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The Men Behind the Michael Myers Mask

Myers Mask

The Many Faces Behind The Killer of Halloween

Halloween is almost here, and with it comes the third and (maybe) final installment in David Gordon Green’s hit sequel trilogy. Michael Myers has been carving up the screen for over forty years now, and for the first time, it seems his story with Laurie Strode may be coming to a definitive conclusion. After the events of Halloween Kills, Laurie has been leading a normal life free of fear and danger, while Michael has been missing ever since his huge massacre upon returning to his hometown of Haddonfield. But despite four years of peace, Laurie knows deep down that she isn’t yet done with Michael, who returns to action with his sights set on a new victim. In Halloween Ends, the saga between Laurie and Michael finally comes to an end, but who will be left standing?

As fans flock to theaters to see the brand-new Halloween film, it’s a good time to look back at the actors of Halloween past to have donned the iconic William Shatner face. There have been 12 films from 1978 to 2022 and ten actors have worn the mask. Some have cemented their names in horror history, while others preferred to be forgotten (Halloween Resurrection anyone?). Take a look at each man who held the butcher’s knife and the other films they have worked on over time in celebration of the epic conclusion of one of horrors longest-running rivalries.

Nick Castle – Halloween (1978 & 2018)

The first man to don the iconic mask and jumpsuit of Michael Myers was Nick Castle, a longtime friend and collaborator with director John Carpenter. Being of short stature, Castle’s portrayal of Michael Myers may have been the most human out of every other that came after him because, by all appearances, he was just a crazy man in a mask. Standing in the distance and simply staring, it was easy to feel put off by the figure first known as The Shape. He was never far, and he was always lying in wait. Who wouldn’t feel nervous looking out their window to see someone looking up at them? What’s more, Castle played Michael as a sort of specter who could be anywhere and everywhere, appearing from the darkness to mercilessly strike down his victims. Castle’s portrayal was simple, but it left a lasting impact on the horror genre as a whole that still holds up today. He donned the iconic mask of Michael Myers in 2018, but only for a single scene in which the killer is finally reunited with Laurie Strode in 2018’s Halloween. While even though Nick castle only played Michael Myers the one time in the famous 70’s film, his name will live forever not only in his work behind the scenes but for his part in bringing a horror icon to life for the very first time

Tony Moran – Halloween 1978

For those who are confused by this entry, most don’t know about this man because he only had one scene in the film as the face of Michael Myers, literally. Near the film’s climax when Laurie is struggling against Michael, she manages to temporarily stun the killer by removing his mask to unveil a man in his 20s with a disfigured eye. The man who portrayed Myers in this scene was Tony Moran. For anyone who doesn’t recognize the name, that’s due to the actor’s own choice to retire from acting shortly after Halloween’s release. He had a few guest appearances afterward during the early 1980s but soon called it a day on his acting career. He did return to the profession in 2008 for the short film “The Lucky Break” and a few other roles, but nothing notable.

Dick Warlock – Halloween II

As the second official man to play Michael Myers in an official capacity, Dick Warlock took over from Nick Castle after he had begun his career as a director. Being of similar build, the stunt coordinator was an ideal choice to carry the mantle into the era the eponymous character would largely become known. Gone were the days of Myers silently stalking his victims as a spectral assailant. Warlock ushered in a new Michael that was far more of a direct and unstoppable force akin to Jason Voorhees, killing his victims in more bloody and creative ways, much like the slashers of the time. This would become the interpretation that fans would become most familiar with moving forward through the franchise and the one that still largely dominates now. Apparently, when one has seen the face of evil, it only becomes stronger and more dangerous over time.

George P. Wilbur – Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers & Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers

As the third man to play Michael Myers, Wilbur was the man behind the mask for a brand-new chapter set chronologically after Halloween 2. Halloween 4 arguably saw Michael at his peak, tearing through anyone who got in his way in the pursuit of his infant niece. Wilbur is a decorated stuntman in Hollywood and has doubled for many notable names in the film industry, the most notably John Wayne. Wilbur would sit out for Halloween 5 as he had lost interest in playing the character after being made to wear pads to appear bigger. Wilbur would be a part of the film only in a small capacity by assisting with stunts. However, he would re-don the mask of The Shape for the sixth installment, Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers, where he closed out the Jamie Llyod saga that he helped to start years prior.

Don Shanks – Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers

Like most people who played Michael, Shanks was a stuntman and an actor who had played in other films before and after. He had minor roles in multiple other horror films as well. He also played the hook-wielding killer Ben Willis in I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer, making it the second big horror franchise in which he’s appeared. Shanks was chosen to play Michael in the fifth installment mainly because of his larger size. Unlike George P. Wilbur, Shanks didn’t require pads under the jumpsuit because he already had a naturally larger and more menacing size. If only they could have done something about the awkward mask he was made to wear.

