Why does Michael Myers wear a mask?
Since the introduction of numerous slasher franchises, the element of the killer donning a mask has often been a constant staple. In The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Leatherface wears masks made out of the skins of his helpless victims. In Friday the 13th, Jason Vorhees utilizes a number of facial disguises before settling on his signature hockey mask. However, when it comes to the immortal Michael Myers in the Halloween franchise, the reason behind his mask is not quite as clear.
On several occasions, director John Carpenter has referred to Michael Myers as a complete and total mystery. Thus, as with any mystery, a certain element of disguise is needed. As a result, Michael has been dubbed “the Shape” due to his peculiar nature and unpredictable appearance. In the first two original Halloween films, Michael wears a painted white Captain Kirk mask based on a cast from actor William Shatner’s face. In later sequels and remakes, Michael uses variations of the original mask. While audiences are aware what Michael Myers actually looks like unmasked, his choice of disguise still intrigues the best of us.
So, why does Michael Myers wear a mask?
Seeing as the answer as to why Michael wears a mask is not as clear-cut as it seems, there are several points of speculation as to the reason he operates behind the mask. One reason is his recognition as the “embodiment of pure evil” as referred to by both Dr. Samuel Loomis and Laurie Strode. For all intents and purposes, Michael was evil from the very beginning. Whether it’s through the original Halloween franchise, which concluded that Michael was born a psychopathic threat, or through the Halloween sequels, which introduced a cult placed on Michael that motivated him to kill every member of his family, Michael is a killing machine that aims to keep his evil within. Thus, many fans believe that Michael wears the mask to keep his evil from being seen, and in a way that it remains personal to him.
Furthermore, Michael’s mask is his overall identity. His previous identity as a child was stripped after he murdered his sister in cold blood and was sent to Smith’s Grove Sanitarium. The fact that the true appearance of his physical face is hidden makes him all the more scary, thus invoking fear for others around him. Think about it: you see a guy wearing an all-white mask in the grocery store with a massive butcher knife in his hand. Not exactly friendly-looking, is he? Michael Myers wears a mask to hide his actual identity so he can cause torment and chaos to others without them ever achieving a clear look at him. The use of his mask immediately enacts fear, which gives him an unimaginable power on top of his already intimidating madness.