found in fish such as salmon, could ward off problems. Rather than supplements, researchers advised improved diets.

Scientists at America’s Ohio State University Institute for Behavioural Medicine Research did tests on lab rats.

Dr. Ruth Barrientos called the results “alarming”, adding: “Consumption of a processed diet can produce significant and abrupt memory deficits.”

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Biden and Lightfoot know mask rules are idiotic — so why haven’t they changed?

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It happened again because of course it happened again. The latest example of COVID hypocrisy, if you have enough hard-drive space to keep track, is a viral video of President Biden traipsing through a ritzy DC eatery with no mask, in defiance of the city’s strict rules. In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot was photographed at a basketball game, the only bare face in a sea of muzzled fans.

This kind of thing has been so common that it is hard to stay outraged, even though we should.

But there is another, deeper question at play here. Why won’t the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention update its masking guidance as vaccinations increase, case numbers diminish and politicians, among pretty much everyone else, ignore it across the nation?

The CDC website says that “If you are fully vaccinated, to maximize protection from the Delta variant, and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public, if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.” A handy map shows the location of these areas — it’s basically the entirety of the United States. This guidance is vague, and not followed by massive swaths of the nation.

Mask mandate hypocrite Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot attended a basketball game where everyone except her was wearing a mask.
Mask mandate hypocrite Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot attended a basketball game where everyone except her was wearing a mask.
Twitter

Why is it being ignored? Because much of its application is nonsensical on its face, so to speak. What possible health benefit is there for wearing a mask from door to the table then taking it off to eat and drink and talk all night? Every one of us knows that 10 seconds of following the hostess to your table is not a potential superspreader event. It’s such performative idiocy.

Meanwhile, CDC guidelines still say if you take a kid across state lines, say on vacation, you have to quarantine for 10 days. Is any parent in the country actually doing this? We should hope not, because it’s insane. Even Fauci the Merciful, who has relented and has now pronounced we can have holiday gatherings, isn’t mentioning this. Because he knows he would look like a fool.

President Joe Biden leaves Washington DC restaurant Fiola Mare without wearing a face mask.
President Joe Biden leaves Washington DC restaurant Fiola Mare without wearing a face mask.
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden went to Fiola Mare on October 16, 2021 for a date night.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden went to Fiola Mare on October 16, 2021 for a date night.
REUTERS/Tom Brenner

So why do these absurd rules, that most people don’t follow anyway, and seem to be based on about as much science as Tarot cards, still exist at all? And more importantly, what metrics do we need to hit for them to go away? That’s one query the exultant and high experts will never answer. When it comes to imposing restrictions the science is strict, settled, and exact, when it comes to easing restrictions it’s all a rich tapestry of who really knows.

Enough. When mask mandates made their first appearance in the Spring of 2020 many feared we would wind up wearing them forever. Those people were mocked as alarmists. Well, it’s almost 2022, what gives? Everyone over 12 can get a vaccine that we are promised gives fantastic protection, and young kids continue to only very rarely have significant illness.

People can decide for themselves whether they want to keep wearing masks, if they are high risk or nervous. As for the rest of us, what are we waiting for? We have long passed common sense. We need some answers about how and when these rules will end. And we need them now.

David Marcus is the author of “Charade: The COVID Lies That Crushed A Nation.”

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Cops face questions after missing Alabama woman’s body found in police van

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A missing Alabama woman’s body has been found in an unoccupied police van — prompting questions about her death and how she could go undetected as authorities were searching for her.

Christina Nance, 29, was discovered dead in a prisoner transport van Oct. 7, five days after she was reported missing, Deputy Police Chief DeWayne McCarver said.

The vehicle was parked at a public safety complex in Huntsville.

“The officer noticed shoes next to the van and approached, discovering Ms. Nance’s body inside. Windows on the van were observed to be opened and on this type of van they popped outward,” McCarver said on Friday at a press conference, CNN reported.

No cause of death has been determined, but preliminary autopsy results didn’t indicate that there was any foul play or bodily trauma.

“The official cause of death will be ruled by the state medical examiner once additional studies, including toxicology, are complete,” police said.

Police released surveillance footage of a woman believed to be Nance wandering through the parking lot on Sept. 25, then appearing to enter the van.

But her family — who reported her missing on Oct. 2 — said they have their doubts about the footage.

“The video was not clear enough to indicate that that was our sister Christina Nance,” Nance’s sister Whitney Nance told news station WAFF.

Police vehicles.
Police released surveillance footage of a woman believed to be Christina Nance wandering through the parking lot on Sept. 25.
Huntsville Police Dept. Facebook

“It was just very heartbreaking to know that we didn’t get the clarification that we really needed, that we wanted.”

Police have said it’s protocol for the vans to be kept locked.

“It is an accountability issue on our part,” McCarver said. “That should not have happened. And now we have to look at that, and we have to make sure that we have things in place so that does not happen again.”

It’s unclear how Nance went undetected in the busy police parking lot.

“Cars go by, people walk nearby the van. We just wish that she would have hollered out to someone or something, because there were plenty of … what we see as potential opportunities for this to not be a tragedy. And unfortunately, no one was able to realize she was in that van and that was the outcome,” McCarver said.

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