[Interview] Dick Warlock Talks Michael Myers, ‘Halloween II’, and His Most Dangerous Stunts (Part 1)
Continuing our new series of video interviews, Halloween Daily News recently talked to legendary stuntman and actor Dick Warlock about this year’s 40th anniversary of the 1981 sequel Halloween II, the legacy of Michael Myers, the most dangerous stunts he ever performed, his memories with Walt Disney, John Wayne, Elvis Presley, Muhammad Ali, and much more in an epic, career-spanning conversation.
Warlock discusses getting his start as a stunt performer at the Corriganville Movie Ranch in California, later working with Disney for 10 years, where he met Kurt Russell, for whom he would to go to serve as stunt double for 25 years. After working on Escape From New York as Russell’s stunt double, John Carpenter and Debra Hill brought Warlock on as stunt coordinator for Halloween II, in which he would also play the iconic role of Michael Myers (as well as Patrolman #3).
On first working with Donald Pleasence on Escape to Witch Mountain a few years prior to them facing off against each other in Halloween II, Warlock remembers, “I found him to be a gentleman. People have said that he had a sense of humor, but I never saw it. When he came on set, he was ready to work, he knew your dialogue and mine. He was the consummate professional. You couldn’t find anybody who was better to work with. Never had a complaint, was always ready when they were ready. The rest is history.”
When asked if his most dangerous stunt on Halloween II was the fire walk at the end of the film, Warlock answered, “No, (it was) making sure that I didn’t run over Jack Verbois, who was Bennett Tramer. The way we rigged that – and I had to depend a lot on Jack, and he’s a heck of stunt guy, so I counted on on him – on the front of the police car, I put a platform. He had to kind of walk backwards just to feel it, then he turns and steps onto the platform as the car comes under him, and then he thrusts himself over the hood. We couldn’t do that very fast, because if I’d have missed, I’d have creamed him, if it’d been off and he had stepped down where the platform ended, hard telling. So if you notice in that movie, the lights are really (blinking) and that’s because they undercranked the film a little bit and they sped it up (in post-production). It just makes it go faster. That’s just part of the trick photography that films are noted for.”
Of his climactic fire walk as Michael Myers in the closing moments of Halloween II, Warlock explains, “I got my arms singed, nothing serious, the first time. We did it twice. They rebuilt the set. How it was constructed, it was in the doorway and it had fans, two pieces of metal put together and when they have the propane attached to them, it comes out in a fan shape. That’s what filled the doorway. I’m behind that.. They light the fire first with the fans, they light me, then when I go through it, there’s a lot of fire that does get on me everywhere. At that time, because it was an enclosed top – we shot that on a soundstage, normally you’re in a building that’s outside and fire proofed, but we did that on a soundstage – the fire went up and went right out toward the cameras, which is really harry, but it looked great I think. At that time it was one of the hottest burns, because of the enclosed heat and all, that anyone had done.
After serving as stunt coordinator for both Halloween II and Halloween III: Season of the Witch, and appearing on screen as three different characters in the course of the two sequels, Warlock also makes it clear that he would be more than happy to return the Halloween franchise for a cameo appearance in a future film, if producers were to ask him.
We talked about much more, including Warlock’s personal memories of celebrating Halloween itself, working with John Wayne on The Green Berets and Elvis on Easy Come, Easy Go, and many other highlights from his illustrious career.
You can watch Part 1 of our exclusive new interview with Dick Warlock below.
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