The simplicity works beautifully even when it comes to the characters who participate in the upcoming night of horror- all of them are fairly one-dimensional, but at the same time completely believable. From Jamie Lee ...who's that man?Curtis' portrayal as Laurie Strode- the geeky and virginal unwilling final girl, who wishes she could be more like her friends, bubbly airhead ("totally!") Lynda (P.J. Soles) and the sarcastic but amiable Annie (Nancy Loomis)- who all unwittingly become the focus of Myers' murderous intentions. To Donald Pleasence's brilliantly unhinged Dr. Loomis- Myers' long term psychiatrist (it's hard to think of anyone else playing the role but both Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing were offered it and declined). ... The only other adult inhabitants of Haddonfield of any note are Lynda's boyfriend Bob (John Michael Graham) and Annie's Father- Sheriff Leigh Brackett (Charles Cyphers), who both seem curiously disposable. However, on a night that has been relegated to providing entertainment for children, paradoxically it is the two kids that Laurie Strode ends up baby-sitting- Tommy Doyle (Brian Andrews) and Lindsey Wallace (Kyle Richards), that are the first residents of the sleepy town to recognise the true nature of the night- and the terrifying reality of the Boogey Man...

       Now, as I said, the plot doesn't really matter- and the normal rules don't really apply when reviewing HALLOWEEN. What could be seen, in lesser films, as plot holes, are something altogether different in so near but yet so far.Carpenter's movie.

As for the shape, well, ignoring the sequel for now, Mark Kermode perhaps describes Michael Myers best when he says of him, "No rhyme, no reason, no motive- just fear". There's something terrible and unnatural about him that is best left unexplained. He is an enigma. No matter how hard we try and work him out we can't. The sum of the parts don't add up to a tangible whole. Again, this is what makes him such a successful boogey man- he is the unknown. We know that beneath that expressionless ghoul mask lies an equally expressionless face- perhaps with the blank look that has remained unchanged since his parents pulled the mask from him fifteen years earlier. What was there before we don't know- presumably he would have been a normal child; one that just snapped, or inexplicably became the empty vessel for some kind of evil. Again it's these loose ends that increase HALLOWEEN's power to unease- rather than diminish it. However, what lies beneath Myers' face is something we can only guess at. The clues we are given seem to contradict...a kid faces the true nature of Halloween for the first time... each other- he seems to have a passionless, but intense interest in his ghoulish work- when he pins one of the teens to the kitchen door with a butcher's knife, he stands back and surveys his work cocking his head this way and that with almost childlike awe. Or, in a film that seemingly has no room to mix horror and broad humour, the sight of him pretending to be the dead boyfriend, the sheet and glasses fooling Lynda. It should be funny- indeed Lynda thinks it is initially, but despite the absurdity of the scene there is no humour there. The way that, completely against the (then) accepted notion of raving insanity, he is horribly calm and patient, purposefully striding (never running) after his prey like, as Carpenter puts it, a "machine killer". None of this adds up, but it goes towards making Myers, perversely considering his lack of personality, perhaps the most interesting of screen villains. It is tempting to project our own fears onto Myers, something which is clearly the intention of Carpenter when he states that Myers, "is a blank slate".

       What is clear however is the fact that Myers is not just a lunatic who has escaped from a mental asylum and returned home. Carpenter has stated that there was more to it than that when he said that, "[he wanted to] kick...a classic shot which shows Myers as the shape... him up into a legendary kind of situation where he's much more an element of nature. I thought that would be more frightening. Make him almost a force- so then the mask, which ties in with Halloween, blanks out his human features for most of the film, making him then some sort of force of evil- irrational… unstoppable". … Myers transcends the stereotypical image of the mad man- essentially he is the Grim Reaper- he is , of course, the boogey man. "I added a slight supernatural edge to this guy- sure he's this person who escapes from a mental institution and he comes back to revisit this small town, but he can't be killed and there's a certain feeling that maybe he's not quite a human being."

to HALLOWEEN index- articles on 'the shape' and  the creation of Carpenter's HALLOWEEN...       home      to HALLOWEEN review pages... 1 2 3 4