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December 16, 2010

FMWL's 12 Midnights of Christmas: 10 Unmasked Michaels

In the realm of The Mike, it wouldn't be Christmas without Halloween.  In fact, my first experience with John Carpenter's Halloween occurred on a sunny Christmas morning after my sister gave me the 20th Anniversary Widescreen VHS Edition of the film.  From that day forward it has been my favorite horror film, and the next year for Christmas I hauled in copies of Halloween 2, 3, & 5.  Michael took over the holiday for a teenage The Mike, and hasn't left his mind since.

So, I thought this would be a fitting time to look at the folks behind the masks of Michael Myers, and travel down memory lane with the good, the bad, and the Zombie of the Halloween series.  Cue the music!
Ahem...sorry, it appears that is not the music I was looking for.  Let's just proceed, shall we?

FMWL's 12 Midnights of Christmas presents: 10 Unmasked Michaels
By The Mike

Nick Castle as The Shape in Halloween

He would go on to direct such films as The Last Starfighter and The Boy Who Could Fly (both personal '80s faves), as well as '90s comedies Dennis the Menace and Major Payne, but most horror fans know Nick Castle as a cohort of John Carpenter who was credited as "The Shape" in the original Halloween.  Castle was only on set to watch the film's production as a friend before Carpenter decided he should portray Michael, and made $25 a day on the film.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Tony Moran as Michael (age 23) in Halloween

Apparently Castle wasn't Michael enough to be seen when the mask comes off in the final scenes of the first film, and actor Tony Moran filled the role in this scene.  The older brother of Happy Days and Galaxy of Terror co-star Erin Moran, Tony was presumably cast as the older Michael because of how "normal" looking he would seem when the mask came off.  He has few other credits to his name.

Will Sandin as Michael (age 6) in Halloween

The first Michael Myers to put on a mask was young Will Sandin.  Going on 9 years old as the film was shot, young Sandin was umasked by his uncredited father and shown just after killing poor Judith Myers in the opening scene.  This was the only acting credit for young Sandin, who still hits the festival scene as the youngest Myers on record.  (BTW, 15 years pass between Sandin's Myers (1963) and Moran's Myers (1978)...even though their credited ages are 17 years apart.  Oops!)

(Also of note: Sandin would be replaced by another young actor, Adam Gunn, in flashbacks during Halloween II.  Gunn was nominated for a Young Artist Award in the same year for the TV special Fallen Angel, but would never act again after playing Michael.  Some footage of Gunn would be edited into the TV version of Carpenter's original film.)

Dick Warlock as The Shape/Patrolman #3 in Halloween II

The most accomplished person to portray Michael is probably Halloween II's Dick Warlock, a stuntman who has worked on over 110 films, including Spider-Man, The Thing, Jaws, Commando, Spaceballs (in which he played the "Vulcan Neck Pinch Guard"), and (a personal favorite) Midnight Run.  Warlock received severe burns while shooting Michael's final scene - which required walking while on fire - yet returned to the series in Halloween III as the assassin who takes out the film's initial victim.  

When I was a teenage Halloween fan, I actually traded emails with Mr. Warlock while he was having some medical issues, thanks to the young internet and the great site which kept me up to date on Halloween H20 casting news.  More on that film later...

George P. Wilbur as Michael Myers in Halloween 4 & Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers

I just called Dick Warlock the most accomplished person to play Myers, but George P. Wilbur has a 110+ film career as a stuntman up his sleeves too, AND he's the only actor to portray the REAL Michael Myers twice (P.S. - Go poop in the desert, Rob Zombie!).  Wilbur did stunt work on such films as The Poseidon Adventure, Die Hard, The Silence of the Lambs, Poltergeist, Ghost Busters, Spider-Man, and even THE 'BURBS in his career.  It's kind of sad that someone who worked on a best picture winner was back to work as Michael 8 years and one film removed from his first foray into Myers' head, but clearly that means that the mask really does hold some kind of power.  Right?

Don Shanks as Michael Myers/The Man in Black in Halloween 5

I despise Halloween 5 more than almost any movie ever.  That's mostly because Tina Williams, as played by Wendy Kaplan, IS THE FREAKING ANTICHRIST INCARNATE.  I can not emphasize this enough.  Anyway, Shanks is best known to Halloween fans as the thickest version of Michael Myers...despite the fact he'd spent a year unconscious in a shack with a hobo and a parrot.  I suppose I should talk more about Shanks, who's done stunts on things like Firestarter 2, Urban Legend 3, I STILL Know What You Did Last Summer, Bats, and Dumb and Dumber (Hey, a good one!), but mostly I'd just like to say that Halloween 5 sucks and Tina Williams can rot in neon hell.  (I still watch it about once a year, however.  Damn that mask!)

