Although not the first slasher in the history of cinema by any means, John Carpenter’s 1978 cult classic Halloween was probably the one that popularised the genre and solidified the idea in the popular consciousness. Chronicling the predatory terror of a serial killer named Michael Myers, the unprecedented success of Halloween would contribute to the consequent wave of slasher films like Friday the 13th and Scream.
In an interview with NME this year, Carpenter compared Donald Trump to the horror of Michael Myers: “Those of us who don’t believe in what he believes in, we’ve been living in a real-life horror movie for the past four years. But now he’s gone. The horror has been lifted for now. It may come back, you know how monsters are, they do come back sometimes. But for no,w it’s a nice day.”
He also admitted that he enjoys being associated with that one film: “I love it, and I’m still loving it. Are you kidding me? Being the ‘Halloween guy‘ gave me a career in movies. And even now I’m working on the new Halloween movies that are being released by David Gordon Green. I’m as happy as a pig in shit. Halloween gave me everything. It’s great. I get to be John Carpenter.”
A crucial reason why the figure of Michael Myers became an iconic presence in popular culture is his impenetrable appearance, clad in a mask that betrays no emotion. As it turns out, the famous fashion accessory was based on the face of a legendary actor or rather, the character played by the aforementioned star in a very popular series.
According to Halloween’s production team, the Michael Myers mask was fashioned after Captain Kirk, the Star Trek character played by none other than William Shatner. Due to pressing budgetary restrictions, making a custom mask was impossible. The production designer Tommy Lee Wallace bought a Captain Kirk mask for $1.98 instead and made the necessary modifications.
Carpenter later revealed how the entire thing was done, stating that Wallace “widened the eye holes and spray-painted the flesh a bluish white. In the script it said Michael Myers’s mask had ‘the pale features of a human face’ and it truly was spooky looking. I can only imagine the result if they hadn’t painted the mask white. Children would be checking their closet for William Shatner after Tommy got through with it.”