Kenny Caperton: An Interview With The Man Who Built His Own Michael Myers Halloween House
How much do you love your favorite movie? Enough to build and live in a life-sized replica of one of its filming locations? No? Well, t...
How much do you love your favorite movie? Enough to build and live in a life-sized replica of one of its filming locations?
Well, that's exactly what Halloween superfan Kenny Caperton did. He is so enamored with Halloween that he built his own Myers house in Hillsborough. Kenny was nice enough to show us around and speak with us about why he built the house, how difficult it was, his annual Halloween Bash, his independent horror film Honeyspider, his feelings about horror movie remakes, and more.
Why did you build a replica of the Myers house?
I am just a crazy Halloween fan. I grew up watching horror movies my entire life. For some reason my parents allowed me to do that and they embraced the whole thing, not only horror films, but the season of Halloween and the holiday. I lived in a great neighborhood for trick-or-treating. All my friends would dress up and we'd do around, it was a goldmine for trick-or-treaters. We had a lot of fun with it and me and my brother rented every Halloween film every year from the local video store and we'd have Halloweenathons. I just have a special place in my heart and a passion for the season, particularly this film. It's been my favorite film my entire life and I just got this crazy idea, "I would love to live in the Michael Myers house." Not only because it's such an iconic house from my favorite movie, but it's the perfect size, it's an old Victorian home, and we loved the architectural details of the house. It embodied everything that I love, my passion for film, and my childhood. It literally is the perfect house for me to live in.
|Kenny and Emily Caperton (Photo courtesy of Kenny Caperton)|
How long do you have? I can literally write a book on this. I built this house when I was right out of college. Emily was 24, I was 26 years old. We had never even owned a home before, so we went straight out of college and straight into building a home. It was an extraordinary amount of work. We had to learn a lot fast. When I get an idea, I go overboard, I take it very seriously, and I put everything into it. When I got the idea, in five minutes I called the city of South Pasadena, California, where the original house is still standing. It's a historical landmark. It was built in 1888. The original home, it doesn't have any bathrooms. It doesn't have a kitchen. The kitchen you see in Halloween was put there for the film. That back portion of the house was put there for the film. The upstairs was just four small bedrooms with teeny tiny closets so we knew very early on that it would be impossible to live in this house. We had to think about we might be here our entire lives. We had to make it livable for that long.
So no plans exist for the house that I know of because the house is so old. I called everybody. I've been to the house several times in the past so I had a bunch of photography. I took my photography, a lot of screen captures from the film. The house is commercial office space now so people work out of it. This lady, Carol Zorn, who worked there, she was a graphic designer. I told her what I was thinking about doing and she thought I was nuts but she could sense my passion and really wanted to help me out. So I would send her lists and lists of measurements and her and her two sons went out and measured the entire house for me. Me and Emily, we drew it to scale. We gave all this different media to a friend who was studying to be an architect. I work at a blueprint company and I print blueprints all day long. We gave him all this stuff and we got a working set of blueprints that passed city inspection. We had to change some stuff. We had to push walls around. We had to add bathrooms, which we added on the back of the house. We kept everything in the movie, but it's different. Our kitchen is a modern kitchen. The kitchen in Halloween, they just put some crappy appliances in there and made it look like a kitchen. We have the living room, the staircase, which is very iconic, but it's not as narrow. The building inspector wouldn't let us do that. We have Judith's bedroom, which is my bedroom. The other parts of the house that you don't see in Halloween are where we added bathrooms and stuff like that. That's the abbreviated story.
It's pretty secluded out here. Have you had any complaints from any of your neighbors?
Well surprisingly, we only have one neighbor and that house is up for rent now, so we don't have a neighbor and that's kind of concerning. We're way our here in the country and everyone knows each other, everyone is family that owns a lot of this land. It was a little concerning when we moved here because this land was in foreclosure, so we were taking someone's land which we hated to do. The house is a very old school house and we think it goes with the area. We didn't want to come back here and take over, although on Halloween we kind of do that. But everyone's really cool. They think it's really cool. They all embrace it. The city of Hillsborough loves the house. They've been nothing but good to us. When we were building the house, they put us on the front of the paper. Every now and then we film horror movies out here. It's actually the perfect place to film a horror movie because it's so secluded. Sometimes people notice. But now we've been here seven years and they're like, "It's something bizarre going on at the Myers House." Everyone's really, really cool.
You open up your property once a year for the Halloween Bash. What can people expect?
If I built this house, I wanted to share it with the horror community, the local community, and everyone. I just hated the idea of not allowing fans to enjoy it with me. I'm a fan, I get it on every level possible. During the year, people can send me a message and come. The Bash is not the only time people can come to the house. We do other events, but the Halloween Bash is the huge party and this year we're doing it on Halloween. We set up a 10 X 20 foot movie screen. We show horror films. I always show one of the Halloweens. This year, we're showing Halloween III, which some people will hate me for. We have bonfires, we have food trucks, we have pumpkin-carving contests. This year, I'm offering tent camping on the property. We're going to have fifteen tents back here where people can camp out. We have people that drive from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, just to spend Halloween at the house which is nuts to me. It's amazing. If they want to be here, I want to give them the opportunity to be here and camp.
How many visitors do you get a year?
