Halloween: The Two Evils

The Halloween remake, or second remake, is, by all means, a very good return to the franchise. It does its job of capturing the feel, atmosphere and style of John Carpenter’s original. It doesn’t miss a beat, the dread and the scares are genuine, and the Shape is as menacing as ever. One decision the producers went for in this reboot, however, is the elimination of the events of Halloween 2, and pretty much everything that came later.

Michael Myers ceased being this paranormal, un-killable ‘Shape’.


A fascinating aspect of horror, in particular the slasher genre that the Halloween series ventured into, is which of the following possess the most frightening kind of horror; psychological evil or supernatural evil?

Psychological Evil

The former evil is corporeal, almost tangible. There is a science behind it. Mental illness is a fact most people are aware of, and frightened of, as one would be of a hungry bear or rogue urban crocodile. These are monsters, which relegates slashers as part of the serial killer genre which is, in turn, a subset of the ‘Natural Monster’ story.

The subsets of Natural Monsters?

  • Creature
  • Human
  • Artificial

Creature monsters can be reality-based beasts such as big sharks, killer bees, snakes or a virus, or they can be fantastical, alien, prehistorical… All of which are motivated by hunger or the primordial drive to survive. The scary thing about these critters is not intent; there exists no motive such as revenge, hate or bloodthirst. We can understand and sympathise with a beast’s insatiable appetite. What we fear is the raw power and deadliness they possess. Being eaten alive or clawed to pieces is a terror that lurks in our human minds after thousands of years of dealing with these predators.

Human monsters on the other hand are scary not because of physical power, but because they have intent or a total lack of it. The monster in Halloween began with intent, hunting the sister, but Michael Myers ended up stalking and butchering random people at will, devoid of intent, lacking humanity, to the point of being described as total evil. By Halloween 2 the supernatural elemental was introduced, turning him into a different kind of monster.

Artificial monsters are beasts created by humans possessing motivational attributes from both categories, survival instincts plus intent. Machines are intelligent and biologically enhanced beasts intent to survive, no matter what. Humans are just in the way.

Supernatural Evil

This is the fear of the unknown.

While death haunts us, the dread of its finality scares the living shit out of us, and the prospect of what lies beyond death even more. We look at the universe around us and see what; a colossal conflict between chaos and order. With modern science, we still struggle to ascertain if there is a point to any of this, but the ancients, who weren’t distracted or blinded by the filters of modern civilization, saw this universe morphing from forces echoing from an ethereal dimension, a conflict between heaven and hell. Did the Gigantomachy and Titanomachy from the classical Greeks reflect what was happening in heaven, or was this political propaganda during the conflict between the priesthood and the landlords? In any case, this war produced monsters of every kind, the Gigantes, Charybdis, Typhon and a myriad of others. In the Christian religion that followed, this conflict, good versus evil, gave us a host of other beasts to fear, in particular the Devil and company.

These are the ‘Supernatural Monsters’.

Defining Evil

So, is a hungry shark evil?

Not really, unless one wants to attribute the natural universe as being evil.

Again, the intent is important. It separates what is evil from what is a force of nature. Supernatural sea monsters such as the Charybdis and the Leviathan were feared because of their powerful presence. These beasts didn’t scheme to destroy you, their mere presence was simply dangerous, deadly, to be avoided. Supernatural agents, however, scheme. These monsters, spirits, and demons in all manifestations intend to do you harm.

Halloween (1978)

This film followed the tradition set by an earlier film, Black Christmas, a slasher movie about a human monster, Billy, who seems to have intent but the intent is never revealed. With Michael Myers, his intent on re-enacting the killing of his sister is openly implied. So he hacks his way through a typical leafy suburb on Halloween night of all nights, to achieve this goal. He is a human beast, lurking, sneaking up on you, or just brazenly entering your home. The Shape is not butchering teenagers to survive, it wants to.

The ambiguity arrives at the end. When shot, and falls two storeys, his body disappears. He’s somehow survived. Still a danger.

Halloween (1978) Horror, Thriller | 91min | 27 October 1978 (USA) 7.8
Director: John CarpenterWriter: John Carpenter, Debra HillStars: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tony MoranSummary: The year is 1963, the night: Halloween. Police are called to 43 Lampkin Ln. only to discover that 15 year old Judith Myers has been stabbed to death, by her 6 year-old brother, Michael. After being institutionalized for 15 years, Myers breaks out on the night before Halloween. No one knows, nor wants to find out, what will happen on October 31st 1978 besides Myers' psychiatrist, Dr. Loomis. He knows Michael is coming back to Haddonfield, but by the time the town realizes it, it'll be too late for many people. Written by Massive Fan


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Halloween 2 (1981)

Here Michael is again hunting his sister, who happens to be Laurie the babysitter, but this time it is strongly alluded to that he is being possessed by a supernatural force. Not only does he survive the previous film, but he survives another volley of six bullets before being blinded, and ‘killed’ after an explosion and enduring flames longer than any normal person could.

