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William Shatner Explains Why Being the Face of Halloween’s Michael Myers Doesn’t Earn Him Anything


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Summary

  • The mask used by Michael Myers in the Halloween franchise, which is synonymous with the character, was originally a Captain Kirk mask from Star Trek. William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk, does not receive royalties from its use.
  • The mask was originally made from a mold of Shatner’s face for the Star Trek makeup department to apply appliances and alter his appearance. It was later found and used for the Halloween movie by the director.
  • Despite never actually appearing in the Halloween franchise, Shatner’s face has become an iconic part of the horror series.


William Shatner playing the role of Michael Myers is not something you will find on the actor’s resume, but in a way, the Star Trek legend has been playing the Haddonfield killer since his first appearance back in 1978’s Halloween. As everyone knows by now, the mask used by Michael in the franchise, which has become so synonymous with the character that it has never changed across many sequels and reboots, was originally just a regular Captain Kirk mask from a costume shop, but does the likeness to Shatner mean he is in line for any royalties from the horror saga? The simple answer is no.

Shatner himself clarified the origins and his lack of financial gain from the mask in an interview with ComicBook.com‘s Chris Killian. When asked whether he had seen any royalties for the use of his face in John Carpenter’s movie, he replied:

“No, no, no. That mask was made on my face to allow the makeup people at Star Trek to use it to apply appliances, beards, and mustaches and pieces of plastic that altered my appearance. They used that instead of using me, who didn’t have the time to do that.

So at one point they didn’t, the [Star Trek] series was canceled and I don’t know what happened to the mask. Somebody found it and then it ended up in a Halloween thing [costume shop], and then my understanding of the story is the director of Halloween said, ‘Go get a mask,’ and somebody grabbed that mask. It’s all inadvertent, as far as I know.”

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William Shatner’s Unique Place as a Horror Icon was All Circumstantial

Captain Kirk
Paramount Pictures

The transformation of an unassuming Shatner mask into the chilling visage of Michael Myers is something that would probably not happen in mainstream movie making. However, John Carpenter’s Halloween was made on an incredibly small budget, and that meant the movie relied on making what it could from as little as possible.

Halloween’s production designer, Tommy Lee Wallace, was responsible for purchasing the Captain Kirk mask from a Hollywood Boulevard costume shop. He then altered it by widening the face and eye-holes and painting it white, aiming to create a humorless, faceless figure that blurred the lines between human and inhuman.

Although the move could have condemned the film to future ridicule, as many such budget-conscious productions do, the impact of the simple creation, combined with Carpenter’s ability to frame a shot, became so iconic that it has never been changed in any subsequent movie. Although each Halloween sequel, and its reboots, have seen the mask of Michael Myers undergo some small cosmetic tweaks, the essence of the Shatner mask has remained constant.

Although other movies have attempted to cash-in on the “monster in a mask” trend, especially in crowdfunded and independent movies, there are very few that have managed to achieve so much from so little as Halloween. For Shatner, it also gives him a unique place in history as the lead in a near-50-year-old horror franchise without having ever actually appeared in it.

Currently, the Halloween franchise does not have a fixed streaming home, but various movies can be found across Fubo, Prime Video and Peacock.

Halloween

Halloween (1978)

Release Date
October 27, 1978

Runtime
1hr 31min

Studio
Compass International Pictures, Falcon International Pictures, Falcon International Productions

Tagline
The Night he came home

Franchise
Halloween

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