The Complete Tale of Halloween
(This was originally written in 2004 before the Rob Zombie “re-imagining” and subsequent sequel).
What is it about the Halloween series of films that I love? It’s a guilty pleasure that never fails to disappoint. There have been eight films now, seven of which relate to the tale of Michael Myers (III was a story about masks, and related in no way to Michael).
How do the films relate to one another? What is the proper storyline? What really happened?
On Halloween Night 1963, Michael Myers, then six, murders his own sister. Judith was a young blonde seventeen year old, and she becomes Michael’s first victim.
We move ahead some 15 years to the night that Michael was to go in front of a court of law and finally stand trial for his murder. However, as Dr. Sam Loomis and his friend/ nurse assistant soon discover, Michael has broken free from the Mental Ward in Smiths Grove Sanitarium.
What happens next is film history. Michael returns home to Haddonfield, IL to stalk down Laurie Strode and her babysitting friends. Always a step behind was Dr. Sam Loomis, played to perfection by Donald Pleasence. As Halloween closes, we have no idea where Michael has escaped to, how he survived getting shot SIX TIMES, or why he came back home to kill Laurie.
Death toll: 7 (5 humans and two dogs).9/10
Halloween II is just plain fun. It picks up where the original left off…in real time. Loomis is back to deliver some incredible lines, although I enjoy them more for their campy feel. The story centers around the obcessive Michael trying to find his way to the local hospital where Laurie has gone after her rough and tumble night with Michael. This film actually takes place on Nov. 1st, 1978.
Again, Loomis and Chief Brackett (who lost his daughter) return from the original and bumble their way in finding Michael. To sum up the film, Loomis finds out that Michael and Laurie are in fact brother and sister.
The ending comes when Loomis and Michael are both blown up in the hospital. Never fear though, as Loomis returns in the fourth installment. Of course, so does Michael.
6/10Deaths: 10 (all human, no dogs). Total for both films: 17 (15 people, 2 dogs).
Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers
Ten years after the events of Halloween II, Michael and Loomis return for another fun romp through Haddonfield. Michael has apparently gained a lot of weight, and has shrunk about three inches in height, but what does that matter? This is the official first film where the Halloween franchise becomes campy. If not for Loomis delivering many good lines, the film would blow a ton. But, since Loomis is in his over the top best, the film is essential to the series.
What are the events in the film? Michael escapes from prison in a great opening scene. We cut to a little girl who is haunted by visions of Michael Myers…this is Jamie…and she is the daughter of the apparently dead Laurie Strode. Michael seems obsessed with killing off his neice and tracks her down to Haddonfield. Once there, the killings begin again.
Loomis is again on the scene, and he goes on his one man crusade to warn the town folk about the homicidal machine. Loomis delivers some classic dialogue:
Dr Loomis: Six bodies, Sheriff, that’s what I have seen. Between here and Ridgemont. A filling station in flames. I’m telling you Michael Myers is here, in this town. He’s here to kill that little girl and anybody who gets in his way.
Dr. Sam Loomis: Michael? Why now? You’ve waited ten years. Don’t go to Haddonfield. If you want another victim, take me. But leave those people in peace. Please, Michael. God damn you!
Basically, the film is a by the numbers tale though. Michael comes to town, kills most of the main characters, and then is stopped right before he does in the protagonist. The ending of the film is possibly the best of the series, as young Jamie stabs her foster mother with a pair of scissors…Loomis tries to shoot her, as the camera reveals Jamie, in a clown costume…the Evil has been transmitted to the neice.
Halloween 4: 5/10Death toll: 17 (16 people, another poor dog) Total for all films: 34 (31 people and three dogs).
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers
This installment follows up the events of Part 4 exactly one year later. At the conclusion of 4, Michael was shot by several red necks and fell down a abandoned well. Now, one year after the events of part 5 Jamie has been committed to a children’s hospital; and has remained mute since stabbing her adopted mother. Michael did not die in the mine shaft. Jamie is connected to Michael, she can see what he sees, but can not communicate it to anyone.
The rest of Haddonfield believes that Michael is dead. After Michael begins killing people the police finally accept that he has returned. They set a trap for him in the old Myers place. The trap backfires, but the police finally capture him and take him to the police station. A mysterious Man in Black sets off an explosion inside the station and shoots up the place with a machine gun. Jamie, who was left alone in a police car, goes into the station and finds that all of the cops are dead and Michael is gone. (Plot summary courtesy of The Halloween Saga)
This film marks the end of all that was good for Halloween. This film is so predictable it hurt. The fourth film ended on a great note…but, this one falters badly.
