The character Michael Myers was created for the Halloween film franchise. In John Carpenter’s Halloween, he plays a young child who kills his big sister Judith Myers. Killing more youngsters brings him back to his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois, 15 years later.
Do the Events Depicted in Michael Myers Actually Happened?
Carpenter has said that his character Michael Myers was inspired by real people, but that the events on Halloween were not. When asked about the inspiration for the slasher icon in the film’s 2003 documentary, A Cut Above the Rest, the filmmaker said that it wasn’t a prolific serial murderer as Ed Gein was for The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, but rather an anonymous boy he had met briefly during his time at university.
When Carpenter was a student at Western Kentucky University, he decided to visit a local mental institute, an encounter that would later inspire him to create Michael. “I attended a class—psychology or something and we visited a psychiatric institution,” the filmmaker recalled. The most severely mentally ill patients were the ones we saw. And there was a young man, maybe 12 or 13, who had this face.
Carpenter goes on to say that the interaction haunted him and that it was the young boy’s “evil glare” that inspired the emotionless killer Michael Myers. The visitor added, “It was unnerving to me; it was like the creepiest thing I’d ever seen.” It was totally out of control.
In a scene where he recalls meeting Michael Myers when he was six years old, the Halloween character Dr. Loomis describes the little boy’s impact on Carpenter. In the film about monsters, Loomis describes meeting a young boy, aged six, “with this blank, pallid, emotionless face and the blackest eyes; the devil’s eyes.” What I saw behind that boy’s eyes was pure and simple wickedness, I realized.
Michael Myers’s Masked Face Begs the Question: Why?
The movies are fairly evasive regarding Michael’s motivations for obtaining the mask, which is more interesting than how he acquired it. In his adaptation, Zombie tries to give Michael’s story a realistic foundation by focusing on the everyday horrors of domestic violence and mental illness.
Following his childhood killing spree, he becomes obsessed with masks and spends his time in an asylum creating elaborate paper-mâché masks that he wears for his escape. That sets it inside the realm of a treatable mental disease, which was not a focus of the Carpenter film.
In fact, the original Halloween scares were built around a lack of explanation. The incomprehensibility of Michael’s motive for murder adds a new level of fear to the situation. In the last confrontation with Laurie, he loses his mask and must pause to put it back on before continuing the attack, suggesting that he needs it to kill.
If Corey Cunningham had never put on Michael Myers’ mask, even Halloween Ends would imply that he would not have been able to exact retribution and become the next terrifying slasher. It highlights the shadowy depths of Michael’s character and hints that Michael is merely a front concealing something much more sinister.
One of Samuel Loomis’s lines in the film supports this idea: “I spent eight years trying to reach him and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I recognized that what was living behind that boy’s eyes was pure and simple evil.” The fact that Michael is listed in the credits as just “The Shape” further adds insult to injury. Simply said, Michael’s mask became a symbol of his wickedness, something that other horror films used as a given for their own scare tactics and sequels to Halloween couldn’t get around.
Now playing in cinemas and on Peacock’s premium tiers is the horror film Halloween Ends.