Halloween

Halloween is interesting in that it places the monstrous a little bit closer to home and by that I mean that as a “Slasher” flick where the monstrous is human flesh and blood but monstrous in appearance, nature, and habit.

Movies like Halloween that engage the viewer in the chase down of the victim will often play the hunter persona as that which relishes in the kill but Halloween places an interesting skew on that with a character, a monster, with unclear motives. This lack of clarity in understanding the acts of Michael Myers is grounded in the fact that he is clinically a psychopath.

An interesting interpretation of the horror’s usage of the psychopath, especially like one such as Mike Myers, is that he represents the inversion of the “Other-ing” gaze upon us. He represents the supremely human “Other” that is able to exert his will to “Other” an individual by killing them, without remorse. The process of other-ing has always been seen a process of the majority against the minority but the way psychopaths like Mike Myers comes off, he is the minority fighting against the majority and is supremely able to fight back against the majority, with monstrous vigor. The psychopath Mike Myers presents a form of the male gaze, one that is exclusionary and other-ing in nature, but also retroactive in that that is all he is seemingly capable of. The monster represents the lack of the female receptive and inclusionary gaze for those who do not belong or fit in his world of thought.

Another thematic object that comes into play is the usage of masks in the commission of the entirety of the horrors. The fixation of Mike Myers on masks relates in a manner to the kind of gaze he possesses. The clown mask he earlier on has is replaced by the more stoic and featureless rubber mask, almost signifying a sort of forced maturation in his gaze from the playful to the predatory. As a child, wearing the predatory mask, the Other-ing male gaze, it was almost a queer mismatch to his child’s features that raised flags of concern but did not merit wary in most around him because they expected that a child would not be able to support or understand that kind of gaze. The moment he reached maturity and came back to the town, he finds now that he is now able to fit into his mask and that the gaze he possesses is one he has internalized.

The setting of the movie itself is one that is auspicious to the ideas of the gaze and the mask as a tool of the gaze with Halloween being a celebration of masks where for once in a year many seemingly take on masks themselves without giving much thought as to the gaze that it provides them. For individuals like us where removing our masks affords us another kind of gaze to return to, the case of Michael Myers shows that there is no other kind of gaze to return to. He had discarded his female gaze because it was a gaze that he had already learned to mistrust.

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