Deaths: 13+ (12 confirmed humans, 1 dog, and several dead cops at the conclusion of the film.)Total for the franchise: 47+ ( 43 people and four dogs, and several dead cops from Part Five).
Halloween Five: The Revenge of Michael Myers 4/10.
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (The Sixth Installment).
Six years after Michael escaped from the police station, and Jamie was captured, we see Jamie give birth to a baby who is taken away from her. She is a prisoner of people who appear to be part of a strange cult. She escapes with the baby and tries to contact Dr. Loomis by calling a radio show that is doing a story about Michael.
Tommy Doyle hears the report, and goes to the bus station where Jamie hid the baby before being killed by Michael. Michael proceeds to kill the people who are now living in his old house. Tommy Doyle and Kara Strode work together to try and stop Michael and the people who have been protecting him. At the end Tommy thinks that he killed Michael (By injecting him with dangerous chemicals.) Dr. Loomis says that he has some unfinished business to take care of. He goes back inside and we see Micheal’s mask laying on the floor. We hear Dr. Loomis scream, followed by the sound of a knife slashing.
Deaths: 10 or 11 (11 if Loomis was actually killed). Total for the franchise: 57 or 58+ ( depending on if Loomis died, in addition to several dead cops in Part Five).
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers :rotten: 3.75/10
Halloween: H20 Twenty Years Later
This is the point in the franchise where things start to get sticky. It is perhaps the one which begs the question, did parts Four, Five, and Six happen? This will be addressed in the wrap up portion of the commentary.
For now, the plot.
20 years after the original we find out that Laurie Strode is not dead. She faked her death and is now living under an assumed name as the headmaster of a prep school in northern California. She has a son who is 17 years old; the same age as she was when Michael tried to kill her.
On Halloween day nearly the entire student body and faculty is at Yosemite National Park. Michael finds them and comes to kill them. Laurie finally decides that she is finished running away. She takes an ax and goes after him. She ends up decapitating him.
Basically, what you have is a rehash of the first film. Beyond that, it is very good. We had a resolution to the series. Laurie won! She battled her demons/monster and vanquished it! However, it would seem that the Producers of the series…only wanted more money…thus, a terrible sequel.
Deaths: 7 (including Michael Myers. No dogs this time).Total for franchise: 64 or 65+ (including several cops at the station in Part Five, four dogs included in the number).
Halloween H20: 7.5/10
Halloween Resurrection (Part 8)
So, Moustapha Akkad brings us director Rick Rosenthal, who directed Part II. What he didn’t bring us was a good script. This film competes with Part 6 for the worst of the Michael Myers canon of films.
How do reward fans of H20? Kill off Jamie Lee Curtis in the first 15 minutes. Then, give us some flim flam story about Michael not dying in H20. Apparently, he used his noggin to switch clothes with a police man who was standing around at the “death scene”. Laurie then killed this cop, and has been committed to an institution.
The only reason this is a better film than Part 6 is because of Busta Rhymes sound acting presence. The scene where he tells off Michael while dressed as Michael is a highpoint of the franchise.
The plot (provided by www.imdb.com)
When a group of college students win a contest to spend the night in the childhood home of brutal serial killer Michael Myers, they expect a few scares but none of them are prepared for what awaits them. The house has been rigged with cameras as they are to be broadcasted live over the internet to be watched by millions. As they wander around the house in search of some kind of answer for Michael’s murderous actions they find a bigger problem. Michael has come home and he does not intend to let anyone leave his house alive.
Truly the film is rubbish. Once I struggle through it again, I will update the death tolls and have the final tally.
Halloween Resurrection – 4/10
The Complete Story
What is the canon of Halloween?
As I alluded to in the H20 section, there is question as to what exactly fits in with the “canon” of Halloween.
The original Halloween is of course the starting point.
We can assume that Halloween II is part of the overall story because it happened the same night as the original, and John Tate, Laurie’s son, tells Laurie that “You watched him burn.” Obviously, this is a reference to the ending of Part II.
Halloween III does not feature Michael at all, and is not part of the canon.
We must assume that some aspects of Part Four happened. As H20 opens up, we see a picture of a pair of bloody scissors. This alludes to Jamie stabbing her foster mother at the conclusion of Part Four.
