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30 Fast & Furious Facts for the Ultimate Fan

Do you live your life a quarter mile at a time, just like Dom Toretto? In celebration of the 15th anniversary of The Fast and the Furious, the first installment in the franchise, here are some facts about the first six adventures of Dom and his crew.

The Fast and the Furious (2001)

1. THE STORY WAS INSPIRED BY A MAGAZINE ARTICLE.

The May 1998 issue of Vibe magazine featured an article by Ken Li titled “Racer X” that chronicled illegal street racing in Queens, New York. Producers optioned the article for a movie adaptation that became The Fast and the Furious.

2. THE FILM'S TITLE WAS PURCHASED FROM LEGENDARY B-MOVIE DIRECTOR ROGER CORMAN.

Throughout filming, the movie had the working title Redline—which in racing refers to the maximum rate of speed a car can go—before the filmmakers settled on calling it The Fast & The Furious. There was only one problem: That title was owned by B-movie director Roger Corman, who produced a racing movie of the same name in 1955. Instead of having the filmmakers pay for the rights to the name, Corman traded the movie title for some stock footage owned by Universal Studios.

3. THE MOVIE HAS GARNERED SOME FAMILIAR AND UNFAMILIAR COMPARISONS.

The filmmakers of The Fast and the Furious pitched the movie as West Side Story with cars instead of singing, and also incorporated themes and situations found in movies like the surfing action classic Point Break and the undercover crime drama Donnie Brasco.

Director Rob Cohen modeled the film’s third act chases through the Los Angeles hills on similar San Francisco-set scenes in the 1968 car-chase classic Bullitt, starring Steve McQueen. Cohen loved the movie so much that he cast actor Paul Walker because he thought he resembled Bullitt’s lead actor.    

FUN FACT: Eagle-eyed fans of this movie and Point Break will notice that Dom and Brian visit a restaurant called Neptune’s Net about midway through the movie. The real-life restaurant, located along Malibu’s Pacific Coast Highway, is the same restaurant where Lori Petty's character, Tyler, works in Point Break

4. THEY USED REAL STREET RACERS FOR MOST OF THE RACE SCENES.

Cohen (who visited real illegal street races in preparation for directing the movie and who can also be seen in a small cameo as the pizza delivery guy trying to get through the crowd of cars during the first racing scene) enlisted the help of 200 souped-up cars driven by actual illegal street racers for the initial racing scenes.

5. THE REAL ACTORS PUT THE PEDAL TO THE METAL … KIND OF.

In order to have the real actors behind the wheel of cars going upwards of 80 to 100 miles per hour, a special rig was built by second unit director and stunt coordinator Mic Rodgers that the filmmakers dubbed the “Mic Rig.” It consisted of a high-powered truck with a long chassis in the back on which the bodies of the custom cars in the movie could be interchanged. A stunt driver drove the high-speed truck while the actors were behind the wheel of the dummy car in back, which made it look like they were really driving at dangerous speeds. 

END CREDIT SEQUENCE: Dom can be seen evading the cops and driving through Baja, Mexico. This footage and the 1970 Chevelle SS he drives will be seen again eight years later in the fourth installment of the franchise, Fast & Furious

2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

1. IT’S TECHNICALLY THE THIRD MOVIE (CHRONOLOGICALLY).

A six-minute short film called the Turbo-Charged Prelude was made in 2003 and bridges the gap between the events of the first and second movies. The short shows Walker as O’Connor evading police after the first movie and making his way across the country to Miami, winning countless street races along the way. Actress Minka Kelly (in an uncredited role) stars as the woman who helps him.

2. TWO PEOPLE FROM THE FIRST MOVIE DECIDED NOT TO RETURN.

Vin Diesel declined to appear in the sequel despite being offered $25 million to reprise his role because he was not happy with the script. Instead he and director Rob Cohen, who also didn’t return for the sequel, made the 2002 extreme sports star/secret agent movie, xXx. In the final drafts of the script, Dom’s character was refashioned into Tyrese Gibson’s character, Roman Pearce. It’s the only movie in the Fast & Furious franchise in which Diesel does not appear. 

