12 Fun Facts About Turner & Hooch

Buena Vista Pictures
Buena Vista Pictures

Turner & Hooch is about a tidy small-town police investigator named Scott Turner who ends up taking in Hooch, a rambunctious Dogue de Bordeaux dog that was the only witness to the murder of his owner, Amos Reed. Hooch ruins most of Turner's possessions, including his car, but helps him meet and fall for the local veterinarian Dr. Emily Carson (Mare Winningham) and solve the case.

Five different writers, including Michael Blodgett (gigolo Lance Rocke in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls), were credited with the screenplay for what some thought was a surprisingly violent and dark feature for a "Disney movie." Here are some facts about the movie Tom Hanks later said was "exhausting" to make.

1. PRODUCERS LOOKED AT 50 DIFFERENT BREEDS TO DETERMINE WHICH WOULD MAKE THE BEST HOOCH.

Determining which breed of dog would make the perfect partner for Tom Hanks was no easy task. "We looked at 50 different breeds—Airedales, shepherds, Rottweilers," dog trainer and stuntman Clint Rowe said. "They wanted a dog that was big but not overly big." The filmmakers settled on the Dogue de Bordeaux. Fewer than 300 of the breed were in the United States when the film came out.

2. HOOCH WAS PLAYED BY MULTIPLE DOGS.

Beasley, a 17-month-old pup, played the main Hooch—and he only had five months to prepare. His stunt double was named Igor. In 2013, Hanks said all four of the dogs in the film passed away and "went to dog heaven."

3. TOM HANKS SPENT QUALITY TIME WITH ALL OF THE DOGS BEFORE SHOOTING.

To get the dogs to react to Hanks while filming, he had to spend time with his canine co-stars in the weeks leading up to filming to build a relationship that would be evident on camera.

"We got along well," Hanks said of the dogs. "You know, when you make a movie with a dog, you have to work with the dog for weeks prior to shooting it. Otherwise, he won't take his eye off the trainer. So, I would go off and play with I think actually three dogs that portrayed Turner & Hooch. It was a part too big for one dog."

4. HENRY WINKLER WAS FIRED AS THE DIRECTOR 13 DAYS INTO SHOOTING.

Henry Winkler was the film's original director, but didn't even last two weeks on the set. "Let's just say I got along better with Hooch than I did with Turner," Winkler told People in 1993. Shortly thereafter, Roger Spottiswoode was hired to take Winkler's place. "I did nothing in fact except take the lens cap off each day and enjoy watching Tom—who was brilliant—and the dog, who was also brilliant," Spottiswoode said.

5. HANKS HAD TO USE A CLICKER DURING SHOOTING.

Usually dogs in movies look at the trainer, who is standing next to the camera. "In this case the trainer taught both Hooches to look at the person who had the little clicker that made a noise," Spottiswoode explained. "So before every take, he would give Tom Hanks the little clicker and Tom would make the click and the dog would look at him and until then on until he handed the clicker back, the only person the dog was interested in was Tom."

6. BEASLEY COULDN'T BE TRAINED TO DRINK THE BEER.

When Rowe was asked what the hardest task for Beasley to learn was, he said that teaching the dog to grab Tom Hanks by the throat was difficult, which he didn't expect. "Also, drinking beer," he added. "He can crack the can, but he wouldn't drink the beer. We had to use chicken soup."

7. BEASLEY WAS KNOWN TO MAKE A RUN FOR IT.

Hanks was surprised to see a clip from Turner & Hooch in a montage of his work at a 2013 BAFTA: A Life In Pictures event, and it led to the actor remembering when they shot the bath scene. "We shot it probably 11 times, because the dog often runs off the set," Hanks said. "You can’t keep the dog in the moment, and we weren’t trying to do a thing where the dog’s behavior was shaped by the editing. We said the dog will have to be a dog and I will have to react off that dog being a dog. So it was actually very hard work."

After the editor turned it into a "kooky" bath montage, Hanks suggested to Spottiswoode that it would be better and funnier if they just used the entirety of the one good take instead. "He put it in there and it ended up working pretty good."

8. BEASLEY SLOBBERED SO MUCH HE RUINED A CAR SEAT.

Using four cameras, Spottiswoode shot Hanks and Beasley continuously for one hour for the stakeout scene. After the hour, they discovered that the new car's seat had eroded from all of Hooch's slobber. The director claimed Beasley was "sort of sinking" into the seat, which had to be cut and replaced.

In 2001, Hanks told Larry King that filming Turner & Hooch was the hardest work he ever had to do, physically and emotionally, and specifically brought up the stakeout scene. "I'm staking out a scene of a crime with my dog Hooch ... We had a car on the set that was surrounded by bungee-cams, literally cameras that were hanging from bungee-cords. And the whole thing was about, whatever this dog does, I react to. We will not ask the dog to do anything specifically, this dog will just do things ... And I will react. That was the hardest I've ever worked."

