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Is Michael Myers based on a true story?

January 16, 2023

Key Findings
Did the events described in Michael Myers actually happen?
Michael Myers’ masked face begs the question: Why?

The character Michael Myers was created for the Halloween film series. In John Carpenter’s Halloween he plays a small child who kills his big sister Judith Myers. Killing more children brings him back to his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois 15 years later.

Did the events described in Michael Myers actually happen?

Carpenter has said that his character, Michael Myers, was inspired by real people, but that the events of Halloween weren’t real. When asked about the inspiration for the slasher icon in the 2003 documentary A Cut Above the Rest, the filmmaker said it wasn’t a serial killer like Ed Gein for The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, but an anonymous boy , whom he had met briefly during his time at university.

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As a carpenter student at the Western Kentucky University he decided to visit a local mental institution – an encounter that would later inspire Michael. I took a course – psychology or something – and we went to a mental institution, the filmmaker recalls. We saw the most severely mentally ill patients. And there was a young man, maybe 12 or 13, that had this face.

Carpenter goes on to say that the interaction haunted him and that it was the boy’s scowl that inspired him to create the emotionless hitman Michael Myers. The visitor added: I was unnerved; it was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen. It was totally out of control.
In a scene in which he recalls meeting Michael Myers when he was six, the Halloween character Dr. Loomis the little boy’s influence on Carpenter. In the film about monsters, Loomis describes meeting a six-year-old boy with this blank, pale, emotionless face and the blackest of eyes; the eyes of the devil. What I saw behind that boy’s eyes was pure and simple malice, I realized that.

Michael Myers’ masked face begs the question: Why?

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The films are fairly evasive as to Michael’s motivations for obtaining the mask, which is more interesting than how he acquired it. In its adaptation, Zombie attempts to give Michael’s story a realistic foundation by focusing on the everyday horrors of domestic violence and mental illness.

Obsessed with masks after his childhood rampage, he spends his time in an asylum crafting elaborate papier-mâché masks that he wears on his escape. This puts him in the realm of a treatable mental illness that wasn’t the focus of the Carpenter film.

The original Halloween scary stories were based on a lack of explanation. The incomprehensibility of Michael’s motive for murder adds a new layer of dread to the situation. In the final confrontation with Laurie, he loses his mask and has to pause to put it back on before continuing the attack, suggesting he needs it to kill.

Had Corey Cunningham never put on the Michael Myers mask, he wouldn’t have been able to exact revenge and become the next terrifying slasher in Halloween Ends either. It underscores the shadowy depths of Michael’s character and suggests that Michael is just a facade hiding something far more sinister.

One of Samuel Loomis’ lines in the film supports this idea: I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to lock him up, because I realized that what lived behind that boy’s eyes was quite simply that bad was. The fact that Michael is credited only as The Shape in the credits makes matters worse. Simply put, Michael’s mask became a symbol of his malice, something that other horror films used as a premise of their own scary tactics and that the Halloween sequels couldn’t avoid.

Now in theaters and on Peacock’s premium tiers is the horror film Halloween Ends.