John Singleton, previously known for making movies like Boyz n the Hood and the remake of Shaft, stepped into the director’s seat for 2 Fast 2 Furious, which was his first PG-13-rated movie. Singleton would bring back a few people he had worked with previously: Gibson (who plays Roman) appeared in Singleton’s 2001 movie Baby Boy; Cole Hauser (who plays the villain) appeared in his 1995 movie Higher Learning; and Mark Boone Junior (who has a small role as a corrupt cop) appeared in the 1997 movie Rosewood

3. SINGLETON HAD THREE SPECIFIC INSPIRATIONS FOR HIS SEQUEL.

He attempted to base the tone and the aesthetic of the movie on Japanese anime, an updated version of Speed Racer cartoons from the ‘60s, and the Playstation video game series “Gran Turismo.” 

4. THEY USED SOME PRETTY NOTABLE LOCATIONS.

The movie shot on location in Miami, Florida. The South Beach house owned by Hauser’s villain, Carter Verone, once belonged to Sylvester Stallone. At the time of filming, however, the house was owned by Singleton’s friend, who let the production shoot there for free. 

5. THE ACTORS DID THEIR OWN STUNTS … SOMETIMES.

Paul Walker, who returned as the cop-turned-outlaw Brian O’Connor for the sequel and who goes by the street name “Bullitt” after one of the inspirations for the first installment, actually did some of his own car stunts in the movie. 

The skid into frame in the Nissan Skyline GT-R following his character’s first race at the beginning of the movie was done by Walker himself, and the high-speed 180-degree turn in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII during the highway chase at the end of the movie was Walker's work as well. 

FUN FACT: In the highway chase after the Ford Mustang gets crushed by the tractor trailer truck, the Chevy Corvette crashing into the wreckage was a mistake and wasn’t supposed to happen, but they kept it in the movie anyway. 

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

1. IT’S THE THIRD MOVIE IN THE SERIES, BUT THE SIXTH MOVIE CHRONOLOGICALLY.

This may get a little technical here, but real Fastards (a.k.a. Fast fans) know that Tokyo Drift takes place after Fast & Furious 6. The character of Han is introduced and dies in Tokyo Drift, but miraculously shows up alive and well in the subsequent movie, Fast & Furious. This is because the fourth through sixth movies in the series take place chronologically before Tokyo Drift

How do we know? In a bit of retroactive continuity, the mid-credits sequence in Fast & Furious 6 shows Han’s death in the Tokyo streets is actually caused by Deckard Shaw (played by Jason Statham), the brother of the villain in Fast & Furious 6 who is out for revenge for his brother’s death at the hands of Dom and his crew! This means that the chronological order of the feature length movies so far is 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 3, 7. 

2. A NEW DIRECTOR TOOK OVER AND CAST FAMILIAR FACES IN NEW ROLES.

This is director Justin Lin’s first foray into the Fast & Furious saga (he would also go on to direct movies 4 through 6), and the first movie in the series to feature a new cast of characters. Lin, who started out small with his 2002 Sundance hit Better Luck Tomorrow, went on to make his first studio movie in 2006 with Annapolis before getting the Tokyo Drift gig. He populated the new movie with familiar actors: Brian Goodman (who plays Sean’s father) had previously appeared in Annapolis, while Sung Kang (who plays Han) and Jason Tobin (who plays Earl, one of Sean’s friends) both appeared in Better Luck Tomorrow (funnily enough, Annapolis also starred Tyrese Gibson and Jordana Brewster, who also appeared in the previous and subsequent Fast movies).     

3. IT WAS A BIG-BUDGET STUDIO MOVIE THAT USED SOME INDIE TECHNIQUES TO GET CERTAIN SHOTS.

The movie was shot primarily on location in Tokyo, which doesn’t grant filming permits. So for many shots, including the ones of lead actor Lucas Black wandering around highly populated areas like Shibuya Crossing, the director and a minimal crew just shot Black amongst real pedestrians until the police shut the production down. To make sure Lin wouldn’t get into trouble or thrown in jail and have the production halted, he had the production manager trick the police by telling them that he was the director and not Lin. 

