All The Ways Michael Myers’s Character Has Changed Throughout The 'Halloween' Franchise
Over the course of 11 Halloween films, Michael Myers stalks his way through ten of them. Each time he wears his trademark mask and jumpsuit (or wildly variant versions of this costume, anyway), but every filmmaker who handles the character does something a little differenent with Michael Myers and the Halloween franchise. We're tracking how Michael Myers changed over the course of 40 years, what each new film added to his mythos, and just what Halloween 2018 holds for this piece of modern Americana.
The Halloween franchise makes a lot of fascinating choices, and the directors who work on these films swing for the fences - but that doesn't mean that everything they've added to Myers's backstory is pure gold. In many case, the changes to the character muddy up something that was simple and clean from the start. Keep reading to find out which films added the craziest pieces of backstory, and which directors did their best to keep the history of Michael Myers intact.
Michael Myers Began As A Straight Up Killing MachinePhoto: Anchor Bay / Amazon
Michael Myers is summed up perfectly in 1978's Halloween when Dr. Loomis describes him as a blank slate, saying, "there's nothing there." Myers gets very little backstory – aside from the beginning of the film when he kills his sister – and from there on he's simply a killing machine who doesn't want to do anything but murder teenagers. This is the purest form of the character, and it proves that simplicity is best when dealing with a horrific murder machine.
Michael Becomes More Brutal In The SequelPhoto: Shout! Factory / Amazon
Things change in a big way for Myers in the 1981 sequel to Halloween. Most notably his kill count goes way up, and the way he kills people changes. In his initial outing Michael Myers either choked or stabbed people with a kitchen knife, but this film sees Myers stabbing people with syringes and scalding them to death in a hot tub. Halloween II isn't the film with the highest body count for Myers, but it's the one where he starts thinking outside the box.
He Became Laurie's BrotherPhoto: Shout! Factory / Amazon
A major change in the mythos of Michael Myers is his relation to Laurie Strode. In the first film Laurie is just a babysitter who's in the wrong place at the wrong time, but the follow up changes all of that. The John Carpenter and Debra Hill penned script states that Myers and Strode are actually brother and sister. But that's not the craziest thing added to the Michaels mythos. While riding back to Haddonfield, Dr. Loomis explains that "Samhain" isn't a pagan holiday, it's "the unconscious mind," and "the dark inside ourselves." It's also a curse that lives inside Michael Myers that drives him to kill everyone in his family, which is why he's after Laurie Strode.
The Return Of Michael Myers Gives The Killer A NiecePhoto: Anchor Bay Entertainment / Amazon
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers picks up 10 years after the climax of Halloween II, in which Michael and Dr. Loomis burn up together in a hospital room. This film retcons that ending, revealing that Loomis escaped with his life, albeit with extensive scarring. Michael also survived, but he's in a coma. Upon transfer to a new facility, he hears that his sister, Laurie, is dead but that she left behind a daughter, Jamie. This wakes Michael and gives him a new reason to kill. Is it because of the Samhain curse? Maybe. Is it because Jamie Lee Curtis wouldn't return for a another film? Definitely.
He's Super Strong In Part FourPhoto: Anchor Bay Entertainment / Amazon
Michael Myers has always been a brute, but he's wildly overpowered in the fourth film in the series. In the first two films Myers is more prone to sneak up on someone and slit their throat or choke them out, but this is the first film where he starts wrecking shop on everyone he comes in contact with. To compare his strength to the first film: in 1978 he could lift a grown man up and smash in a cheap closet with his bare hands, while inn The Return of Michael Myers, he can kill people by shoving his thumb through their foreheads, if not ripping their heads off entirely.
He's Kind Of Psychic In The Fifth MoviePhoto: Magnum Pictures/Trancas International
While the fourth film glosses over the idea of the Samhain curse, The Revenge of Michael Myers brings it back in a big way. Michael is still chasing his niece, Jamie, so he can end his bloodline, but now Jamie can use the psychic connection she has with Michael to warn people that he's coming for them. On top of having a psychic connection with his niece, Michael is also being trailed by the Cult of the Thorn, although they aren't named in this iteration. The film ends with Michael being locked up in a police station and a man in black killing everyone in order to free the masked monster. It's worth noting that in this film Michael's mask has really long hair, even though it picks up directly after the events of Halloween 4.
If you're keeping track, Michael is now Laurie Strode's brother, Jamie Lloyd's uncle, he has a curse inside of him that makes him want to kill everyone in his family, and there's a man in black who gets him out of trouble.