Cryptic Collectibles

Collecting Michael Myers: Three Decades of HALLOWEEN Memorabilia!

on October 27, 2010 | 20 Comments

Thirty-two years ago this week, a certain little indie film called Halloween was first released to theatres. Making its premiere in Kansas City on October 25th, 1978,  John Carpenter’s low-budget tale of a homicidal maniac who escapes from a psychiatric institution and returns to his hometown where he  stalks a trio of teenaged girls would go on to break box-office records and become one of horrordom’s most iconic films. So, to celebrate the film’s 32nd birthday, here’s a look at some of the collectibles Halloween and its sequels have inspired.

Halloween Australian Daybill Poster

What could have been a forgettable exploitation flick was elevated into the realm of cinematic classic because of several factors: the exceptional abilities of director/co-writer/producer/composer Carpenter and co-writer/producer Debra Hill; a talented crew that included cinematographer Dean Cundey and production designer/co-editor Tommy Lee Wallace; and the serendipitous casting of esteemed British character actor Donald Pleasence as Dr. Sam Loomis and newcomer Jamie Lee Curtis as babysitter Laurie Strode – ironically, neither of whom were Carpenter’s first choice for the roles – not to mention great support from co-stars Nancy Loomis, P.J. Soles and Charles Cyphers. Made on a budget of just $320,000, it has so far raked in more than $60 million and was for years, the most profitable independent motion picture of all time.

The Man Behind Halloween - John Carpenter, circa late 1970s.

The first time I saw Halloween was as a 9-year-old when it made its television premiere on Friday Oct. 30th, 1981. I remember the event well because my family’s television set had just conked out a few nights earlier and my father – who was low on money at the time – actually went out and bought a 14″ B&W television set just so we could all watch the film. Remember, this was in the days before the ubiquitous video store (and owning a VCR was still several years away), so catching a first-run movie like this on television was a big deal.  It’s something that I’ll always be grateful of him doing.

Adding to that memorable night was a viewing of another film that would have a marked impact on me: George A. Romero’s masterpiece Night of the Living Dead. My local public library had screened a 16mm print earlier that evening and it finished in enough time for me to get home for Halloween’s 9:00 PM broadcast. Of course, Halloween fans will know that clips of Night appear during 1981′s Halloween II – which coincidentally also opened at theatres on (get this) that same night: Oct. 30th, 1981!

Night of the Living Dead Lobby Card, 1968.

A 2-disc limited edition DVD release of Halloween from Anchor Bay in 2000 (pictured below) included both the 92-minute theatrical version and the 12 minute longer television cut which had snippets of sex and violence cut out but also featured additional scenes including one of Dr. Loomis discussing young Michael’s troubling behavior with a hospital review board; and another, in which Lynda goes to Laurie’s home to borrow a silk blouse to wear. The set also came with a bonus postcard of outtake shots of either Jamie Lee Curtis lounging on a patch of grass or Nick Castle goofing around with the Myers mask.

 

Halloween Limited Edition 2-Disc DVD Set w/Theatrical and TV Versions and Postcard, Anchor Bay, 2000.

Halloween Limited Edition 2-Disc DVD Set w/Theatrical and TV Versions and Bonus Jamie Lee Curtis Postcard, Anchor Bay, 2000.

The Man Behind the Mask: Nick Castle with the Modified Capt. Kirk Mask, Bonus Halloween Postcard w/ Anchor Bay 2000 Halloween VHS Release.

One of the first Halloween-inspired collectibles I owned in the early ’80s was the well-written paperback tie-in novelization by author Curtis Richards (actually literary agent Richard Curtis) which presented a back story about Michael Myers that was not part of the Carpenter/Hill screenplay. Published by Bantam Books, it was first released in 1979 and early editions featured an interesting, but rather bizarre image of a child brandishing a knife while wearing a white sheet and a seemingly lit Jack o’ lantern placed over his head. Perhaps whoever designed the book’s cover thought a lit pumpkin could work as a mask too. Later reprints of the novel would use the by-then familiar movie poster artwork.

Halloween Tie-in Novelizations, Curtis Richards, Original 1979 and 1981 Reprint w/Alternate Cover Art

Back Cover of Halloween Tie-in Novelizations, Curtis Richards, Bantam Books,1979. "The Scariest Movie Since Psycho."

