Holloween

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One film which indisputably depicts conventions of the Clover’s final girl is Halloween. For the first major minutes, the film closely follows the backstory of Michael Myers and how he came to be known as a cold-blooded serial killer. The main plot of the film involves Laurie Strode, Myers’ estranged sister escaping from his [loving] clutches. Her character is a perfect example of a Final girl. She exhibits the basic characteristics that Clover has coined for the term: for one, she has a shared history with the killer, being his estranged sister for 15 years. Secondly, while she is still depicted to possess certain longings and hedonistic urges, she does not engage in vices such as sex, smoking and drinking as compared to her peers Annie and Linda. She therefore, as Clover points out, does not possess the static feminism and sexual overdrive of other female characters in the film.

The audience will have a shift in affinity for Myers and Laurie in two planes: (1) as a literal focus of the film and (2) in terms of their male and female roles. The first major part of the film focuses solely on recreating Myer’s character. Rob Zombie, himself wanted to “flesh” out the character and provide a backstory in order to tie the character’s origins from a mindless killing machine to that of a psychopath slowly driven to insanity by his environment and his own internal problems. From this, it can be said that the viewer is given more familiarity and therefore forced to provide more empathy for the character. Conversely, the next half of the film focuses on Laurie’s perspective herself as she faces a threat she does not fully understand. As tension rises, she screams, runs and stumbles on her flight to survive.

Another particular characteristic of the film is that it is one of those remakes which provide an origin story of a killer/monster. One could ask if this de-familiarization leading to subsequent re-familiarization undermines the scariness of the monster. Should we know the monster or should we leave it a mystery? After all, doesn’t a certain shroud of mysticism and sense of unknowing add to a horror film and curiosity of the viewer? This could be a topic raised for movie-goers regarding the characterization of their movie monsters. Can we still maintain his/her scariness by want to understand more of the character by introducing his/her backstory? Or do we leave him as a mindless killing machine? Personally I think the answer will depend on the preferences of the viewer. Furthermore, the resulting effectiveness of the character to elicit fear will still depend on other factors of the movie other than this. This remake, for example, even though it allows us to sympathize for the Myers, especially in the beginning, grounds the character closer to reality. There were themes that include bullying, parental verbal abuse and psychopathic tendencies, which are phenomena not really far from what is and can actually happen in real life. Thus, it makes Myer’s story “more frightening” in that sense.

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Halloween

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In most slasher films that I was able to watch, a killer simply pops out of nowhere and starts killing people. We are given very little knowledge of the killer’s past which is, to me, sometimes disappointing. The viewers are oftentimes left clueless as to why the killer kills people. We do not know if it is just for fun, or if it is for revenge, or for any other reason. In the film “Halloween”, we are first shown how Michael Myers, a seemingly harmless kid, evolve into a ruthless killing machine. In my opinion, being able to see the past of Michael Myers is a good addition to the film as it answers most of my questions on how the monster was created. At the beginning of the film, we are already able to see that Michael has violent tendencies when he kills his pet rats. Adding to this tendency is perfect environment for the creation of a monster; being always bullied or neglected by the people around him. In his young age, Michael already murdered his entire family except for his mother and his little sister leading him to be brought to a mental hospital. Years after entering the mental hospital, he is shown to be big and literally monstrous. As he escapes the hospital, he kills everyone in his path. The story then shifts to three teenage girls who would eventually fall victim to Michael. This shift, to me, was a bit sudden and rough, appearing as if the film was made up of two separate films. I, despite liking the fact that we were shown Michael’s past, thought that discussing his past took quite some time. Due to this, I felt a bit bored at the first half of the film. In the second half, the movie became your typical slasher film where a masked killer walks around and kills everyone in town. It also followed the stereotypical slasher film in which a female protagonist would survive against all odds in the end. Watching the film gave a similar feeling with watching other slasher films such as Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Halloween, Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre all had masked killers walking around all killing everyone in sight. This is probably the reason why I had a neutral feeling on the film. The film was pretty exciting at times, however, as I was watching it, I kept saying to myself that I know where these scenes are headed. It is the fact that I have already seen the story line of Halloween in other films that I have watched that made me feel as if the film is just slightly modified copy of other slasher films. As mentioned earlier, the only think that I appreciated from this film is that they presented the monster’s past. By seeing him as a child at first, we are able to get the idea that the monster is just a human being rather than a supernatural one.

