Behind the Mask: Tony Moran visits Niles Scream Park

Tony Moran, famous for his role as Michael Myers in "Halloween," visited the Niles Haunted House Scream Park this weekend. (Submitted photo)

Tony Moran, famous for his role as Michael Myers in “Halloween,” visited the Niles Haunted House Scream Park this weekend. (Submitted photo)

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Moran played the psychotic killer Michael Myers in the 1978 classic horror movie, “Halloween,” directed by John Carpenter.

Moran made a guest appearance at the Niles Haunted House Scream Park Friday and Saturday.

He was kind enough to talk with me for a couple minutes over the phone Friday.


Why do you think the image of Michael Myers resonated well with audiences?

It is an interesting question. The movie became like a perfect storm with the music and the story line and the suspense and the mask. The whole story behind Michael Myers is a believable story and the mask — it is not like it is a scary mask. It is just a plain type of a mask, so it is really subtle. I think it resonated with audiences because it was something that could happen. When I get unmasked at the end I look normal, except for the prosthetic on my left eye from when I got a coat hanger jammed into it. Other than that, I was just a normal-looking guy under the mask. That’s why I think it resonates.


When is the last time you watched “Halloween?”

It’s been quite a while. As an actor, I really don’t like to watch myself. I may have watched it four or five times total.


Have your kids seen it? What do they think?

My oldest has. She actually saw it when she was 4 years old. She thought it was funny because she knew it was me. My 9-year-old twins haven’t seen it yet.


Do you have a favorite memory from making the film?

There wasn’t one thing. It was the whole collaboration because it was an independent movie. When you do those types of movies everybody is like a team, chipping in and helping each other all the time.


Did you ever think it would be such a hit with audiences?

Not even close. I thought maybe a week or two in the drive-in and that would be it. In 1978, calling a horror movie “Halloween” was pretty corny for one. Also, the mask thing hadn’t really been done before. I just thought, “nobody is ever going to see this.” But look what happened. It is just incredible.


How did you get the role?

I just went on an interview and talked to the producer and John Carpenter for about 10 or 15 minutes. We didn’t talk about much anything in particular, not much about the movie even. They must have liked me because my agent called and told me I got the job. I didn’t really want to do it, but I needed the money. When I heard that Donald Pleasence was in the movie that’s when I got excited. I was a huge fan of his — a classical British actor and everything. I was blown away. I didn’t know who Jamie Lee Curtis was.


What is it like knowing the character you played terrified so many people?

It is hard for me to grasp because the mask for me was uncomfortable and sweaty and claustrophobic to wear. But it is trippy for sure and it is mainly humbling to me because I just had no idea that it would blow up like it did.


What scares you?

Heights. I have a real problem with it. Not when I’m in an airplane or anything, but when I’m standing next to a ledge or a cliff I get vertigo. Sometimes I get terrified.


What’s your favorite scary movie?

“Psycho” is my all-time favorite from Hitchcock.


Why didn’t you come back for the “Halloween” sequels?

They asked me to do “Halloween 2,” but I didn’t want to wear a mask again because I was an actor. They asked if they could use my footage from “Halloween 1” and put it in “(Halloween) 2” and give me credit and pay me for it. I said, “Excellent.”


Do you regret not doing the sequels?

No. Not at all.


Do you have a favorite movie genre?

I really don’t have one. I never have. I like all movies as long as they are good.


What do you think of the current state of horror movies?

I kind of like them and I kind of don’t. The whole remake stuff is just killing me. I can’t stand it because there aren’t many original ideas. There are some that are pretty good, but it has gone toward the whole slash and gore stuff. There is no real suspense like Halloween had. It is more now about slash and gore and pretty girls.


Have you had any strange run-ins with fans?

Not really, but I had this experience with a girl that was with a group of people. She was a major, major, major “Halloween” fan. They came up to the booth, but she stood off to the side and would not come to the booth. She wouldn’t even look at me. They told me that she was a big fan, but couldn’t bring herself to come over to the table to even take a picture with me. I tried to get her to, but she was bawling her eyes out, just sobbing. I felt so bad. When I left the hotel after the convention the person behind the desk said she had left a memento for me, but she couldn’t stand next to me though. She was probably in her late teens or early 20s.


What are you doing now for work?

I was filming in Boston last weekend as a matter of fact for an independent movie called “Ungovernable Force.” It is a horror movie based around the punk scene in the 80s. I play a mafia don. It will come out sometime early or mid-next year. It is a small independent movie, so I don’t know if it will be in theaters. I also do horror conventions and I do appearances like I am doing in Niles.


What do you think of the Niles Haunted House?

I was blown away by how extensive this place is. It’s incredible.


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