It seems that Part Five and Part Six have been dropped from the Michael Myers saga of events. Seemingly, the druid aspect of Micheal’s past and the “Rune of Thorn”.This is in reference to a constellation that appears from time to time. According to legend, a child born under this sign is pure evil…hence, the curse of Michael Myers. This child will then sacrifice his family on the night of Samhain, a Celtic Festival that became Halloween. It’s an interesting connection to Halloween II, in which Michael himself writes that phrase on a blackboard at Haddonfield Elementary School. Loomis explains it: Dr. Sam Loomis: “You see that on the blackboard back there? Samhain. In order to appease the gods, the Druid priests held fire rituals. Prisoners of war, criminals, the insane-animals-were burned alive. By observing how they died the Druids believed they could predict omens of the future. Ten thousand years later we’ve come no further. Samhain isn’t goblins or evil spirits. It isn’t witches or ghosts. It’s the unconscious mind. We’re all afraid of the dark inside ourselves.”
The direction of the series takes a shift in H20 and starts over so to say. With H20, we have the Laurie Strode story line resurrected, and Michael searching for her all over again. What does happen in H20 is that the writers are struggling with what aspects from the previous films to include. We do have the scissors from Part Four, but very little from any other film to go on.
Resurrection only confuses matters a bit more. We obviously know that the original, Part II, and H20 all happened, but what of the other films? They explain that Michael has been living under the Myer’s house since he returned over twenty years ago. This conflicts with the fact that in Part 6, a family was living there. Or, could he have been there the entire time…even with a family above him? Granted, in Part Four, Michael had been comatose for ten years since the explosion at the end of II. Possibly, it was from that point further he had lived there.
On the contrary of the above, how could the house from Part 6 become so run down in only six or so years?
Regardless, I will try and do my best to create a time-line of events for the Halloween films.
The “Official” Time-line of Halloween
October 18, 1957 – Michael Myers is born in Haddonfield, Ill. (Halloween Resurrection)
October 31st, 1963 – Michael murders his 17 year old sister on Halloween Night. (Halloween)
He was being baby sat by his neighbor across the street. The woman claims Michael “heard voices”. (Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers [VI])
Sometime during this time, Michael is committed to Smith’s Grove Hospital. He is assigned Dr. Sam Loomis who believes the boy is evil personified. (Halloween)
October 30th, 1978 – After years of being nearly comatose, Micheal, now 21, breaks out from the Hospital. This was also the night that Michael was to be transported to an actual prison by Loomis and a nurse. (Halloween)
October 31st, 1978 – Michael makes his way back to Haddonfield. He kills his first victim in years, an unnamed mechanic. (Halloween)
October 31st, 1978 – Michael stalks Laurie Strode, Annie Brackett, and Lynda. He kills a family dog, Bob, Lynda’s boyfriend, and Annie. He almost completes his goal of killing Laurie, but is stopped by Loomis. Loomis shoots him six times, Michael falls off a two story balcony, and disappears before Loomis has a chance to react. (Halloween)
October 31st, 1978 – Michael recovers from his fall and gun shot wounds, and continues to stalk the neighborhood. He steals a knife from an elderly couple, and soon kills another young girl (see note following this section, Halloween II)
November 1st, 1978 – Michael figures out where Laurie has been taken. She is at Haddonfield Memorial Hospital. Michael soon follows her there.
Nov. 1st, 1978 – Loomis and Brackett continue looking for Michael. Brackett leaves once he finds out that his daughter is a victim of Micheal’s rage.
Nov. 1st, 1978 – In a strangely empty hospital, Michael kills nearly everyone who happened to get in his way. His murders get more and more grisly. Another strange trend of the Halloween series is that Michael often dresses up his victims after he’s done with them. He’ll hang them up or put them in a position where they are likely to be found. This suggests that he feels his killings are a work of art. (Halloween II)
Nov. 1st, 1978 – After killing most everyone in his way, Michael comes so close to killing Laurie. Again, Loomis saves the day and blows up a room filled with gas. Michael is presumably killed, along with Loomis. (Halloween II)
The TEN YEAR GAP – During this time, Michael is in a coma. Laurie gets married and has two kids, Jamie and John. She fakes her death to stay out of Michael’s radar if he should ever recover. Sadly, she decides not to take Jamie with her. She gets divorced and keeps John to raise him. Also, Laurie gets a job at a posh private school in Northern California. (Halloween IV, Halloween H20)
Oct. 30th, 1988 – Michael has been in a coma for ten years. Loomis has survived the explosion as well. Yet, on the night that Michael is to be transported from the Smith’s Grove, he escapes. Loomis believes Michael will go to Haddonfield. (Halloween 4)
Oct. 31st, 1988 – Michael does in fact go to Haddonfield to terrorize Jamie Lloyd, Laurie’s daughter and his neice. He is stopped by a band of red necks that shoot him with several rounds of shotgun blasts. He then falls down a well. (Halloween 4)
