Monday, October 31, 2011

Goodbye to Halloween

Heya, Hipsters!

Thus ends my third annual Halloween Blogathon.  I realize that some of you may have missed a post or two (and if you didn't, I worry about your social life), but fear not!  Just use this handy-dandy index, and peruse the content at your leisure.  As promised, 24 posts in 24 hours!  And I hope you will all excuse me if I take a day or two off to catch my breath...

 1)   Halloween (1978)
 2)   Halloween 2 (1981)
 3)   Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
 4)   Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers
 5)   Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers
 6)   Halloween 7: H20
 7)   Halloween 8: Resurrection
 8)   Halloween (2007)
 9)   Halloween II (2009)
10)  Halloween: The Inside Story
11)  Halloween Part II Fan Edit by Modern Knife
12)  Halloween Fan Films by Chris R. Notarile
13)  Special Guest Post: A Gay Man's Take on Michael Myers
14)  Not Your Typical Halloween Merchandise
15)  Halloween by Curtis Richards (Novelization)
16)  Halloween: H20 Script Treatment by Kevin Williamson
17)  Halloween: Resurrection Early Draft Script by Larry Brand
18)  Halloween: Sam by Stefan Hutchinson (Short Story)
19)  Halloween: White Ghost by Greg Mitchell (Short Story)
20)  Halloween Chaos Comics Series
21)  Halloween: 30 Years of Terror (Comic)
22)  Halloween: Nightdance (Comic)
23)  Halloween: The First Death Of Laurie Strode (Comic)
24)  Miscellaneous Halloween Links

Miscellaneous Halloween Links

Here's a small collection of interesting links I assembled while working on this exhausting blogathon, mostly material I thought was really great but that I couldnt justify assembling into its own post.

Photographer Christine Flaherty crafted a photo-story called The Night He Came Home, starring everybody's favorite serial killer Michael Myers and some poor hapless teenage girl.  Click HERE and give it a look.

Over at Soundcloud, musician Figure has released a track called "Michael Myers is Dead".  Click HERE to check it out.  Warning: It's a beast!

Deviant Art is a great website for finding pop artists that you had never heard of.  A search for "Michael Myers" will pull up thousands of pieces, including the awesome piece above from MontyGog (Dave Perillo).  Click HERE to visit MontyGog's page, or HERE for a quick Michael Myers search of Deviant Art.

To tie into the release of Rob Zombie's Halloween on DVD, they released a viral video game in which you get to step into the shoes of Michael Myers, fetching a butcher knife from the kitchen and hacking and slashing your way through a whole slew of teenieboppers.  Click HERE to play it.  You know you want to.

Nancy Kyes (Annie Brackett in Halloween) is now an artist whose work can be viewed at her OFFICIAL WEBSITE.

Brian Andrews played the young Tommy Doyle in the original Halloween.  He went onto a few small roles, but hasn't appeared on screen since playing "Nerdy Kid" in 1987's Three O'Clock High.  He's making his way back to film with Last Supper: The Russellville Hacksaw Murders, a sort-of unofficial indie spin-off of the Halloween franchise (based on a throwaway line by the cemetery curator), currently in pre-production.  Check out the FACEBOOK PAGE for more information on the film.

Halloween: The First Death of Laurie Strode

The First Death of Laurie Strode

In 2008, Devil's Due publishing began releasing their new miniseries, Halloween: The First Death of Laurie Strode.  It takes place after the original two films, and was meant to cover the timeline between them and H20, a 20 year gap of time in Laurie Strode's life that has never been explored.

#1 - Masks and Grotesque Figures: This story picks up in the days following the events of Halloween 1 and 2, as Laurie Strode attempts to reconcile herself with the fact that not only is she adopted, but that her blood brother is responsible for killing off most of her friends. Understandably, she sees Michael Myers everywhere. And then, eventually, he IS there.  It's a nice introduction to the series, with a few impressive scenes that really allow us into Laurie's damaged psyche, so it looks like things are getting off to a pretty solid start.

#2 - Demons Tormenting Me: Laurie Strode and Dr. Loomis reunite following the appearance of Michael Myers in the previous issue, and Loomis promises to stay in Haddonfield to protect her. In the days leading up to graduation, the shock of Halloween night proves too much for Laurie to deal with, and she seeks refuge in drugs and alcohol. Thankfully Loomis stays sharp though, as he and Nurse Marion begin to formulate a plan to save Laurie's life...or at the very least, delay the inevitable.  The action and the tension start to ratchet up here, leading to what would inevitably be a fantastic finale.