9. THERE'S AN ALTERNATE ENDING.

One test screening featured Hooch making a miraculous recovery from taking a bullet. In another screening, held half an hour later in the same multiplex, Hooch died. Screenwriter Daniel Petrie Jr. claimed there was no difference in the ratings from the two audiences, but the group that saw Hooch die was more "passionate."

"Some were saying 'I hated that, that was terrible,' whereas others were 'but there were puppies at the end!'" Petrie said. "It provoked this passionate response. The other screening? None of that. It was all positive, but muted."

Disney head Jeffrey Katzenberg left the decision up to Spottiswoode. "I thought about it for a day," he said, "I didn't really want to make the decision." He talked it over with the writers and Petrie and decided to kill him off like it was originally written. When he returned to England, friends and neighbors asked Petrie how he could kill a dog.

10. HANKS TOOK RESPONSIBILITY FOR KILLING HOOCH, AND SAID IT WAS A MISTAKE.

If you weren't a fan of the controversial ending, you now know who to blame.

"I have to make a confession: I was the main proponent of killing Hooch," Hanks said during a BBC Radio 5 interview. "It was a Disney movie and when we were putting it together I stood up at a table and pounded my fist and said, in the grand Disney tradition of Old Yeller, 'Hooch must die ... ' and so they killed Hooch. We killed Hooch and we never should have. We should have I guess kept that doggy alive, so we wouldn't have made the children cry."

11. HOOCH GOT HIS OWN LEARJET.

Beasley had it written into his contract that he would get his own Learjet for transportation. The arrangement, Spottiswoode noted, was fine until there was one bumpy ride and Beasley—out promoting the film—wasn't wearing his safety belt because it didn't fit. "The pilots completely freaked out," Spottiswoode said. "Not that Hooch did anything wrong, but they were in this little Learjet and there was this huge dog and it started to bounce and Hooch apparently was looking not pleased about the situation and he was not strapped down. And the pilots dove down and didn't want to fly him after that."

12. HANKS YELLING AT HOOCH OVER EATING THE CAR WAS USED IN A TOY STORY ANIMATION TEST.

In working out what Hanks might look and sound like as Woody in Toy Story, Pixar used a clip from Turner & Hooch. When Hanks saw the footage, he couldn't stop laughing and made Pixar's John Lasseter play back the video multiple times. He then signed up to play Woody.

8 Haunting Horror Movie Gimmicks

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

In the 1950s and 1960s, horror movies were making studios huge profits on shoestring budgets. But after the market hit horror overload, directors and studios had to be extra creative to get people to flock to theaters. That's when a flood of different gimmicks were introduced at movie theaters across the country to make a film stand out from the crowd. From hypnotists to life insurance policies and free vomit bags, here's a brief history of some of the most memorable horror movie gimmicks.

1. PSYCHO-RAMA // MY WORLD DIES SCREAMING (1958)

In order to truly become a classic, a horror movie can't just work on the surface; it has to get deep inside of your head. That's what Psycho-Rama tried to achieve when it was first conceived for My World Dies Screaming, later renamed Terror in the Haunted House. Psycho-Rama introduced audiences to subliminal imagery in order to let the scares sink in more than any traditional film could.

Skulls, snakes, ghoulish faces, and the word "Death" would all appear onscreen for a fraction of a second—not long enough for an audience member to consciously notice it, but it was enough to get them uneasy. Obviously Psycho-Rama didn't really catch on with the public or the film industry, but horror directors, like William Friedkin in The Exorcist, have since gone on to use this quick imagery technique to enhance their own movies.

2. FRIGHT INSURANCE // MACABRE (1958)

Director William Castle didn't make a name for himself in the film industry by directing cinematic classics; instead, he relied on shock and schlock to help fill movie theater seats. His movies were full of what audiences craved at the time: horror, gore, terror, suspense, and a heaping helping of camp. But his true genius came from marketing—and the gimmicks he brought to every movie, which have since become legendary among horrorphiles.

His most famous stunt was the life insurance policy he purchased for every member of an audience that paid to see Macabre. This was a real policy backed by Lloyd's of London, so if you died of fright in your seat, your family would receive $1000. Now who wouldn't want to roll the dice on that type of deal? Of course, the policy didn't cover anyone with a preexisting medical condition or an audience member who committed suicide during the screening. Lloyd's had to draw the line somewhere, right?

3. HYPNO-VISTA // HORRORS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM (1959)

How do you make your routine horror movie stand out from the crowd? Hypnotize your audience, of course. Thus Hypno-Vista was born. For this gimmick, James Nicholson, president of American International Pictures, suggested that a lecture by a hypnotist, Dr. Emile Franchel, should precede Horrors of the Black Museum, which had a plot focusing on a hypnotizing killer.