Chris Durand as Michael Myers in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later

Too skinny and too tall to play Myers properly, Chris Durand did the right thing and decided to not watch any of the previous Halloween films before playing Michael Myers.  Oh wait, THAT'S BAD.  Seriously, Durand had to be the worst Myers, and we knew it as soon as he twirled a knife like a baton in the opening scene.  Sad, because this is actually one of the more tolerable sequels - it's just that Durand was a stupid Michael and not even the great LL Cool J could carry him.  (Note from The Mike: Since I mentioned LL, I'm contractually obliged to mention his hit song from Deep Blue Sea - and I quote  - "Deepest, bluest, my head is like a shark's fin."  I don't know what it means, but I know that it holds all the answers society needs.)

Brad Loree as Michael Myers in Halloween: Resurrection

I got this one for Christmas too...because I sure as heck weren't paying for it! 

Anyway, Brad Loree is kinda funny looking as Michael, but the whole movie is funny looking.  We've got Busta Rhymes busting, we've got Tyra Banks before she became legit, and we've got Katee Sackhoff sucking the life out of everything around her.  I think we've got one of those kids from American Pie, too.  And, at this point, I kinda wish I'd talked about 10 hot chicks from Halloween movies, because the main lady fella here was quite fetching.  Oh, we're talking about Brad Loree?  Sorry, this series does bad things to brain cells as it goes on.  Brad Loree has done stunt work on awesome stuff like X2 and Watchmen, despite the fact he still looks funny to me.

Tyler Mane as Michael Myers in Halloween (2007) & Halloween II (2009)

Ugh.  And it's come to this.  "Former Professional Wrestler" Tyler Mane as Michael Myers in Rob Zombie's Halloween.  Here's the thing, Ty.  I've watched far, far, far, FAR too much wrestling in my life.  I was one of the few who even supported WCW over WWF at the wrong times...and I still never heard of you until you were The Cowardly Lion in X-Men.  It's told that you teamed with Kevin Nash, but I missed that.  So I still don't trust you.  Especially not as my beloved Michael.

The Coup-de-Villes as The Shape in Halloween?

It's been said that Carpenter and Tommy Lee Wallace (who would later direct Halloween III, Stephen King's It, and Vampires: Los Muertos - a DTV sequel to Carpenter's Vampires that starred Jon Bon Freakin' Jovi!) filled in at times as Michael during the first film.  Now, I can talk about them, or I can talk about that stupid blonde kid who was the worst part of the Zombie directed remakes and is hopefully having a painful puberty about now.  The choice is easy, here's Carpenter, Wallace and Castle as The Coup-De-Villes singing Big Trouble in Little China.  Happy Halloween at Christmas, Midnight Warriors!


Fred [The Wolf] said...

Great post! Yeah, I pretty much knew all this info but I'm sure a lot of people don't. And I'm glad I'm not the only one who hates HALLOWEEN 5 with a passion. That Tina bitch is the worst horror movie character EVER!

Jinx said...

I loved that post too. Also, I live my life by the teachings of LL Cool J.

Malice said...

Awesome post! I always wondered what happened to Will Sandin.

Anonymous said...

Well, I may had known the names of who played Mickey, but I never knew what they looked like, great post! I loved it!
Dreaded Dreams
Petunia Scareum

Liam Underwood said...

Awesome post. Whilst I'm a fan of the series, I never knew the faces behind the mask.

Although the one thing I am taking away from reading this is a real hankering to watch Deep Blue Sea.

The Mike said...

Thanks all! I had a lot of fun putting this one together, though it did take a shift in tone when I wrote the first 4 before going to work and the rest after I got home late at night.....

And glad to see the words of LL Cool J ring true for others. They speak from the deepest, bluest place known to the human soul.

Box Office Boredom said...

Thanks for the LL Cool J fun. I'm glad you didn't overlook Busta Rhymes!

I learned some new stuff about Halloween. Good work Mikey!

Andy for the record- The Mike speaks the truth. Katee Sackhoff sucks the life out of everything.

James Van Fleet said...

I will ignore the Sackhoff hate and thank you for closing with that non sequitur of a video. So gloriously eighties.

Dkole said...

Y u so negative about all the played M.M?..I think some of them did a great job....especially "the little blond boy" off R.Zombie remake