Michael Myers returned to the screen this year in the direct follow up to David Gordon Green’s Halloween (2018). Though the film series is completely retconned, the origins of Myers’ thirst for murderous mayhem remains ambiguous, but does Halloween Kills hint towards the mask influencing Michael’s kill spree?
The mask of Myers is practically its own character. Iconic is probably the only word to describe it. Whenever those vacant eyes lock onto you, it’s game over. There’s nothing overly significant about the face of Shatner in the original movie other than a deranged serial killer hiding his identity. Pretty basic premise, actually. It keeps the mystery alive. Is he human under there? Is he littered with monstrous mutations and unearthly disfigurements? Nope, he’s just your average looking neighbour hacking away at teenagers.
Cut to forty years later, Green opens with a pair of journalists taunting a restrained elderly Myers with the exact (not literally) mask he wore in ‘78. Green’s direction of the scene is nail-biting. “You can feel it, can’t you, Michael?” says Aaron, dangling the item at arms length. Cue opening credits. Nothing strikes us as odd with that. They’re just two reporters trying to poke a reaction from an infamous serial killer. Then Michael tracks them down, bloody murder ensues, and he gets his beloved mask back. Still not out of the ordinary, or so it may seem.
There is much to be said about the tension in this scene – even Michael’s fellow patients notice the switch in the atmosphere. Michael is growing antsy; a long dormant beast has awoken, and it was triggered by a certain prop. What if Green’s trilogy is angling towards Myers’ mask being more than mere camouflage for the killer? In 1995, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers unveiled Michael’s link to the Cult of Thorn which rendered him immortal and sent him on a quest to wipe out his bloodline. Green may very well be incorporating a similar narrative to his instalments albeit without the ill-received Cult of Thorn.
When Laurie (Jamie Leigh Curtis) ‘de-masks’ Michael in 1978, it throws him off his game. He is startled and the lapse allows Loomis (Donald Pleasence) to get the upper hand. The same happens during his altercation with Lindsey (Kyle Richards) in Halloween Kills, she barely even gets it off before he’s tossing her to the side. Michael had her in his grasp, he had the perfect opportunity to kill so why let her go just to conceal his identity? There’s something about that mask and it’s not because it brings out his eyes.
We all know that Michael is a force beyond nature, that’s an age-old agenda. “The more he kills, the more he transcends,” we get it, he is evil incarnate, but there has to be something influencing this darkness within. Green is bound to have an explanation and all the signs hint towards the same thing: Michael’s mask. Take the final moments of Green’s sequel as another example: Karen (Judy Greer) takes the mask and Michael – rather killing Allyson (Andi Matichak) – is hot on her heels. When it is recovered, Michael is prepared to take on an entire mob.
Could it harbour some demonic power? This could be a variation of the Cult of Thorn. It is clearly where his strength resides, and would appear the longer Michael wears the mask, the more control it has over him; or maybe Halloween is just an elaborate multiverse story about the eponymous prop in Jim Carey’s cult hit. Imagine that crossover.