How ’Halloween Kills’ Brought Back a Classic Character With Makeup, Not CGI
The following post contains minor spoilers for Halloween Kills.
Halloween Kills begins with an extensive flashback to previously unseen events that supposedly occurred just after the end of John Carpenter’s Halloween from 1978. It follows Haddonfield deputy Frank Hawkins (Thomas Mann) as he chases Michael Myers through town, and reconciles the end of the original Halloween — where Myers vanishes into the night after killing three people and terrorizing Laurie Strode — with the new Halloween series — which begins with Michael in a mental hospital, where he’s spent the last 40 years after his capture on that fateful night back in 1978.
These flashback scenes include the surprising return of an original Halloween cast member: Donald Pleasence as Michael Myers’ psychiatrist, Dr. Sam Loomis. It’s not surprising because of any specific detail in Dr. Loomis’ backstory; he was one of the guys who was pursuing Michael all through 1978’s Halloween and several subsequent sequels. It makes sense that Loomis would be there when Michael was captured. But Pleasence passed away in 1995, not long after he finished shooting Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. So he is not around to play his old role.
Typical protocol for a film like this and a role like Loomis would be to either recast the role of Dr. Loomis completely or to show the character from the back or obscured in some way so that fans would know who it was supposed to be without showing the face of a man who died more than 25 years ago. Not Halloween Kills. Dr. Loomis, as played by Donald Pleasence, appears onscreen several times during this flashback and also has several lines of dialogue.
Interestingly, the appearance by “Donald Pleasence” in the film was not accomplished with CGI — which is how long dead actors have appeared in other recent films like Rogue One (which co-starred “Peter Cushing” as his Star Wars character, Grand Moff Tarkin). Instead, as revealed by makeup effects designer Christopher Nelson on his Instagram account, the Dr. Loomis in the film was Halloween Kills construction foreman Tom Jones Jr. in “an 11 piece prosthetic makeup with hair pieces.”
You can see the before and after pictures of the makeup below.
The prosthetic plays pretty well onscreen. It doesn’t look precisely like the actual Donald Pleasence, but it’s arguably more convincing than a CGI double would have been. Having a physical presence there in the middle of the scene, playing opposite the other actors does make a difference. And if it still seems a little surreal and off-putting, hey: It’s a horror movie. Surreal and off-putting kind of works with the whole vibe of the film.
Halloween Kills is now playing in theaters and available to stream on Peacock.