Friday, June 8, 2018

How The Mask From "Halloween" Was (Probably) Painted

While I'm not new to Myers collecting, I'm fairly new to painting. Having done some of my own analysis lately in preparation for getting a 1:1 paint job on my own H1 replica, these are some conclusions I came to about how the H1 hero mask was painted.

Tommy Lee Wallace (production designer) said in an interview he picked up a William Shatner mask from a local costume store, cut out the eyes, stripped the eyebrows and sideburns and painted it white with Krylon appliance paint. Voila! Instant scary mask. Many fans believe the layers of dirt and exposed flesh tone evident by the second film was earned after days of handling and abuse at the hands of actors and filmmakers. You can see Wallace talk about making the mask here:

I think the weight of the evidence shows the mask was never plain white: it was deliberately weathered by an FX artist during production of Halloween in 1978, and essentially retains it's original paint job even today.

The general weathering of the mask did not change between H1 filming (1978) and the time Dick Warlock took possession of the mask after H2 wrapped. The same weathering patterns appears in photos taken many years apart:
Left: 1985 or later. Right: 1978.
Outline of matching weathering patterns.
Even the mouth area has experienced almost no change between 1978 and the 1990's:
1996 vs 1978.

At some point between 1985 and the time the following photo was snapped in 1996, the chin, jawline and neck were repainted, evidently to hide repairs that were made in the throat area. You can see the sloppy repair work to the neck in the photo below:

It looks like a rip occurred on the set of Halloween 2, probably from putting the mask on repeatedly. Check out the throat here in 1981:


This strongly indicates that aside from the repairs to the lower jaw, chin and neck, the mask's current paint job was received during filming of Halloween '78.

Looking at the photo below then, the face is exactly as it looked in 1978. To my eye that cannot be incidental weathering caused by careless handling during production... unless it was handled by a coal miner or a guy who had just changed his oil. It appears too dense and too uniform across the mask. It does however look just like what you can achieve with a small paintbrush, a sponge, and a thin wash of black and purple acrylics, very similar in technique to how many of the Jason masks were painted.
You can further see that slight purple accents were added to make some of the shadows pop above the eye cuts, on the nose, the lips, ears and even traces on the cheeks. While purple may seem like an odd color, it was commonly used by FX pros for accents. For example, at least a couple of different cowls worn by Jason Voorhees actors in F13 part 6 and Jason Goes to Hell were shadowed with purples.
Screen-used Jason Goes to Hell dummy

Collector Billy Kirkus noted on a forum post on Michael-Myers.net that John Carpenter once said the Myers mask had some blue tones in it to prevent the blurring that would have occurred had they attempted to film a pure white mask. He may have been referring to the weathering that you can see here.

So that leads us to the question: who painted it? This looks to me like the work of a professional FX artist, and there were none on the set of Halloween (hence the bloodless kills). That leads me to the only other possible conclusion: the hero mask was painted by Don Post Studios.

This is not to say Wallace was lying. Many fans have surmised that he did indeed discover the Shatner/Captain Kirk mask and modified it to get the look he wanted, but that Don Post Studios was contracted to create some additional copies that would hold up better during filming. I've even heard rumored that DPS has a log book with the names of John Carpenter and Debra Hill that dates to 1978. DPS employees have stated openly that they created masks for them at that time as well. To me, the paint job on the H1 mask bears this out.

So I think the most accurate way to re-create a perfect H1 mask is with a combination of thin black and purple washes, with some additional accents to make certain features pop. That's essentially what I've done on my own keeper H1 here:
If you make the purples subtle enough, they're hardly noticeable.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Mysterious Part 6 Promo Mask Surfaces

This is funny. Some obscure carbon copy of Pawn Stars called Beverly Hills Pawn filmed a segment during Season 4 Episode 7, where they received what is likely a part 6 promotional mask.

The "expert" analyst delivers her rather strange assessment as she's holding the mask:

"Its quite common for movie props to be made out of fiberglass rather than plastic, because they tend to hold the colors longer... and you can tell this one is fiberglass because its smoother and stronger than the plastic ones..." lol what? Fiberglass is smoother and holds the colors longer? That's the first time I've heard that. She goes on to note that the mask has "just one triangle" that suggests it is indeed from part 6. Wow!



She does notice that there appears to be a connection piece missing from the back, but fails to note the more telling flaws, such as the envelope tabs holding the straps on (the movie masks used blind rivets) or the bush league paint job. This mask also has a surprisingly crude cut around the perimeter and lacks the cheek rivets.

Despite the rudimentary (to put it kindly) analysis, the show correctly realized that the mask was not used in the film. They offered the seller $500, which in my view is about right for a promo mask, which is my best guess for this piece. So maybe they are doing something right! The seller is likely an actor and the whole interaction appears to be scripted nonsense, but an interesting find nonetheless.

For comparison, check out this old part 6 promo mask that was sold in a Prop Store auction a few years back. The paint job is markedly different from the actual movie masks, and the shape is considerably flatter... but the crudely hand-painted triangle looks similar to what we see above.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

"Death Has Come to Your Little Town, Sheriff."


