Anybody with anything half resembling a human brain knows that the iconic Michael Myers mask from the classic horror film HALLOWEEN was, in fact, a slightly altered WILLIAM SHATNER mask. What’s not so well known is that many other celebrity masks were considered before director JOHN CARPENTER decided that SHATNER was the way to go. We were lucky enough to interview a not very real individual close to the production about the various other visages under consideration in an exclusive Kindertrauma interview. Due to our source’s inability to prove that he was anything more than a figment of our imagination, he will henceforth be referred to as Mr. Narp.
Mr. Narp: JOHN loved the DON KNOTTS mask. About a third of the film was filmed with this particular style mask, but later scrapped. The problem was that once the mask was on, the actor portraying Michael found that he couldn’t fight an irresistible urge to do broad double takes. Some of these unexplained ticks even resulted in “the shape” looking directly at the camera and quivering like a Chihuahua.
Mr. Narp: When the DON KNOTS mask failed to deliver, CARPENTER naturally instructed a P.A. to immediately fetch a mask of CONWAY. Both actors were white hot at the time due, in large part, to the global success of the juggernaut THE APPLE DUMPLING GANG. Unfortunately KNOTTS, who had a serious rivalry with his frequent co-star, caught wind of the switch and made a stink. He trashed the set (the dilapidated Myers house was not in the original script) and threatened JOHN and DEBRA HILL with an old school Hollywood blacklisting.
Mr. Narp: The PARKER mask was HILL‘s idea. The problem was that his heartthrob image really changed the tone of the film. Early testing showed that many females found themselves far too attracted to this version of Myers to be properly scared. JAMIE LEE CURTIS‘s performance suffered the most. Rather than run away from her attacker, she would shuffle in her shoes and absent-mindedly twirl her hair.
Mr. Narp: The neck was so thin on this mask that it caused its wearer to asphyxiate on multiple occasions. It also gave off a sci-fi vibe that CARPENTER was not yet ready to deal with. Years later though, he used this mask in several early scenes of THE THING. Eventually special-effects maestro ROB BOTTIN was able to convince CARPENTER to go with a vision of the space creature that was a little bit more down to earth.
Mr. Narp: At this point CARPENTER was getting frantic. He had filmed just about every scene he could without Myers and he had a tight schedule. When he was presented with the BORGNINE he finally broke down and wept into his hands. Remarkably, this is another mask that would come into play later in his career. BORGNINE would later star in the CARPENTER film ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK. Playing the part of “Cabbie,” ERNEST was required to do extensive driving scenes. On several occasions he showed up to the set surrounded by chorus girls, drunk out of his mind and unable to get behind the wheel. If you look closely, many of the shots of “Cabbie” driving in ESCAPE are actually show-biz trooper ADRIENNE BARBEAU wearing the BORGNINE mask.
Mr. Narp: Speaking of BARBEAU, many insist that she met future hubby CARPENTER on the set of the television film SOMEONE IS WATCHING ME. In reality, the two were introduced when JOHN would repeatedly stop by the MAUDE set while wooing ARTHUR into lending her image to HALLOWEEN. ARTHUR was over the moon with the attention and graciously endured hours of face casting with little by the way of payment. The mask proved to be TOO successful in the end though. If it had been a GOLDEN GIRLS-era ARTHUR things may have turned out differently, but the MAUDE-era ARTHUR, if you’ll excuse the expression, was a horse of a different color. Producer MOUSTAPHA AKKAD, it is said, hit the roof when he saw the dailies. CARPENTER was contractually obliged to deliver an R-rated film and AKKAD was convinced the ARTHUR mask would not get past the censors.
Mr. Narp: It’s hard to imagine now, but there was a time before Priceline commercials when people were not horrified at the sight of WILLIAM SHATNER. In a last ditch effort to placate AKKAD, CARPENTER chose the then more audience-friendly SHATNER mask to represent Myers.
It was a long treacherous road and chance played a bigger part than any one is willing to admit, but luckily the appropriate mask found it’s way into this seminal film. It’s now almost impossible to imagine any other mask in HALLOWEEN. Amazingly ROB ZOMBIE went through a similar ordeal while in the early stages of his recent remake. Luckily fan outrage put the kibosh on his proposed AUDRA LINDLEY mask when preliminary sketches were leaked via the Internet.
Note: Narp is an acronym for “Not a real person.” We at Kindertrauma are proud of our general policy of not being biased against individuals based solely on their level of existence on this plane of reality.