Topic: Halloween: The Many Faces of Michael Myers, Part 6
Halloween H20 - Twenty Years Later (1998)
1. The Buechler Mask.
In an effort to stay consistent from one film to the next (finally!) FX artist John Carl Buechler was brought in with a copy of the mask worn by George Wilbur in Halloween 6, cast from the original H6 mold. Very little changes were made aside from a somewhat brighter paint job. The mask was used in the opening sequence featuring The Shape stalking Nurse Chambers, when director Steve Miner suddenly decided he didn't like the look of it. But the sequence was apparently forgotten about during the film's extensive re-shoots, so the mask, and the first of several inconsistencies, is on full display in the opening ten minutes of the film.
2. The KNB mask.
For the new mask, Miner had the boys at KNB FX create one which fit Miner's own vision of what The Shape should look like. The face is less detailed and sleeker, with larger eye-holes, "flaired" nostrils and a more restrained wig. But this time it was star Jamie Lee Curtis who had a problem with the mask, a sentiment echoed by an executive who during a screening of dailies stood up and proclaimed, "That doesn't look like Michael Myers." However by this point a large percentage of the film had already been shot. The mask was featured prominently in the original theatrical trailer (most notably the shot of The Shape looking at Lori through the circular window) and can be seen in numerous wide shots in the film, as well as during the scene where The Shape attempts to break through the gate to get to Josh Hartnett and Michelle Williams, and when Jamie Lee Curtis impales The Shape with a flagpole during the climactic showdown.
3. The Winston mask.
Finally, master FX artist Stan Winston was brought in to construct a happy medium that would please Curtis, Miner and Dimension. But even this mask has its glitches, most notably the fact that unlike previous Shape masks, there's no black gauze to hide the actor's eyes. And because of the cut of the eye-holes, they often leave the actor portraying him looking cross-eyed, a fact most humorously noticeable during the sequence where Jamie Lee Curtis knees The Shape in the misters. This is the mask which is seen the most throughout the film, and was used during all the re-shoots.
4. The infamous CGI mask
During re-shoots with the Winston mask, the production was unable to secure the original location where this particular scene was shot (when The Shape kills Charlie in the kitchen), so rather than dump it altogether, a digital artist was tasked to paint a new face over the footage of the KNB mask originally used in the scene in an effort to make it more closely resemble the Winston mask. But does that look like anything like the Winston mask to you? Anything at all? Of course it doesn't! It looks like a really shitty, unconvincing CGI job! Which begs the question, why did they leave it in? Beats the hell out of me, but I stopped trying to rationalize Hollywood a long time ago.
Like most of the Shapes before him, Durand was a stunt man. But unlike most of the Shapes before him, Durand came in to meet with the producers having been personally referred by star (and primary driving force behind H20) Jamie Lee Curtis. According to Durand himself, what it came down to was the production team asking themselves which of the potential Shape players they'd like to hang out with for the next few months, so it was his personality which sold them more than anything. Durand is still active in the industry and has appeared on numerous Halloween convention panels, usually gushing with love and appreciation for Curtis.
Other characters who wore the mask:
Okay, so, the character whose head is in the mask didn't exist until the next film. But, you don't see him. You don't hear his voice. No actor plays him. Originally, of course, that is Michael Myers' head, lopped off by Lori Strode at the end of the film. In the very next film, however, it's explained that it actually was not Michael she killed in H20, but a paramedic Michael slips the mask onto before making his escape. How's that for dumb luck? Michael managed to find an EMT who arrived at the scene who matched his exact height, weight, eye color, mannerisms and hand shape, duct taped his mouth, put the mask on, zipped him up in a body bag and threw him into the back of the van Lori Strode would steal moments later and make his escape, without anyone at the scene having noticed. C'mon, now. Mikey's good, but he ain't THAT good.
At any rate, thanks to money-grubbin' Halloween rights holder Moustapha Akkad (RIP and all that) the decapitated head in the mask was ret-conned to be a paramedic to justify the film which came after this, thus adding in hindsight yet another character in series history to have worn the mask besides Michael Myers.
And so we come to the conclusion of part 6. Up next: the cinematic equivalent of a slap in the face.