4. THE REAL DRIFT KING MAKES A CAMEO.

Although actor Brian Tee plays D.K. (a.k.a. “Drift King”) in the movie, the real-life drift king, Japanese racing legend Keiichi Tsuchiya, makes a small appearance as the fisherman in the blue jacket who makes fun of Sean as he’s learning to drift near the fish market. Tsuchiya himself performed most of the scenes of Sean learning how to drift.

5. VIN DIESEL AGREED TO DO HIS CAMEO FOR FREE, BUT UNDER ONE CONDITION.

Lin convinced Diesel to reprise his role as Dom Toretto after showing Diesel an early rough cut of Tokyo Drift. The actor would ultimately do the cameo for free but made a deal with Universal Studios: in lieu of an acting fee, Universal would have to give him and his production company the rights to the character Riddick from 2000’s Pitch Black and 2004’s The Chronicles of Riddick

Diesel wanted to make a third entry in that franchise, but Universal stalled a new movie because The Chronicles of Riddick bombed at the box office. In the end, Diesel did the cameo, Universal gave him the Riddick rights, Diesel would go on to make a third Riddick movie in 2013, and he would be repositioned as the main character in the Fast franchise from then on. 

Fast & Furious (2009)

1. THEY GOT THE GANG BACK TOGETHER.

2009’s Fast & Furious was the first direct sequel to the events in the first film in the saga. Vin Diesel returned full-time after his cameo in Tokyo Drift, but also picked up the reins as the film’s producer for the first time (he’d go on to produce the subsequent films in the series as well). 

It was also the first time in eight years that Diesel, Walker, and Jordana Brewster had appeared on-screen together as their characters since the first film. Though Michelle Rodriguez returned as Letty Ortiz, Diesel is the only original cast member she shares screen time with, because her character (allegedly) dies off-screen after the opening sequence.

2. IT’S TECHNICALLY THE FIFTH MOVIE CHRONOLOGICALLY.

Diesel himself wrote, produced, directed, and starred in a 20-minute short film entitled Los Bandoleros with Rodriguez, Sun Kang, Tego Calderón, Don Omar, and Mirtha Michelle appearing again as Dom’s gang in the Dominican Republic. The film shows the backstory of how the characters came together, leading into the tanker truck heist that begins Fast & Furious

3. WALKER’S CHARACTER WAS GOING TO BE IN A VERY DIFFERENT SITUATION.

The screenwriters originally envisioned Walker’s cop character, last seen letting Diesel’s character escape police at the end of the first movie, as a convict locked up in jail. His introductory foot chase sequence was going to be a jailbreak before subsequent drafts of the screenplay changed him back into a reformed F.B.I. agent as seen in the final film. 

4. THEY HAD OPEN CASTING CALLS FOR CARS.

On top of regular actor casting calls, director Justin Lin, returning from Tokyo Drift, held open casting calls for cars to potentially appear in the film as well. They would post a meet-up place for people to bring their cars and the filmmakers would select drivers and cars for background sequences as needed. 

5. THERE WERE NO FULLY CGI CARS IN THE TUNNEL CHASE.

Contrary to popular belief, there were no fully-CGI cars in the smuggling sequences, which were inspired by real-life smuggling tunnels used by drug cartels in Guanajuato, Mexico. 

The production actually built out sparse areas to stand in for the tunnels in a large warehouse in San Pedro, California, and blocked out the paths for each actual car using orange road cones. The dirt, walls, and pillars of the smuggling tunnels were then added with CGI in post-production. 

Fast Five (2011)

1. THEY SPENT A LOT OF MONEY ON THE SET PIECES.

With Fast Five, director Justin Lin wanted to transition the series into more action-oriented territory, and wanted to outdo anything already seen in the previous movies by planning out set pieces that cost some serious cash. The train-heist sequence alone cost $25 million to create, and involved the production buying out a 600-yard stretch of train tracks in Arizona (standing in for Brazil) as well as an entire train in order to be able to destroy it.  

The studio initially told Lin the sequence would cost too much and told him to scrap the idea, but he showed them an entirely pre-visualized sequence using storyboards and computer re-creations for them to put up the money to shoot the sequence.