Oct. 31st, 1988 – Jamie stabs her foster mother with a pair of scissors. The evil has been transferred to another generation. (Halloween 4)
THE FILMS THAT ARE NOT PART OF THE OFFICIAL STORYLINE
Halloween 5 and Halloween 6 seem to be left out of the loop once we reach H20. The events of Halloween 5 pick up a year later and follows Michael again stalking Jamie. Since stabbing her foster mother, Jamie has been in a psychiatric hospital in a catatonic state. (5)
Michael did not die, and the two have some type of bond between them. She can see what Michael is up to. The film also introduces the man in black, and the Celtic rituals (see above). (5)
The film ends with Michael’s apparent capture, but he escapes with the man in black after slaughtering a huge amount of police officers at the station. (5)
Halloween 6 picks up some five years later and follows Laurie’s uncle who now lives in the Myer’s House. For some reason Michael gets pissed off because people live there and such. Also, Tommy Doyle is brought back into the series…apparently, he has never forgotten about his encounter with Michael so many years ago. It has made him a bit of a weirdo, and he seems to be obsessed with Myers. (6)
What wraps up in this film is the Jamie Lloyd storyline as he kills her and then attempts to track down his grand-nephew. All the elements that made the first film great are lacking in this film. There is no tension in this film and no suspence. Some of the death scenes are laughable. It was at this point that the series seemed to decline to a laughing stock. Myers was reduced to nothing more than a robot…and the fact that the writers kept coming up with a new family member to kill was just ludicrous and unimaginative. (6)
Back to the FILMS that are part of the CANON of Michael
October 30th, 1998 – Twenty years from the original series of events, Michael goes to the home of Nurse Marion Whittington to find a file that Dr. Loomis had been keeping for years. The file apparently contains the whereabouts of Laurie Strode. He kills her, and tow teenagers before slipping away into the night.
October 31st, 1998 – Michael travels by car and truck from IL to CA, just to stalk and kill Laurie and her son John. What happens here is interesting. It is assumed that Parts I and II happened. We can also assume Part 4 happened. This means that Laurie faked her own death and allowed her daughter Jaimie to be slaughtered at Michael’s hands. Of course, one would assume that Laurie cut off all contact with the foster parents and such.
Oct. 31st, 1998 – Michael kills some more people, but is seemingly killed by Laurie at the conclusion of the film. Sadly, this is not the case.
Oct. 31st, 1998 – Michael outwits Laurie and changes clothes with a paramedic who was guarding the crime scene. This is the person she killed at the conclusion of H20. (Resurrection)
Oct. 31st, 2002 – Michael finds Laurie, who is now in a psychiatric hospital. In the final battle between brother and sister, Laurie is finally dispatched by Michael. Now, Michael just wants to return home. (R)
Oct. 31st, 2002 – People have invaded Michael’s home for a internet broadcast. Michael dispatches more people in unique way, but is stopped and defeated for the time being by Busta Rhymes. Busta delievers the line: “Trick or treat…Motherfucker!” to rave reviews. (R)
Oct. 31st, 2002 – Having been zapped on the nuts with electricty and burned again, all the town folk of Haddonfield seemingly rest easy knowing that Michael has been vanquished. Not so! Michael awakens at the end of Resurrection…and that’s where we stand. (R)=========================================================
The Many Deaths of Michael Myers…
Michael Myers has seemingly died at the end of every film. Here are the numerous ways Michael has died.
Halloween – Gets shot six times, once in the heart, and falls of a second story balcony.
Halloween II – Is blown to dust (along with Loomis) in a gas filled room. He burns as the film closes.
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers – Is shot by State Troopers and a band of red necks with rifles. Falls down a mine shaft.
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers – Trapped in a large metal net and beaten about by Dr. Loomis. Shot with a tranquilizer and escorted to a police station.
Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers – Shot up with mutiple drugs and beaten about with a pipe.
Halloween H20 – Apparently decapiatated. Not the case.
Halloween Resurrection – Zapped, fried, and baked. Survives again.
A Few Questions…
Why did Michael kill this girl in the beginning of Halloween II?
A: Having just been moments away from killing Laurie, and hence completing his quest, Michael had to burn some energy. This poor girl is one of the unfortunate victims that was not in Michael’s way. There was really no reason for Michael to kill her…except that he had to kill someone at that point.
All right! What was this big mess about druids and “Samhain” and what not?
A: This was the producers trying to come up with something interesting; yet, they failed miserably. They obviously got the idea from Part II and the fact Michael wrote the word in blood on a blackboard. Unfortunately, this storyline was the main reason the franchise almost died. Once you try to explain Michael’s actions, the less interesting it becomes.
