Michael Myers

WEIRDO’WEEN #21: Halloween [1978]

weirdoween2015To conclude our “slasher trilogy” of sorts, let’s play with imagination for a minute: the year is 1963, and the night: Halloween. Police Officers are called to 43 Lampkin Lane only to discover that 15 year old Judith Myers has been stabbed to death – by her 6 year-old brother – Michael. After being placed in a psychiatric ward for 15 years, Myers breaks out on the night before Halloween. No one knows, or wants to find out, what will happen on October 31st, 1978 besides Myers‘ psychiatrist, Dr. Loomis. He knows Michael is planning to head back to his home town of Haddonfield, but by the time the town realizes it, it’ll be much too late for many of it’s people.

For today’s movie we look at a staple in horror cinema. One that feels so important, that many tried to imitate it’s stylistic atmosphere, music, and even it’s killer! It’s presence in the horror genre today still makes it something that has fear in people’s eyes when they hear the name Michael Myers. Today, ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to review that only makes sense to review on Halloween:

weirdo'ween-#21

The story line is perfectly simple, Michael stalks and kills babysitters. Nothing else, just the basic man kills people. But, it’s Carpenter‘s almost over-powering atmosphere of dread that generates the tension we feel as we’re watching. Like any other great horror film, events are telegraphed long in advance, yet they still seem to occur when we aren’t expecting it, therefore never allowing us as the audience the chance to second guess what the film is about to do. With it’s dark lighting, the long steady-cam shots, and [most importantly] that damn eerie music, gives it the ability to create one of the most claustrophobic and uncomfortable scenes in horror film history. There is a body count, but compared to the slashers that came after this it’s actually not that many people who get killed. One of the interesting thing is that Michael‘s murders are nearly bloodless: The fear is not the kill itself, but in knowing that it happened. That he does it without a second thought.


If you really think about it, John Carpenter made a low budget film and ended up scaring a generation of movie goers. He proved that you don’t need budgets in the 8 or 9 figures to produce fear in an audience. Because, as he shows us in Halloween, sometimes the best element of fear is not what actually is going on, but what is about to happen.. He makes the movie watchers worried, almost to ask themselves: what was that shadow? Or, What was that noise upstairs? He knows that these are some of the best ways to scare someone and he uses every element of textbook horror that you can use. Unlike movies that have come out in recent years, we’re numb to giant special effect monsters that makes loud noises and jumps out of a wall. It’s when we have moments when the killer is lurking, somewhere, and you don’t know where that is, that can truly scare you. Halloween succeeds like no other film because of this.

What makes Myers so effective is that we get the very briefest of introductions to who [or what] he is, just showing him as some kid who killed his sister, without ever saying why, just made it “work”. Even without any explanation, when he does escape, you know right then and there that someone is going to get hurt. The teens he stalks come off as normal and have the look of everyday people. People that you could know, in a town that you could live in. Only on this night, Halloween, Evil has come home. I mean, yes – It’s simple, but it’s the simplicity of is what makes it so scary. Would this have been as frightening if say, there was some giant monster with four arms running around killing people? Not as much. Because Michael is just a regular person in a mask, [although the “very face of evil”] this story feels like something that could actually happen.

The best way to look at it is Michael ceased to be a person once he first killed. He is not a serial killer, a human being or even a psychopath: He is an unstoppable force. The bleached-white Shatner mask, and lack of any dialog other then some breathing, helps to dehumanize and complete Michael‘s loss of humanity. This comes off as the source of all his power: He is faceless, speechless and unremarkable in any way other than as a source of unrelenting chaos. The over the top performance and uneasiness sells Michael as a character. This is helped by Carpenter‘s cinematography and the lack of information/motivation/explanation given to us by Doctor Loomis.  This is also the first film performance by Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, the innocent girl who tries to stop chaos in the face of overwhelming odds [at least for a little bit]

Ultimately though, this is John Carpenter‘s movie: He Directed it, co-wrote it, co-produced it, and wrote the chilling score for it! This is a man of brilliance, and his later movie The Thing supports this. [I did a review on The Thing over here!] The famous opening scene is disturbing, but not very scary by today’s standards; and not many of the scares work for the first part of the movie. It’s not that it’s a bad movie, it’s just that there’s reason to fear “The Shape” anymore. Luckily, Carpenter mostly uses this time to set up a relationship between the characters and the audience. We grow to get to know the characters, but not so much that we feel like absolute garbage when they get killed. But once the film gets to Halloween night, that’s when Carpenter kicks things into high gear, proving that this is the movie He came home!

Halloween still holds up as one of the most important films in the horror genre; especially because it helped redefine the term “slasher”. As for Michael Myers, while he too got many sequels and a remake, [and a sequel to that remake] He still stands as an important character – because without him, we wouldn’t have gotten characters like Jason and Freddy. How do you like your slasher villain? Are you a fan of the silent, stalk-y types like Jason and Michael? Or do you prefer wise cracking killers, like Freddy? As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve always considered myself a Krueger fan boy, because they’re the ones I grew up with. Which do you prefer? Let me know in a comment or two!

Also, If you have an idea for the next weirdo’ween review[s], please let me know which movie[s] you’d like to see next! If you found yourself to enjoy this particular review – and want to see more – then take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 120+ likes almost at 130!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; as well as links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! Join me tomorrow morning when I talk about weirdo’ween #22! – So STAY TUNED!

“have you checked the children?” [wait, that’s the wrong movie isn’t it?]

THANKS FOR READING.

Advertisements

film study: DEADLIEST horror movie villains [ranked by KILL count!]

