A Brief History of Michael Myers' Mask From 'Halloween'
The Halloween franchise has been cranking out sequels of varying quality (and varying realities) for four decades now, culminating in the newest entry, simply called Halloween. For the second time. That's right, this series has been going on for so goddamn long that they've run out of words and numbers to stick in the titles twice.
It's hard to imagine the series lasting as long as it has without Michael Myers' famous costume -- specifically, his ghostly white mask. Famously, the "Shape" mask wasn't fully described in the script, but thanks to a little ingenuity with a dash of good old-fashioned laziness, the crew repurposed a Captain Kirk mask for job, apparently from the episode in which Kirk mutates into a haunted mannequin.
Why? It turns out the process of finding the right mask consisted of the art director simply popping by a magic shop that was blocks away from the film's production offices and buying whatever Halloween masks they happened to have. After spray-painting the face, widening the eye holes, and changing the hair (which, unrealistically, was not detachable) the iconic mask was born.
Bizarrely, when Halloween II came out, Michael Myers looked totally different -- which was especially odd because the events of the movie kick off literally moments after the original ended. The pristine white visage was suddenly discolored and worn, less Star Trek William Shatner and more Priceline.com William Shatner.
It turns out that this was the exact same mask from the first movie. But it looks totally different for a few reasons. For one, Michael was played by an entirely different actor who didn't go on to write Hook, the improbably named stuntman Dick Warlock. Secondly, no one seemed to give a crap about preserving this mask. The original actor, Nick Castle, shoved the mask in his pockets while making the first movie, and before the sequel went into production, the mask was stored not in some fancy studio vault, but under the bed of a producer, whose smoking caused it to "rot and yellow."
When Michael Myers returned in, appropriately enough, Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers, the mask somehow looked even weirder.
Why did Michael suddenly look like a homemade Ethan Hawke sex doll? After Halloween II wrapped, producers thought that the story was over, paving the way Halloween III to be about, and I'm not making this up, evil Irish novelty corporations and robots. So at the end of the shoot, they let Dick Warlock (who, again, wasn't an occult porn actor) take the costume home with him. So when Halloween III: Season Of The Witch was less than well-received and the series once again focused on Myers, they had to hire a prop company to make a whole new mask. Even though it was made from the original mold, the production could never get the mask to look right, even attempting to modify it while filming.
Perhaps realizing that the results weren't stellar, they made yet another new mask for Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers. This time it was modified to make Myers look more "human" and less Jason-like. Yeah, even Dr. Loomis seems unimpressed.
A new mask was made once again for Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers, presumably modified to incorporate the dewy-eyed expression one has in the presence of Paul Rudd.
Eventually the series rebooted with the surprisingly not-at-all-aquatic-themed Halloween H2O. While the movie promised a return to form, with Jamie Lee Curtis returning as Laurie Strode, the cheap-ass producers somehow didn't want to cough up the money to pay for the "rights to the Shape mask." So instead they shot the entire movie with a legally dissimilar mask which doesn't even resemble Chris Pine, let alone Shatner.
When everyone realized that their off-brand mask looked stupid, the production ponied up the dough for a better mask and reshot all of Michael's scenes.
Well, almost all of Michael's scenes. For the shots that couldn't be redone for scheduling reasons, they had to superimpose a CGI version of the mask. And keep in mind, this was back in 1998, so their "CGI" basically looked like someone copy-pasted with MS Paint.
The new Halloween, which reboots the series yet again, scrapping every movie but the first from its continuity, finds Michael donning the original mask. It's old and filthy, presumably after being stored in Dr. Loomis' smoke-filled bedroom.
Still, it's nowhere near as decrepit as the real original mask. Remember how it was given to Dick Warlock (again, a real stuntman not a '70s prog rock band)? Later in life, Warlock sold the mask to "haunter" Mark Roberts, who had hired him for a personal appearance. Warlock had kept it stored "in an Elvis Presley tin container" -- perhaps a step up from being under a bed next to a pile of laundry and cigarette butts, but still not great. This means that the original mask looks ... well, coincidentally, kind of like Elvis in his later years.
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