Every town has a haunted house…
That's exactly what the filmmakers found when searching for locations for John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN ...a simple old dilapidated Victorian house standing in stark contrast to the tidy suburban homes of South Pasadena, California. When they found it, the house appeared exactly as it does in the scene where little Tommy Doyle (Brian Andrews) and Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) take a different route to school to put the key underneath the mat of the old Spookhouse. A little known fact is that the crew had to fix up the house and whitewash the entire front and bottom right-hand side to capture the opening sequence of the film when little Mikey Myers (Will Sandin) murders his older sister Judith (Sandy Johnson) in the upstairs bedroom.
Unlike many of today's horror flicks, John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN was filmed in an actual house rather than a movie set. This simple fact adds another layer of authenticity to the movie for its legion of dedicated fans - the fact that, somewhere, Michael Myers' house really exists.
That somewhere is 1000 Mission Street in South Pasadena, California. Luckily for HALLOWEEN fans, South Pasadena identified the historical significance of "The Century House" and has named it landmark #34 in their list of local properties, forever preserving it as a piece of history. Aside from its significance as a famous film location, South Pas recognized the house, built in 1888, as possibly being the city’s oldest surviving frame residence. Historians consider the house to be the city's first duplex, marking the arrival of settlers from Indiana and their Midwestern influence on local architecture. The house itself blends several architectural styles, showing Midwestern Greek revival and salt box characteristics, as well as Eastlake elements such as the gable ornaments.
Without intervention, the house would have been destroyed as it was set to be bulldozed in 1987 to make way for a hospital. Fortunately, it was salvaged and moved from its original location at 709 Meridian Avenue to its current residence on Mission St. Current owner David Margrave saved the house from imminent destruction on a whim. Dave recalled that there were six houses side by side on Meridian Avenue, and during the course of about a 3-week period there were houses removed each day one at a time. The Century House was the last standing in that area. When he went by the demolition site and saw the house about to be demolished, Dave impulsively asked the bulldozer driver to stop just as he was giving the walls of the rickety old house the first push. After saving the house from immediate danger, he went to owner Dr. Joseph Kohn's office and offered him a silver dollar for the home. Dr. Kohn accepted the deal along with Dave's promise to move the house within one week. Unfortunately, he had no property on which to put the house, so in a brash move one night he paid movers to transport the old structure onto some nearby railroad property. Even though Dave did not have permission to relocate the house to this area, the house remains there to this day because the city of South Pasadena recognized the building’s historical significance and allowed it to stay.
As a result of the relocation, the small addition to the back of the house for the filming of HALLOWEEN had to be removed, but other than that, the house appears today exactly as it did in the classic 1978 film. Of course, today it is no longer a private residence - several local businesses have offices set up in various rooms of the house. Along with interior modifications to convert the rooms into office space, the exterior of the house was given a facelift and painted light blue with red trim.
Fans wanting to visit the original house will have no problem seeing the famous landmark from the outside - all you have to do is get off of the train at "Mission Station" and you are a stone's throw away from the original Spookhouse. Exploring the interior of Michael's old haunts proves a bit more difficult, as the businesses inside the house are not as crazy about HALLOWEEN as the random hordes of fans that periodically drop by to pay homage. Visiting fans can also catch a glimpse of another Halloween landmark in the immediate area. When the house was moved from its original location, it was relocated directly across the street from Nichol's Hardware store, where Laurie and Anne (Nancy Loomis) were rocking the BOC and smoking pot in the classic film. Although the now famous HALLOWEEN house is not quite a typical tourist destination, it is frequently visited by dedicated fans from all over the world. For many fans, simply knowing that the house still exists can give them the chills. Who knows, maybe Michael is still lurking behind one of those gaping windows...