Look at the picture above. Which iconic horror villain stands out the most to you? Some of these guys are the epitome of horror: Ghostface, Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Jason, Billy, Leatherface and Chucky. They are all fairly formidable foes on their own, but which one is truly the most deadly? After talking through email with someone [whom I won’t mention by name due to obvious privacy reasons] from the website buycostumes, they actually made an info-graph back in 2014 explaining which horror villain is considered the “most deadly” – at least by their kill count. When trying to export the info-graph here, the picture kind of shrunk [making it hard to read] so I’m going to break it down by horror villain, in order. With this graph, this individual and I agreed that I’d talk about it here, mainly because it’s definitely something that could be up for debate amongst horror fans, and not everyone who reads this will agree! So strap your boots on tight, kiddies: this is gonna be a long one.


[click this info-graph to see the original post by BUYCOSTUMES]


Let’s start from the top of this ladder of villains with: Pennywise, from It. Probably my least favorite on this list for the fact that I have coulrophobia. Clowns in horror isn’t really something new, but Pennywise is probably one of the scarier ones. If you want to get down to the ‘technical’ stuff, It‘s villain wasn’t always a clown, but an entity known as It, which is a shape-shifting being that can take any form it chooses; Clowns just seem relevant.. According to the graph, Pennywise isn’t nearly as violent as the others, as his kill count is at only 09. In his defense though, he did only have one movie under his belt.


Jumping from 09 kills to 22, we have The Candyman, from you guessed it; Candyman. If you’re unfamiliar with the movie [and its two sequels], Farewell To The Flesh and Day Of The Dead, the basic thing you need to know is that The Candyman is a demonic being that can be summoned by saying his name in front of a mirror five times. If you’ve ever heard of “Bloody Mary”, this is  pretty much the same concept, just with a guy with a hook for a hand instead of a woman in the mirror..


Remember Chucky? Everyone remembers the first time they saw Child’s Play: it’s actually creepy [in it’s own right] with a killer “Good Guy Doll”; where the spirit of fictional killer by the name of Charles Lee Ray puts his soul into a doll to try and live ‘forever’. I assure you, it’s a lot better than I make it sound, even if they do get a little ridiculous after the third film. Chucky has killed over 30 victims over the span of his six movies.


If you’ve never seen his films, I’m about 100% sure you’ve at least heard of Leatherface of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre fame. The original film is gritty, it’s raw, and it’s really fucked up. In a good manner of speaking, of course. His real name is Jedidiah Sawyer, but that feels like a mouthful in it’s own, so let’s stick with Leatherface, shall we? Over seven movies later, [with a new one on the way] Sawyer has claimed himself 31 victims [beating Chucky by ONE]


Hellraiser has arguably one of the cooler villains on this list, because Pinhead is completely different than everyone else on here. I mean, think about it: he’s another worldly being who has a thing for pain, pleasure and most importantly; [Lament Configuration] puzzle boxes. nine films later, Pinhead has shown such sights to 35 people! [and that’s not including the books!]


If you know me well enough, you know that one of my [many] guilty pleasure film horror series is very clearly – the SAW series. Even if Billy isn’t the “technical” killer [the traps are] his “playthings” have been through seven movies and put in traps over 40 times, with only a [very] small number of survivors..


He’s everyone’s favorite dream-invading killer: If you die in your dream, you’re going to die in real life. Of course I’m talking about Freddy Krueger. A Nightmare On Elm Street is what I think of when I think classic slasher film; it has a bit of everything – including Johnny Depp in his first role! nine films and a [terrible] remake later, Krueger has claimed 42 sleeping teenagers and adults alike!


Imagine this: you’re about three feet tall, you’re Irish, and you’ve been kidnapped by an angry and greedy American who wants your gold. Essentially, you’ve become Lubin from the Leprechaun series. Though he may not be the first horror villain that comes to mind since he’s not overly popular, [if not for cult status]  Lubin is actually extremely violent, as proven by his 45 kills over seven [obscure] movies. Unlike others on this list, he doesn’t have a specific weapon choice either. He is the type to use whatever he can find including a pogo stick, which was used to crush a man’s chest. I don’t know if I’m scared or impressed.


As the second most dangerous horror villain, this guy is pretty impressive. Any guesses? Here’s a few clues: He’s quiet, He started killing when he was young, and His movie is named after a special day. That’s right, we’re talking about Michael Myers from Halloween. Not only is his silence scary, but the fact that his eyes seem almost empty makes him more vicious. ten films and a remake [which also had a sequel] later, Myers has claimed over 111 victims! If that’s not concerning enough, I don’t know what is..


Ranking in at number one is a villain who killed over 300+ people, He is extremely difficult to kill. Apparently if you do manage to stop him, sometimes extreme electricity can bring him back from the dead. Basically, you’re dead. No questions asked. Jason from Friday The 13th has murdered more people than anyone on this list over the span of thirteen movies. [which is kind of appropriate when you think about it] Okay, okay – I know that it was his mother in the first film, but come on – he’s still killed many others when He started doing the killing.

As proven by the above [very long] list, many horror icons have a ton of experience in being evil. There’s clowns, dolls, and dreamy killers, [pro tip: that was a joke about Freddy if you couldn’t already tell] and that’s not including horror villains that weren’t on this list [next time, Ghostface, next time..] Do you have a favorite horror icon – Who is it and why? How many films have they had and how many kills? Let me know in a comment below! Also, if you’ve made it this far – be sure to check out the original kill count post by buycostumes [found here] and tell them I sent you there!

If you found yourself to enjoy this piece of writing, please take a minute and follow me over on Facebook where you can click the “like” button on my Facebook page. By clicking “like”, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted. I also share links and pictures that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps a ton, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share the page with family and friends!

THANKS FOR READING.