It has been nearly a decade since audiences were presented the home invasion horror film The Strangers. Against a budget of less than $10 million, the movie went on to gross $82 million worldwide, making it a box-office success. The film’s plot is simple: an unsuspecting couple (played by Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman) find themselves targeted by masked strangers in a remote cabin. The cat-and-mouse chase is a terrifying thrill ride, and you cannot help but wonder what these masked assailants want from the couple in the first place. The mystery makes the whole film worth the watch.
So to honor this brilliant horror movie, ExploreTalent has put together some interesting facts that you might not know about The Strangers:
1. The film was inspired by true-to-life events
In the beginning of the film, audiences are told that the entire story was “inspired by true events.”
While both Kristen McKay and James Hoyt are totally fictional characters, some scenes were actually based from real-life murders. The most notable one being James and Kristen’s brutal stabbing, which mirrors the crime book Helter Skelter, which details the sadistic murders done by Charles Manson and his followers.
Another true story that influenced the film’s director/writer Bryan Bertino was from a childhood memory. A stranger had been knocking on houses looking for a person who obviously did not live there, and when they found out that no one was home, they would deliberately break in. He had actually witnessed this firsthand when he and his sister were alone in their home. Bertino added this chilling statement to his story: “Crimes are committed all the time that nobody has a chance to explain to the victim why it happened. It just happens. And we’re left to deal with the aftermath.”
2. Liv Tyler’s performance was out of real fear
When a person mentions the name Liv Tyler, horror movies may not be the first thing that comes to mind. She had done other roles before, notably during the nineties and was even in the fantasy trilogy Lord of the Rings. So the actress really needed to step her game up when she got the part and Bertino was willing to guide her through the process.
It was reported that Tyler needed to do intense workout exercises to really appear out of breath and that the crew would not tell her where the loud sounds were coming from to illicit a frightened reaction. To top it off, Tyler developed tonsillitis throughout the production, which only increased her stress level.
3. The actors behind the masks are actually good looking
Pin-up Girl, the Man in the Mask, and Dollface don’t look as sinister as they do in the film. In fact, the actress who played Dollface is actually Australian supermodel Gemma Ward. Ward is known to be one of the top models in the fashion industry. Her pristine features and acting chops have actually landed her quite a few acting roles including one alongside Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides.
4. The film’s original title was changed
When director Bryan Bertino was working on the script, he had originally penned the title as The Faces. Production wrapped up after shooting the scenes in chronological order, a style which is uncommon among many movies today. The plot is reminiscent of the french home invasion movie Them, which happens to center around a couple that is tormented by a group of masked strangers.
5. A sequel has been confirmed
Rogue Pictures, the production company that distributed The Strangers, confirmed that a sequel is currently in the works with the tentative title The Strangers: Part II. Liv Tyler has also expressed interest in returning and has stated that in several interviews. She added that she would only have a minor role should the project push through. The original three masked villains are set to return as well, but the entire cast has not been confirmed yet.
The Strangers 2 will follow a family that goes to a remote vacation house in an attempt to connect with their troubled daughter. This is said to take place after the events of the first film. Fans are already excited about the film, but there is some bad news about the sequel. Latest reports have it that it is currently in production hell, even with the script writer and director already set.