This Devil's Due miniseries was primed up to be an excellent addition to the storyline, not only filling in the events regarding Laurie Strode's supposed death and transformation into Keri Tate, but also offering insight into her as a character. It was admittedly a bit disheartening to see good girl Laurie stray to the dark side, but what traumatized teenager wouldn't?  We already know that she turns into a "functioning alcoholic" by the time H20 rolls around, so this seems a believable beginning to her downward slide.

I was greatly looking forward to the last issue of this series. Unfortunately, for whatever reason DDP has yet to release the third and final issue that was promised to us approximately THREE years ago. Although the issue has almost surely been completed, all that has been released to the public is the cover art.

Stay away from this series, unless you enjoy a good tease that never amounts to anything.  It's like being at a strip club when you suddenly run out of money.

I imagine.

Halloween: Nightdance

Halloween: Nightdance

In 2008, Devil's Due Publishing released this four issue miniseries chronicling the continuing adventures of Michael Myers between H20 and Resurrection.  It takes him outside of his usual stomping grounds of Haddonfield, Illinois and drops him in the nearby Russellville, mentioned by the cemetery groundskeeper in the original film as the scene of a brutal murder.

#1 - A Shape in the Void: We meet our heroine Lisa, who suffers from nightmares caused by some trauma in her past that we're not yet privileged to. Meanwhile, Michael Myers is holding another girl captive. She manages to escape but is quickly run down by Ryan, who is driving with his wife--who is promptly murdered by Michael when she gets out to investigate. He drags her body into the shadows and promptly disappears, only to reappear the next morning, following Lisa. With the story shifting from one girl to another, it's rather difficult to tell them apart at first. Even once you get it figured out, there's not a whole lot here to draw you in. Not a terribly great way to start off the series.

#2 - The Silent Clown: Lisa and her friends Sean and Nikki visit a carnival, until Nikki gets jealous of the attention Sean is giving to Lisa. She goes home early, and receives a surprise visit from Michael Myers. Meanwhile, Ryan arrives at the hospital with the girl he hit with his car, desperate to find his wife. The artwork at the carnival is fantastic, with some great creepy clown scenes. Unfortunately, the story isn't progressing any more satisfactory at this point, and Michael Myers is acting strangely out of character: since when does he stuff fruit into the mouths of his victims and put lipstick on them before slitting their throats?

#3 - A Rainbow In One Color: Through a flashback, we're given an insight into Lisa's crippling fear of the dark, and her first encounter with Michael Myers. Then, while she and Sean recoup from their day at the carnival, Michael pays them a visit and, in true slasher fashion, a showering Lisa goes full frontal (!) for the camera. Ryan and Lisa finally meet up, tying their previously unconnected storylines together. The suspense has been ratcheted up greatly in this issue, and it begins to feel like a Halloween movie for the first time.

#4 - When The Stars Came Crashing Down: Okay, I admit that this series got off to something of a rocky start in my eyes, but by the finale, I was fucking sold! Michael's sadistic side takes center stage here as he lures the few survivors into his trap. The Jack-o-lanterning of a human being was insane, and the closing moments were a sick and tasty treat.

Overall, a pretty damn gratifying story that benefits from being read in one sitting, rather than its original serialized format. If you're a comic book fan and a Halloween fan, do yourself a favor and hunt down the collected edition.


Halloween: 30 Years of Terror Comic

Halloween: 30 Years of Terror

In 2008, to cash in on the 30th anniversary celebration of the original film, Devil's Due Publishing released this one-shot issue, which takes place in the H20 continuity, ignoring not only Parts 4-6 in the film series, but also the three Halloween comics released previously by Chaos Comics.

Trick or Treat: This short story begins toward the end of the original film, when Laurie Strode sends Tommy Doyle and Lindsey Wallace them to the Mackenzie house for help, and details how that night changed the lives of Mr. and Mrs. Mackenzie. And, I believe, it explains how the child seen briefly in Halloween II winds up with a razor blade wound on his tongue--not that we were clamoring for an explanation. Kind of a pointless kick off to this anthology. The art is rather rough, but passable.

POV: This story takes place at the Miss Haddonfield Beauty Pageant, where Michael Myers is stalking the winner. Completely wordless and told only in pictures, it's actually rather genius in concept: one page unveils the story through Michael's eyes, while the following page shows the exact same scene through his victim's eyes...until there's nothing left for her to see.