Myers Mask

Chris Durand – Halloween H20: 20 Years Later

1998 marked the 20th anniversary of the first Halloween film, and with it came the 20-year reunion between Michael Myers and his first target, Laurie Strode. By this time, Laurie is living a peaceful life as a university professor and raising her teenage son. But the specter of Michael never stopped haunting her, as she still deals with the psychological impact of the murders he committed two decades prior. The movie features an epic showdown between the two that, at the time, gave fans the most definitive conclusion to their story. Unfortunately, money and greed saw Michael return for a negatively reviewed sequel. For this film, Chris Durand donned the mask a bit differently than all those who had come before. It appeared a bit too tight and clung to Durand’s face so much so, that his neck and eyes were visible. The look was met with polarizing reception, as was the film, but it has since become a cult classic and a favorite amongst fans. Durand may be most notable for this role, but he can be seen in other notable projects, as well as a stunt performer for both Marvel and in the hit HBO series Westworld.

Brad Loree – Halloween Resurrection

As the seventh man to wear the mask, Brad Loree had the misfortune to star in what was arguably the franchise’s worst film. Set almost entirely in Michael Myers’s childhood home, Michael spends the movie stalking unwitting reality TV show contestants through his home following his return. This film new characters to the mythology, but most were unlikeable and bland. Worst of all, Halloween Resurrection saw Michael fight Busta Rhymes of all people and lose. It wasn’t Michael’s finest hour by a long shot, and the picture failed to produce a sequel, proving that this story thread should have ended with H20. None of this was Loree’s fault, however. Despite the film’s poor reception, he continued to find steady work afterward. He’s been featured in episodes of Supernatural and Arrow and holds almost 100 stunt credits to his name for movies like Tron: Legacy, Cabin in the Woods, and work in the X-Men franchise.

Tyler Mane – Halloween 2007 & Halloween 2 2009

Mane is a franchise player and the biggest man to play Michael Myers to date. The former wrestler-turned-actor took on the mask in Rob Zombie’s interpretation of the classic film in 2007, where he was a literal beast, towering over most that he came across and striking down his victims with a ferociousness not seen in previous installments. Mane only got more vicious in the sequel, but the film saw largely negative reviews due to its more gothic story that made it feel less like a Halloween film and more like a crude horror that happened to have Myers in it. Fans may recognize Mane for his work in another popular franchise, X-Men, where he played Sabretooth. He had a role in 2004s Troy where he played the massive warrior Ajax the Great, and more recently, he played the character Blackstar in the Netflix series Jupiter’s Legacy. While Mane’s Halloween films may have been polarizing to some, there is a legion of fans who celebrate the movie in all its infamy, and it wouldn’t have been as memorable without the beast that is Tyler mane.

Airon Armstrong – Halloween Kills

Halloween Kills features an interesting flashback to the original 1978 classic that depicts events after Michael was shot off a balcony by Doctor Loomis. In these events we see Michael making his escape back to his childhood home, where he soon gets into a scuffle with local police. This younger version of the killer was played by Airon Armstrong. The actor has spent most of his career playing guest roles, so this is perhaps his most significant role to date. His resume consists of over 100 stunt credits and bit parts in shows like Elementary, Person of Interest, Gotham, and Marvel properties such as Loki, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist. It remains to be seen if he will have another appearance in Halloween Ends, but it would be a delight to see him as Michael again and bring back that ’70s nostalgia.

James Jude Courtney – Halloween 2018, Halloween Kills, Halloween Ends

And here’s the man fans are seeing behind the mask now. James Jude Courtney took over the role from Nick Castle and was chosen not only for his stunt work but also for his acting ability. Courtney was given the huge task of adapting Michael from the first film and demonstrating his evolution from over 40 years, but he did so with grace and fluency that was true to who the character is. In preparation for the role, Courtney studied cats to learn their mannerisms and hunting techniques to apply them to the character and capture the spectral aspects that made him famous, believing cats to be the best hunters. Indeed, it’s not hard to see the comparison or the similarities between the character and the creatures. Courtney will be finishing his work as Michael with Halloween Ends, which hit theaters on October 14th. However, there are rumblings that there may be future Halloween films despite the events of the new release. Could fans be seeing Courtney as the killer again soon, or are these claims only rumors?

Halloween Ends (2022) Official Universal Pictures Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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