[Interview] Tony Moran on the Legacy of Michael Myers

Tony Moran may have only appeared on screen for a few seconds in John Carpenter’s Halloween, but  he will be remembered in cinematic history as the human adult face of Michael Myers forever, a legacy Moran is proud of, though he initially turned down the brief role and never even knew he would be wearing a mask at all until he was on set in 1978.
Tony Moran is Michael Myers age 23 in ‘Halloween’.
Tony Moran is officially credited as playing “Michael Myers (age 23)”, joining a unique collaboration of talents that physically brought the iconic masked killer to life in the original Halloween movie, including Nick Castle (credited as “The Shape”) who plays Myers in the most scenes, as well as production designer Tommy Lee Wallace for many key scenes in which parts of the set had to be damaged, Will Sandin as “Michael Myers (age 6)”, stuntman Jim Winburn for the climactic fall off the Doyle house balcony, and even co-writer Debra Hill for the child-sized hands in the opening.

Of course, Moran’s scene is one of the key moments in the film, and Carpenter has said that he cast Moran because Castle’s face was “not beautiful” enough for what he had envisioned as the unmasked Myers, glimpsed only briefly but hauntingly effective and quite memorable.
We had the pleasure of meeting Tony Moran following a fun and unpredictable Q&A panel with co-star P.J. Soles (watch it here) at the Mad Monster Party horror convention in Charlotte, North Carolina last month, where we talked a bit about his experiences on the set of this landmark masterpiece, what’s really going on in the killer’s mind, and why Michael Myers will never die.
Read on for our full interview with Tony Moran!
Tony Moran at Mad Monster Party 2016 (photo by HalloweenDailyNews.com)
At the Q&A panel you talked about how it was really the involvement of Donald Pleasence that got you interested in the movie in the first place. Can you talk a little more about that?
“I couldn’t believe he (Pleasence) was going to be in the movie. That’s the only reason why I did it. I told my agent, when she first called me up about the part, I told her ‘No thanks’. I didn’t want to do it. 
“I didn’t know who Jamie Lee Curtis was, didn’t care, and a movie called Halloween being a horror movie in 1978 was about the corniest thing I had ever heard in my life. 
“I didn’t even know until after I signed the contract and they got my measurements and I went to the house to film, when they gave me my costume, that I even had to wear a mask. I didn’t know. That’s the first time I knew was when I had to work, which is screwed up.”
Did Carpenter give you any direction as far as how to portray the character of Michael Myers?
“That’s a great question. He didn’t give me any direction, but what he did was he and I, before the scene, we talked about it. He didn’t like fully give his opinion in like an obtuse way, but he just kind of said what he thought and then I said what I thought, and we were both on the same page. And then it worked out just fine.”
The eye wound…
“It was a prosthetic.” 
How long it take to apply it?
“Ten minutes. They didn’t have enough money, probably, for blood. They had enough money for the prosthetic, and that was that. That came from the closet scene with the hanger.”
Were you on set when any of the other scenes were being filmed? Did you ever seen Nick Castle or Tommy Lee Wallace playing Michael?
“No. I was just there one day.” 

Tony Moran with “OBX Megatron” at Mad Monster Party 2016 (photo by HalloweenDailyNews.com)
Obviously, you had no idea that the film would become such a classic.
“I figured it would play a couple weeks at the drive-in. Now it’s become this phenomenon. I’m blessed. It’s amazing, weird, and incredible.” 
In the panel you had an interesting take on what makes Michael Myers tick, that he was basically ignored at the wrong time.
“Yeah, and it just flipped a switch in his head. It was Halloween, and it should be a special time and stuff, and maybe over the 15 years of being in a mental institution he cultivated that feeling, like a mushroom cloud, like a nuclear explosion kind of thing. So by the time he got out, he was unstoppable. But not in a human way, in a other worldly way.”
Loomis says he’s not a man, so what’s your take on this? Is Michael a man or something other than a man?
“I think the writing said it. He is pure evil, which can’t be defined. He’s a force. You can’t define it.”
Do you have an opinion of why Michael has gone on, almost 40 years later now, to be up there with Dracula and Frankenstein and these other horror icons?
“I do. I think the most important reason for that is that Halloween is a story that could really happen. It’s not like some guy wearing a hockey mask or long fingernails with dreams and shit, this could really happen. A guy could go fucking crazy and be put in for 15 years, bides his time and breaks out, and gets some cheap shit mask and he wants to fucking kill. It could happen. 
“That’s why I think the movie has survived, although (there’s also) the music, the cast – P.J. (Soles). I mean there are a lot of reasons, but as far as the story goes, it’s a believable story. It could happen, and that’s why I think people got screwed up about it. At one point or another we’ve all been babysat. And it’s scary.”