Demonic possession, pioneered in The Exorcist movie a decade earlier is at play here. The Devil possessing a little girl was scary enough, but an evil force possessing a human monster, that’s another level.

Halloween II (1981) Horror | 92min | 30 October 1981 (USA) 6.5
Director: Rick RosenthalWriter: John Carpenter, Debra HillStars: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, Charles CyphersSummary: After Doctor Samuel Loomis shoots Michael Myers six Times and falls off a balcony. Michael escapes and continues his massacre in Haddonfield, Laurie is also sent to the Hospital and Dr Loomis gathers a group of police officers to hunt down Michael and put an end to his murderous rampage. Written by ahmetkozan


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Halloween 3: Season of the Witch (1982)

There is no Michael, but there is a monster. This time, instead of a slasher, there’s a cabal of witches. The Silver Shamrock Company is the monster, headed by Cochran who with his android henchmen is hellbent on unleashing the dark power of Stonehenge.

The supernatural beast doesn’t do anything to anybody, the mere dread of it being released upon the world is intense enough.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi | 98min | 22 October 1982 (USA) 5.0
Director: Tommy Lee WallaceWriter: Tommy Lee WallaceStars: Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin, Dan O'HerlihySummary: An apparent murder-suicide in a hospital emergency room leads to an investigation by the on-call doctor, which reveals a plot by an insane toymaker to kill as many people as possible during Halloween through an ancient Celtic ritual involving a stolen boulder from Stonehenge and Halloween masks. Written by MuzikJunky


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Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

Michael returns, but the Shape is more of an escaped mental patient prone to violence rather than some demonic manifestation of evil, even though he survives getting run over and taking dozens of bullets to die. Regardless, the monster is simply a crazy man on a rampage. He has intent, not to kill, but something else entirely. The Shape is like a ferocious animal that needs to be put down.

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) Horror, Thriller | 88min | 21 October 1988 (USA) 5.9
Director: Dwight H. LittleWriter: Dhani Lipsius, Larry RattnerStars: Donald Pleasence, Ellie Cornell, Danielle HarrisSummary: It's October 30, 1988 and Michael Myers has been in a coma since his pursuit of Laurie Strode, 10 years ago, was finally stopped (events of H1 and H2). However when he is transfered from Richmond Mental Institute to Smith's Grove he awakes when he hears that he has a niece in Haddonfield and after killing the transfer crew he escapes. In Haddonfield, the niece, Jamie, has been adopted by the Carruthers family but keeps having nightmares about Michael (but she doesn't know who he is). On Halloween night, Jamie goes out trick and treating, little knowing that her murdering Uncle is following her and her step-sister Rachel. Rushing to her aid is Dr. Loomis and with the help of Sheriff Meeker starts to search the town for Michael and to find Jamie to protect her. But can anything stop Michael this time? Written by Lee Horton <Leeh@tcp.co.uk>


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Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

The Shape sheds a tear as well as lives. It is human after all, but Michael retains his superhuman strength and now possesses telepathic powers.

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) Horror, Thriller | 96min | 13 October 1989 (USA) 5.1
Director: Dominique Othenin-GirardWriter: John Carpenter, Debra HillStars: Donald Pleasence, Danielle Harris, Ellie CornellSummary: It's one year later after the events of Halloween 4. Michael survives the shootings and on October 31st he returns with a vengeance. Lurking and stalking, Jamie, Rachel, and Rachel's friends, Michael forms a plan to lure Jamie out of the children's hospital where events lead up to the confrontation at the Myers house. Halloween 5 is a dark, thrill ride that will scare the heck out of you! Written by anonymous


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Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

There exists no allusion now, Michael Myers is cursed, making him a supernatural beast. Plus, he is joined by cultists who want to harness his metaphysical powers.

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) Horror, Thriller | 87min | 29 September 1995 (USA) 4.8
Director: Joe ChappelleWriter: Debra Hill, John CarpenterStars: Donald Pleasence, Paul Rudd, Marianne HaganSummary: Six years after Michael Myers' last massacre in Haddonfield, Jamie Lloyd has a child, but is then killed by Michael. Michael is allied with the Cult of Thorn, who both protect him and gave him the Curse of Thorn, the reason he killed all of his family. The Strode Family also moved into the Myers' house and are stalked by Michael. Sam Loomis and Tommy Doyle, a boy Laurie babysat during Michael's first rampage, are now out to stop Michael and the cult. Michael heads to kill Jamie's son and the rest of Laurie's family, but Dr. Loomis and Tommy plan to stop the curse, defeat the cult, stop Michael, and put an end to his murderous rampages, once and for all. Written by ahmetkozan


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Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

No longer a force of the supernatural, yet still possessing inhuman strength, Michael intends to kill his sister, for reasons, and nobody’s going to stop him. Well, he gets beheaded by the end, so this should be the end of this monster. No creature could survive that, right?

