Half-way through Halloween and tonight time to give the salute to the spiritual father of all boogeymen, the Jason Vorhees, the Freddy Krugger, the Scream slashers, the Sleepaway Camps, they Jeepers Kreepers: Michael Myers from the “Halloween” franchise.
If Michael Myers may have gotten some inspiration, it is certainly from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho”, straight from Norman Bates. But where Norman Bates has this split personality allowing him to appear normal and reenacting his dead mother, Michael Myers is the ultimate boogeyman: fearless, careless, apathetic, calculator, mute and foremost fully evil.
What makes it even more is the modus operandi of the plot. The story starts in Haddonfield, Illinois representing the typical surburbia (indeed the filming location occurred somewhere in California), in October 31st 1963. Nothing predates the following sequence, as we see kids running for trick or treating. We start indeed the sequence as the first-person, through the killer’s eyes, sneaking and peeping over a window. Then suddenly, John Carpenter’s soundtrack kicks in with a strident sound that give you goosebumps, followed by the piano tunes that makes the music of Halloween unique and easily identiable. This first-person point of view makes it unique as we are witnessing the action of the murderer and we are incapable to do anything about.
The effect is even more accentuated when we assist of the stabbing of the victim, yelling “Michael” before being killed and follow the escape of the killer, hearing to its breathing through the mask until stopped by his parents outside and revealing the identity of the killer: Michael Myers.
It is followed by “15 years later”, following Dr. Sam Loomis (played by Donald Pleasance) and a psychiatric nurse. Dr. Loomis will play a significant role and the first sentence he will make about Michael is “the evil is gone!”. Donald Pleasance is certainly being the best acting role. It had this credibility as a psychiatric doctor, discussing and letting us know more about Michael Myers.
Now Michael Myers out, we see Laurie Strode followed by a ghostly figure, wearing a grey jumpsuit, a white mask and heavily breathing through his mask. Try to watch it at night, that gives you some goosebumps. Here we are, the ultimate boogeyman, stalking on his victim like a predator on his prey.
It has very interesting cameos, as the two kids are disguised as Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. In the TV set, two horror movies are played: The Thing (the original, but maybe already announcing John Carpenter next movie in the making) and the Night of the Living Dead from Romero.
If you ever have to see a slasher once in your lifetime, watch this one. Also try to put your hands on Halloween II that immediately continue where we left this one. Halloween III is interesting but not linked to the first two opuses. I would also say forget and ignore the sequels, as well as the remake by Rob Zombie that I found were not convincing to me. Always prefer the original to the copies.