FUN FACT: Han's full name is "Han Seoul-Oh," an obvious nod to the Star Wars character Han Solo. His full name hadn't been previously mentioned before showing up in the background on Hobbs' team's computer screens during Fast Five.

2. LIN GOT HIS ENSEMBLE EXPERIENCE FROM DOING TV.

Though he’d directed ensembles in the previous two Fast & Furious movies and his debut movie Better Luck Tomorrow, Fast Five proved to be Lin’s biggest movie yet in terms of on-screen characters (there are 10 main characters in Dom’s gang alone). Lin attributes directing three episodes of the TV comedy Community in between Fast & Furious and Fast Five with getting him acclimated to being able to successfully shoot and keep track of such a large amount of speaking characters.

3. BRAZIL IS ACTUALLY PUERTO RICO … AND A COUPLE OF OTHER PLACES

Lin wanted to shoot entirely on location in Rio de Janeiro, but it proved too costly and dangerous. Scenes were shot in Rio (most notably the favela chase sequence), but the majority of the scenes that took place in Brazil in the movie were shot in San Juan, Puerto Rico (the vault heist) and in Atlanta (the street races). These cities were not only cheaper to shoot in, but were better suited for the safety regulations and logistical planning the production warranted for its action scenes.

FUN FACT: The setting of Fast Five is foreshadowed in the beginning of Fast & Furious when Letty tells Dom, “I hear Rio is good this time of year,” while the pair ponder where to escape to next. 

4. WE HAVE FACEBOOK TO THANK FOR HELPING CAST DWAYNE “THE ROCK” JOHNSON.

Prior to creating the fifth movie in the franchise, Diesel reached out to fans on his official Facebook page asking for potential ideas of where the story could go, and someone suggested writing a role for Johnson as the bad guy. During the writing phase the filmmakers reached out to Johnson to play Hobbs (he was the only choice to play the role); he agreed to sign on, and the rest is social networking history.    

5. THE PRODUCTION GOT CRAFTY FOR THE VAULT HEIST.

The logistics of the vault heist were so difficult that, like the train sequence, the scene was almost scrapped entirely. To portray a large vault being dragged by Diesel and Walker’s characters on-screen, six separate vaults were built to accommodate certain shots that were needed, including a full-size vault and a lightweight vault that could be easily towed. 

The primary stand-in vault used was actually a shortened pick-up truck chassis with a vault-shaped case that fit over it. In essence the vault was a steerable single-driver mini-car hooked to Walker and Diesel’s cars to make it look like their characters were dragging it. 

END CREDITS SEQUENCE: Eva Mendes reprises her role as U.S. Customs Agent Monica Fuentes from 2 Fast 2 Furious to let Agent Hobbs know that Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty, who was previously thought dead in Fast & Furious, is in fact alive. Rodriguez wasn’t told that her character was going to be resurrected until she saw Fast Five for herself, and the filmmakers called her after the release of the movie to ask if she would reprise her role in the next movie. Good thing she said yes!

Fast & Furious 6 (2013)

1. IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THE LAST MOVIE IN AN UNOFFICIAL TRILOGY.

Lin, who returned for the last time as director, and screenwriter Chris Morgan envisioned the sixth installment to be the concluding movie in an unofficial story arc that began with the fourth movie, Fast & Furious. Though the series is usually lampooned because of its irregular naming conventions, they wanted to officially call it Furious Six (after Fast & Furious, and Fast Five) for a cohesive series of titles. The idea was nixed by the studio because of marketing concerns that audiences wouldn’t understand what Furious Six meant, so they made the official title Fast & Furious 6. Lin sort of won out in the end though, as the title card on the movie itself only reads Furious 6

2. IT COULD HAVE BEEN TWO MOVIES.

During early stages of development, Furious 6 was initially going to be split into two installments shot simultaneously with the first entitled The Fast and the second entitled The Furious. The tank sequence would have been the end of The Fast and the plane sequence would have capped off The Furious, but eventually the storyline was whittled down enough to fit into one (extremely action-packed) movie.