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) Horror, Thriller | 86min | 5 August 1998 (USA) 5.8
Director: Steve MinerWriter: Debra Hill, John CarpenterStars: Jamie Lee Curtis, Josh Hartnett, Adam ArkinSummary: Twenty years after Michael Myer's massacre in Haddonfield, Laurie Strode faked her own death, traveled to California, and took on the identity Keri Tate. Michael discovers Laurie's new identity and travels to California to kill his sister. Laurie must now take on her brother with her son's life at risk. Written by ahmetkozan


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Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

Well, yes, if indeed Michael was decapitated. It turns out he wasn’t. Yep. The Shape lives to kill again and kill his sister he does. With no more intent, The Shape reverts to being a simple killing machine; an animal doing instinctively what it does best until electrocution and fire put a stop to it.

If only.

Nothing can kill this supernatural monster.

Halloween: Resurrection (2002) Horror, Thriller | 94min | 12 July 2002 (USA) 4.0
Director: Rick RosenthalWriter: Debra Hill, John CarpenterStars: Jamie Lee Curtis, Busta Rhymes, Brad LoreeSummary: Serial Killer Michael Myers is not finished with Laurie Strode, and their rivalry finally comes to an end. But is this the last we see of Myers? Freddie Harris and Nora Winston are reality programmers at DangerTainment, and are planning to send a group of 6 thrill-seeking teenagers into the childhood home of Myers. Cameras are placed all over the house and no one can get out of the house... and then Michael arrives home! Written by simon


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Halloween (2007)

Michael is back to being a psychopath killer. His intent; reconnecting with his sister, and it didn’t matter how many are slaughtered along the way. He gets shot in the face, but…

Halloween (2007) Horror | 109min | 31 August 2007 (USA) 6.1
Director: Rob ZombieWriter: Rob Zombie, John CarpenterStars: Scout Taylor-Compton, Malcolm McDowell, Tyler ManeSummary: The residents of Haddonfield don't know it yet... but death is coming to their small sleepy town. Sixteen years ago, a ten year old boy called Michael Myers brutally kills his step father, his elder sister and her boyfriend. Sixteen years later, he escapes from the mental institution and makes his way back to his hometown intent on a murderous rampage pursued by Dr Sam Loomis who is Michael's doctor and the only one who knows Michael's true evil. Elsewhere a shy teenager by the name of Laurie Strode is babysitting on the night Michael comes home... is it pure coincidence that she and her friends are being stalked by him? Written by TheSteph


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Halloween II (2009)

…turns out it was only a superficial wound.

Michael Myers is a human monster, haunted by a hallucinogenic vision of his mother, and has a psychic connection with his sister.

Halloween II (2009) Horror | 105min | 28 August 2009 (USA) 4.9
Director: Rob ZombieWriter: Rob ZombieStars: Scout Taylor-Compton, Tyler Mane, Malcolm McDowellSummary: Michael Myers is still at large and no less dangerous than ever. After a failed reunion to reach his baby sister at their old home, Laurie Strode is immediately taken to a hospital to be treated by the wounds that had been afflicted by her brother a few hours ago. However, Michael isn't too far off and will continue his murdering 'Halloween' rampage until he gets his sister all to himself. Written by Anonymous


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Halloween (2018)

So now we have another sequel, which disregards everything that’s transpired before. No more sibling rivalry. No more a paranormal beast. Just a human animal, killing for reason unknown, existing only to kill and kill again, an animal to be studied.

As John Carpenter put it, The Shape is merely a ‘force of nature’, and ‘almost supernatural’.

Halloween (2018) Crime, Horror, Thriller | 106min | 19 October 2018 (USA) 6.5
Director: David Gordon GreenWriter: John Carpenter, Debra HillStars: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi MatichakSummary: Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her iconic role as Laurie Strode, who comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers (Nick Castle and James Jude Courtney), the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.


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The Shape of Fear

Anarchic, random, meaningless violence, is what strikes terror in our modern minds and hearts. The monster has clear intent but the intent is unknown. The physical strength is all too powerful, yet the source of this strength is unfathomable.

In the end, when one encounters a monster, be it a shark or a homicidal terrorist, it doesn’t really matter why the monster is doing what’s it doing, understanding it is not the issue. Getting away from it and surviving is. But, for an audience, the unknowable, the ‘why’, is the scariest aspect of all, and the Halloween series of movies has explored every aspect of this.

Each one is worth a visit or revisit.

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