Who loves Halloween? It is a horror classic that spawned what we know today as the Slasher genre. Since then, 10 films have been released and it has become one of the largest horror franchises in existence. On that note, we have a guest writer, Brent K, that is a well known expert on the franchise.
Collecting Autographs From The Movie “Halloween”
by Brent K.
The groundbreaking 1978 film “Halloween” is regarded by many as the greatest horror film of all-time. This modern day horror classic starred the then, relatively unknown Jamie Lee Curtis as a babysitter who is stalked relentlessly by Michael Myers, a psychopathic killer. While the knife-wielding Michael Myers is a fictional character set in the fictional suburban mid-western town of Haddonfield, Illinois, it is the realism of the movie that makes it so horrifying. Originally titled “The Babysitter Murders,” viewers realize that the “Halloween” story could actually happen on any given Halloween, in any town…even in their own neighborhood! John Carpenter specifically choose Pasadena, California as the location to film “Halloween” because the city resembles many small mid-western cities and has that “Anytown, USA” feel to it.
There are many autograph opportunities that are available to the fans of the “Halloween” movie. This small budget film was a smash hit for director John Carpenter and ushered in the string of “slasher films” of the 1980’s including “Friday the 13th,” “Nightmare on Elm Street” and revivals of the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Psycho” franchises.
Director John Carpenter was raised in the Midwest himself and he has continued to stay close to these humble roots throughout his career. Even now, as one of the top directors of the horror and thriller genre, Mr. Carpenter remains extremely accessible to fans via appearances, signings at conventions and events. Carpenter typically is approachable, generally signing one item each but has been known to do multiples on occasion. John Carpenter is mufti-talented, as he is credited as director, producer, co-writer, actor and even composer for his work on “Halloween.” Many fans do not know that it was Carpenter himself who wrote the main musical theme that is used throughout the “Halloween” movie. These musical notes are especially prominent when Michael Myers is in pursuit of his next victim. The simplistic, yet effective, piano melody heightens the level suspense and is one of the main ingredients that tie everything together to make “Halloween” a truly classic horror film. John Carpenter also is billed as an actor in “Halloween” as he provides the voice of “Paul”, Annie Brackett’s boyfriend, who is only heard but not seen. It is Carpenter’s voice that can be heard as Paul is talking on the telephone with Annie. There has even been rampant speculation for decades, which has since been confirmed by some members of the movie’s cast and crew in interviews and commentaries, that John Carpenter himself even donned the famed Michael Myers mask in a few of the scenes during the filming of “Halloween.” Many scenes were filmed with multiple takes, with different actors standing in as Michael Myers, including Nick Castle, Tommy Lee Wallace and John Carpenter, so there is uncertainty who exactly is portraying Michael in some of the scenes that made the final cut. For example, it is Tommy Lee Wallace, not Nick Castle, as Michael Myers who bursts through the closet doors to get to Jamie Lee Curtis in the iconic scene of Halloween. However, it is not known with any certainty if any of these scenes filmed with John Carpenter as Michael Myers made it into the final cut of “Halloween.” John Carpenter’s autographs are plentiful on the market with an 8×10 photo selling in the $50-$75 range.
Moustapha Akkad is best known as the executive producer of not only the original “Halloween” film, but also the entire Halloween series up through and including “Halloween: Resurrection.” He is a rare autograph to say the least, as fans clamored for the signatures of the actors and actresses involved in “Halloween” but often didn’t think about getting Akkad’s autograph. Limited opportunities and access to obtain Mr. Akkad’s autograph, combined with his untimely death in 2005, have resulted in his autograph selling for well over $200 each…and that’s if you can even find one for sale! I personally have never seen a single authentic Moustapha Akkad autograph offered for sale on the secondary market. Akkad appeared briefly in 2003 at a Halloween fan convention held in Pasadena and I used this occasion to secure a couple signed photographs for my own collection. While Akkad was pleasant and obliging, Moustapha inked no more than 5 or 6 autographs before he was escorted away and left the convention. Without Akkad’s support and endorsement, there would be no Halloween movie.
Debra Hill shared screen writing duties for “Halloween,” “Halloween II” and “The Fog” with John Carpenter. Like Moustapha Akkad, the opportunities to obtain her signature were few and she unfortunately passed away in 2005 from cancer. Hill, through her accomplishments as a screenwriter and producer, is credited for being a pioneer for women in a film industry that was still male-dominated in the late 1970’s. She was an advocate for equality in terms of opportunities and pay for women in the movie industry among their male peers. “Halloween” is set in the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois, which is a homage to Debra Hill’s birthplace of Haddonfield, New Jersey. Examples of her autograph are somewhat more prevalent than Moustapha Akkad’s but still considered rare. Debra Hill’s autograph is in high demand from “Halloween” enthusiasts and sells for about $200 on letters and documents. While there is a possibility that it is in existence, I have never seen an autographed photo of Debra Hill.
While “Halloween” was the breakout big screen debut of star Jamie Lee Curtis, for many fans the real star of the movie is the masked man, Michael Myers. Other than possibly Carpenter, there were actually five people who are credited as the “Michael Myers” in “Halloween.” It is Debra Hill’s hand as “Michael” that grabs the knife from the kitchen drawer, in the point of view camera angle that stalks through the house, upstairs and eventually killing his sister, Judith Myers. When a six year old Michael walks out of the house holding the murder weapon and is met with his mother and police in the opening scene of the film, this is Will Sandlin. He has appeared at Halloween reunions and horror conventions in the past and is valued at $20-30 on an 8×10 photo. He is also popular among fans working on Halloween items in which fans attempt to collect the signatures of all the people who have ever portrayed Michael Myers.
