Halloween (1978): Film Theory and Analysis


There’s some theories that say Michael Myers’ motivation for murder is sexual in nature. He does murder his sister Judith in a state of undress and her whimpers and cries could perhaps, be interpreted as erotic. But this motivation is way too common and Michael is far from a common, run-of-the-mill murderer.

He’s supposed to be the embodiment of evil. Nothing is more evil than killing just for the sake of doing so; someone who kills just because they have the drive to do it.

Killing because of sexual desire isn’t something the average person does, obviously. But it’s still a very human motivation. To be more specific, it’s a normal human desire gone wrong. Look at a large number of serial killers, many of them had sexual desires completely out of wack. It’s usually pretty obvious when looking at their murders. Often, the problem is traced back to childhood abuse.

Michael is different – he’s not like human beings, therefore it’s unlikely he would have a rather typical motivation for murder.

Michael is evil, just evil. Evil is a pretty cartoonish word at this point but it’s the best one to use here. It’s unrealistic, especially in these times, to portray a slasher like this. With pretty much every single killer you’ll find an array of abuse in their past.

But Michael isn’t supposed to be a “realistic” killer to a certain extent. He’s supposed to be a killer pretty much only found in the world of fear. Someone who can’t be bargained or reasoned with and just kills because he has to.

If Michael were the typical abuse victim/perverted killer would Dr. Samuel Loomis have described him as “purely and simply evil”?

No, that’s a strong label for a doctor to put on someone. Usually doctors will try to understand and look for a reason. Well after looking, Dr. Loomis ends up only being able to come to the conclusion that Michael Myers is just evil. So, that’s what he’s probably meant to be and nothing more.

However, there’s something pretty unique about Michael’s evil.

It’s first important to explain why people are so fascinated with masked murderers. By wearing a mask somebody can take themselves out of the regular world. Since they’re hiding themselves, in a way they elevate themselves above everyone else. While others are exposed to judgment, the mask wearer hides so one can only guess who they are.

Michael’s mask is blank, white and emotionless. He doesn’t operate on any sense of morality or conscience and the mask is reflective of this. This is why he became such a frightening figure to many people – there’s no humanity there.

By contrast killers like Freddy Kruger, while evil, often end up becoming comedic figures because people eventually become enamored with their personality rather than their slayings. Someone like Michael, on the other hand, can only be a murderer to people and nothing more.

People have a strong need to identify and define others. They can’t really do this with Michaelf and that’s what makes him a scary figure. With his blank mask and mindless killing Michael Myers goes beyond human comprehension. There’s no personality and emotion for them to identify. They can’t pin stories of abuse or logical motivation on him and so that makes him an effective horror figure.

michael myers

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