Halloween is fast approaching. While many horror fans will be discovering new releases this October, many others will be turning to the old standards. The original Halloween and its sequels are traditional viewings for most horror fans this month, and the iconic mask of Michael Myers is a staple of the season.
Of course, Michael’s mask underwent many changes throughout the series, some of which were simply hideous. Let’s look back at some of the best and worst incarnations of Michael’s famous visage.
9. Halloween 5
Oh my. Where to start with this one? Having the neck of the mask outside the overalls just makes this look silly. They have the basic idea of the mask in this movie but there is almost no texture to it and it resembles a very bad dollar-store knockoff. The hair fits with the time period, with it’s 80s rock look, so there’s that. What makes this one worse is that it’s supposed to be the same mask from Halloween 4 but it looks absolutely nothing like that one. Speaking of Halloween 4…
8. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
It’s a bit unfair to criticize this mask too harshly, as obviously it couldn’t possibly be the exact same mask from the first two films. Still, this version of Michael’s mask took the idea of a “blank, pale, emotionless” face way too far. Almost all texture has been stripped away and it has been left almost featureless. The hair is also slicked back mobster-style and the mask is so weak it wrinkles and bends all over the place. Even worse, there is a scene in Halloween 4 where the mask has yellow hair! It’s like the ghost of Ben Tramer decided to pop in for a quick scare.
7. Halloween Resurrection
Everything about Halloween Resurrection is pretty ridiculous and the mask is no exception. They were definitely trying to capture the features of the original mask but they wound up with too much definition. It almost looks like Michael is wearing his original mask but decided to get pretty and put on eye-liner, drawn-on eyebrows, and some tinting around his cheekbones. And why does it look like he has jowls? Busta Rhymes should have karate-kicked this thing right off.
6. Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2
The mask from Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake is a pretty scary, realistic take on the original. Unfortunately, the deteriorated version seen in his film’s sequel was just a bit too much. It’s so grimy and shredded we can see Michael’s hobo beard, and in parts of the movie we can see almost half of his face. Part of the mystique of Michael Myers is the fact we can’t see what’s behind his mask, and this one exposed just a bit too much humanity.
5. Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers
This mask was actually much more faithful to the appearance of the original mask than the previous two films in the series. Unfortunately, the big 80s-style hair remains and the whole thing just looks a little too big. There are some weird forehead bulges and it also looks a bit too gray. Still, this one was a step in the right direction, even if the movie it appeared in was the worst in the series.
4. Halloween H20
I had trouble figuring out where to rank H2O because there are actually four masks used in this movie: a recast of the mask used in Halloween 6, a new mask made by KNB FX, a Stan Winston mask used for re-shoots, and a CGI mask. This movie could have been ranked last due to the awful KNB and CGI masks, but most of the movie features Stan Winston’s version. Winston’s mask is a solid homage to the original, and being able to see Michael’s eyes in this version adds a nice touch not seen in other versions.
3. Rob Zombie’s Halloween
Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake is divisive, but he injected a gritty realism into the series that extended all the way down to Michael’s mask. The mask seen early in the film is a very faithful version of the original mask. However, it’s the dirty, damaged version of the mask used by adult Michael that made this version particularly terrifying. The only thing holding this one back is that it looked absolutely ridiculous on the child version of Michael.
2. Halloween II
This movie took place the same night as the original, but oddly enough the mask looks quite different. Interestingly, the mask used in this movie is actually the same one used in Halloween. There are several reasons for the different appearance. First, Nick Castle (who portrayed The Shape in Halloween) would keep the mask in his pocket when not filming. Also, the mask flattened and yellowed from being kept under Debra Hill’s bed in between the two films (Hill was a heavy smoker). Dick Warlock, who is stockier than Nick Castle, portrayed Michael in Halloween 2, which also accounts for its wider look. The hair was spray-painted red, which resulted in a more “ginger” appearance. Still, the mask is extremely creepy, especially in its “bleeding eyes” form after Michael is shot in the eyes.
1. John Carpenter’s Halloween
You can’t beat an original. This is an obvious choice, but really, how can you beat one of the most iconic masks in horror history? Along with Jason’s hockey mask and Freddy’s glove, this mask is one of the first images that pops into anyone’s head when you think of horror legends. Who would have thought that spray-painting a William Shatner mask, tearing off the eyebrows and sideburns, and widening the eyeholes a tad would create something so timelessly chilling? No other version of this mask conveyed Michael’s lack of humanity quite like this one. Truly scary.