Visiting Hours: Taking place between Halloween H20 and Halloween Resurrection, an institutionalized Laurie Strode imagines how her life would have been different had she forgotten to drop the key off at the Myers house, which would theoretically have kept her off of Michael's radar. But even in her fantasies, Michael catches up with her eventually. This story explains how Laurie comes to realize that Michael Myers is her brother (something never explained in the films), in the form of a repressed memory that is shaken loose as a result of his assault. It takes a few reads to fully understand what's going on, but it's a pretty decent read. The artwork has a suitable sketchy quality to it, reminding me of something you would find in a Vertigo title.

Tommy and the Boogeyman: This story features a comic-within-a-comic, as a fully grown Tommy Doyle (now a comic book artist himself) reads the first issue of Tarantula Man, a fictional comic book mentioned in the original film. Although it has pretty much nothing to do with the franchise itself, it's pretty entertaining, and the Tarantula Man artwork is fan-freaking-tactic.

Repetition Compulsion: Starring Dr. Loomis and Nurse Marion Chambers, this story takes place on October 30, 1989. Michael purposefully leaves a clue for Loomis, leading him to the elementary school where his next kill is going to take place. This story shows a more crafty and cunning side of Michael Myers, one that has a very dark sense of humor. Any Loomis story has my support.


Chaos Comics Halloween Series

Chaos Comics Halloween Series

In the year 2000, following the release of Halloween H20, Chaos Comics secured the rights to the Halloween franchise.  They were apparently as unhappy with the eradication of Parts 4-6 from continuity as I was, because this series attempted to connect the events of those film to the events in H20.  It was an admirable attempt, and I truly enjoyed this series, but it unfortunately lasted only three issues.  Later, the rights to the franchise were given over to Devil's Due Publishing, and these Chaos Comics issues were themselves erased from continuity.

Talk about a headache!

Halloween: Tommy Doyle, working on an exposé book about Michael Myers procures a copy of the late Dr. Loomis's private notes and journals. The majority of the issue is dedicated to flashbacks narrated by Loomis's entries and follows a young Michael Myers living in the institution. These are all inspired by scenes included in the novelization of the original Halloween, which gives this a distinctly meta feel: a comic book adaptation of a novelization of a motion picture based on a script. Chaos seems to always have great art, and it's on full display here during the flashbacks and the wraparound story as well. This may not be new to diehard fans, but seeing what was previously only imagined was killer--pun intended.

Halloween II - The Blackest Eyes: Richie Castle (the kid who trips young Tommy Doyle in the original, then bumps into Michael Myers) returns here--briefly--as does Sheriff Bracket, and their fates intertwine in a way you won't believe. Also appearing in cameo are Richie's childhood chums Keith and Lonnie. While Michael Myers kills off anyone dumb enough to wander into his family home, Brackett informs Tommy Doyle about the Myers family history, revealing some less-than-favorable facts about Michael's father. The Druids and the curse of Samhain play a lot into this story, both in the past and in the present day.

Halloween III - The Devil's Eyes: Tommy Doyle, framed for murder, escapes from the mental institution two years after the events in Chaos Comics's Halloween II. At the same time, the corpses of Annie Brackett, Lynda Vander Klok, and Bob Simms (the victims from the first film) are stolen from the graveyard. Desperate, Tommy runs to Lindsey Wallace (the other child Laurie Strode ended up babysitting all those years ago) for help. The Shape attacks them both, and during the struggle, Tommy manages to remove the mask, resulting in a grand reveal that will certainly upset some people. It would appear that this issue branches into a distinctly different reality than the film series, but it's feasible that it takes place between the ending of H20 (where Laurie decapitates The Shape), and the beginning of Resurrection, where Laurie is found institutionalized.


Halloween: White Ghost by Greg Mitchell

Halloween: White Ghost
By Greg Mitchell

This short text story features and/or mentions a variety of familiar faces from the original Halloween film: Dr. Loomis, Dr. Wynn, Nurse Marion, Nurse Strickland (from the television edit), and of course...Michael Myers.

But none of these characters are truly in the spotlight here. The star of this story is one Mr. Chris Hastings.

Right now, you're surely thinking "Who the hell is Chris Hastings?"

He's the tow truck driver from Phelps Garage who "donated" his coveralls to the recently escaped Michael Myers. Not even a genuine character in the film, only a corpse lying at the edge of the frame just outside of Dr. Loomis's field of vision, this goes to show that everybody has a story, and they all deserve to be told.

