The Screen Room
Movie Villain Monday: Michael Myers - Halloween (1978)
It’s Movie Villain Monday and today’s horror related movie villain is my all time favourite!
It’s Michael Myers/The Shape from Halloween (1978).
Now there are a number of versions of this character what with all the different timelines, remakes and reboots, but since the original movie is by far the best, it’s that version of the character I’ll be talking about.
Who is Michael Myers?
Michael Audrey Myers is the main antagonist in John Carpenter’s classic horror movie, Halloween.
In the original film he was played by Carpenter’s friend, actor/writer and director Nick Castle.
Sequels and Different Timelines:
Halloween spawned five direct sequels (not including Halloween III: Season of the Witch), two more that ignored the previous three films (Halloween: H20 and Halloween Resurrection), two remakes and another direct sequel that ignored all but the first movie (the 2018 Halloween).
Confused? Me too! 🤯
At the beginning of the film we see a 6 year old Michael Myers murder his sister with a large kitchen knife on Halloween night. Fifteen years later, almost to the day, Michael, now 21 escapes from the psychiatric hospital he’s been incarcerated at since the murder.
On Halloween night after breaking into a hardware store and stealing the now infamous mask, he returns to his home town where he begins a murderous rampage, targeting a teenage babysitter and her friends. 🔪
Although there have been various theories as to Michael’s reasons for doing what he does, the scariest theory and ultimately the truth is that he’s simply, pure evil.
He never speaks, he’s relentless, has no remorse and he cannot be reasoned with.
His creator, John Carpenter has described him as "almost a supernatural force, a force of nature. An evil force that's loose," a force that is "unkillable".
Michael’s physical appearance is iconic much like many of the other “slasher movie villains”. He wears a creepy expressionless white mask and a blue boiler suit that he stole off a mechanic he murdered shortly after escaping from the sanitarium.
Weapon of Choice:
Michael kills his victims in a variety of ways but his weapon of choice is a large kitchen knife or “chef’s knife”. He also uses a phone cord and even his bare hands to murder poor unsuspecting characters in the 1978 movie.
The original title for Halloween was “The Babysitter Murders” but after deciding to set the whole movie during one night (Halloween night), the title was changed to Halloween.
The inspiration for the character of Michael Myers (or at least the evil that he embodies) came from when John Carpenter, then a college student, visited a psychiatric institution. In a ward that held “the most serious, mentally ill patients” Carpenter had an unnerving encounter with an adolescent boy who possessed a blank, "schizophrenic stare."
This also inspired the characterisation that Doctor Loomis gives the Sheriff in the film.
The mask that Michael wears in the movie was originally a William Shantner/Captain Kirk mask.
It was purchased from a costume shop on Hollywood Boulevard for $1.98.
The production designer had the eyebrows and sideburns ripped off, the face painted white, the eye holes made bigger and the hair spray painted dark brown.
The mask has changed slightly throughout the many films but is still based on the good old Captain Kirk original. 🖖
Nick Castle who played Michael in the first movie was only paid $25 a day. The movie was shot on an extremely low budget of $300,000 with actor, Donald Pleasance being paid the highest amount of $20,000.
Castle returned to play the masked killer for some scenes in the latest film, Halloween (2018).
Over the course of the movies the character has been played by eight different actors (not including hand shots and stunts etc).
Michael Myers was named after the studio head of Miracle films as a tribute to him after he distributed John Carpenter’s previous film, Assault on Precinct 13 overseas in the UK.
Halloween is credited with giving birth to the popular “Slasher Movie” genre that would later see films like Friday 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Child’s Play, Candyman and Scream dominate the horror movie scene over the following years.
“I met this six-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face and, the blackest eyes... the devil's eyes.”
Next week we’ll be back to normal movie villains so let me know in the comments who I should feature next. 👍