Michael Myers Mishap – The Ever-Changing Halloween H20 Mask
Outside of a Pro Wrestling career, or being Leatherface, there is little justification for owning any more than one or two masks (which you might have hidden away in cupboard for Halloween). Even our heavy hitters of horror stick with a singular look per film, not out of any fashion parlance, but just because it’s polite not to break the audiences suspension of disbelief. Switching your looks throughout the film is a trick reserved purely for Joel Schumacher Batman movie villains. And yet, there is one film in which this fine line of mask manipulation is crossed and it deserves it’s day in court. We are, of course, talking about the timeline busting stain of the Halloween movies, Halloween H20, which saw our favorite creepy uncle, Michael Myers, go through some dramatic changes throughout the film, thanks to at least four different mask making an appearance throughout production.
There were at least four different masks designs used in various scenes and stages of production.
Our tale of terrible decision started shortly after the Curse of Michael Myers was released in 1995, with Dimension Film executives deciding to move the action out of Haddonfield for a sequel that would reunite Myers with his supposedly dead sister. Production went through various scripts and ideas until the film was ready for Halloweens 20th anniversary deadline. The final script ignored the events of Halloween 3- 6 and instead continued the plot of Laurie Strode.
The original script was a direct sequel to The Curse of Michael Myers.
For whatever reason, maybe because the original film was going to be a direct sequel to Halloween 6, Michael Myers mask was created from a mold of Curse (Halloween 6), and it was this version that was used when shooting started. It was quickly decided to change this design and a new mask was rustled up by the wizards at KNB FX, who created a weird alien looking thing with huge big eye holes. It was this KNB mask that was used throughout principle photography and the one that appeared in the films trailer.
Theatrical version vs the trailer.
As production wrapped on the film, director Steve Miner suddenly decided that he was unhappy with the look of the KNB mask. Something was just not right! The original Halloween mask was conceptualized from a mask of Captain Kirk from Star Trek, with the face painted stark white, the hair darkened, and eye holes slightly widened. As the series continued, new mask had to be designed as previous version were just not available, having either been squirreled away by production crews or destroyed after filming had ended. By the time H20 swung around, Myers look was starkly different from his first tender stabs in 1978, and Miner was not a happy about the latest iteration.
Early promotional material showed the original KNB mask.
Not phased by the mammoth task of recapturing almost every shot of Myers, re-shoots were order, with the mask being the primary thing that needed fixing. Production of a new mask went to Stan Winston company who created a skinnier, more textured, version with a wig that looks like it was ripped right off of Chucky’s head . Watching the movie back, you’ll notice that most of Michael shots are close up of his face, whether this is a result of the re-shoots or it was always intended to film it this way, we may never know. But it is possible that the original version included many more scenes with Myers and cast members framed together. That said, there are still shots in the movie, mostly when he’s wildly stabbing at someone, that you can see a different mask sitting on Michael face.
The original KNB mask is still in the film, amongst others.
There was at least one single Michael Myers shot they missed during the re-shoots, when Michael attacks Charlie in the laundry room. Having no option but to “fix it in post”. According to the IMDB records, VFX company OCS/Freeze Frame/Pixel Magic stepped in to fix this issue, dropping in a ghastly looking blue-ish CGI model on top of the KNB mask. With a different shape and colour palate, this moment is extremely jarring, ripping the audience right out of the film. This scene stands as a testament to the terrible decision made with the production design on Myers Mask.
The CGI Mask looks a little flat!
Since the mask is a huge part of what makes Michael Myers scary, continuity is key to keeping the illusion, especially when it comes to his distinctive silhouette. There is also the issue with the eye holes, which were made much wider than any previous versions. Michael’s eyes are usually black voids, but in all the iterations in H20, the holes are large enough to see the actor peeking back at you. Seriously, look back at any of the previous film and you’ll see too black holes where his eyes should be. This change humanizes Myers way too much, and you lose some of the mystique behind him.
The “eyes” have it! H20, Halloween 4 and Halloween.
The most interesting part about this story is how little behind the scenes footage exists. Apart from a couple of brief appearances of the KNB Mask, the closest we can get to seeing the shooting mask clearly is through some images of stunt double mask sold off after the film was released. There are many differences between this one and the theatrical mask created by Stan Winston, but the biggest differences is the shape, colour and hair.
H20 was a major mess up. It wasn’t the script or the acting that brought the film down, it was the mishandling of production design at its most basic Halloween movie level. Get the bloody mask right!
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“Hello Horror Fans – Michael Myers’ mask is his most iconic element, by making such a huge mistake in the design, the film makers made him less terrifying and more goofy. Which Mask is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.