White Ghost takes us along on Chris's last few hours of life, as he visits his hometown of Haddonfield for the final time and relives a few torturous memories from his past. Michael Myers was not the only tragedy to ever hit Haddonfield. In fact, Michael Myers is only a small portion of the expanded Halloween universe.

The Official Synopsis:

Nine years ago, Chris Hastings left Haddonfield behind. He ran away to escape his past, but his future wasn't any more promising. So tonight, the night before Halloween, 1978, Chris is going back to Haddonfield, and the ghosts of his past aren't the only thing waiting there for him.

Ironically, as much as I love the character of Dr. Loomis, I enjoyed this story much more than the previous text story, Sam, which centered on Loomis. I give a lot of props to Malek Akkad for continuing the legacy of his father in such creative ways, and I hope for a lot more of these stories in the future--but as more time passes, the less likely that seems.

White Ghost can be downloaded FOR FREE from the official Halloween Comics website by clicking HERE!


Halloween: Sam by Stefan Hutchinson

Halloween: Sam
by Stefan Hutchinson

HalloweenComics.Com, the official website of the Halloween line of comic books, released some time back two FREE stories that continue the plotlines outlined in the film franchise.  As they are from an "official" source, they should be considered part of the canon, and not just fancy fan fiction.  Please note that these are text stories with a few illustrations, not comic books.

The 'Sam' that the title refers to is Dr. Sam Loomis, of course; and although it may seem unusual to hear the doctor referred to solely by his first name, it makes sense in this context.  For the first time in this story, we are allowed to look at Sam (the man) hiding beneath Loomis (the obsession).

It covers a number of important events in Sam's life, beginning with him leaving his home in England to practice psychiatry in Illinois;  We go with him as he visits the crime scene following the murder of Judith Myers by her younger brother Michael; and we watch as Sam slowly gives way to his obsession with Michael Myers, overcome with fear and depression, going so far as to contemplate suicide.
"A sad old man crying.  That's all I am.  That's why they curse me.  A pathetic cowardly creature with memories lost and broken.  How far have I come from who I was?  What has changed inside me--why can't I change it back?  Why am I letting these things control and destroy me for a thousandth time?  I don't want this life.  I loathe this emptiness, this abhorrent isolation.  I want things to make sense--I want my world to be beautiful again--I want everybody to come back--"
Following Michael's breakout and second assault on Haddonfield, we are privy to a few of the details regarding their staging of Laurie Strode's death, and of her adopting a new identity as Keri Tate.  And although Michael seems to disappear for a while, Loomis knows that he is there, lurking in the shadows...waiting.  While everyone else thinks the Bogeyman is dead, Loomis never gives up the hunt.

The purpose of this story is two-fold: it allows us a little more insight into the mind of Dr. Sam Loomis and his relationship with Michael Myers; and it also fills in the 20 year gap in the storyline between Halloween 2 and Halloween H20 (as this story takes place in the H20 chronology, parts 4-6 are ignored).

Michael Myers is not the star here, but when he does show up, he shines.  Toward the gruesome end of the story, we realize just how lost of a character Michael really is, and that Loomis is equally lost if not even more so.  It ends in requisite tragedy, but at least Loomis finally gets an official send off.

The reading was a little rough-going and uninteresting for me at times (I admit, I like my Loomis crazed and obsessed), but it really pulls together by the end, and I can see certain elements in my mind as clearly as if they were deleted scenes from the franchise.  At just 38 pages, it won't take you long to read, so Loomis Lovers should definitely take note.

Download Halloween: Sam for free by clicking HERE!


Halloween Resurrection (Hall8ween) Early Draft by Larry Brand

Halloween 8 
early draft by Larry Brand

Halloween Resurrection was scripted by Larry Brand and Sean Hood, but before Hood was brought aboard, Brand had taken a stab at it himself. An early draft of this script, entitled Hall8ween, can easily be found on the Internet. The storyline is basically the same--Internet entertainment entrepreneur Freddie Harris stages a "reality" show at Michael Myers' childhood home on the same night that the Shape comes home--so I'll only cover the differences here.

In this script, Laurie Strode's son John is directly referenced by the nurses at the hospital where she is institutionalized, saying that he used to visit her, then "suddenly stopped". This would leave one to believe that perhaps Michael Myers had already killed him...until Michael shows up and Laurie shouts at him that he will never find her son. So maybe he's still alive and went into hiding? Not that it matters. Michael still seems wholly unconcerned, and doesn't even attempt to pursue him.