Okay…why did Nurse Marion Chambers in the original and that woman and kid from H20 survive Michael’s wrath?
I can only assume was more concerned with getting transportation than with killing someone. Michael very rarely will kill someone who is not in his way. The only times that he has done so was the girl at the beginning of Part II.
One can argue that all the nurses and security guards he has massacred during his sprees could be considered innocents. The thing is they were all sidetracking Michael and he felt the need to eliminate any outsiders from the equation.
In summation, Michael kills only when needed. The above examples, the people did not directly get in Michael’s way. Marion got out of the car and didn’t try and stop Myers from getting away. The mother in H20 didn’t even do anything. One can assume if she even spoke a word or protested, she would be a victim.
It should be noted that Michael eventually caught up with Marion in H20.
My Top Five Favorite Death Scenes of the films…
I said earlier in this essay that Michael enjoyed his killings. He would dress up his victims, if time allowed, or stand by and admire his work for a moment. I want to take this opportunity and state that I believe Michael gets more enjoyment from watching his handiwork than actually doing the killing. The example I bring up is the fact that when he killed his sister Judith in the original film, he stabs her three times, then watches the blade rather than the subject he is stabbing. This is the only time we see things from his POV, so it’s very telling. See the pic for a better visualization.
Now then…the list.
#5 – Karen, the horny nurse, Halloween II – Michael first kills Bud, the man Karen was getting her mack on with in a hot tub. After dispatching Bud, he sneaks up on Karen, who is nude in a hot tub. Before killing Bud, Michael turned the hot tub up to the danger zone, making it nearly boiling. He proceeds to walk up behind her, and push her face several times in the scalding water.
#4 – Male Attendant, Halloween 4 – Michael rouses awake after a ten year slumber to shove his thumb through the forehead of a paramedic.
#3 – Jill, the nice nurse, Halloween II – Michael stalks up behind and shoves a scapel through her neck, lifts her up out her shoes, and drops her like yesterday’s garbage.
#2 – John Strode, Halloween 6 – Michael traps the drunk downstairs to the basement of his house, jabs a spear of some type through John’s mid section while at the same time piercing a nearby fuse box…the impending shock electrocutes John, causing his head to explode.
#1 – Bob, Lynda’s boyfriend, Halloween – This wasn’t over the top, but it was frightening. Bob goes downstairs after a brief bedroom jaunt. He hears a noise, and Michael bursts out of the nearby pantry. He grabs poor Bob by the throat, lifts him off the ground, and drives a butcher knife through his heart, pinning him to a door. Then, perhaps what makes this my favorite moment, Michael stops to admire his work. To Michael he has created the ultimate work of art…
The Death of Laurie Strode…
Perhaps nothing makes me angrier than the death of Laurie Strode. Played by Jamie Lee Curtis through four films, Laurie finally defeated her monster, and her own inner demons. Perhaps the second greatest moment of the entire franchise was Laurie going all Sigorney Weaver and becoming the one to stalk Michael in H20.
She kills him at the conclusion of the film, and we are satisfied with the ending of the saga.
But, H20 was a successful film; hence, a sequel was ordered. You see, Michael can recover from all sorts of terrible injuries as noted above. Yet, one would assume that Michael could not recover from a beheading. This left the Producers in a jam, and in my view they dropped the ball.
Michael was never killed and he continues to stalk Laurie. He finds her at a psychiatric hospital and kills her. The biggest problem is that in completing the cycle with Michael coming out the winner, evil wins. Not that I have a problem with that, but it is just so damning when you consider that it appeared that Laurie had been the winner.
All bad points aside, it was still a great moment when Laurie did die. I say this because as she realized that Michael had defeated her, and she was going to die, she leans forward and plants a big, sloppy one on his lips. As she leans back, she tells Michael, “I’ll see you in Hell.” Michael lets go of her and she falls into the void.
In a way, we can be satisfied that this part of the storyline has been completed. It has gone full circle, and although evil won, at the very least, Laurie gave him a tough time for some 24 years. I suppose he earned it.
Finally, proof that Michael has a sense of humor…
After killing Bob, Michael goes back upstairs to dispatch Lynda. To do so, he puts on a sheet and Bob’s glasses. It always strikes me as a very funny moment.
Lastly, the directors of the Halloween films:
Halloween – John Carpenter
Halloween II – Rick Rosentha
lHalloween 4 – Dwight H. Little
Halloween 5 – Dominique Othenin-Girard
Halloween 6 – Joe Chappelle
Halloween H20 – Steve Miner
Halloween Resurrection – Rick Rosenthal