It’s March 21, so we, at Horrorfacts, thought that we would prepare for the annual Purge by sharing twelve facts about the original film in the dystopian horror franchise, 2013’s ‘The Purge.’
The film was written and directed by James DeMonaco and starred Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Max Burkholder, Adelaide Kane, Edwin Hodge, and Rhys Wakefield.
This is not a test.
This is your Emergency Broadcast System announcing the commencement of the annual Purge facts sanctioned by Horrorfacts.
Weapons of class four and lower have been authorized for use during the Purge. All other weapons are restricted.
Government officials of ranking ten have been granted immunity and shall not be harmed.
Commencing at the siren, any and all crime (including murder) will be legal for 12 continuous hours.
Police, fire, and Emergency Medical Services will be unavailable until tomorrow morning at 7 AM when the Purge concludes.
Blessed be our New Founding Fathers and America, a nation reborn.
May God be with you all.
A Near-Fatal Car Crash Inspired The Purge
The idea for the film was born after DeMonaco and his wife were almost involved in a fatal car accident. The pair were driving in Brooklyn one night when they were cut off by a drunk driver.
DeMonaco got out of his car and confronted the other driver. He became enraged after the intoxicated driver failed to show any remorse for his actions.
The two men would end up getting into a physical confrontation that ended with them wrestling on the ground before being separated by the police.
Back in his car, his wife turned to him and said:
“Wouldn’t it be great if we could have one free one a year?”
DeMonaco stated that the comment stuck with him as it was out of character for his wife, who is a doctor and also someone that DeMonaco considered to be a “good person.”
The Violence in the Media Would Remind DeMonaco of His Wife’s Statement
While he was living in France, DeMonaco discovered that the news in France didn’t report crimes like the news back in America.
Before living in France, he had also recently spent time in Canada, where he noted that the news tended to report on events that were happening in America more than their own country.
This led DeMonaco to realize that America tended to focus on, and report on, violent crimes more than any other country.
His wife’s statement, which had remained dormant, returned to him and he had the idea to expand upon it. Rather than “one free one a year,” what if all the violence in the country could be condensed into one night?
Ethan Hawke Waived His Salary
To keep production costs down, star Ethan Hawke agreed to do the movie for scale. He reportedly was only initially paid around $3,000 for his performance in the movie. In exchange for waiving a large salary up front, Hawke was promised a portion of the film’s box office profits.
Along with waiving a large salary, Hawke also reportedly agreed to work without a trailer or personal assistant to help keep the costs down.
This all worked in Hawke’s favor, as he allegedly ended up earning between $5-$6 million after ‘The Purge’ was a success at the box office.
A Good Villain is Hard to Cast
With production on the film already in the works and the crew just days away from filming, the role of the ‘Polite Leader’ had yet to be cast.
Although many actors had read out for the part, everybody who tried out tended to go “too big” with the character, which is not what DeMonaco had in mind when he envisioned the character.
When Rhys Wakefield came in, he read the part similar to his performance in the film: he would stop in between words and smile like he was in on some inside joke that nobody else was aware of.
His performance unnerved the casting team and he was cast in the role.
His ability to scare people didn’t stop at the audition though. Supposedly, everybody on set was freaked out by him, including star Ethan Hawke.
The Film Had a Limited Budget
One of the main criticisms of the film was that it was localized inside one family’s home despite opening the film with footage of previous Purges that took place in the community.
This decision was, unfortunately, made due to budget constraints. The film only had a budget of $3 million and, although DeMonaco had originally conceived ideas for ‘The Purge’ to be a much wider event than portrayed in the film, those scenes had to be cut.
His ideas would be used in future installments, including the concept of people selling themselves to rich families on Purge night.
There Was an Intended History Lesson
DeMonaco had initially intended to write the history of the Purge, which he planned to share online but, due to time and budget constraints, he was never able to finish the project.
This would have provided viewers with the complete history of the Purge and explained how it came into existence. Instead, the producers of the film told him that the viewers would have to fill in the pieces of the Purge themselves and form their own conclusions about how it started.
DeMonaco would, of course, get the opportunity to reveal the intended backstory in future installments.
The Date of the Purge
The Purge commences at 7 PM on March 21 and lasts until 7 AM on March 22.
This date is to coincide with the Spring Equinox, with generally occurs on March 20. The idea is similar to the concept of “spring cleaning,” except that instead of cleaning stuff, the characters get to cleanse themselves of their pent-up aggression.
The date of the ‘Purge,’ when written in numerals, also reads as 3, 21, which acts as a count down.
The Purge House
Producers wanted the house used in the film to be non-distinctive, as they wanted viewers to feel like the events of the film could be occurring in any city across the United States.
The house used in the film is located in a gated community at 11484 Iverson Road in Chatsworth, California.
100 Faces of Death
Costume designer Lisa Norcia reportedly looked at one-hundred different masks when trying to come up with the look for the group of assailants in the film. At one point, she even considered using a burlap sack before she finally decided on the ones seen in the film.
What made her finally choose that particular style was their simplicity and feminine-like features, which she thought would give off a more eerie vibe than anything she could have come up with herself.
The Manson Family
The female members of the group of freaks dressed in white were meant to represent the “Manson girls.”
DeMonaco identifies a fascination with Charles Manson that stems back from an early age. He wanted to illustrate that the polite stranger was representative of Charles Manson and the freaks were all following his orders.
The siren used in the film to announce the commencement of the Purge was the small sound the tripods made in 2005’s ‘War of the Worlds.’
The commencement siren would later change in future installments to a beeping noise used by the emergency broadcast system.
Only Recurring Character
Edwin Hodge, who portrayed the bloody stranger in the first movie, is the only character to appear in the first three installments of ‘The Purge’ franchise. His character, however, does not appear in the fourth installment, ‘The First Purge.’
This is Horrorfacts, reminding you to lock your doors and stay safe this Purge night.
I have come here to chew bubblegum and write horror, and I’m all out of bubblegum.
Senior Editor at Horror Facts