Also, although Laurie still lures Michael to the roof, she does not have a booby trap waiting for him. She merely allows him to attack her, and then unsuccessfully attempts to pull him over the ledge with her in an even less heroic and just worthy death than she received in the final film.

Following her death, we're still introduced to the rest of the cast. The college students investigating the house are slightly different, but nothing noteworthy--as they never amounted to much more than chum anyway. The only impressive difference is that one of the students, Bill, is actually working for Netertainment, and it's he, not Freddie, who dons the Michael Myers outfit to scare the others.

Another student, Jim, gets to spout a rather hammy monologue that didn't make the final cut:

"Michael Myers isn't real. He might have been real once, but not anymore. Michael Myers has entered the dark mythology of America, my friends. He's become part of the horror that's been the underside of this country ever since the first white man murdered the first Indian and started seeing the ghosts of revenge in every shadow. He's the great white shark of our unconscious. He's every murderous impulse we've ever had. He's the voice that whispers to us to flatten the old lady taking forever at the checkout counter in front of us. He's that little itch at the base of our brains where reptiles once ruled. He's all of us, my friends, each and every one."

Freddie is still the same Kung fu clown he would later turn out to be, but he's much less, umm, URBAN in this draft. Reading dialogue from here, and from the shooting script, it's obvious that the character was rewritten with Busta Rhymes in mind. And, less importantly, his business venture here is known as Netertainment as opposed to Dangertainment--although it's difficult to figure out which one is worse.

It's also noteworthy that Tyra Banks's character Nora was originally a guy named Charlie, a sexual reversal similar to what happened with LL Cool J's character in Halloween H20.

There's a whole new character in this script as well, a determined police detective named Donaldson whose investigation into the murder of Laurie Strode eventually leads him to the Myers house and right into the hands of Michael. He survived the ordeal, but not the final draft of the script, not that it's any real loss. On paper, he wasn't a great character, he brought nothing at all to the story and his investigation amounted to nothing.

In the end, Michael's body was not found in the ashes here, having somehow escaped in a rather anti-climactic finale.

Overall, there would have been no real benefit had they shot this version of the script instead, as all of the differences were basically cosmetic. Larry Brand gave us a pig. Sean Hood just put some lipstick on it.


Early Halloween H20 Script Treatment by Kevin Williamson

Halloween H20 
Script Treatment by Kevin Williamson

The basic premise of what would eventually become Halloween H20 was there from the very beginning, but as it was originally plotted there were a number of differences.

Laurie Strode was still living under an assumed name in this first treatment by Kevin Williamson of Scream fame, and she was still a divorced functioning -alcoholic mother of a teenage son. In fact, Laurie's role in the film was pretty much unchanged.

Her son, though, was a 16 year old named Mick instead of the 17 year old John from the completed film. Where John is depicted as a typical rambunctious teenager, Mick was something more of a straight-up prick, going so far as to dress up like Michael Myers just to mess with his mother's head. What a bastard!

Laurie was still the head mistress of a private school, only the location was initially in New England instead of Northern California. One other important detail that was changed about the school: it was originally intended to be an all-girl's school, with young Mick being the sole male student. So he was not just a bastard, he was a lucky bastard to boot.

So as not to skimp on the teenage sexual antics--because a slasher loves nothing more than offing a handful of promiscuous teens--the girls school and the nearby boys school have a Halloween dance that erupts into violence when Michael Myers (The Shape himself) appears. The police swarm the dance in helicopters(!), one of which is then stolen by a panicked student, who promptly crashes it into a mountain, killing many.

The final showdown takes place in a tunnel, where Laurie, Mick and Molly (an odd choice of an ugly duckling character who is given a "Sally Jesse Rafael makeover" during her own pointless subplot, just so she can later be murdered) have ended up after fleeing the scene in a school bus.

After what I can only assume is a protracted battle sequence, Mick and Laurie are chased out of the tunnel by Michael, just as another police helicopter is landing. Michael kills the pilot, and he is lured somehow into the helicopter's blades and is chopped in half, "killing him for good."

I'm rather puzzled as to how this happened, since the helicopter's blades are on top of the aircraft. In order to get chopped in half, he would have had to be standing on top of the helicopter--possibly even kneeling. Regardless, the finale seems disappointing, at least on paper. It's much more satisfying that Laurie ended up beheading him up close and personal...even if it was later revealed to be a trick by the suddenly-crafty Michael Myers.

On a laughable closing note, remember LL Cool J's security guard character from the film?

It was written as a woman.