 
 
 
 
 
 
 

D.I.Y. Kirk blank and hair by Martin Pena. All other work by me. I went with a subtle H1 look with pretty minimal weathering. Love how it came out.

Here is the same mask as a blank.


For non-Myers collectors, the D.I.Y. ("Do It Yourself") is a retool of a mask known as the "Medley Kirk"-- an original 1975 Captain Kirk mask owned by the Medleys. The Medley Kirk came out of the same mold as the Michael Myers mask used in the first Halloween movie. I wanted an H1 with lineage to the original, rather than a fan sculpt. This mask really hits all the marks. You can get one from Martin if you hit him up on Facebook.
The Medley Kirk

For anyone interested, I'm considering taking Myers commissions! I can't currently re-hair, but I can do Kirk conversions from the eye cuts on up just as you see here. Estimated turn around time for a conversion would be about 6-8 weeks. Comment below with contact info or hit me up on Facebook (Jason Farrell) or MM.net (Jasonlivessince1980).
And here I added some weathering and other alterations...


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

What Jason Mask Does the Hollywood Museum Have?


Take a trip to the Hollywood Museum in Los Angeles and in their basement horror dungeon you will see some costume artifacts from the Friday the 13th franchise. The oldest piece in their collection is a mysterious hockey mask that sits on a Jason mannequin often seen with Freddy. The mask has some weird markings and doesn't look like any mask in particular from the films.

Looks can, however be deceiving. Not only did this mask see screen time (for about a two seconds), it very likely gave birth to most of the masks in the franchise that came after it.

The mask has had a small but interesting role in the history of the franchise, having made a handful of random "guest appearances" during the productions of Part 5 and 6. It was also likely recast to create the Part 6 masks, and as such is the "grandfather" of both the Part 7 and Part 8 masks and the great grandfather of the Jason Goes to Hell masks.


First appearance: The "window scene", Part 5. Note the basic characteristics: yellowish color, narrow axe cut, large eye cuts, weird smiley-looking chevron, strapped from the back. You can also faintly make out the characteristic grime across the mouth ascending up the right side of the mask which can still be seen in the mask today. Look reeeeally close at the top of the mask (to the left of the strap rivet) and you can even see the white/gray spot where the paint has been sanded off the clear acrylic to reveal the white coat on the back. The mask today has different straps and red marks but I'll get into that later.
The mask behind the scenes. Photo courtesy of Dick Warlock.

Second appearance: Part 5 TV advertisement, circa 1985. Note the weird chevron, narrow axe cut, sanding around the mouth, large eye cuts and sanding/weathering patterns around the mouth and perimeter. When the mask zooms in, you can also make out the jagged cut of the right eye.
Source: Youtube

Third appearance: On Bill Forsche's head at Reel EFX studios during pre-production of Friday the 13th Part 6. You can make out the grime pattern across the mouth area.
Photo courtesy of Bill Forsche
Fourth appearance: This 1980's Bill Forsche photo of a child with the mask. Note that it is still strapped from the back like it was in part 5, but with a new Part 6-style triangle replacing the old janky one. The Part 6 mask paint scheme was loosely modeled off of this, and it seems likely this mask was used as both a casting and paint master for the film.
Photo courtesy of Bill Forsche
Also, see below the original part 6 buck and its resemblance to the Hollywood Museum mask, particularly in the eyes.

Final appearance: Hollywood Museum, where it currently resides on a decaying part 4 cowl. The Part 6 triangle has been painted over by a larger, cruder freehand version and a couple of extra chevs added to the cheeks. Looks ridiculous but what can you do at this point. The mask also has Part 6 straps, probably as a replacement for the straps that were removed when the mask was recast, and also as an experiment to see how they would look on the final movie masks.
Photo by Auz
While we don't know the exact origin, we do know this mask first appears in Friday the 13th Part 5, so it dates to at least 1985. However, there are clues that the mask is in fact older.

The mask was painted on a clear blank, as were the Part 3 masks. The construction, narrow shape, sharp molded features and large eye cuts also suggest it came from the Part 3 movie buck. It appears to have been given a light beige basecoat, then another coat of a yellow ochre, which was then sanded off in spots. The yellow tones and deep scratches are similar to the Part 3 stunt mask, and don't resemble any of the masks that are known to have been made for Part 5.

The weight of the evidence suggests it was created as a paint test or spare stunt mask during production of Friday the 13th Part 3 and remained with Reel EFX until director Danny Steinmann wanted an additional mask for shooting during Part 5, supposedly to keep the viewer guessing as to whether Tommy Jarvis was hallucinating or being stalked by Jason. Two chevron changes and a bit of brown paint splatter on the nose suggest it was used as a paint master by the Part 6 FX team before it was donated to the Hollywood Museum.

So if you ever make it to the Hollywood Museum, check it out. You are seeing a screen used mask that was likely a casting "ancestor" to every later mask created through Jason Goes to Hell.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Part 8 Mask

Clear PETG blank (molded straight off the movie mask) by Beyond Disgusting Studios. Straps by JDF Studios. All artwork by me. Click any image to enlarge.