Nick Castle is the man behind the mask for a majority of the Michael Myers’ screen time in Halloween. That is Nick Castle peering from behind the infamous bushes at Laurie Strode and her friends walking home from school and in most of the scenes at the Wallace and Doyle homes. Demand for Nick Castle’s autograph has always been strong as Castle did not continue acting much after Halloween. Instead, Castle went on to direct the films such as “The Last Star Fighter” and “The Boy Who Could Fly.” Castle did not really make many public appearances until his first appearance at a horror fan convention about 5 or 6 years ago. Since that time, Castle has made a handful of convention appearances each year and seems to enjoy meeting and interacting with fans. Signatures from Nick Castle are approximately $50-75 on a photo and $150-200 on a basic Michael Myers mask, sometimes even more than that for the high quality and limited edition masks.
Tony Moran is Michael Myers is one brief scene in Halloween toward the end of the movie. Prior to Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasance) firing his gun at Michael Myers, Laurie Strode briefly unmasks Michael during a struggle. The handsome face that viewers see is none other than Tony Moran. Moran has appeared at a number of fan conventions with his signed photos selling in the $25-30 range.
Tommy Lee Wallace was the production designer for the Halloween movie and is credited for creating the look of the iconic Michael Myers mask. He also is known to have donned the mask in the infamous “closet scene”. He went on to direct “Halloween III: Season of the Witch”, which to date is the only film in the franchise to not feature the character of Michael Myers. Tommy Lee is quite personable, answering fan’s questions and signing autographs at horror conventions somewhat frequently. Nicely signed photos of Tommy Lee Wallace can be had for $30-40 and about $100-150 on a Michael Myers mask.
Jim Winburn is a stunt man with numerous credits but it is his role as Michael Myers who is shot several times and falls off the second story balcony of the house near the end of the film that fans know him for best. Winburn made his first appearance in 2003 at the 25th anniversary Halloween convention and has made a handful of appearances at conventions since that time. Winburn sells for $25-30 on a photo. His autograph value is undervalued as there are way fewer items on the market signed by Winburn than some of the other men who have portrayed Michael Myers.
Jamie Lee Curtis is not only known for her role as “Laurie Strode” in Halloween but also as one of the biggest and most popular actresses in the history of Hollywood. Starring in such movies as “True Lies”, “Trading Places” and “A Fish Called Wanda”, Curtis, as the daughter of Hollywood legends Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, has lived up to her billing as “Hollywood royalty”. Curtis reprised her role of Laurie Strode in the sequel, Halloween II, and lastly in the movie Halloween: Resurrection. Demand for Curtis’ autograph from horror and Halloween fans has been consistently high pushing the value of authentically signed photos in the range of $100-150. Curtis has even made a couple of appearances at fan conventions to sign autographs and take photos with fans, donating the proceeds to one of her favorite charities. Jamie Lee Curtis is not just a “scream queen”, she is THE “Scream Queen” and any Halloween collection is incomplete without her in it.
Donald Pleasance as “Dr. Sam Loomis” appeared in Halloween and more of it’s sequels than any other actor. Pleasance also appeared in Halloween II, Halloween IV:The Return of Michael Myers, Halloween V: The Revenge of Michael Myers and finally in Halloween VI: The Curse of Michael Myers. Sadly, Pleasance passed away after production wrapped just months before the release of Halloween VI. Collectors should be very careful when purchasing Donald Pleasance autographs on the secondary market as there are non-authentic signatures in the market and authentically signed Halloween items are indeed rare. Even some of the best Halloween collectors in the world do not own a Donald Pleasance autograph. The best opportunity to purchase an authentic signature is likely a cut signature or a signed photo by Donald Pleasance from one of his earlier works prior to Halloween as Pleasance autographs on Halloween memorabilia are priced at a premium.
There is good news for anyone looking to start a collection of autographs from the Halloween movie. It’s not that expensive or difficult to get started as compared to some other movies. Many of the actors and actresses make appearances at horror conventions and are moderately priced.
Charles Cyphers has appeared in many other John Carpenter films besides Halloween and Halloween II, including The Fog, Assault on Precinct 13 and Escape From New York. Photos signed by Cyphers as “Sheriff Brackett” in Halloween typically sell for $20-$30.
Besides being one of the nicest people you will ever meet, PJ Soles is a regular on the fan convention circuit and there are many of her autographs available on the secondary market. However, meeting and obtaining an autograph from the lovely PJ is such a great experience that obtaining her autograph in-person and directly from Ms. Soles is the only way to go. Her autograph sells for about $25-$30 on a photograph and she typically inscribes her signature with “Totally!” or one of her other classic movie lines and her character name, “Lynda”, without you having to ask her to do so.
Nancy Kyes portrayed “Annie Brackett” in Halloween and has appeared at a number of conventions throughout the years so signed photos can be had for $20-30.
Brian Andrews, the child actor who was “Tommy Doyle”, is all grown up these days. He has made many convention appearances since his initial convention in 2003 and his autograph is valued at around $25.
Kyle Richards, who played “Lindsay Wallace”, is still seen on television, appearing in the reality show “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”. She has not made any fan convention appearances to date but I have caught up with her at events and charity appearances in and around Los Angeles. She has been very kind in signing Halloween memorabilia for me and seems to get a kick out of seeing herself in photographs as a young child. Since she does not do conventions, it is a little more difficult to find Halloween photos signed by her but the value is still affordable in the $35-40 range.
There are many opportunities and a plethora of material produced to promote the Halloween movie including posters, stills, masks, figurines, lobby cards and many other pieces of memorabilia. Regardless of your budget, there are many ways to put together a nice collection of autographs from the movie Halloween. The passion for this film is not waning anytime soon as posters, limited edition artwork and record albums are still being produced and collected by the fans of Halloween. Good luck in your own collecting endeavors and Happy Halloween!