But apparently LL wanted the role, and threatened to have his mother knock the casting agent out if he didn't comply.

Happy Halloween, hipsters!

Halloween (Novelization) by Curtis Richards

Halloween (Novelization)
By Curtis Richards
"The horror started on the eve of Samhain, in a foggy vale in Northern Ireland at the dawn of the Celtic race..."
The novelization of John Carpenter's Halloween was released to coincide with the film, and while it followed the plot of the movie pretty faithfully, there were a number of diversions made in print that were not found on celluloid.  As everyone is (or should be) familiar with the storyline, I'll only deal with the differences here.

The differences begin right off the bat, as the novel begins at the dawn of the Celtic race:  Deirdre, the youngest daughter of the Druid King Gwynnwyll, was an early-bloomer, with sandy brown hair and amber highlights, eyes of green, and a skin tone resembling "cream and wild rose".  She was an early-bloomer, and had caught the eye of many men--including one Enda, a 15 year old boy whose botched childbirth left him with a uselessly shriveled arm.  Enda's advances, though, were met with both laughter and fear.

At the festival of Samhain, Deirdre's betrothal to another man was announced, and Enda snapped, attacking and murdering the pair with a blade his family used for butchering hogs and chickens.

Enraged, the rest of the tribe attacked Enda, rending him limb from limb. Following the melee, only his heart and head remained, and these were buried on the Hill of Fiends, where the tribal shaman pronounced a special curse, which, in hindsight, doesn't seem like such a great idea.
"Thy soul shall roam the earth till the end of time, reliving thy foul deed and thy foul punishment, and may the god Muck Olla visit every affliction upon thy spirit forevermore."
Flash forward to October 31, 1963.

A six year old Michael talks with his grandmother, who is disappointed in his choice of costume--a clown. When she was a kid, Halloween was a serious affair, she says, and much effort was put into scaring away the Bogeyman, who would slaughter livestock, burn down barns, etc. She even recounts one particular incident of her own in Nineteen-Ought-Something, when the supposed Bogeyman had slit the 300-pound family hog's throat, carried it up to the roof, and plugged the chimney with it.

"Twas the Bogeyman, that's all there is to it."

We learn, in passing, that Michael has been having trouble: fights at school, bed wetting, having violent dreams, and hearing voices.  But wait...Michael's not the only one who had suffered these symptoms in the Myers bloodline.  This is exactly how it started with Michael's great grandfather Nordstrom: In the 1890s, at a harvest dance on All Hallows Eve, he shot and killed a couple and was hanged for his crime.

Michael, urged by the voices he hears, slaughters his sister Judith after she has sex with her boyfriend. Michael's leering looks and jealousy, and some of the more "sensitive" areas that he attacks, suggests something of an incestual attraction--which is definitely a new twist on the brother-sister relationship.  In fact, at a later point in the book, Michael recalls her body as "pink, firm, with beautiful tight buttocks and round high breasts with jutting nipples"

At this point, it becomes obvious that the wandering spirit of Enda is what Michael's grandmother is inadvertently talking about when she discusses the Bogeyman.  He had taken over nameless (to us) citizens in her hometown, then Nordstrom Myers, and finally Michael himself.

Following the murder (which we are all familiar with), we are privy to a few scenes of his trial, and details of his incarceration as related by Dr. Loomis.  According to the good doctor, Michael has been known to act out brutal vengeance against members of the staff and other patients whom Michael feels have slighted him, but they are done in such a way that no proof of his involvement can be found.  Because of Michael's reign of terror, everyone fears him and they go out of their way to keep him happy.  So Michael rather likes it on the inside...

Which is why Michael does not attempt an escape for 15 years.  As stipulated by the judge, when Michael Myers is 21, he is to be transferred to an actual prison, an idea he is not fond of.  That's why he waits so long to make his getaway.  And when Michael drives off in his car, Dr. Loomis speculates that someone may have given him driving lessons, just as he does in the movie, but in view of Michael's special treatment in the novelization, it makes much more sense here.

Once Michael makes his escape and returns to his hometown, we are for the most part done with the story through his eyes, and the tale takes us into more familiar territory.  A few less-important--but still interesting--variations do crop up, though.

We are given a name for Michael's obsession with the Halloween holiday: Anniversary Syndrome, a very real disorder where mentally disturbed persons relive the events of the previous year's trauma on the anniversary of its events.  Loomis, in a rather risky gamble, actually organizes a Halloween Party at the hospital while young Michael was still in his care, setting him up for incident to prove to the judge that he should not be released.