It really varies. This year, it's been a little more than normal because there's been so much press, it's spreading all over the Internet. In October, obviously it ramps up. Like today, I think I have three or four groups of people that are coming to the house. I feel we have at least one or two a month. Then in the fall, every weekend we have one or two groups. Then in October, it's four or five every weekend. I always push people to come to the Halloween party. That's the time to see the horror movies and come in the house. We have Michael Myers lurking all over the place and on the roof. You'd be surprised how many Halloween fans are out there.
Tell us about Honeyspider.
Honeyspider is my independent horror movie that I wrote and produced. It just came out this October. We got worldwide distribution. It's on DVD and I'm doing a limited run on VHS. It's on all the VOD platforms.
I wasn't a filmmaker before I built this house. Obviously, I'm huge into film. I live in a life-size replica of a movie house! My room is Judith Myers's bedroom. It was very hard to sleep in that room for the first two weeks. I would let my imagination go crazy and think about all the horrible things that have happened in the movie or that could happen in this house, so I started writing them down. I wrote and produced a little short film called Judith. It's an original thing that revolves around my bedroom. We got this guy from Ohio who's this huge Halloween fan. His name's Josh Hasty and he came down here and we filmed the little short film. It turned out amazing. It turned out awesome. People loved to see the house from a different perspective. We have filmmakers that come from all over the East Coast to film Halloween tribute films, original films, short films.
It's been a dream of mine to make a movie. I spent a good year and a half writing Honeyspider. Josh Hasty directed the film so we've been working together for a long time. This little movie I wrote in my bedroom is now a legit movie. It takes place on Halloween in 1989. It follows a college student, Jackie Blue. It just so happens to be her birthday that day. We follow her throughout the day of Halloween, get to know her friends, her personality. She doesn't really want to celebrate because she's sick of it, she's going through a lot of troubles. We watch her deteriorate. She starts seeing spiders and someone's following her. She works at this cool vintage theater that's showing horror movies. Things take a turn for the worse at the theater. It's kind of a cult, indie, bizarre little movie. If you want to get into the spirit of Halloween, it's one of those movies that will definitely do it.
You recently went on a tour of horror movie filming locations. Which was your favorite stop?
That's a normal vacation for me. I've been doing that sort of thing for over fifteen years now. I'm a huge fan of filming locations. Every time me and my wife go on any sort of trip or anything, it's all sort of revolved around filming locations. I have to sneak them in there so she doesn't get sick of them. I've been to a ton of filming locations.
I wasn't going to do the Halloween party because I just did my movie and it's just been an exciting but exhausting year, but Halloween was on a Saturday so I had to do the party. I love doing it. But we wanted to take a break so we decided to do a road trip and we went up north and I got to see some filming locations I've wanted to see for a long time. We went to all of the Friday The 13th filming locations from the original movie. I got to go to the camp, the town of Blairstown, New Jersey. There's this really brutal movie called Bereavement that people should check out. We went to this amazing abandoned slaughterhouse and they filmed the majority of that movie in there. One of my favorite movies of all time is Ti West's The House Of The Devil that came out in 2009. It's an '80s throwback film and I got to go to all those filming locations. The trip was honestly built around going to The House Of The Devil in Connecticut. We did a lot of hiking, we got to see fall foliage.
I flew to California in 2005. Most people that go to L.A. or California, they just want to go to L.A. or California, but I used it as an excuse to see the Michael Myers house.
What are your feelings on horror movie remakes?
Well at this point we've got to live with them, right? I don't hate them, but I don't love them. I think the majority of them are absolutely pointless and it's obviously all to make money. But there's certain remakes that are really cool to see. There's a lot of films that are a little outdated and it is kind of nice sometimes to see a fresh perspective on them. The House On Sorority Row. It's just one of those movies that no one knows about unless you're a hardcore horror fan or slasher fan. It's really cool that they made a remake of that. It's not a great remake, but it's a whole new generation that can go back and watch this movie. There is something about it that's going to keep those '80s movies alive. A lot of people say it ruins them. I do understand what those fans are saying. When you watch the original, you have Rob Zombie's Halloween in your head a little bit, so I can see what they're saying. But for the most part, I don't mind it. There's good ones and bad ones.
Halloween III: Season Of The Witch: misfire or overlooked classic?
It's an absolute overlooked classic in my opinion. It's funny. In the past two or three years, this movie is making this huge resurgence. People are changing their minds about this film. I've been championing this film and fighting for this film forever. Maybe when I saw it back in the day I was like, "Why is Michael Myers not in this? It doesn't make any sense."
But I have loved this movie forever and I have fought tooth and nail for it. I consider Halloween III probably my favorite next to the original. I might like Halloween II more than III, but they're very close. Either way, I think people need to go into it with a fresh mind. If you have to say it's not Halloween, call it Season Of The Witch in your head. There's something about that movie that truly captures the Halloween spirit and being a kid at Halloween.
If you look at it, some of those kills in that movie are absolutely brutal. They are some of the most innovative kills in the Halloween franchise. Like the little kid watching TV with the bugs and snakes, it is pretty amazing. It's played straight. Dean Cundey, who was the cinematographer on Halloween also did Halloween III, so it looks amazing. The colors are amazing. The music, next to the original theme, is the best music in the franchise. I love it, man.
Final question: your five favorite slasher films.
3. My Bloody Valentine
4. Slaughter High
5. Friday The 13th
This is where we usually tell you how to get to the roadside attraction we've just told you about, only this time we can't. Kenny told us he'd send The Shape after us if we blabbed. However, you can contact him via his website and ask nicely if you'd like to visit the Myers House.