Halloween: Revenge

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“Halloween” is a horror film which tells the story of a boy named Michael Myers, who grew up to be a dangerous man and who escaped from a mental institution after several years of being admitted to find his sister. Even though I have already watched the film in the past, I still enjoyed watching it and giving it a second go. Initially, I thought that it was based on a true story since from what I have read, a boy who had suicidal and homicidal thoughts recently slaughtered his own family, which made me thought that the story could have really happened. What made the movie original and unlike any other slasher film I have watched is that its plot had a flow and the story started as if it told Michael’s life story. I also really liked the fact that the movie began with a quote from Dr. Samuel Loomis book stating that “The darkest souls are not those which choose to exist within the hell of the abyss, but those which choose to break free from the abyss and move silently among us.”

As a child, Michael Myers was bullied in school and being psychologically unstable, he murdered one of the bullies. While his mother was working as a stripper in a bar, he also killed his mother’s boyfriend, his sister Judith and Judith’s boyfriend successively. After his trial, he was immediately taken to a mental institution and taken care of his psychologist Dr. Samuel Loomis. As soon as Michael became obsessed with his paper masks and killed one of the nurses in the ward, his mother eventually gave up and committed suicide. With this, he continued making masks and refused to speak to anyone. Dr. Loomis also gave up and subsequently, Michael killed the employees in the sanitarium before escaping and returning to his old home. The second part of the film focuses on Michael’s younger sister Laurie whom he did not kill when she was a baby. Michael observed Laurie and her friends and he also killed them one by one together with Laurie’s parents. Dr. Loomis heard of Michael’s escape so he went to Laurie’s home and searched for him. Soon after, Michael kidnapped Laurie to try to tell her that he is her brother. Since Laurie could not understand, Michael chased her until Dr. Loomis arrived, but he was also killed. The film ended with Laurie firing multiple shots at Michael until it went off and as Michael held her hand.

Unlike the other films, for a change, the monster depicted in Halloween was Michael, a man.  As discussed in class, Michael was characterized by his mask and he wore this not just to hide his face but to close himself from the world. Growing up as a psychopath, he probably believed that the world should be blamed for everything that has happened to him as a child especially the bullying. I also noticed throughout the film that the women who were shown to be naked can be considered the victims or objects of Michael’s gaze. They not only represented fear and suffered at the hands of a man but they were stripped off their sexuality leading to their subjugation and helplessness. I believe that ambiguity and ambivalence were important factors that made up the horror film since there were still some unanswered questions at the end of the film such as what Michael really wanted with Laurie. In conclusion, a valuable lesson that can be picked up from the movie is that in life, hurting the people around us will do no good and revenge is definitely not the way to go.

Trick or Death – halloween

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Halloween for me is just one of the psycho horror movies where the person is crazy and kills everyone else. As a kid, Michael Myers thinks that killing is okay. Looking at his family, I think it is one of the reasons why he grew up like that, being a murderer. He has a mother who works at the club as a stripper and every time he gets home, no one seemed to care for him. He also have this drunkard father-in-law-ish and a sister who never takes care of him instead bullies him. Michael was always left unattended that he plays with his pets and kills them afterwards.  When he kills the pet and also everyone else in the house, he always wear his mask. The mask brings in confidence for him and makes him a different personality. By wearing it, he feels stronger and he is not insecure of himself. There is this scene when his mom told him to remove his mask but he said that he does not want people to see his face because he thought of himself as ugly and fat. This idea is due to his classmates who teases and bullies him at school.

 

When Michael was brought to the asylum, he felt sad and alone and really wanted to go out of it. But as times went by, his mother cannot bear the fact that her son is crazy so she decided to take a suicide. The younger sister of Michael was left alone and was handed over to the orphan. Michael being alone with no one else to visit him and knowing that his mom died took a vow of silence. He never spoke a word again due to the burden that he felt. There came a chance for him to break out of the asylum. He went back to their old house. When he was in their house, he saw this beautiful girl and felt like there was something with her that he feels that they are connected. You can see in the movie that Michael stalks this girl. Michael knew that this girl was his sister. He killed almost all the people her sister knew including her foster parents and friends. He was being selfish that he wants his sister to be with only him and no one else so he also kidnapped his sister and took her to their house before. The doctor who checks up on Michael at the asylum knew that Michael would go after his younger sister when he got out so he looked for him. Michael’s sister being kidnapped doesn’t have any clues that Michael was his brother. The doctor chased after Michael and finally shot him. It was uncertain if Michael survived at the end. You would think that he was still alive because at first he was shot several times but it didn’t affect him.