Michael's trademark look is described as such: Dark khaki mechanics coveralls, hair black, face powder white, with red lips and sunken purple eyes, a livid scar zig-zagging down his cheek--which is a close, but not exact, approximation of the figure we see on screen.

And, perhaps most disturbingly, we learn that Michael Myers has a throbbing erection while stalking Laurie Strode and her friends, and is clearly aroused while watching Annie undress.  He can't even help but compare her to his deceased sister:

"Her legs weren't as long as Judy's, her buttocks were larger and filled the panties to straining, and she had a sensual bulge just over the crotch that made him breathe heavier with desire."

While I'm not usually a fan of novelizations, I was actually quite impressed with this one--and it may have just changed my outlook.  It was a fast and satisfying read that kept me guessing, even though I knew exactly where it was heading.  The variations in plot and deeper detail kept me interested throughout the entire page count, and I loved that we were given an insight into an otherwise mysterious character.  Purists may not appreciate the linking of Michael's homicidal tendencies with an ancient Celtic curse, but when viewing many of the other films to come (chiefly Halloween 4-6, although also a few key scenes in Halloween 2), it really helps to pull it all together.

What is the curse of Enda, if not another name for the Curse of Thorn?

If you're looking for a variation of a favorite story, I highly recommend this book.  IF you can find it for an affordable price.  It goes for $80 or more on Amazon, so I suggest prowling used book stores until you find it on the cheap, like I did.


Not Your Typical Halloween Merchandise

Just some not-so-common Halloween merchandise that I've stumbled across at a few different sources.  Click on the description for more information or to order.  Prices were accurate at the time of this writing.  I am affiliated with these sellers in no way, and I get nothing if you buy these.  If you'd like to purchase an extra, and donate it to your favorite beatnik, well, who am I to say no?

Special Guest Post: A Gay Man's Take on Michael Myers

A Gay Man’s Take on Michael Myers
A Special Guest Post by Jimmy S. Retro

It took me years to admit what my family knew to be obvious.  Playing with my sisters’ dolls, and even sometimes dressing up as them, it was clear that I wasn't going to become a chick-swooning quarterback. That being said, it took a long while to feel comfortable in my own skin.  In fact, I still periodically hide behind a pointless veil of sexual ambiguity just to avoid awkward situations. This leads me to Michael Myers and the expressionless mask behind which he hides.

I think back to the first time I watched the opening to Halloween.  Even upon subsequent viewings, I’m still haunted by the mere shock of the killer being a masked child. It’s a truly classic horror scene.  If those first five minutes were redone in a modern-day flick, it would still pack a huge shock-value punch.  Not only does it show the unthinkable act of a murderous child, but it’s also stunning to see what a child could so brutally do to his own sister.

Throughout the rest of that movie and its many sequels, it’s easy to simply regard Michael Myers as a crazed, demonic, surreal serial killer. We see him as a masked grown up, with no verbal skills and a stoic, zombie-like presence.  The focus tends to be more on the poor victims trying to get away rather than caring about who, exactly, Michael really is.  Other than seeing Michael as a child in the opening scene of the first Halloween, we only know of Michael through what Dr Loomis tells us he is.  Beyond that, he might as well be a knife-wielding robot—and who knows?—maybe that’s who Michael will turn out to be in Halloween 34: Reboot.    As it is, he has to be pushing 60 now, and yet he’s still walking up those attic steps and slanted roofs like a youthful Cirque du Soleil superstar.

I find that opening scene of young Michael especially poignant, however, not because of the astonishing revelation that our killer is a child; but because, in an odd way, I feel like I can relate to Michael’s humanity. Don’t worry. You don’t have to hide your kids and hide your wife (actually you’d only ever need to keep your husband away from my paws).  Let me explain: This was the only time we really see Michael in his most vulnerable, human state.  Realize too, that just a moment previous to this scene, he was likely perceived to be a normal little boy; and then something snapped.  This is the closest of all times we see him as “normal”.

Now perhaps this family knew this kid was a tad whacked—just as my family probably knew I was a big ‘mo.  But clearly they didn’t realize he was so unstable that they should have kept the sharp kitchen utensils hidden, and Michael under constant observation.  For all intents and purposes, we can assume he was just a fun-loving kid in a clown costume.  Come Halloween of ’63, he decided to try out killing for a change of pace (like how I decided to try out making out with my He-Man action figure that one adolescent summer day.  Hmmm, I can still taste that glistening lemonade).

