‘Halloween,’ Michael Myers: The Men Behind The Mask

Halloween and Michael Myers (aka “The Shape”) are to October 31 what A Christmas Carol and Ebenezer Scrooge are to Christmas. You can’t have one without the other. But over the course of the film series, which now consists of eight in the original series and two in the reboot, the singular boogeyman has been given life through nine different actors. The next time you see The Shape silently stalking a victim, try to picture him without the mask. Depending on the film, this is what you’ll see:

NOTE — Not included in the list that follows are Will Sandin, the child actor who played Michael (age 6) in the original Halloween. We also did not include Adam Gunn (Young Michael in 1981’s Halloween II) and Daeg Faerch and Chase Vanek, who played Young Michael in Rob Zombie’s Halloween and Halloween II, respectively. Life’s too short.

Halloween: Resurrection

We’re no fans of the Rob Zombie reboot series (though we did appreciate what it attempted to do), but as bad as Zombie’s efforts may seem, they’re friggin’ masterpieces compared to this disaster of a horror movie. Michael Myers does battle with Busta Rhymes, and it’s every bit as ridiculous as it sounds. Brad Loree is the guy, who tries to inspire fear in Michael’s blank expression, but he doesn’t have any help whatsoever out of the script. However, after watching Loree’s unintentionally hilarious performance in Mr. Hush, we’re not sure the script would have made much of a difference.

Halloween Michael Myers Brad Loree in H: Ressurection

[Image via MalicePsychotik.files.wordpress.com]

Rob Zombie’s Halloween and Halloween II

Zombie’s attempt at bringing humanity to Michael by telling his backstory was a valiant effort. Unfortunately, he felt like he had to write the scripts himself, and that’s just not a medium in which he’s gifted. Excellent performer, visually interesting director, but his dialogue is the worst. He does a poor job of using subtext and leans on the F-bomb like a crutch. (And we say that as people who loved Scarface and Full Metal Jacket.) The one good thing about Zombie’s two efforts: his imposing lead star, Tyler Mane, whom you may recognize as Sabretooth in 2000’s X-Men.

Halloween Michael Myers Tyler Mane in Zombie Reboots

[Image via Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com]

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later

There were high hopes for Jamie Lee Curtis’ big return to the horror franchise that made her a star. And while the film was certainly a box office hit, it’s a largely bloodless, ho-hum, cliche-driven thriller. It has a solid beginning and ending, but meanders throughout most of the middle. Still, you can’t blame anything on Chris Durand, the stunt coordinator who dons the mask. Durand is dependable in the part and even brings sympathy to the character in the film’s closing moments. Unfortunately, Halloween: Resurrection came after it, thus wiping out all the good the ending did.

Halloween Michael Myers Chris Durand In H20[Image via YouTube]

Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers and Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers

The fourth and sixth entries of the series were both uneven films, but they certainly had some suspenseful moments, and much of that was thanks to George Wilbur, who is a stunt coordinator and bit part player in a number of film and TV projects dating back to 1972. Most of the time, Wilbur’s characters don’t even have names. But in 1988, he got the chance to bring back a horror icon, and he proved to be one of the more menacing boogeymen in the series.

Halloween Michael Myers George Wilbur in H4 and H6

[Image via RacksandRazors.com]

Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers

Sure, it has an all-but-incoherent finale, but most of H5 is solid, and stunt man-actor Don Shanks is absolutely vicious in the role. He also gets some time without the mask, though you probably won’t be able to make out features unless you’re really fast with the pause button. Even then, don’t count on much. Shanks also appeared as the horror heavy in I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer (the third and final film of that series). His acting career began in 1974 with his role as Nakoma in The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams.

Halloween Michael Myers Don Shanks in Revenge Of MM

[Image via Michael24’s Photobucket]

Halloween II

Today, stunt men are often the best people for playing faceless, indestructible killers, who take a lot of abuse throughout the course of a horror film. That tradition began with the original Halloween II in which Dick Warlock took on the role of Michael Myers and stalked Jamie Lee Curtis through a hospital. Warlock was an effective and ferocious Michael and remains our favorite in the series.

Halloween Michael Myers Dick Warlock in H2

[Image via Movie-Slashers.Tripod.com]

Halloween

The one that started it all! In 1978, director John Carpenter tapped two names to play The Shape / adult Michael Myers. For the masked stalking scenes, he turned to Nick Castle. Castle went on to direct the 1995 update of Dennis the Menace and the Damon Wayans comedy Major Payne. His most recent effort was the screenplay for August Rush. He also penned the screenplays for Escape from New York and ’80s family classic The Boy Who Could Fly.

Halloween Michael Myers Nick Castle in Original

[Image via Wikipedia Commons]

To give Michael a face, Carpenter selected bit part TV actor Tony Moran. Moran’s face time as Myers is the only time in the series you get a clear shot of what Michael truly looks like. Moran disappeared from acting after 1981, but has made a comeback with small roles in independent projects since 2008. His next appearance will be in 2014’s Dead Bounty.

Halloween Michael Myers Tony Moran is the original face

[Image via MediaMikes.com]

The Halloween Franchise

No matter who starred in Halloween as Michael Myers, they owed much of their creepiness factor to William Shatner, whom John Carpenter has credited numerous times as being the inspiration for the original mask. According to Carpenter, the final choices came down to a creepy clown mask and a Captain Kirk that had been spray-painted white. We’re glad they went with what they did, but clowns really do suck.

Halloween Michael Myers William Shatner as inspiration

[Image via FilmDetail.com]

Which Halloween and/or Michael Myers is your favorite?

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