In 1978, John Carpenter set the horror world on fire with arguably his most notable/loved horror film Halloween. From what started as a movie titled ‘The Babysitter Murders’, it evolved into what we know and love today. At the time, it started slow as it rolled out into theaters but quickly gained traction as there were an inescapable amount of suspense and well-timed scares. The ending still stands as one of the most shocking endings in a horror film, as it reminded the viewer that Michael could be anywhere ready to kill.
On that note, Michael Myers is no doubt, one of, if not the, most prolific slashers in modern cinema. There would be no Jason, Freddy, or Chucky if not for Michael. Halloween took what The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Psycho had built as a foundation and finished the house. A big reason why it’s so effective is Michael Myers. More specifically, his mask.
The man officially credited with the creation of Michael Myers’ terrifying mask, is Tommy Lee Wallace. Well, technically it could be credited to William Shatner because the mask used for Michael was a William Shatner mask, but, for the sake of this occasion, it’s Tommy Lee Wallace. Now, when creating the mask, all that really was done was the eye holes were cut wider, the sideburns and eyebrows were torn off, and the mask was spray-painted with an appliance white color. Just goes to show, less is more.
Across the years, the mask has been modified; for better or worse, there’s always an enthusiasm about what the mask is going to look like in the next movie. There’s been some hits and misses (oh boy, the misses), and I’m here to tell you my opinion on where I think every mask in the franchise ranks from worst to best. Let’s start, shall we?
10. Rob Zombie’s Halloween II (2009)
Oh boy, do I hate this look for Michael. Granted, I don’t think that Tyler Mane was a bad Michael, but, I do think that this mask/look is horrible. I guess it would make sense that after the events of Rob Zombie’s Halloween, the mask would be all torn up and shredded. Then again, just because something makes sense doesn’t automatically mean that it’ll work or look good. A big problem that I had with the two Rob Zombie Halloween films was the fact that they showed too much of Michael; this mask amplifies that point. Maybe this is Rob Zombie’s literal take on ‘less is more’? Either way, it’s horrific, and not in a good way.
9. Halloween 5 (1989)
The only reason that the Halloween 5 mask is higher than the Rob Zombie Halloween II mask is that it’s a mask. It’s an ugly mask, but, a mask. I think the biggest problem with this mask is the fact that the movie takes place directly after Halloween 4. Well, a year has passed but Michael has been in a coma and been cared for by a hermit for that time. How could the mask change? Did Nicolas Cage break into the hermit’s home and replace the mask with a mask molded from his face? I don’t get it.
There’s definitely a fanbase for this mask, but personally, I think it’s atrocious. The face is skinny and long, the neck is too wide, and the overall feel of the mask has lost touch with what a Michael Myers mask should look like. It just doesn’t look like Michael Myers to me.
8. Halloween 4 (1988)
So that right there is what Michael looked like in his triumphant return to the franchise after being out of commission for Halloween III. It’s not pretty, is it? I will say that the movie itself isn’t too bad as I’ve grown a little bit of an appreciation for it over the years, but the mask has no reason to look this bad. It looks like it was caked in paint and it’s about 3 inches off of Michael’s face. Do you know those really cheap masks that you can get at almost any store for about $15? That’s what this mask looks like. I know people are going to say: ‘Well, he got it from a hardware store. What do you expect?’. To that I say: you realize that the hardware store is fictitious, right? There’s no justification.
Did they not do anything to the hair, either? It looks like it was slicked back at the last second before shooting every scene. There was no care or time put into the look of this monstrosity. Why are the sideburns so prominent? On to the next.
7. Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
This one is a bit of a tricky situation for me. I don’t absolutely hate this mask, but I definitely don’t love it. If I had to give it a percentage of like, it’d be around 40% or so. I can see what they were trying to do with it; it’s just too much. There’s too much definition in the mask for it to be the white, blank slate that Michael Myers is known for. It looks angry to me, and although the shape of it is going in the right direction, the amount of cheekbone action going on and the laugh lines make it too human-looking for my taste. Again, I get it; there’s just too many oversights in the facial structure.
