Halloween: Being The Adventures Of Michael Myers |
Halloween: The Night He Came Home | Halloween II
Halloween III: The Season Of The Witch | Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers
Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers | Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers | Halloween: H20 | Halloween: Resurrection
The Halloween series of films is one of the longest lived and most successful series of slasher horror1, with eight films to date having been made2. All but one feature Michael Myers, one of the trio of mass-murderers to have dominated Hollywood slashers in the last 25 years. The others being Jason Voorhees from the Friday The 13th films and Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare On Elm Street series.
In many ways, Michael is the 'father' of them both. Halloween was made in 1978, the first Friday the 13th (in which Michael made a late appearance) was made in 1980 and A Nightmare On Elm Street in 1984.
Halloween was the film that spawned the modern slasher genre, with the character of Jason Voorhees being little more than a re-make of Michael Myers3 but gone over-the-top in his trips on cruise ships and in outer space. Without Halloween, we would not have had Scream, a fact emphasised when the characters in Scream watch Halloween4.
Donald Pleasence (Dr Loomis)
Despite the presence of main villain Michael Myers and famous Hollywood star Jamie Lee Curtis5, the star of the Halloween series is undoubtedly the talented British actor Donald Pleasence. He also starred in such films as The Great Escape, THX 1138, Fantastic Voyage and The Eagle Has Landed. Perhaps Donald Pleasence's most famous role was as Blofeld in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice. Although the character of Blofeld appears in other Bond films6 it is Donald Pleasence's portrayal of him that is most remembered7. Sadly, Donald Pleasence died in 1995. It is an acknowledgement of his achievement that both Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers (which he died during the making of), and Halloween: H20 are dedicated to him.
Donald Pleasence's character of Dr Loomis is unique in Horror films as Michael's psychiatrist who is almost as threatening as Michael Myers is. Loomis is obsessed with Myers, but goes out of his way to protect those threatened by him. He is the only one who understands Michael, and his speeches, where he refers to Michael being 'evil' and 'not human', having 'the blackest eyes, the devil's eyes and suffering from his 'rage' are the highlights of the films.
Significantly, Dr Loomis is named after Sam Loomis, fiancé of the doomed Marion Crane in the original slasher, Psycho.
Michael Myers himself is an interesting villain in his own right. More realistic than the cheap copy Jason Voorhees, Michael is more believable. His murders are restricted to his relations, those in his house, and those in the way of him murdering his relations and living in his house.
The early Halloween films were very effective in showing events from his view behind the mask, with his breathing the only sound audible, an effect which later films in the series have sadly avoided. Michael even occasionally gives the impression that he may abandon his rage and killings for a simpler life.
The distinctive, scary, Michael Myers mask curiously started out as a different film star. The mask was simply a William Shatner Star Trek mask with the eyebrows and sideburns removed and sprayed white.
So far, Michael Myers has been played by seven different actors: In Halloween he was played by Tony Moran (Will Sandin played the young Michael as seen in flashbacks). In Halloween II it was Dick Warlock. In Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers and Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers it was George P Wilbur who so far is the only actor to play Michael Myers more than once. In Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers it was Donald L Shanks. Chris Durand played Michael Myers in Halloween: H20, and most recently, Brad Loree played him in Halloween: Resurrection.
Although less memorable than Freddy Krueger, who has a distinct sense of humour and clearly enjoys his cunning murders, Michael Myers is a more purposeful, human and believable murderer than Jason.
Jamie Lee Curtis: Laurie Strode
Jamie Lee Curtis' character of Laurie Strode is less effective. In the first two Halloween films, Laurie Strode does little except scream, cry, hide and whimper, and is pretty much a stereotypical 'victim' character for a slasher. Halloween H20 does little to improve on this impression as Laurie Strode still screams, hides and whimpers, suffering nightmares of her early attacks, but is now additionally burdened with alcoholism.
Even when she decides to return to fight Myers in a duel to the death she ends up screaming and running from him most of the time. Her one redeeming moment is when she decides to kidnap Michael's body, push him off the hillside and decapitate him.
But to undermine this, we are told in Halloween: Resurrection that it wasn't actually Michael she killed after all. By this time she has spent the last three years locked up in a lunatic asylum starring out a window, not talking. Although she successfully springs a well-calculated trap on Michael, she is unable to go through with it and gets herself killed - Michael achieving the goal he has harboured since the very first instalment. Overall, not a character one really roots for or even pities.
Deaths In Halloween
Scream, 1996, famously created a theory on why characters in horror films are killed. This is Randy's Three Rules theory, which suggests that characters in horror films are killed because:
- They have had sex.
- They have drunk alcohol or taken drugs.
- They have said 'I'll be back'8.
Halloween is the horror film which dominates Scream. In the opening it is Halloween that Drew Barrymore's character of Casey says is her favourite horror film, and it is Halloween that is watched throughout9.
By taking an in-depth look10 at those who die in the Halloween films actually reveals a different pattern. Although those who drink and have sex are indeed murdered like clockwork, deaths are more likely to be career related with vast numbers of police and security guards being killed, followed by members of the medical profession. Mechanics and sheriffs' daughters are also at-risk groups, with none ever surviving a Halloween film.
At the moment, the future of Halloween is uncertain. Both recent films, Halloween H20 and Halloween: Resurrection were successful, and rumours about what the next Halloween film will be about are rife. One persistent rumour ties in with a recent Hollywood trend in Horror films. Instead of making inferior re-makes and calling them sequels, Hollywood have started making inferior re-makes of horror films, and called them re-makes, for example Psycho, The Ring, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and rumours suggest that Halloween will be next.
Other rumours are circulating that after the success of Freddy v. Jason, a Freddy v Michael or film with a similar theme involving Michael Myers will soon be made. It is even possible that Hollywood may make an ordinary, old fashioned sequel...
Related h2g2 Entries:
- Halloween: The Night He Came Home
- Halloween II
- Halloween III: The Season Of The Witch
- Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers
- Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers
- Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers
- Halloween: H20
- Halloween: Resurrection