Saturday, October 22, 2005

 

Will the Real Michael Myers Please Stand Up...

Four days ago, I listed Halloween as the best horror film ever made. (see Movies on My Mind: 10/18/05, "The Ten Best Horror Movies of All Time") Then, I remembered director John Carpenter once saying, in a magazine interview, how many people it actually took to bring The Shape, Michael Myers to life in that film. Nick Castle is generally though of as the actor who played The Shape, but when we first meet Michael, on his way to killing his sister on Halloween night, we are forced to see the world through his eyes, as the camera follows the action from behind the mask of Michael's Halloween clown costume. Michael's hand that we see reaching for a large knife from the kitchen drawer, is actually the hand of the film's co-writer and producer (the late) Debra Hill. Outside the Myers' house moments after the murder, when Michael's father removes the clown mask, the six-year-old Michael is played by child actor Will Sandin. For most of the film, it's Castle behind the mask, except for the scene in which Laurie Strode hides in a closet and Michael attacks. For that scene, the film's production designer (and co-editor), Tommy Lee Wallace (who, like Castle, would go on the direct feature films of his own) donned the mask to play The Shape, since he knew the best way to destroy the door. When Michael's mask is pulled off near the end of the film, it's not Castle's face we see but rather actor Tony Moran. When The Shape is finally forced backwards off a second-story balcony by gunshots from Dr. Loomis (the late Great Donald Pleasence), it's stunt man Jim Windburn wearing the mask. In the end, six performers collaborated to play one bogeyman.

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