MVPs of Horror: The original Michael Myers explains key to decoding iconic slayer's feelings

·Senior Correspondent, Yahoo Entertainment

When John Carpenter’s Halloween first hit theaters 40 years ago, audiences were terrified of Michael Myers, the hulking, masked killer who wreaks terror on a sleepy Illinois town.

As time went on, though, and the movie spurred nine sequels and remakes (with a 10th, also called Halloween, on the way), a shift occurred among the series’ growing fanbase: Myers still breeds fear, sure, but now audiences seem to be rooting for him to rack up a body count. It’s the mark of a truly beloved movie monster, a small fraternity that also includes the likes of Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees.

Nick Castle, the filmmaker who played Myers in the 1978 original and returns to share slasher duties in the new David Gordon Green-directed sequel, can’t pinpoint exactly when Myers transitioned from cult killer to cult hero.

“I didn’t follow the franchise like a loyal Halloween fan until a few years ago when someone suggested I go meet the fans and go to some of these fan conventions,” said Castle (watch above), who went on to write and/or direct films such as The Last Starfighter (1984), Escape From New York (1981), Dennis the Menace (1993), and August Rush (2007). “And it wasn’t until I spoke to the fans and talked to them did I start to get a real feeling for how much they totally dig this character.

“Obviously they’re not slashers. Obviously they wouldn’t love this in real life. But they dig the craziness of it,” he said.

Castle introduced one of the Shape’s signature moves in the ’78 classic: It’s the subtlest, slightest tilt of the head after the killer leaves the beer-fetching Bob (John Michael Graham) pinned to a wall in the kitchen. But for a stoic and faceless Myers, it’s the closest thing he conveys to… real human emotion.

“I think it is [emotion],” Castle said. “And I have to attribute it all to John [Carpenter.] … When I did that particular kill, he said, ‘Now, Nick, just stand there and tilt your head to the right. Tilt your head to the left.’ I’m going, ‘What the hell is he doing here?’ And then when I saw it, I said, ‘Oh, I see. He’s admiring his work.’”

His fans do as well.

Watch: Nick Castle reveals how he lost his original Michael Myers mask:

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