3. THE TANK SEQUENCE WAS NEARLY ALL PRACTICAL EFFECTS.

Originally the tank sequence was supposed to take place in the streets of London, and the production planned to re-create 12 city blocks on a soundstage to shoot what they needed (London city officials wouldn’t grant the production access to city roads because the Olympics were happening at the same time they shot the movie, so most of the street scenes were shot in Glasgow, Scotland as a stand-in for the UK capital).

When that proved unfeasible they moved the sequence to Spain when they secured and were given free rein to shoot on a newly built and unopened stretch of highway in Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Ninety percent of the shots of the tank were the real thing; other shots used a lightweight tank with a fake turret, while others used a truck outfitted with fake tank treads to get low angle shots. 

4. THE FINAL PLANE SEQUENCE WAS ALMOST IN FAST FIVE.

The harrowing sequence was originally supposed to be the ending of Fast Five, and got so far into the production process of that movie that is was storyboarded and pre-visualized before being scrapped for budgetary reasons. The leftover storyboards and pre-viz were simply grafted on to Furious 6 and updated to account for new characters and the new movie’s plot. 

5. THE RUNWAY IN THE PLANE SEQUENCE WAS EXTREMELY LONG.

Though the production used movie magic, some suspension of disbelief, and multiple passes over three weeks to shoot the final plane sequence, the runway as is in the final movie would allegedly be 28.829 miles long if calculated out correctly.   

END CREDIT SEQUENCE: Han’s death from Tokyo Drift is caused by Jason Statham’s character, Deckard Shaw, the brother of Luke Evans' Furious 6 villain, Owen Shaw (who previously mentioned his brother in the scene where he confronts Dom after his street race with Letty), which leads directly into the plot of Furious 7

Additional Sources: Blu-ray special features.

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25 Dapper Outfit Choices for Fashionable Pets
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Lavishing your furry friends with adorable attire is a benefit of pet ownership that they don't mention on the adoption forms. Whether you prefer practical clothing like sweaters and jackets or statement pieces like bow ties and tutus, these dapper duds are perfect for a howl-iday or "gotcha day" gift, or simply for saying, "Who's the cutest little pupper in pajamas? You are!"

1. CASHMERE DOG SWEATER; FROM $165

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Canine Styles

This classic cable-knit cashmere sweater is a sophisticated look for Fido or Finn. Get it from Canine Styles, a luxury dog emporium in New York City that has plenty of posh and preppy outfits.

Find It: Canine Styles

2. TOGGLE DOG COAT; $85

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Canine Styles

This toggle coat (available in orange, navy, and tan) is as fashionable as it is warm. Made of Melton wool, it has Velcro closures to make getting dressed easy. It's great for long walks in the country.

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3. DOG TUXEDO; FROM $90

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Etsy

This satin tuxedo is perfect for the canine members of your wedding party, though it will brighten up any other occasion as well. The custom, handmade outfit comes complete with a snappy bow tie.

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4. DOG BELLE DRESS; FROM $45

Dog Belle Dress
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The queen of your castle can feel like a Disney princess in her very own version of Belle's iconic yellow dress from Beauty and the Beast. This ball gown is made from yellow crepe satin with chiffon overlay on the bodice and features hand-painted gold detailing on the skirt. Enchanted rose not included.

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5. POODLE SKIRT OUTFIT FOR DOGS; $26

Rubies Pink Fifties Girl Pet Costume
Amazon

What if you could buy a 1950s poodle skirt for your poodle? This retro dress is comprised of a pink poodle skirt, striped bodice, and sequined belt, and comes with a bow headband.

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6. RIBBED CROCHET BUNNY SWEATER; $25

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Your snuggle-bunny will look like a little fancy-pants in this ribbed crochet sweater. Choose from seven colors, including this dashing deep red.

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7. BESPOKE MONOGRAM DOG SWEATER; FROM $155

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Ruby Rufus

Bespoke clothing isn't just for humans: British luxury dog clothing brand Ruby Rufus will make your pooch a custom monogram sweater made with 100 percent Italian cashmere. You can even order it in your dog's favorite color.