In 1987 when I was 15 years old, I bought a Don Post Studios rubber mask, called incidentally enough, “The Mask.” First released on the market in 1985, it wasn’t a totally accurate version of the film’s Myers mask (which was actually a modified William Shatner Capt. Kirk Star Trek mask), but it was a close enough resemblance for me to want it. After having it in my collection for many years, I sold it to a collector friend. I never managed to take a pic of it, but here’s an image I found of a similarly-looking specimen:

"The Mask", Don Post Studios.

There have of course, been many “officially licensed” mass-produced Myers masks since then, but for some reason, none seem to be able to nail down the exact likeness of the mask used in the first or second films. There are however, some very talented artists out there creating their own high-quality screen accurate-looking custom masks in small numbers, and that’s probably the route to go if you’re a rabid Michael Myers fan and want something better than what’s usually offered in stores this time of year.

Like many low-budget, non-studio releases of the day Halloween did not immediately spawn a lot of collectibles and it was not until the late ’90s that companies would begin to manufacture action figures, dolls, mini busts and the like. As such, items dating from the release of the original 1978 film consist mainly of the tie-in novel previously shown and promotional material used to advertise the film in theatres, newspapers and magazines. Items like the iconic original 1-sheet movie poster and presskit with set of B&W stills are now considered rare and valuable memorabilia that can command amounts up to hundreds of dollars on the collector’s market when found in mint condition.

But, in addition to U.S. press material, there are a number of  other highly desirable items to be found from around the world. An example is this beautifully illustrated Japanese Movie program that dates from Halloween‘s original release and is one of my favorite items in my collection.  Just look at that bizarre cover artwork!

HALLOWEEN Original Japanese Movie Program, circa 1979.

Close up of Cover of HALLOWEEN Original Japanese Movie Program, circa 1979. That's one strange looking Michael Myers!

HALLOWEEN Original Japanese Movie Program, circa 1979.

HALLOWEEN Original Japanese Movie Program, circa 1979.

HALLOWEEN Original Japanese Movie Program, circa 1979.

HALLOWEEN Original Japanese Movie Program, circa 1979.

In the mid-’80s, I purchased my first soundtrack album – John Carpenter and Allan Howarth’s score to Halloween II (a more synthesized reworking of Carpenter’s music from the  first film) from Sam The Record Man’s flagship store in downtown Toronto.  The Sam’s store may be gone now, but I still have the LP, which I still play from time to time:

HALLOWEEN II Original Motion Picture Soundtrack LP, Varese Sarabande, 1981.

Halloween II Original Motion Picture Soundtrack LP, Varese Sarabande, 1981.

Around the same time, I was able to find a set of 8 11″x14″ theatrical lobby cards for the film, as well as the paperback tie-in novelization by Jack Martin (actually, a pseudonym of author Dennis Etchison), which included several images from the film within. Here’s a look at that and various other Halloween tie-in novels, including the rare Halloween IV novelization by author Nicholas Grabowsky.

A Collection of HALLOWEEN Series Paperbacks Tie-in Novelizations. HALLOWEEN and HALLOWEEN IV are the rarest of the releases.

Halloween II Original 1981 U.S. 11"x14" Theatrical Lobby Card.

The very first home video release of Halloween was by Media Home Entertainment in 1979.  It was later put out by other companies like Video Treasures and Anchor Bay Entertainment  (which released a two tape set complete with a limited-edition snow globe with mini Michael and Laurie figures and glitter “blood”!) before graduating to numerous DVD (and most recently, Blu-ray) releases from Anchor Bay .

A Collection of HALLOWEEN Series Films, VHS Format.

(Top) HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS DVD, Anchor Bay, 2001; and (Bottom) HALLOWEEN: 25 YEARS OF TERROR Documentary 2-Disc DVD Set w/ Bonus Mini Comic Book, Anchor Bay, 2006.

In 1999, McFarlane Toys released a 7 “ Michael Myers Action Figure as part of their Movie Maniacs 2 line. They would also later put out a large-sized 18 ” figure with a sensor-activated mechanism that would play John Carpenter’s iconic Halloween theme.

Michael Myers Movie Maniacs 2 Action Figure, McFarlane Toys, 1999.

Michael Myers Movie Maniacs 2 Action Figure, McFarlane Toys, 1999.

Around the same time, two limited-edition 18 ” dolls (one which was “clean”; the other with a bloody knife and 6 “bullet holes” in its chest) were made available in Spencer’s Gifts stores. Part of their line of other 18 ” horror-based figures that included Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Leatherface, Ghostface from Scream,  Eric Draven from The Crow and The Cryptkeeper from HBO’s Tales from the Crypt TV series,  the battery-operated stuffed doll (with wire armature) would play the Halloween theme whenever its stomach was pressed.

