Friends, when it comes to horror icons from the late ’70s and throughout the ’80s – there are five that stand out for me personally. Leatherface from Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Friday the 13th‘s Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger of A Nightmare on Elm Street, My Bloody Valentine‘s Harry Warden aka The Miner, and of course The Shape or Michael Myers of Halloween. It is that last icon that I believe is the most memorable, thanks to the direction of John Carpenter on the first Halloween in ’78 and then Tommy Lee Wallace who helmed Halloween II three years later. With kudos to the acting of Nick Castle, Wallace, Tony Moran, as well as Dick Warlock who all had a chance to don the white mask of The Shape in the first two films – helping to craft Michael Myers into a soulless and unemotional engine of death to those unfortunate enough to cross his path.
Very few films live up to the title of masterpiece but I wholly believe that John Carpenter’s Halloween deserves that level of praise. While it might be true that Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho could be a candidate for the first slasher – or the late and great Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre in ’74… I think that it is more than fair to say it was Halloween that actually created the genre as we know and love it today. At the very least it paved the way for the popular and mostly profitable slasher franchises that followed – I say mostly as My Bloody Valentine sadly didn’t find the audience it needed when it was originally released.
Of course one of the reasons that Michael Myers is still a horror icon today is thanks to that memorable and expressionless white mask he sports. I doubt there is anyone who isn’t aware that it began in fact as a William Shatner Star Trek mask – but did you know it was made from a cast of the actor from the cult 1975 film The Devil’s Rain?
To get to the point of this article, earlier today Sean Clark (Horror’s Hallowed Grounds, Collection Complete) uploaded this wonderful video – which was originally filmed in 2014 and intended to be included as part of the Halloween complete collection box set. Joining Clark in the video is none other than Tommy Lee Wallace who demonstrates how they originally took a William Shatner mask and crafted it into a universally recognizable icon of terror!
One of these days on the Saturday Frights podcast I will share the memory of how I obtained a costume for The Shape and terrified a co-worker with it. In closing I want to give a huge thank you to Rockford Jay for not only giving me the heads up on the video in the first place – but for all of his help in keeping the Saturday Frights Facebook page going strong.