6. Rob Zombie’s Halloween (2007)
This is the start of where my liking more than hating comes into effect. It’s also potentially controversial to say that I prefer the cracked and worn version over the clean version used at the start of the movie. The grittiness of it does wonders for the overall mood of this version of Michael and it has more blankness than the previous masks in this list. I do have gripes with the definition as I do with Halloween: Resurrection‘s mask, but it’s to a lesser degree here. The fit of the mask is the best feature of it, I think. It’s not pressed up against his face, and it’s also not too far. You can see the eyes, but not too well. It has a little bit of the mystique of Michael in it while totally being its own thing.
Rob Zombie did well with this mask. Not great, but you can tell it’s a Michael Myers mask, and you can sense some of the original’s spirit in it.
5. Halloween 6 (1995)
I used to absolutely hate this mask, but it’s grown on me over time. Maybe it’s the viciousness of the Michael in Halloween 6 that tricks me into thinking it’s a better mask than it is, but I like it. The eyes are most likely the biggest draw to me. The darkness and the depth of the eyes are really nice and they have that original Halloween flair to them. Other than that, it does look different structurally to the original mask, but I think that it works. It’s different, but not too different from the look of the original. You can tell that it’s a Michael Myers mask without question. The hair is a little long and the neck might be too wide, but when the right lighting hits the mask, it’s a definite winner.
The explanation as to why I like this mask might be a little jumbled, but that’s because I’m not exactly sure why I like this mask as much as I do; I just do. I feel like it has that special something to it that calls back to the original while carving out its own lane.
4. Halloween II (1981)
Okay, I understand that some people would have this mask as maybe number 2 due to the fact that it’s the same mask as the original, but let me explain. Although I really like this mask, it’s too stretched out and widened by Dick Warlock’s head. The mask wasn’t treated very well in between the first Halloween and Halloween II. Debra Hill had it under her bed and was a smoker, so naturally, the mask got a yellow tinge to it. The hair was also apparently re-painted which now when you look at it, you’ll notice it more.
That being said, it’s still a good looking mask. The roundness of the mask is due to the obvious tighter fit on Warlock’s head, but it looks nice. The eyes holes are also a good proportion and hide the eyes when the right lighting is angled properly. What else can I say? It’s the original mask, just aged a few years. It’s Michael Myers.
3. Halloween H20 (1998)
I can feel a lot of people cringing at the thought of putting Halloween H20 up this high due to the number of masks used in the film. As a recap, there’s the Halloween 6 recast mask that was used to kill nurse Chambers in the opening. Then, there’s the KNB mask that was used in the trailer and is used a little in the movie, and who could forget about the amazing CGI mask? That was a great idea, right?
Above all, there’s the Stan Winston mask. I’ll admit, the eyes and the hair could use some work, but there’s something about it that works for me. This mask looks really awesome when you combine the fact of how close it is to the original in terms of facial design and color. Like the picture above, it can have great moments if shot at the right angle and with the right lighting. I know I bring lighting and angles up a bunch, but it’s important to use those when creating an effective environment for a mask to be scary. It’s just as important as the look of the mask, in my opinion.
2. Halloween (2018)
This is as close as they’ve ever gotten to having the same feel/effectiveness as the original when creating the mask. Everything about this mask is detailed, cared about, and accurate to the original. It even has a callback to when Laurie stabbed him in the neck with a knitting needle in the first Halloween. Incredible care was taken into account when doing the mold for the mask and it shows. It’s also an example of great continuity as it was kept as evidence from that fateful night in 1978. When he puts it back on, it’s dirty, cracked and it feels like a good friend coming home after a long time away.
The eye holes are spot on, the nose is exact, and the overall shape (get it?) and fit of the mask is just as tight as when Nick Castle wore it in the original. Granted, Nick Castle is only in a few select shots, but James Jude Courtney has that exact same aura about him as Nick Castle did back in the day and you can feel it. Overall, this is the best mask since the original in every conceivable way.
1. Halloween (1978)
Was there ever really any doubt what would be the best mask in the franchise? It’s impeccable. The color, the eyes holes, the hair; it’s just the perfect storm. The depth in the eye holes is what makes the mask that much scarier. It symbolizes that when you look into the eyes of Michael Myers, you’re looking into the darkness. It’s eerie, it’s impactful, and it’s a perfect pairing with the paleness of the white that the mask is coated with.
Tommy Lee Wallace might be a little bashful when talking about the creation of the mask, but there is no doubt in my mind that he knows what he did, and he revels in it; as he should. What a masterpiece of a mask, and what a masterpiece of a movie to pair it with.