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8. HOT PINK DOG TUTU; $17

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Tutus look absolutely adorable on tiny humans and animals alike. If your pooch wants to get in touch with its inner ballerina, then grab this hot pink number from Etsy. Rave reviews are a sure thing.

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9. PINK DOG POLO SHIRT; $35

Dog Pink Polo Shirt
Canine Styles

This pink polo shirt is perfect for your preppy fur baby. It features not one but a veritable multitude of crocodiles. They'll be the most dapper dog at the country club.

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10. DOG BARN COAT WITH BROWN CORDUROY COLLAR; $85

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Canine Styles

When it's time for a walk, your dog will look effortlessly chic in this fancy barn coat. It comes in navy, cranberry, orange, hot pink, and loden and features convenient pockets for anyone with opposable thumbs.

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11. WHITE PET NECK RUFF; $26

Pet Neck Ruff
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Your canine or kitty will look like their painting belongs in London's National Portrait Gallery with this Elizabethan neck ruff.

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12. CHICKEN SWEATER; $25

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Chickens can get cold when they're strutting around outside. A sweater (well, more like sweater vest) for your bird can also help prevent feather picking during molting season. Or, it can simply keep them warm while they stare pensively across a snowy landscape.

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13. PET CIRCLE SCARF; $15

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An infinity scarf is a perfect burst of color on a dreary early morning walk. The proprietor of Mitten Made on Etsy originally designed this wool snood for her miniature Dachshund to help keep her warm during the long, cold winters in Michigan.

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14. FAB DOG TRAVEL RAINCOAT; FROM $18

Fab Dog Travel Raincoat
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This timeless yellow rain slicker will look great on any puppy when it's raining cats and dogs. It's made of 100 percent waterproof nylon shell that keeps fur dry. Bonus: It's perfect for an It Halloween costume.

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15. LACE CAT OR DOG COLLAR; FROM $10

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This handmade, white lace collar is a must-have for fancy felines. It's also embellished with a large rhinestone.

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16. FITWARM PENGUIN PAJAMAS FOR DOGS; FROM $10

Fitwarm Cute Penguin Xmas Dog Pajamas
Amazon

Keep your pupper warm on cold winter nights with these penguin PJs. They're great for doggie sleepovers or lazy weekends on the couch watching Netflix.

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17. PLAID CASHMERE DOG COAT; FROM $225

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Your dog will look like a proper gentleman in this smart plaid peacoat. This fine garment is made of cashmere with a faux fur lining and leather buttons, and is a perfect shield against chill and fog.

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18. SATIN PET BOW TIE; FROM $8

Satin Bow Tie for Dog
Etsy

This satin doggie bow tie is perfect for any occasion. It comes in several colors and features a Velcro fastener that makes it easy to attach to a collar. Plus, 10 percent of every sale goes to charity: specifically to SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and Feeding Pets of the Homeless.

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19. RED DOG DRESS; FROM $34

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Your good boy or girl will look red carpet-ready in this elegant gown. The voluminous tulle skirt is to die for, and each bow is embellished with beads. Custom orders are also available.

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20. DOG TIE; FROM $13

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Your pooch will be ready to stun at any black tie event. This tie is designed like a collar, making it easy to dress your four-legged friend. This Etsy store gives back: 10 perfect of all sales are donated to an animal protection association.

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21. NAUTICAL DOG DRESS WITH MATCHING LEASH; $20

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BaxterBoo

Perfect for a day on the town or setting sail in a schooner, this is the sailor outfit you never knew your best furry friend needed. This vintage throwback also comes with a matching leash.

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22. TARTAN FLANNEL PET BOW TIE; $5.50

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Your dog or cat will turn heads in this flannel tartan bow tie. It has a convenient elastic loop that slides over your pup's collar.

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23. PUCCI DOG SHIRT; $23

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Only the fanciest dogs wear, err, Pucci. Grab this punny "designer" t-shirt for your pup. This high-quality cotton statement piece is perfect for small breeds.

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24. PINK POLKA DOT AND LACE DOG HARNESS DRESS; $20

Pink Polka Dot and Lace Designer Dog Harness Dress
BaxterBoo

This feminine pink polka dot dress is simply adorable. It features a convenient built-in harness and comes with a matching leash.

