Upping the horror quotient, Halloween‘s central menace is referred to as “The Shape” in the closing credits. And the shape for most of the original film belonged to Carpenter’s friend Nick Castle.
“Maybe he got paid a couple hundred bucks or whatever it was,” Curtis told Rotten Tomatoes of Castle. “I mean, nobody got paid, anything. I think I got paid $8,000 for the whole movie, which at the time, for the lead in the movie was $2,000 a week.”
Carpenter explained, “I liked the way he moved. He came from a dancer family so he had a grace, an odd grace about him. Plus, he was free. He was cheap. So he put on the costume and I said, ‘Now, go from here to here.’ And that was it.”
Tommy Lee Wallace, who edited the film with Charles Bornstein, also spent time in the mask to help make ends meet, and Anthony Moran played Michael for the brief moment you see his face. But Castle instinctually came up with the terrifying head tilt.
“The direction on the first one was nil,” Castle recalled to Movie Web in 2018. “It was really just, ‘Go across the street and walk towards me.'”
Ultimately, he said, “If there is a lesson to any of this, it’s that sometimes things happen for no reason, and you have the right elements at the right time.”
A number of increasingly beefy stuntmen donned the mask after that, starting with Dick Warlock as “The Shape” in Halloween II. He was succeeded by George P. Wilbur (twice), Don Shanks, Chris Durand and Brad Loree. Wrestler Tyler Mane took over in the Rob Zombie-directed reboots, and James Jude Courtney, tag-teaming with Castle, has done the honors in the final three movies starring Curtis.