18 " Michael Myers Doll, Spencer's Gifts, circa 1999.

Picking up the torch after McFarlane was Sideshow Toys – which released a 12″ Myers doll in 2003. I found the likeness of the figure though to be somewhat lacking.

12" Michael Myers Halloween Doll, Sideshow Toys, 2003.

NECA Toys put out a numerous figures and other collectibles including a two-pack 7 ” figure set of Myers and Loomis complete with Myers’ font porch and lawn diorama in 2004; and a bobble head figure in their Head Knockers line featuring  a base complete with  Jack o’lantern, clown mask and headstone adorned with sister Judith’s name. The likeness on the bobble head is really great.

Michael Myers Head Knocker Bobble Head Figure, NECA, 2004.

Michael Myers Head Knocker Bobble Head Figure, NECA, 2004.

Michael Myers Head Knocker Bobble Head Figure, NECA, 2004.

Michael Myers and Dr. Loomis Figure Set, NECA, 2004.

Micheal Myers collectibles continue to be produced (with the Rob Zombie incarnation now seemingly supplanting the original), and it’s safe to say that we’ll see a lot more offerings available on store shelves in the years to come.

For more information on various other Halloween collectibles and their values, go to eBay and look at both the currently listed auctions and those which have already recently ended.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

A Halloween 11″x14″ “fantasy” lobby card. Despite its slick appearance, this  ”U.S -styled” lobby card actually derives from an unofficially produced set featuring artwork from the Australian lobby card set.  Lobby cards were not produced for the film in the U.S., so beware of any online retailer advertising these as “genuine,” or “original.”
 Halloween 11″x14″ “fantasy” lobby cards. Despite their slick appearance, these “U.S -styled” lobby cards actually derive from an unofficially produced set featuring artwork from the Australian lobby card set.  Lobby cards were not produced for the film in the U.S., so beware of any online retailer advertising these as “genuine,” or “original.”
Tags: action figure, Allan Howarth, Anchor Bay Entertainment, Australian Daybill, bobble head, Charles Cyphers, collectibles, Dean Cundey, Debra Hill, Dennis Etchison, Don Post, Donald Pleasence, Dr. Sam Loomis, George A. Romero, Halloween, Halloween II, Jack Martin, Jamie Lee Curtis, Japanese movie program, John Carpenter, Laurie Strode, lobby card, mask, McFarlane Toys, Media Home Entertainment, Michael Myers, Movie Maniacs, movie poster, Nancy Loomis, NECA, Nicholas Grabowsky, Nick Castle, Night of the Living Dead, P.J. Soles, plush doll, press book, press kit, Sideshow Toys, Spencer's Gifts, tie-in novel, Tommy Lee Wallace, varese sarabande

Responses to Collecting Michael Myers: Three Decades of HALLOWEEN Memorabilia!

  1. Yow! This is my fave post yet, James. Love that Japanese poster. And Carpenter’s Bee Gees haircut!

  2. James Burrell says:

    Thanks for the comment Dave, I appreciate it. Happy Halloween everyone!

  3. Chuck Rumble says:

    Just had a look at this today, some real gems in there…

    The first novelization was a great read–I actually remember not being allowed to buy the book or see the movie (Mom said no) so I kept coming back to the Safeway magazine rack after school to read it.

    Nice work JB.

  4. Sheila Clark says:

    Trying to find out the value of a Michael Myers Figurine, 2001 RIP Horror Collector series. I have 00596 out of 30,000. Any suggestion to where I would find this?

  5. James Burrell says:

    Hi Sheila,

    Are you referring to the 18 inch one posted above that has a gray cloth costume and plays the Halloween theme when its stomach is pressed?

    If so, the amount that particular toy (originally sold in Spencer’s Gifts stores) can get varies.

    On average though, I’ve seen it sell on eBay for around $30. I’ve occasionally seen people listing it for more ($70, $100 or better), but they rarely get anything over the $30 to $40 mark – at least from what I’ve noticed.

    Hope that helps.

    -James

  6. Jon Forbing says:

    Amazing article, man. Very thorough. So, that “Curtis Richards” tie-in novel with the backstory tale… any good? That sounds interesting, like something I might want to seek out if it’s worth it.

  7. James Burrell says:

    Hi Jon,

    Yes, the back story is quite well done – better than what’s featured in the sequels, in my opinion.

    I highly recommend the book; if you can track down a copy, that is. It’s a difficult book to find.