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25. PET SWEATER VEST; $6

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Amazon

Your dog or cat will look like an erudite Oxford professor in this sweater vest. Note that the button on the pocket is shaped like a bone.

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20 John Carpenter Quotes About Horror Movies
Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival
Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

Though he’s made a variety of movies—from fantasy to science fiction films—John Carpenter will forever be known as a master of horror, thanks in large part to the role he played in reinventing the genre with 1978’s Halloween. To celebrate the award-winning filmmaker’s 70th birthday, we’ve gathered up 20 of his most memorable quotes about Hollywood.

1. ON THE DEFINITION OF HORROR

“Horror is a reaction; it's not a genre.”

—From a 2015 interview with Interview Magazine

2. ON THE RULES OF MOVIEMAKING

“I think the rules of filmmaking are essentially the same as they were since, I guess, The Birth Of A Nation. The way you make movies: long shot, close-up, camera movement, structure—it’s all the same. Not much has changed. But the technology of movies has vastly changed. From 35mm black-and-white to color, from nitrate film to safety film and now into digital—and yet we’re still breaking scenes into master shots and close-ups. The cinema narrative has not changed that much since the silent film.”

—From a 2015 interview with The A.V. Club

3. ON THE TWO TYPES OF HORROR STORIES

“There are two different stories in horror: internal and external. In external horror films, the evil comes from the outside, the other tribe, this thing in the darkness that we don’t understand. Internal is the human heart.”

—From a 2011 interview with Vulture

4. ON THE IMPORTANCE OF NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD

“One movie that showed me it was possible to make a low-budget horror movie was Night of the Living Dead (1968). When I saw that, I was like, 'Wow, that's really effective, but it's obviously low budget.' They didn't have any money but they actually made something cool. That was inspirational to me when I was in film school.”

—From a 2015 interview with Interview Magazine

5. ON THE TRUTH ABOUT HOLLYWOOD

“Film buffs who don't live in Hollywood have a fantasy about what it's like to be a director. Movies and the people who make movies have such glamor associated with them. But the truth is, it's not like that. It's very different. It's hard work. If you were suddenly catapulted into that situation—without any training—you would say after it was over: 'Oh, God! You're kidding! You mean, this is what it's like? This is what they put you through?' Yes, as a matter of fact, it is like this—and it's often worse. People have tried to describe the film business, but it's impossible to describe because it's so crazy. You must know your craft inside out and then pick up the rules as you go along.”

—From an essay for Santa Fe Studios

6. ON THE HORROR OF WATCHING HIS OWN MOVIES

“I don't watch my films. I've seen 'em enough after cutting them and putting the music on. I don't ever want to see them again.”

—From a 2012 interview with Entertainment Weekly

7. ON THE EMOTIONAL TOLL MAKING MOVIES CAN TAKE ON A DIRECTOR

“I’ve been feeling old for years and years, and I think the movie business did it to me. At one point I just did movie after movie, and it starts tearing you down physically—emotionally too, if you do one after another. The stress, the emotional exertion of dealing with others. I’ve worked with really great actors and really difficult actors. The difficult ones are no fun. And the style of the movies today have changed a great deal. To me, I’m not a big fan of handheld. That’s just my tastes. That’s a quick fix for low budget. Let the operator direct it! Walk around. That’s how you burn through the pages. And found footage—how many times do we need to do that?”

—From a 2014 interview with Deadline

8. ON WHAT MAKES A GOOD HORROR FILM

“There’s a very specific secret: It should be scary.”

—From a 2015 interview with The A.V. Club

9. ON THE PERCEPTION OF A MOVIEMAKER

“In England, I'm a horror movie director. In Germany, I'm a filmmaker. In the U.S., I'm a bum.”

—From The Films of John Carpenter

10. ON STANDING OUT

“I don't want to be in the mainstream. I don't want to be a part of the demographics. I want to be an individual. I wear each of my films as a badge of pride. That's why I cherish all my bad reviews. If the critics start liking my movies, then I'm in deep trouble.”

—From an essay for Santa Fe Studios

11. ON MAINTAINING CONTROL

“My years in the business have taught me not to worry about what you can’t control.”