There’s no question this Myers fellow is completely bonkers. And I don’t know whether his biggest crime is all those murders or his severe lack of fashion sense.  I mean, hello?  All-black, Michael? An absolute fashion taboo!  Thing is though, I too have suffered from bad fashion sense.  All who know me can’t forget my suspender phase or my horrible sweater-vest Fridays.  And personality wise, I’ve been on dates with near-catatonic guys that would make Michael seem like Pauly freakin’ Shore.  At least Michael may have a kinky side to him with the whole masked thing.  Although, my first preference would be Zorro.

Oops—sorry—I'm on a horrible tangent! My point is, in the least psychotic way possible, I feel I can relate to Michael a bit.  At the very least, I’m suggesting that the audience have a bit more understanding of him.

Being a gay man, who too masks myself from people at times, I “get it”.  With no family to speak of (of course that’s because he clearly likes to kill them), he wanders the world with a solid mission to repeatedly relive that puzzling moment that compelled him to stab his sister—just as I repeatedly relive in my mind what compelled me to like guys more than girls, and to question whether it’s nature or nurture.  Now don’t get me wrong, I have a loving family. Being gay, however, disconnects me from the rest of my straight family members who all have heterosexual counterparts, their own children, and interests like the Broncos and the Rockies.  Michael, too, is a loner who also has the same mystery surrounding him of nature versus nurture. Did environmental forces lead him to who he became, or was there something genetic and chemical behind it all?  As horrific as his first crime was, he was just a kid after all; and aren't kids protected by the innocence of youth?   Perhaps being immediately locked away and drugged in a sanitarium for years wasn’t the best treatment for him.  Maybe it kept him in a suspended state of murderous action.  He may have thought he was playing a game.  Just as I thought the hair I cut off my sister’s Barbie would grow back.  If I was immediately locked away and drugged the first time I dreamed of sodomy, I might still find New Kids on the Block “hip”.

Michael committed his first act of insanity in 1963.  This was the era of Twilight Zone and fantastic rumors of space exploration.  His life was made up of childhood whimsy and fanciful playthings.  He may have been confused as to what his sister’s boyfriend was doing to her upstairs in the bedroom. Maybe he didn’t understand quite what was going on.  Feeling neglected, he might have thought, “hey this dude is penetrating her, so can I!  And, I mean, who can blame him?  What you can see of this bombshell, gay or straight, she’s definitely a delectable screw!  So with penetration on Michael’s mind, he may have not known the difference between pleasurable penetration and the hurtful kind and simply thought, “Looks fun. Now where’s that butcher knife?”

I submit that he looked at it all as confusingly playful.  What did Michael pick up and push aside right before he stabbed his sister, after all?  A toy!

Flash forward past years of being shunned and now he lurks in dark corners, without the ability to make any legitimately loving human connection.  Kind of how I feel at a techno club or during a bad hair day.  If the best years of my life were taken away from me by being locked up and drugged, I would be in a murderous rage too!  It would be like if I were forced to stay at Catholic school beyond my elementary years, while I really just wanted to go out and get pounded. (Actually, on second thought, I should have stayed at Catholic school. I’d show ‘em all something else that’s “holy”, if you know what I’m saying.)

My point in all of this is that it’s easy to disregard Michael as anything but a murdering hellion, just as it’s easy for society to look at me as nothing but one raging flamer.  But, digging a little deeper will reveal two things:

1) I like deep-digging; and,
2) Michael may have some humanity in him, if only a small glimmer.  Perhaps he just needs his    own Annie Sullivan to get him to retreat mentally to a time before he went all stab-o.

For those who don’t know, Annie Sullivan was the teacher to deaf and blind Helen Keller, who lost her sight and hearing after an infection.  Annie was the miracle worker who was able to get this practical child-animal to go within the recesses of her mind, to a time prior to her debilitating infliction, to recall the word “water”.  Once Helen recalled “water”, she was able to be a human again.  This unlocked her ability to learn to read, write, and make some intelligible verbal utterances.

The same might be possible for Mike.  Dr. Loomis wasn’t quite an Annie Sullivan.  He gave up on Michael instead of leading him to that proverbial well.  If taken back to a time and place prior to whatever influenced him to kill, maybe Michael could have been restored to normalcy.  Heck, maybe he might fancy me for being so understanding and would be able to put that knife down and ask me out for a date.  At which point I’d have to politely decline.

I like my tricks and treats; and as good as this would seem, he’s too much of a stiff.

--Jimmy S. Retro


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