The First Terminator Movie Was Shot Illegally
Science fiction isn't exactly a genre that lends itself to low-budget filmmaking. Take The Terminator, a movie that features cyborgs and time travel. How in the hell did that get made without ungodly amounts of money? Illegally, that's how.
Just wait until the cops find out about those stolen clothes.
For years, James Cameron and his future wife, Gale Anne Hurd, gathered every bit of money (including their own) to make The Terminator happen. Luckily, Cameron's background was in cheap horror movies, where he learned "guerilla filming," also known as hobo movie magic. This allowed him to cut corners while still making the movie look beautiful. The steely cold lighting? Having no budget for electricity, Cameron walked around Los Angeles with a location scout to find streets to film in that had mercury-vapor lights he could film under at night. The ominous fog? The Terminator was filmed during the 1982 Mexican Fruit Fly panic, when Los Angeles was covered in a thick mist of pesticide. At first, Cameron wanted to wait for it to clear, but then wound up using the mist for added effect. He saw no problem in making his actors walk through clouds of actual poison, aside from assuring that The Terminator 40-year-anniversary reunion is going to be one hell of a bummer.
"I'll be back. *COUGH* ... I hope ..."
Almost the entire movie was also shot after dusk, adding to its dark and gloomy tone. But why go through all that hassle? Because if they filmed at night, they would have had less of a chance of getting caught by the police and fined for filming without a permit, and they actually had a couple close calls. During the iconic scene where Ah-nold steals a car by punching through its window, it was just Cameron and Schwarzenegger filming by themselves on a suburban street, because on the off chance that they were busted, nobody else would get in trouble. And the actual final shot, where Sarah Connor drives away into the desert, was even riskier. They needed to wait until morning for the day to get hot enough for heat ripples. After not having seen another car on the road for hours, the first one to appear ... was a cop car. However, when the officer pulled over and asked for their filming permits, they lied and said they were doing a student project at UCLA. Remember kids, your student ID isn't just useful for discounts around town, it's also an alibi.
Dallas Buyers Club Won An Oscar For Best Makeup On $250
The movie Dallas Buyers Club, despite having an already bare-bones budget, pulled off a coup by landing Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto for the lead roles. To celebrate that, producers truly embraced the theme of the movie: by pulling funding and letting a lot of vulnerable people twist in the wind.
Right before filming was set to begin, the money people pulled $8 million from the budget, making its future uncertain. Even worse, production could not be postponed as McConaughey, who, having lost several bowling balls' worth of weight for the role, was already set to go live in a McDonald's to bulk back up for his next project.