You know him as one of the most recognizable figures in horror. Micheal Myers is a ruthless killer who slips through shadows and stalks back streets to find his prey. The man also called “the Shape” has been terrifying audiences in Halloween movies for decades. Now, thanks to Blumhouse Productions, he’s coming back home.
Halloween, opening on October 19, is technically the eleventh film in the series. This one, however, ignores all chapters and remakes except for John Carpenter’s 1978 original. As Michael Myers makes his return to Haddonfield, Illinois, he will be slightly different than some remember. Regardless of his backstory, this version of the Shape is older, deadlier, and more terrifying than any other.
Michael Myers made a major impact on horror when the original film debuted in 1978. He’s a perfect combination of elements: a menacingly large man in a ghostly white mask, accompanied by a hauntingly catchy piano melody.
Those elements are all in play in the new movie, but there is something different. This is a direct sequel to the original, which means director David Gordon Green and his co-writer, Danny McBride, didn’t have to factor in many years of ideas (some good, some decidedly not) about Michael’s character and history. By forgetting the sequels, Green created the opportunity to rewrite the character of Michael Myers.
Michael is no longer related to Jamie Lee Curtis’s character Laurie Strode. He’s a broken person who killed as a child, then killed again as a young man — and whose last intended victim, Laurie, got away. Now he gets a chance to complete the task he began forty years ago. What more motivation does a killer need?
He Kills Because He Can
Green spoke to the Huffington Post about the movie. His comments are persuasive in their suggestion that this version of Michael is even more terrifying than before:
I don’t remember what talked us out of it, other than it became clear to us that it wasn’t scary if [Michael was chasing] a sibling. If it was a sibling, then he had to have some sort of diagnostic connection to some person. We were looking for a free-for-all horror-fest. Anybody’s a victim. This is any town in America. He doesn’t have an agenda.
Green also touched upon what makes Michael’s behavior so horrifying. Michael is an observer. He doesn’t talk, but he does listen, especially when he is lurking around potential victims. Aside from a few classic Michael Myers head tilts, the camera purposely doesn’t focus on him for too long because they don’t want viewers to see his emotions underneath the mask.
Decades Of Preparation
As a direct sequel to the original Halloween, the new film will take place forty years after Michael Myers last went on a holiday rampage. Michael has been locked away since that deadly night. Meanwhile, as a survivor of his killing spree, Laurie Strode has suffered a lifetime of PTSD. She has retreated to a heavily-defended compound, where she trains with weapons and waits for the chance to kill her attacker.
After a documentary crew visits Michael for a retrospective look into that night, he somehow escapes custody and gets hold of his infamous mask once again. He makes his way back to Haddonfield to finish what he started. We can’t see what’s in his eyes, but we know what is on his mind: Laurie.
Seeing the effect Michael had on Laurie makes him more frightening. His immediate actions are always scary, and several sequels dealt with Michael’s lingering reputation and influence. None, however, presented a vision of a character like this film’s image of Laurie Strode. We see how seriously he affected her life, and how that defined the lives of all the people around her. It has a powerful effect.
Halloween hits theaters on October 19.