Tucked into the woods near Hillsborough, North Carolina is a house that might look like a quaint Victorian to most. Horror fans will instantly recognize it, though: it’s a mind-blowingly exact replica of one of the genre’s most infamous dwellings: home base for Halloween boogeyman Michael Myers.
This is no accident. It’s the home of life-long horror fanatic Kenny Caperton, who lives there with his wife, Emily. The young couple were in the middle of house-hunting when they took a trip to Southern California that included a stop at the “Myers house,” now a landmark in South Pasadena for its key role in the 1978 John Carpenter classic. Inspiration struck, and a dream that seemed pretty wacky at first became a reality a year and a half later (read all about the construction process on the Myers House NC site).
The Capertons get their fair share of visitors year-round (learn how to make an appointment here), but the Halloween season is obviously their busiest time. Ahead of the unholiest of spooky holidays, we caught up with Kenny Caperton to find out what it’s like to live in the Halloween house.
io9: Growing up as a horror fan, did you always wish you could live in a horror-movie house? Did your friends and family think you were nuts when you told them your plans?
Kenny Caperton: I never had this dream to live in a spooky house or anything. I’ve been a fan of Halloween and horror and weird stuff since I was a little kid. I told people, jokingly, that one day I’d like to live in the Michael Myers house. It never crossed my mind that I would ever actually get to do it!
The real idea came in 2007; I went to the world premiere of Rob Zombie’s Halloween and we were in the middle of house hunting at the time. I don’t go to Los Angeles that much, but when I do, I make a trip to South Pasadena to see the original house. When we got back, we looking at our pictures of the Myers house and I got the idea ... “Why don’t we try to build this house?” We loved the look of the house, not only that it was the Michael Myers house, but it was also the size we were looking for, and we loved the architectural details. Immediately I got on the phone with South Pasadena, the city, trying to find the blueprints.
The original Halloween house in South Pasadena, repainted blue. Photo by Kenny Caperton.
My wife, Emily—at the time we weren’t married yet, actually—didn’t think I was joking; she knows when I get an idea, I kind of go completely over the top with it. And my friends knew I’m kind of crazy anyway [laughs]. When I told my parents, they said, “That’s absolutely perfect.” They were more concerned with me being so young and not having experience—not only had I never owned a home before, I went straight into building one. It was a lot to learn really fast. We just did everything day by day. It took a year and a half from the idea to actually make it happen, and we moved in March 2009.
Taken out of context, the house isn’t scary at all—people who don’t know the movie would never suspect!
Emily and I love Victorian architecture, and the house has so many details: the porch brackets, the huge windows—we just loved that look. The people who come out here usually arrive in couples, or as families, and there’s always just one in the group who’s a huge Halloween fan. The others are just kind of going along for the ride. And they’re like, “Wow, this is a really pretty home!” It’s also flattering when people think, at first, that it’s a really old historical home, not just a replica of one.
The front of the house is an exact replica, but the two houses are not identical through and through. What modifications did you make, and why?
We knew early on that it would be nearly impossible to replicate the house and live in it, at the same time. The original house was built in 1888; in South Pasadena, it’s a registered historical landmark—they think it’s the oldest standing residence in South Pasadena! But the original house didn’t have any bathrooms and it didn’t have a kitchen; the back of the house that you see in Halloween, that part was added for the movie. The layout of the original house has four very small bedrooms with tiny closets upstairs.
We really struggled with that, because I wanted to replicate it as closely as possible, but at the same time I had to make it livable, especially if we were going to be living here for our entire lives. We searched everywhere for the original blueprints, and nobody knows where they are. I don’t think they exist! So Emily and I had to draw the house to scale on a piece of paper, and that’s how it all kind of started. We drew every room how we wanted it.
We kept the same flow of the house—the kitchen’s still in the back, but it’s a modern kitchen. The staircase is not as narrow [as the original] because building codes wouldn’t allow us to make it as narrow as it would be in the 1800s! Upstairs, instead of four small bedrooms, we have two slightly larger bedrooms. One is “Judith’s bedroom,” which is my bedroom. And in the back of the house, we have all the bathrooms. But as far as the exterior, the front and the side views of the house are—you can’t say identical, but they’re very, very close.
In terms of decorating, we have a lot of antiques to kind of represent the era of the original house. But we also have a ton of horror decor!
In the past, you have worked professionally with Rob Zombie, who made the Halloween remakes, as we’ve discussed. But do you know if John Carpenter has heard about the house?
John Carpenter found out about the house while it was under construction—one of my friends told him about it as some event. I’m not sure what he thought about it! But I met him for the first time after we’d been living in the house for about a year or two, and I got him to sign a picture of my house. I don’t think he quite comprehended that we built a life-sized replica [laughs]. I don’t know if someone’s told him the whole story by now. I tried to explain it to Nick Castle, the guy who plays the Shape in the original Halloween, and he didn’t quite get it either. I think it’s so overwhelmingly crazy that people are just like, “So ... you built it ... and you live there?” It’s like, “Yeah, it’s a full-scale house!”
I think in 2010, the Biography Channel did a little segment on our house, and [Halloween cast member] PJ Soles talks about it very briefly. Which, to me, is amazing! All of those guys, when I’ve met them at conventions and stuff, are all really nice. They love the fans.
Speaking of fans ... what would a Halloween fan need to do, to come check out your house?
Just go to the Myers House NC website, and go to the “Visit” section. Pretty much anything and everything about the house is there. We have people that come out all year round, but obviously it kicks into overdrive in October. I always try to push people to come in October, because that’s the best time to see it—and really, to come to our annual Halloween Bash. It’s always kind of huge, and this year I’m kind of nervous because it might be bigger than we can handle [laughs]. We also do a handful of events throughout the year, but if you can’t come to one of those, we ask that you make an appointment before coming to see the house.
And you’re also a filmmaker as well—your movie, Honeyspider, just came out October 6. Obviously it’s a horror movie ... but what else can you tell us about it, and where can it be seen?
Honeyspider is sort of an indie-cult-throwback film that takes place in 1989 on Halloween day. It’s about a college student whose birthday also happens to be Halloween. She works at a local movie theater that’s doing a horror movie marathon. She has someone kind of following her throughout the film, and as we follow her she kind of deteriorates and things starts happening to her. She stars seeing stuff. And then the shit hits the fan, and all kind of hell breaks out.
For more on the movie, people can check out the Honeyspider website—but it’s out on DVD, and we’re doing a limited-edition VHS. Those you can only get from the Myers House NC website. It’s also out on VOD; it’s on a limited amount of platforms right now, but by the beginning of November it’s going to be pretty much available on most VOD services.
This little indie movie that I wrote in my bedroom, this company Brain Damage Films is putting it out, and it’s way bigger than I could ever have imagined! So I’m really excited for people to see the film. It’s a good one to watch to get into the Halloween spirit.
All images from the Myers House NC website.