 

This horror movie showed the power of the gaze. In this movie, Michael was good at sneaking and stalking people. As an audience, you feel scared for the one being gazed at and targeted as a victim of the monster. It just shocks you when you know that someone is following you and suddenly appears. But when Michael was left alone with his younger sister and he showed the picture of Michael holding his sister when she was a child, the sister doesn’t have any clues that it was her and felt that it was the time that Michael was vulnerable so she took advantage of it. Now the gaze turns to the monster and when the monster was gazed upon, the strength of the monster was felt by the one who gazes.

Halloween

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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.

Masked Humanity (Halloween)

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Halloween

of all the movies we watched in class this semester, I found Halloween the scariest. It started out with a creepy history of a young, disturbed boy killing his family members, and follows his development into a man. No matter how many years have already passed, he still remains as the disturbed murderer that he was. It took me a long time to accept that this young, innocent looking boy could do such things, but after really going through every domain in his life— his lack of friends, his mother being a pole dancer, not having a real father figure to look up to, it is quite understandable how he was able to do such things—in a very sad, twisted way that is. Although it seems like a lot of horror movies have been structured this way (character goes on a killing spree because of reasons that stem from way back), the thing that makes Halloween stand out is the Mask. The lead character, Michael, has this thing for masks, and it was shown in the entire movie how much he gives importance to them. This mask that hides his face when he kills conceals all human emotions that can be seen in him. This concealment removes what human remains in him, and then I just see him as a monster— no different from any other killing machine. This lack of the human factor makes the movie so much scarier for me, because I feel like I am no longer dealing with someone I know, or someone I can know. “it” just kills, like any other thing with not feelings, no emotions, no heart— IT can just will anything he wants and do it without logic, without remorse.

This feeling of Michael not having emotions and not being human heightens when he comes after his little sister. The baby was the only thing he showed thoughts and care for, and I couldn’t believe he would come for her as well. The only thread linking him with his humanity is about to be killed. The killings of innocent people along the way, so bloody and violent, also added brutality to the film. People who were only doing what they would usually do all killed by this machine. In the end, when Michael was killed, I still did no have the sense of peace that I would usually have at the end of a horror movie. Killing the monster was not enough for the pain and violence of his deeds still haunted me long after the credits rolled.

When Darkness Fell, He Arrived

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Halloween is about a boy named Michael Myers who grew up in a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic father, a stripper mother, a rebellious older sister, and a baby sister. He spent his childhood mostly alone, spending most of his after-class hours getting bullied. All of this triggered his strange mentality about life and death. One Halloween night, everything changes as he murders his father, sister, and her boyfriend in their own home while their mother was working. He was then brought to a correction institute where a doctor/investigator named Dr. Samuel tried to penetrate the mind of the killer and alter his psychological discordance. While in the institution, his mother commits suicide, thus adding up to the compiled issues that Michael had to digest. He grows up to be much bigger and stronger and much quieter at the same time. He was able to escape as some maintenance staff were fooling around in his room. He then goes back to his hometown and stalks his younger sister just to find out that she didn’t want to accept him as a brother. After failing to keep ties with his sister, he goes back to his old self and tries to kill his sister as well.

As bizarre as it may sound, serial killers were very apparent in America that a lot of horror movies derive from real lives of such deviants. Most of their killings are results of childhood trauma, maybe from bullying or sexual abuse. In this movie, it is a mix of both bullying and filial problems that had caused Michael to act and think like he did when he turned into the Halloween killer. Though, I believe that his conscience was not completely blinded for he was still able to try to reconcile with his sister, even if everything ended up so badly. I found out from a documentary that you’d know if a killer has no conscience at all if you see no guilt or even any feeling of regret in his eyes. With Michael, I thought he has turned into a complete psycho when he brutally killed the janitor who treated him as his own son, but I felt that he still had a bit of feeling towards the notion of family when he was finally reunited with his sister.

I understand where Laurie is coming from when she decided to reject Michael’s invitation. Most obvious reason is she was too startled by the suddenness of everything. Another reason might be that she didn’t quite understand how this person who killed everyone that she loved is so eager for her to accept him.

I thought the movie was okay. It was entertaining and kind of heartbreaking. I adore the little boy’s acting skills. The documenting part of the changes he underwent in the institution gave me the creeps. There are parts I disliked, such as how Michael easily gets out of the institution because of unprofessional staff. It would be such an obvious management decision to maintain a good labor pool in such institutions. Of course, the scene where they just left the body in the pool without even double checking if he’s really dead is just a classic sign that someone’s going to get killed. I also didn’t like how Laurie tried to hide inside the house instead of running in the streets. It was a small house, and again, it’s just too obvious. It was an okay film for me. But I guess it takes the fun out of everything when you start to analyze a slasher film.