Star Trek Guide

Halloween: The Real Life Story Behind Michael Myers' Mask

The origin behind the bright-white mask used by Michael Myers in Halloween is quite interesting. The iconic mask has made Michael one of the most memorable villains in film history. Hiding behind the expressionless facade took all sense of humanity out of the man which is why he's often referred to as "The Shape".

Michael Myers first acquired the white mask in 1978's Halloween after he escaped from Smith's Grove Sanitarium. He stole a few items from the local hardware store including a Halloween mask. This white mask became the face of the franchise. Michael wore a version of the original mask for all installments of the franchise, except for Halloween III: Season of the Witch, which didn't feature the crazed killer. Minor adjustments to the mask were made as time went on but the pale, humorless visage was always the main goal.

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When Halloween went into production, the crew had a dismal $300,000 budget to work with. This caused the props and costume department to embark on the daunting task of developing Michael Myers' frightening appearance. Director John Carpenter hired Tommy Lee Wallace as the production designer. Wallace ended up buying a William Shatner Star Trek mask from a costume shop for under two dollars. To remove the human element of the mask, Wallace widened the eye holes and got rid of the side-burns and distinctive eyebrows. The mask was then spray-painted, transforming it into the emotionless figure that fans now know so well.

Shatner's Captain Kirk mask was chosen because his features weren't very prominent but it wasn't the crew's only option. Before deciding on Shatner, Wallace considered using an Emmett Kelly clown mask with frizzy red hair. This was meant to be a connection to Michael killing his sister Judith while wearing a clown costume as a kid. The other two options were a Mr. Spock mask from 1975 and a mask of former U.S. President Richard Nixon. Using the likeness of a President for a serial killer never seemed like a good idea to the cast and crew.

Some versions of Michael's mask were highly criticized during the later franchise installments. The criticism began during Halloween 4 when a mask with distinctive pursed lips was used. The mask was supposed to be the same in Halloween 5 but the hairstyle attached to the mask gave Michael an entirely different look. Viewers also claimed that the mask looked cheap and inferior to the earlier versions. The production teams got back on track as the sequels continued when they took more inspiration from the 1978 original. Rob Zombie put his own spin on the Michael Myers' classic look for his two Halloween remakes.

Thankfully, the Halloween reboot in 2018 when back to the basics and used the same mask from the original movie, albeit a little weathered due to the time that had passed. Wallace's creation went on to become Michael's best trademark. Freddy Kreuger has his glove, Leatherface has his chainsaw, Jason Voorhees has his hockey mask, and Michael Myers has the infamous white mask.

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