For 13 minutes, Dr. Franchel talked to the audience about the science behind hypnotism, before attempting to hypnotize them himself in order to feel more immersed in the story. Nowadays it comes off as overlong and dry, but it was a gimmick that got people into theaters back in 1959. Plus, writer Herman Cohen said that eventually the lecture had to be removed whenever the movie re-aired on TV because it did, in fact, hypnotize some people.

4. NO LATE ADMISSION // PSYCHO (1960)

Though this isn't the most gimmickiest of gimmicks, Alfred Hitchcock's insistence that no audience member be admitted into Psycho once the movie started got a lot of publicity at the time. The Master of Suspense's reasoning is less about drumming up publicity and more about audience satisfaction, though. Because Janet Leigh gets killed so early into the movie, he didn't want people to miss her part and feel misled by the movie's marketing.

This publicity tactic wasn't completely novel, though, as the groundbreaking French horror movie Les Diaboliques (1955) had a similar policy in place. This was at a time when people would simply stroll into movie screenings whenever they wanted, so to see a director—especially one so masterful at the art of publicity—who was adamant about showing up on time was a great way to pique some interest.

5. FRIGHT BREAK // HOMICIDAL (1961)

Another classic William Castle gimmick was the "fright break" he offered to audience members during his 1961 movie, Homicidal. Here, a timer would appear on the screen just as the film was hurtling toward its gruesome climax. Frightened audience members had 45 seconds to leave the theater and still get a full refund on their ticket. There was a catch, though.

Frightened audience members who decided to take the easy way out were shamed into the "coward's corner," which was a yellow cardboard booth supervised by some poor sap theater employee. Then, they were forced to sign a paper reading "I'm a bona-fide coward," before getting their money back. Obviously, at the risk of such humiliation, most people decided to just grit their teeth and experience the horror on the screen instead.

6. THE PUNISHMENT POLL // MR. SARDONICUS (1961)

The most interactive of William Castle's schlocky horror gimmicks put the fate of the film itself into the hands of the audience. Dubbed the "punishment poll," Castle devised a way to let viewers vote on the fate of the characters in the movie Mr. Sardonicus. Upon entering the theater, people were given a card with a picture of a thumb on it that would glow when a special light was placed on it. "Thumbs up" meant that Mr. Sardonicus would be given mercy, and "thumbs down" meant … well, you get the idea.

Apparently audiences never gave ol' Sardonicus the thumbs up, despite Castle's claims that the happier ending was filmed and ready to go. However, no alternative ending has ever surfaced, leaving many to doubt his claims. Chances are, there was only one way out for Mr. Sardonicus.

7. FREE VOMIT BAGS // MARK OF THE DEVIL (1970)

Horror fans are mostly masochists at heart. They don't want to be entertained—they want to be terrified. So when the folks behind 1970's Mark of the Devil gave out free vomit bags to the audience due to the film's grotesque nature, how could any self-respecting horror fan not be intrigued? It wasn't just the bags that the studio was advertising; it also claimed the film was rated V, for violence—and maybe some vomit?

8. DUO-VISION // WICKED, WICKED (1973)

Duo-Vision was hyped as the new storytelling technique in cinema—offering two times the terror for the price of one ticket. Of course Duo-Vision is just fancy marketing lingo for split-screen, meaning audiences see a film from two completely different perspectives side-by-side. In the 1973 horror film Wicked, Wicked, that meant watching the movie from the points of view of both the killer and his victims.

Seems like a perfect concept for the horror genre, right? Well, Duo-Vision wasn't just employed during the movie's most horrific moments; it was used for the movie's entire 95-minute runtime. The technique had been used sparingly in other films—most notably in Brian De Palma's much better film Sisters (1973)—but it had never been implemented to this extent. A little bit of Duo-Vision apparently goes a long way, because it fell out of favor soon after.

John Carpenter May Be Planning a They Live Sequel

Universal Studios Home Video
Universal Studios Home Video

John Carpenter is one of the horror genre's biggest names. The man behind the original Halloween, The Fog, Escape from New York, and The Thing, ​Carpenter has had a long enough career to see many of his most popular creations be remade, including this year's new Halloween film, which features some of the original actors returning to their iconic roles to continue a decades-long story.

But in a recent interview with ​Den of Geek, when Carpenter was questioned about whether his cult classic They Live might he ripe for revisiting, Carpenter teased: "Well, I’m not gonna tell you about that, because it might be closer to reality than you think."

​They Live, which came out in 1988, featured the late professional wrestler 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper in his signature role as a man who finds a pair of sunglasses that allow him to see the true state of the world and uncover an alien invasion. Like so many of Carpenter's other films, it has continued to amass a cult following in the decades since its release—especially among those viewers who understood and appreciated its underlying political metaphor.

Today's highly divisive political climate makes it a perfect time for a sequel/reboot/reimagining of They Live, and it sounds as if Carpenter might agree.

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