—From a 2007 interview with MovieMaker Magazine

12. ON HIS FAVORITE MOVIES

“I have two different categories of favorite films. One is the emotional favorites, which means these are generally films that I saw when I was a kid; anything you see in your formative years is more powerful, because it really stays with you forever. The second category is films that I saw while I was learning the craft of motion pictures.”

—From a 2011 interview with Rotten Tomatoes

13. ON BEING STUCK IN THE 1980S

“Well, They Live was a primal scream against Reaganism of the '80s. And the '80s never went away. They're still with us. That's what makes They Live look so fresh—it's a document of greed and insanity. It's about life in the United States then and now. If anything, things have gotten worse.”

—From a 2012 interview with Entertainment Weekly

14. ON THE IMPORTANCE OF INSTINCT

“I think every director depends primarily on his instincts. That’s what’s got him where he is, what’s going to carry him through the good times and the bad. I generally go with what I instinctually think I can do well.”

—From a 2011 interview with Vulture

15. ON BEING TYPECAST AS A DIRECTOR

“I haven't just made horror. I've made all sorts of movies. There have been fantasy movies, thrillers, horrors, science fiction. In terms of the ultimate reward, listen, man, when I was a kid, when I was 8 years old, I wanted to be a movie director, and I got to be a movie director. I lived my f*cking dream, you can't get better than that. That's the ultimate.”

—From a 2015 interview with Interview Magazine

16. ON THE REALITY OF MONSTERS

“Monsters in movies are us, always us, one way or the other. They’re us with hats on. The zombies in George Romero’s movies are us. They’re hungry. Monsters are us, the dangerous parts of us. The part that wants to destroy; the part of us with the reptile brain. The part of us that’s vicious and cruel. We express these in our stories as these monsters out there.”

—From a 2011 interview with the Buenos Aires Herald

17. ON MOVIES AS A SENSORY EXPERIENCE

“A movie’s not just the pictures. It’s the story and it’s the perspective and it’s the tempo and it’s the silence and it’s the music—it’s all the stuff that’s going on. All the sensory stuff. Sometimes you can get a lot of suspense going in a non-horror film. It all depends. But, look, if there was one secret way of doing a horror movie then everybody would be doing it.”

—From a 2015 interview with The A.V. Club

18. ON THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE OF HORROR

"Horror is a universal language; we're all afraid. We're born afraid, we're all afraid of things: death, disfigurement, loss of a loved one. Everything that I'm afraid of, you're afraid of and vice versa. So everybody feels fear and suspense. We were little kids once and so it's taking that basic human condition and emotion and just f*cking with it and playing with it. You can invent new horrors."

—From a 2015 interview with Interview Magazine

19. ON THE REMAKE TREND

“It’s a brand new world out there in terms of trying to get advertising. There’s so much going on that if you come up with a movie that people have never heard of they don’t pay attention to it—no matter how good it is. So it becomes, 'Let’s remake something that maybe rings a bell and that you’ve heard of before.' That way, you’re already ahead. I’m flattered, but I understand what’s going on. They’re picking everything to remake. I think they’ve just run down the list of other titles and have finally got to mine.”

—From a 2007 interview with MovieMaker Magazine

20. ON THE LASTING INFLUENCE OF HALLOWEEN

“I didn’t think there was any more story [to Halloween], and I didn’t want to do it again. All of my ideas were for the first Halloween—there shouldn’t have been any more! I’m flattered by the fact that people want to remake them, but they remake everything these days, so it doesn’t make me that special. But Michael Myers was an absence of character. And yet all the sequels are trying to explain that. That’s silliness—it just misses the whole point of the first movie, to me. He’s part person, part supernatural force. The sequels rooted around in motivation. I thought that was a mistake. However, I couldn’t stop them from making sequels. So my agents said, ‘Why don’t you become an executive producer and you can share the revenue?’ But I had to write the second movie, and every night I sat there and wrote with a six-pack of beer trying to get through this thing. And I didn’t do a very good job, but that was it. I couldn’t do any more."

—From a 2014 interview with Deadline

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