HDN editor Matt Artz with Tony Moran at Mad Monster Party 2016. (photo by Sue Artz for HalloweenDailyNews.com)
Do you have a favorite memory from the set of Halloween?
“It’s when the costume chick came up to me. I got hired, I finally agreed to do the movie and I signed the contract. Then you have to give your measurements for wardrobe, did that. My agent sent it in. My agent calls me up and says, ‘Okay, you’re going to go to that address’, and it was the house in Hollywood. 
“When I did the interview with John Carpenter and (producer) Irwin Yablans, they didn’t talk about the movie. They just chit chatted with me. They didn’t say what the movie was about. 
“So I go to the house to film that day, and I say, ‘I’m Tony Moran, I’m playing Michael Myers’. And they got get the wardrobe girl, and she comes back and she’s got the coveralls draped over her forearm and she’s got the Army boots hooked on her left fingers, and then she’s got a mask and a jar of Vaseline in her right hand. I look at her, because I don’t know, and I point at the mask and I said, ‘What’s that for?’ She says, ‘You have to wear it.’ So I’m like ‘What? I wear a mask in this?’ Nobody told me.
“In ’78, I don’t know if you understand this, but Halloween was the very first to use a mask in a horror movie. It started the whole thing, so it was a brilliant idea. 
“But I had signed the contract, so I said ‘Okay’, and she says, ‘Don’t worry. The mask is going to come off and everyone is going to see your face.’ I said, ‘What’s the Vaseline for?’ I had a lot of hair, and she said, ‘You want to put that Vaseline in your hair because the mask is a hundred percent latex. Without the Vaseline it’s like Velcro, it will tear your hair out.’ “
Did you have to do many takes?
“No, I think it was two takes. That was it. Even with my stunt that I did it was two takes. John Carpenter says ‘Thank you very much’, and I said ‘I get shot don’t I?’ He says, ‘Yeah, but we’ll bring in a stunt guy to do that.’ I said ‘No I can do that’. I’m a born athlete. He said ‘You’d do that?’ I’m like ‘Sure, I’ll do that. No problem, man.’ Getting shot by Donald Pleasence, are you kidding me, I’ll do that in a heartbeat. So I did it. 
“If you watch the movie you can see – objectively, not egotistically – I fly myself back, there were no wires attached to me or anything, I mean I did good, but anyway.”

Did you have much interaction with the rest of the cast?
“No. I didn’t meet P.J. until I started doing these conventions a couple years ago.”
Has that been positive, meeting everyone in this whole community?
“Of course, we’re all cool. You do these conventions and you see how much fun they are. We’re all cool.”

Tony Moran at Mad Monster Party 2016. (photo by HalloweenDailyNews.com)
What scares you? What’s a scary movie that you are a fan of? What’s your Halloween?
“My favorite is Psycho. Then it’s a tie for second between The Exorcist and The Shining. I grew up Catholic, so The Exorcist to this day fucks me up.”
Do you have projects coming up we can look forward to?
“I have a movie coming up in Boston at the end of April, called The Streets Run Red. It’s exploitation shit, you know. I’m playing a reporter, like a Geraldo Rivera guy. I’m going to blow it up.”

Check out highlights from the Halloween Q&A panel at Mad Monster Party HERE!

Read all of our Halloween interviews here! 

HDN editor Matt Artz and Tony Moran at Mad Monster Party 2016. (Photo by Sue Artz for HalloweenDailyNews.com)

Click HERE for all of our coverage from Mad Monster Party 2016!

For more Halloween news follow @HalloweenDaily.

Matt Artz

Founded Halloween Daily News in 2012 and the Halloween International Film Festival in 2016. Professional writer/journalist/photographer since 2000.