The Night Michael Came Home: A Look at Halloween

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Welcome back! We are in full swing. Soon it will be the Christmas season for real but for now we stick to Halloween. Speaking of Halloween (nice segue there Amanda) here is my look at Halloween and where it stands in popular culture.

Halloween is the series to start off the slasher explosion of the 80’s. This film series didn’t have the same effect on me as Nightmare on Elm Street did, but it stayed with me. How could it not? Every year AMC plays their Michael Myers marathon, and I get sucked in. I also made it a tradition to watch Halloween on Halloween since I was fifteen years old. This is less about societal woes and more about a man who just won’t die. He is human. He has been stabbed, shot at and even his head was cut off (I KNOW. I know. I refuse to acknowledge the backtracking the powers that be did after H20).  He is someone who cannot and won’t stop.

The story of Halloween is as follows: a six-year-old kills his older sister, Judith, after watching her have sex with her boyfriend on Halloween in Haddonville, Illinois. He is put away and watched over in an asylum by Dr. Loomis. Cut to Halloween in the year 1978. Michael is back for revenge, and a new crop of babysitters are his new target. Who will make it out alive?

This first film is classic. It shows how great and suspenseful a horror movie could be. A lot of people call it the start of the slasher but if you look there isn’t much blood. The killings are like a slow countdown to the main event, Laurie Strode. The main babysitter or as we later learn is the sister that got away.

I will admit. I am a fan of the Halloween 1 and 3. I enjoy seeing Paul Rudd in a movie like this but other than that…yeah…not so much. No matter how many times I have seen these films, I still have trouble completely following the mythology that is Michael Myers.  Other than being scary and fulfilling the requirement of killing random babysitters and bystanders there was no reason to look at Michael Myers any further. I had no real connection.

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Then it hit me. Michael Myers doesn’t have a mythology. There is no reason for Michael to kill. There was no catalyst. He is just inherently evil. We don’t know if it is mental or some outside force started this spree (watching his sister have sex sparked something in him), but he is just inherently evil. That is fascinating. Especially since a ton of real life serial killers never needed an excuse.  It takes that idea and brings it to the mainstream. Michael is truly scary because he doesn’t have emotions. He doesn’t have a reason. He is a machine, and nothing will stop him. Appealing to his sensibilities won’t save you. Neither will running away. Michael will get you if he wants you.

That is a pretty scary thought.

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I enjoy the quote unquote final girl as well. Laurie Strode is played by the original scream queen herself Jamie Lee Curtis. This movie follows the traditional slasher rules. Laurie is a beautiful, virginal girl who is highly aware that something is wrong that particular Halloween. Even better she is smart enough to keep the children safe. I think Laurie killing off Michael in H2O (I refuse to go past that movie) would have been the perfect ending. Of all the Myers running around out there, it would be up to Laurie to end the madness. Much like Nancy, she is the only one that can truly get under his skin.

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Dr. Loomis is a pretty big character too. He is the only character to attempt to keep up with his patient. Trying to keep him from killing anyone else. I also had a theory he felt responsible for Michael as a father. A creepy father/son relationship. The movie doesn’t touch on this, but I always felt it was there. Under the surface. There is a great blog post about Loomis being the real boogeyman. (psst here it is check it out)

This series is one of the rare ones where I refuse to acknowledge certain movies past the year 2000 because they were just bad and made for money.  If it were up to me, I would watch up to Halloween: H20 and call it a day.  Good ending for a killer that scares the crap out of babysitters everywhere.

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Until then, the randomness has ended. Hope you enjoyed.

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