The Halloween franchise’s unstoppable bogeyman Michael Myers is possessed by an inhuman evil – but is he actually a supernatural being, an unusually powerful human, or something else entirely? There’s no definitive answer, since the many Halloween movies are divided across four different timelines, each of which has offered its own take on Michael Myers.
The original Michael Myers storyline consisted of Halloween, Halloween II, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, and Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. With John Carpenter returning to the franchise as an executive producer, 2018’s Halloween reset the timeline, ignoring everything from Halloween II onwards and positioning itself as a direct sequel to 1978’s Halloween. Halloween H20 and Halloween: Resurrection took a similar approach, but included Halloween II in their continuity. Meanwhile, Rob Zombie’s 2007 Halloween reboot and its sequel, Halloween II, exist in an entirely separate canon.
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From Michael Myers’ very first appearance on theater screens, his psychiatrist Dr. Samuel Loomis maintained that Michael was not a man. When a distraught Laurie Strode called Michael Myers the bogeyman, Dr. Loomis told her that she was right. No matter what timeline he’s in, Michael Myers is a force of irrepressible evil – but is he fundamentally still a human being? Here are the possible answers.
Michael Myers In The Original Halloween Movies
The original Halloween timeline contains the most overtly supernatural explanation for Michael Myers’ powers. As revealed in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, a group of druids belonging to the ancient Cult of Thorn placed a curse on Michael when he was an infant. The curse caused him to be possessed by Thorn, a demonic force that requires its host to sacrifice their family on Samhain – which is now known as Halloween night. Thorn also bestows supernatural gifts on its host, which was offered up as the explanation for Michael Myers surviving so many injuries that should have been fatal. In this version of the Halloween timeline, Laurie Strode is Michael’s sister and therefore he is driven to kill her on Halloween night in order to complete his sacrifice to Thorn.
Unfortunately, The Curse of Michael Myers committed the cardinal sin of over-explaining its monster. The fact that Michael Myers kept getting up and coming back to kill again, despite ostensibly existing in a world without magic, was one of the things that had made him so terrifying. Another was that he could not be reasoned and bargained with, and seemed to have no real motivation for slaughtering people. He killed indiscriminately, like the manifestation of death itself. By taking away all of the mystery and replacing it with a druid curse telling Michael who to kill and protecting him while he did it, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers made him seem considerably less frightening. The movie was panned by critics upon its release and has never received a direct sequel, with all the subsequent reboots eliminating it from continuity.
Michael Myers In The Halloween H20 Reboot
1998’s Halloween H20 and its sequel, Halloween: Resurrection, started up a new timeline from where Halloween II left off, ignoring all the other Halloween movies since. It eliminated Laurie Strode’s daughter, Jamie Lloyd, from continuity, and replaced her with a son, John. The ending of Halloween H20 seemingly gave Michael Myers his most definitive death yet, when Laurie completely decapitated him with an axe. Despite the 2002 sequel’s title, however, Michael Myers wasn’t resurrected through any supernatural means. Instead, the ending of Halloween H20 was retconned with a reveal that the man Laurie had beheaded wasn’t Michael Myers at all, but a paramedic who’d had his vocal chords crushed by Michael to prevent him from speaking and been dressed in Michael’s jumpsuit and Halloween mask to trick Laurie. Thereafter, Halloween: Resurrection stuck to straightforward slasher fare, and there’s no evidence of Michael Myers being supernatural in this particular timeline.
Michael Myers In Rob Zombie’s Halloween Reboot
Rob Zombie’s Halloween reboot and its sequel depict the most “human” Michael Myers out of all four versions, but also delve into dream sequences and hallucinations that give them an otherworldly feel. Like Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, Zombie’s take on the franchise tries to answer the question of why Michael Myers kills. Unfortunately, the answer offered isn’t much more interesting than “druids did it.” Halloween (2007) and in particular Halloween II (2009) go all-in on a Freudian analysis of Michael Myers, with Dr. Loomis at one point actually giving a lecture on the Freudian fundamentals of the character. In Halloween II, Michael Myers is guided from victim to victim by a hallucinatory manifestation of his dead mother, while his own mind is represented by a vision of his 10 year-old self that stands in front of his looming adult self.
The closest that Rob Zombie’s movies get to the supernatural is a vague hint of a psychic connection between Michael and Laurie Strode, who is once again revealed to be Michael’s long-lost sister. At one point Michael eats the flesh of a murdered dog, and miles away Laurie (who is a vegetarian) abruptly starts vomiting. Laurie later begins to experience the same visions of their mother, despite the fact that she was orphaned as a baby and wouldn’t know what her mother looks like. She also sees the child version of Michael Myers, and towards the end of Halloween II is unable to escape the adult Michael because the child version is holding her down (or so her mind believes). Is Michael Myers human or inhuman? Zombie’s answer is that he’s severely mentally ill, and that it runs in the family.
Michael Myers In The New Halloween Continuity
The current official canon consists only of Halloween (1978), Halloween (2018) and the upcoming sequels Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends. One of the benefits of ignoring Halloween II and everything that came after it is that the current continuity is free of the family connection between Michael Myers and Laurie Strode, instead returning Michael to the core of his character – an unstoppable bringer of death who kills without any known reason. Arguably, this is the best answer to the question of whether Michael is human or supernatural: no answer at all.
In the original Halloween, actor Tony Moran isn’t listed in the credits as Michael Myers but simply as “The Shape.” This is how John Carpenter referred to him in the script, and fits with the idea that Michael is not a man, but the bogeyman. This folkloric creature is defined by its lack of definition; there are no “rules” confining the bogeyman like there are with vampires or werewolves, and it doesn’t have any specific powers or weaknesses. The bogeyman is simply something that lurks in dark shadows and is feared by children. At the end of Halloween (1978), after Michael Myers’ bullet-riddled body disappears, the film closes on a series of shots of empty rooms, with the sound of Michael’s breathing throughout all of them. The sequence conveys the idea that the bogeyman could be lurking anywhere and everywhere – even in your own home.
While Halloween (2018) stuck with a flesh-and-blood Michael Myers, the trailer for Halloween Kills suggests that the upcoming sequel may flirt with the supernatural. In reference to Michael emerging alive from the devastating fire at the end of the previous movie, Laurie says darkly that “a man couldn’t survive that fire,” and other lines in the trailer build upon this by saying “the more he kills, the more he transcends” and that he is “the essence of evil.” It’s possible that Halloween Kills will make the same mistake that Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers and the Rob Zombie reboot did, by over-explaining Michael Myers to the point that he’s no longer particularly frightening. On the other hand, those lines are consistent with the Dr. Loomis’ vagaries in the original Halloween movie: Michael Myers isn’t a man, but pure evil in human shape. The reference to him “transcending” isn’t necessarily supernatural, but could describe the way in which his infamy and the fear of him grows with every life he takes.
With two sequels left to go in the current trilogy from director David Gordon Green, it remains to be seen whether Michael Myers will remain a loosely-defined “Shape” or whether a clear reason will be given for his preternatural strength and durability. But based on past attempts to explain him worked out, this mystery is probably best left unsolved.
- Halloween Kills (2021)Release date: Oct 15, 2021
- Halloween Ends (2022)Release date: Oct 14, 2022
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