Following the release of Halloween Kills, William Shatner has opened up about how he indirectly became the “face” of the popular horror franchise. Back in the late 1970s, budding filmmakers John Carpenter and Debra Hill were working on the original Halloween, unaware at the time of just how successful the movie series would become. Many Halloween fans may know that the original Michael Myers mask was made using a Star Trek mask of Captain Kirk to save on production costs.
Production designer Tommy Lee Wallace altered the mask by widening the eyes, painting it white, removing the eyebrows, and darkening the hair. It made the William Shatner mask much less recognizable, though it’s hard to unsee his face in the mask once you know. From his point of view, Shatner remembers being stunned when he first heard about the story, as told in a new interview with Jake’s Takes on YouTube. As Shatner explains:
“I thought, ‘Is that a joke? Are they kidding?’ I don’t think I saw the movie, but I saw the mask, probably in a picture, and I recognized it as the death mask that they had made for me. They made a mask of my face on Star Trek out of clay so that I would not have to be available for the prosthetics they would have to put on my face to look old, or evil, or whatever it was they were making me look like. So, that mask has existed in Star Trek, so somewhere along the line, somebody got that mask and made a mask of it for Halloween. And the story is, ‘Get me a mask,’ said the director, so the guy ran into this Halloween store and grabbed this mask, and it happened to be of me.”
In Netflix’s The Movies That Made Us, Tommy Lee Wallace also opened up about the Michael Myers mask creation. He says he picked the Captain Kirk mask as it was simply the creepiest one that was available, though it very well could have been Leonard Nimoy’s face as Michael Myers if the Kirk masks were sold out. Wallace said, “Up on the shelves were these full face masks of Richard Nixon, and down at the end was Mr. Spock. And right next to it was this blank face Captain Kirk.”
Having the right mask was part of a perfect storm that helped make that first Halloween one of the most popular and successful horror movies of all time. In each of the sequels, the mask would go through many different iterations, but that original mask remains a favorite for many fans. And it’s all thanks in part to Shatner, who had no idea at all until after the fact.
William Shatner, now 90 years old, has just recently become the oldest person to travel to space. Earlier this month, he hopped aboard the Blue Origin NS-18 with the company’s founder Jeff Bezos personally closing the hatch. Upon his return to Earth, Shatner was very emotional as he regaled the experience, saying of the flight, “I’m so filled with emotion about what just happened. It’s extraordinary, extraordinary. I hope I can maintain what I feel now. I don’t want to lose it. It’s so much larger than me and life.”
Halloween Kills is currently playing in movie theaters and streaming on Peacock. The interview with William Shatner comes from Jake’s Takes on YouTube.