When we dissect filmographies, we usually stick to the real people who work in the industry and who make the films we know, cherish, and love. But since Halloween is upon us, it only seemed fitting to take Dissecting to the next level and take on a fictional character, and who better than that of Michael Myers (aka The Shape), the masked madman that has been around slicing and dicing babysitters since 1978, and the one person who has catapulted the HALLOWEEN franchise to what it is today. Starting as a killer at a young age, Myers has grown up to be one of the most celebrated movie maniacs in the history of cinema, and what better way to pay tribute to him and the holiday which is his namesake than to Dissect his filmography—the good entries, the bad entries, and maybe even one you’ve never fully given credit to.
In 1978, John Carpenter introduced us to Michael Myers in HALLOWEEN, and the film remains to this day as one of the greatest horror movies ever made. From the iconic musical score to the eerie cinematography, to how perfect Myers acted once he puts on the inside-out Shatner mask, HALLOWEEN is about as perfect as a horror movie can get. Myers proved to be a scary character, a role he banked on even more-so in the film’s sequel, HALLOWEEN II, which takes place the moment the first one stops.
HALLOWEEN II is great because of the hospital location, the imaginative death sequences, and it really illustrates the outright hatred and determination Myers has to kill Jamie Lee Curtis. He f*cking hates his sister! He also apparently hates nurses, doctors, and random patients as well, which makes Myers even more brutally badass than he was in the first HALLOWEEN. And finally, HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS. Maybe not the greatest film, and nowhere near the quality of the first two, but because it was his triumphant return back to the series after Part 3 went in a completely different direction, and that there had been a few years since HALLOWEEN II, it’s just so good to see him back at what he does best in Part 4... plus, Danielle Harris in the house!
For as triumphantly good as HALLOWEEN is, it’s staggering how horrendously terrible some of the films in the series have been over the years, especially those released in the mid-90s and early 2000s. Specifically, I’d like to call out HALLOWEEN: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS, HALLOWEEN: H20, and of course, the notoriously bad HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION. And actually, that’s the one that sealed the deal of being all-out. A “reality TV show” goes into the old Myers house with a group of contestants only to be met by the force of Myers and what he does best: death and destruction. But seeing Busta Rhymes go head-to-head with Myers (and winning… sorta) brought absolutely no pleasure to anyone watching. And to make matters worse, Busta lives to see the end of the movie! For shame… for shame! And it was directed by the guy who directed HALLOWEEN II, which makes its awfulness even that much more surprising.
HALLOWEEN: H20 also had a great genre director at the wheel (Steve Miner), but neither Miner nor the return of Curtis, and the inclusion of Josh Hartnett, Michelle Williams, and LL Cool J could save this stinker from itself. What hurt the most here was that most of the main cast survives, and Michael is decapitated by Curtis. Ok, that was pretty cool… except, of course, they bring him back for the next one, which makes it absolutely pointless. And by this time, most people are rooting for him, so having such a definitive death as beheading probably wasn’t the smartest move on their part.
Michael Myers is a complicated, yet simple, character. He’s motivated by one thing: to kill his sister. And if he can’t kill his sister, he’s going to kill his sister’s daughter (his niece), or pretty much any living female relative that he may have. He lost his childhood at an early age when he murdered his other sister, and yet the fact that he returns to his old home in Haddonfield, IL, every year speaks to his striving to gain his childhood innocence back. He wants to be an innocent kid again, but his murderous tendencies make it virtually impossible. Some people have daddy or mommy issues, but Myers has sister issues. Serious sister issues.
Who the f*ck am I, Dr. Loomis? Enough with the analyzing of his psyche, the guy is a f*cking crazy bastard who enjoys slowing stalking, then gutting, his prey. He prefers babysitters and women, but isn’t afraid to kill a man—in fact, he probably kills men more than he does women, which probably fuels his anger somehow. Weapons of choice include the classic kitchen knife, but he also likes using his bare hands when he can. He’s used syringes in the past, as well as other readily available weapons, but mostly he prefers the slickness of a sharpened knife, or the comforting feel of his own hands when he crushes a larynx, breaks a neck, smashes a skull, or holds a bitch under water.
This may ruffle a few feathers out there, but Rob Zombie’s take on HALLOWEEN and his original follow-up with H2 are both far better than they’re ever given credit for, especially if you look at how Zombie went into giving actual character development to Myers. We see more of his background than we ever had before, we get to see what life was like at the insane asylum, and we get to see what his home life was really like. In terms of giving us a more well-rounded character than just a guy wearing a masking and hanging out in the shadows until he finds it time to slice and dice, Rob Zombie did it with HALLOWEEN.
H2 is even more fantastic because he went in a completely new and different direction. It wasn’t a remake, but rather a new entry into the HALLOWEEN universe. Again, we get more insight into Myers as a character, and he’s as brutally violent here as he ever was before (maybe even moreso), but at least here we know why. His look as the homeless mountain man may have pissed a few people off, but come on… if Myers ever stepped into the real world, he’d probably look like that! His mask was classic, the kills were classic, and we finally were able to see why (or at least, one of the reasons why) he does what he does: he has crazy dreams and visions of his mom! So I guess the guy does have mommy issues….
For years we’ve heard rumors about there being a HALLOWEEN 3D in the works from writer/director duo Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer (dudes behind MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D). Scripts have been written, ideas have been pitched, but contracts have yet to be signed and last time I checked, the project was dead in the water. Which is a shame too, as Lussier and Farmer know how to make a rockin’ 3D movie (see also DRIVE ANGRY 3D), and would have been the best guys to put Myers up on the silver screen, slashing out at the audience with a big ol’ kitchen knife in his hand. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be, which means we either have a direct-to-DVD entry coming our way soon, or the Platinum Dunes guys will gain the rights and come up with some silly MICHAEL MYERS VS. PINHEAD movie idea that will suck all kinds of balls.
There have been a few iconic characters in the horror genre that have stood the test of time. Dracula. Frankenstein. Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees. But the one who not only out-spooks them all, but who also represents a franchise with the Halloween namesake is Michael Myers. He’s the one character who has never really made fun of himself on screen, his films have never gone the over-the-top goofy route that many of his movie maniac colleagues have succumb to over the years, and even after all these years, there’s nothing quite as frightening as seeing Myers starring at you with those hollow eyes behind the expressionless mask. He started out with a bang with one of the greatest horror movies ever made, and I have to believe that Myers has more stalkings under his belt in the years to come.