  8. AJ Evans says:

    I have a MICHAEL MYERS LITTLE BIG HEAD STYLE 6″ STATUE serial number 666 from 1999 still in the box. I have thought about parting with it over the years and am now ready. It’s been in a solid oak cabinet locked away from human eyes since I got it. What do you think that paticularitem is worth?

    Thanks
    AJ Evans

  9. James Burrell says:

    Hi AJ,

    Are you referring to the Horror Headliners series that was released by Equity Marketing?

    If so, it appears that particular figure sells for around $25.00 to $30.00 mint in the package. You may get more due to the unusual serial number, but unfortunately this series of figures doesn’t command as much money as items released by Sideshow, NECA, etc.

    The good news though, is that the Myers release appears to be the rarest of the set; the Jason, Freddy, Leatherface and Ghostface releases are relatively easy to locate on eBay and can be found for as little as $10 apiece.

    Hope that helps.

    -James

  10. poropo says:

    estan backanes los de sideshows

  11. Shane Kelly says:

    hey stumbled across this website while trying to find out the value of a vhs i own. i was wondering if you’ve seen it sold new and if so for how much

    -halloween (of course) copyright 81 media home entertainment release brand new still wrapped and in pretty good condition for being 30 years old

  12. James Burrell says:

    Hi Shane,

    Well, as you have one of the early releases of the film and it’s still sealed, it’s worth more than other later-released or opened tapes.

    Unfortunately, though, because Halloween has been re-released in various formats so many times over the years, it won’t fetch as much as something that’s only come out once on VHS (i.e.: “big box” tapes from Wizard Video, etc.), or has never even made it to DVD or Blu ray.

    In my opinion, and based on a completed auction search on eBay, I’m estimating you’d probably get around $30 or so. Hope that helps.

    -James

  13. pete says:

    Are you sure that is the “Australian” lobby card set? It looks like the US one as the censor stamp looks US. Additionally, it should have “Hoyts Distribution” on it (like the Aussie poster). Or are you saying that it is a US Lobby reproduction set that uses the Australian poster?

  14. James Burrell says:

    Hi Pete,

    No, this is not an Australian lobby card set. It is a “U.S.-styled” lobby card set created using the artwork (Michael Myers on the staircase; the tagline “The trick is to stay alive”) and B&W stills found on Australian lobby cards.

    From my research, it looks like a lobby card set was never actually produced for “Halloween” in the U.S, so I believe this to be a “fantasy” lobby card set. A set of 8×10 inch B&W stills was made available to cinemas and drive-ins in the U.S., but strangely enough (perhaps due to a very limited marketing budget), no lobby cards were made.

  15. tanya says:

    i have a set with vhs and snow globe serial number 07689 would this be worth anything never opened

    • James Burrell says:

      Hi Tanya,

      Yes, that VHS/snow globe set that was released in 1998 for the film’s 20th anniversary by Anchor Bay can fetch anywhere from $50 to $80 if still in the clear plastic case. The globe itself can sell online on sites like eBay for values of $30 to $50 or so.

      Hope that helps.

      -James

  16. Mark Harry says:

    I have a mint Japanese original movie programme
    And want to know how much it’s worth?
    Does anyone know ?

  17. brian byrum says:

    I have a Halloween snowglobe the 1978-1998 one with number 07857 I am just wondering what they run for

    • James Burrell says:

      Brian,
      I’m very sorry, but I’m no longer providing valuations for this post. However, if you look at the previous responses above, you’ll find the answer to your question. Take care.

  18. LAWRENCE says:

    HEY OUT THERE YOU CRAZY HALLOWEEN FANS. I JUST WANT ALL YOU TO KNOW THAT THERE IS LOTS OF HALLOWEEN BOOTLEGS VHS TAPE OUT THERE HOE MANY YOU SAY WELL JUST ABOUT 200 AND IF YOU DID’T NOT KNOW THAT WELL IT’S TIME YOU DID. I FOR ONE THING COLLECT HALLOWEEN VHS TAPES AND I HAVE ALL OF THEM THAT HAVE COME OUT. SO LET ME TELL YOU ALL THE COUNTRIES THAT HAVE A BOOTLEGS. U.S.A-U.K-JAPAN-CHINA-KOREA-CANADA-FRANCE-GERMANY-MEXICO-AUSTRALIAN-ICELAND-SCOTTLAND-POLAND-RUSSIA-INDIA-SOUTH AFRICA-AND MORE.

    SO THERE YOU HAVE IT’S I HOPL THAT THIS HELPS ANYONE COLLECTING VHS TAPES. THANKS FOR ALL OF YOUR TIME AND I WILL SEE YOU LATER.

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