In 1975, William Shatner starred in a little-seen film horror film alongside John Travolta called The Devil’s Rain. It’s not a good movie. Roger Ebert hated it, saying that it was “painfully dull,” while The New York Times said it was as “horrible as watching an egg fry.” It was only released in Los Angeles and New York and probably would have been lost in the bowels of cinematic history, had it not been for one footnote.
In the film, all the actors had casts of their faces made, because in the movie, the characters’ faces melt, and they needed to make masks for the melting scenes. In the film, the prosthetic for Shatner’s melting face looked like this:
The Devil’s Rain was produced by Bryanston Distributing Company, the same production company that released the very first John Carpenter film, 1974’s Dark Star, as well as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Meanwhile, the original cast mold of William Shatner’s face from The Devil’s Rain was later used to by Don Post Studios to create Halloween (the holiday) masks of Shatner’s Star Trek character, Captain Kirk, which could be bought in stores.
One of the people who bought one of those Captain Kirk masks was John Carpenter, who would widen the eye holes and paint it white. It would become the Michael Myers mask in Halloween (the movie).
Forty years (and several sequels and a reboot) later, the Michael Myers’ mask based on a Captain Kirk mask made of William Shatner’s face in a little-known movie called The Devil’s Rain would become the inspiration for the masks worn by The Whisperers on AMC’s The Walking Dead, according to Greg Nicotero, producer, director and special-effects supervisor on the series. From TV Guide:
The Whisperers have a very different design than usual walkers — they’re masks rather than makeup, which gives them a terrifying blank affect he likens to Michael Myers from the Halloween franchise. “The face doesn’t move, so you cannot judge any kind of emotion,” Nicotero continued. “So every time we shoot with a group of them, I look at them like, ‘that’s f—in’ weird, man.'”