If you're looking to build a horror movie franchise, there's little more important than creating an iconic look for your killer. In the case of Happy Death Day and its sequel, that look included a mask that makes the slasher look like a massive baby, something that is sure to be memorable if only for its outrageousness. However, the killer in Happy Death Day could have looked quite different, as franchise director Christopher Landon reveals that he initially had two different concepts for the mask, the baby, and a pig. According to Landon...
When I was in early early pre-production [on Happy Death Day], I was trying to figure out what would be that sort of iconic mask. I feel like all great slasher films have that very memorable mask and at the time my partner and I we were pregnant with our first child. I think I had baby on the brain. So, I went to our mask designer, Tony Gardner, and I pitched him the baby. I pitched him actually two things. I pitched him a baby and I pitched him a pig. I thought that Tree’s character, she was a bit of a selfish pig, so I thought that could be funny. But when I received the prototype for the baby, I knew that was it. It kind of struck the perfect balance of it being creepy, weird, slightly funny, but ultimately scary. And so it seemed to fit the tone of our movie better than anything else.
I'm not sure what it says about a guy who was about to have his first child, and immediately translated that into an idea for a horror movie. Actually, as a father of a toddler myself, I know exactly what it says, and it makes perfect sense.
While Christopher Landon knew he needed to give his killer an iconic look, he wasn't initially settled on what that look would be. It seems he was contemplating a pig mask, which certainly could have looked frightening if given the right angle. Based on the way Landon explains the situation to EW, it sounds like the pig idea never even made it to the prototype phase because once the director saw the baby mask idea created by the designer, he knew it was the way to go.
While the baby mask killer may not have reached a slasher movie level of recognition of Michael Myers or Ghost Face yet, it has to be said that you'll never mistake the Happy Death Day killer for anybody else. It's a look unlike any other. With two films down and a third seemingly on the horizon, it's possible the trilogy could very much lead to this mask becoming a major part of pop culture for a generation.
The pig mask idea certainly could have worked. It's the Groundhog Day-like premise of the film, and not the mask itself, that has made this franchise a success with many, and thus the mask is little more than set dressing.
Happy death Day 2U is in theaters now.