WHERE THIS EVIL HAILS FROM: The Halloween film series, from its John Carpenter-directed beginnings to its current, Rob Zombie-helmed status
WHY THIS EVIL MADE ME FILLE THE FEAR: I’ll be honest and admit that my first meeting with Michael was at a seriously impressionable age (we’re talking around 8 or so), when I was shown the opening scene of the original film on Halloween night. I always fancied myself quite the opposite of a scaredy cat as a child, having already seen I Know What You Did Last Summer and lived to tell the tale to all my friends, but this was a different type of terror. But from the opening moments of this movie, as I saw mininature Michael butcher his babysitter and others while wearing a mini clown costume, I understood that this boy, who would soon become a man, was the purest evil of them all, having a undeniable thirst for blood from birth and no care as to how this would affect lives around him. And thus, I couldn’t help but be both fascinated and scared out of my fucking mind.
The best part is, that opening scene is just the beginning for ol’ Mikey. This guy’s ruthlessness slowly, but surely grows throughout the first film, as we see him all grown up, escaped from mental institution Smith’s Grove and stalking Laurie Strode, a woman we’ll come to know later as his sister and the only survivor of his first massacre. As he follows Laurie and friends, he, in his white William Shatner mask, does not come across as a person, but rather, as his original title suggests, a “Shape,” an entity hovering around at every moment, whether that is broad daylight as you walk home from school or in the dark corners of your friend’s house on Halloween night. And when the Shape does slowly edge (and slowly he does, somehow) towards you, his butcher’s knife in tow, he will do anything in his power to end your life, right then and there. He doesn’t have time for punny catchphrases either, doing this all without saying a word, thus assuring he’s never detected before he should be (hey, just think what would have happened if he said “Fuck you!” to Dr. Loomis instead of quietly creeping away from his supposed death scene at the end of Halloween to continue his murders in Halloween II). His strong, but subtle approach seems so calculated and ingenius that he can’t not be the Boogeyman incarnate.
HOW THIS EVIL STILL DOES: Of course, there’s a certainly less of a scary stigma attached to Mike nowadays, thanks in part to the latter sequels, where his costume changes up at random and weird cult-like background stories muck up his backstory, and the Zombie remakes, where he is made out to look like a victim of a bad childhood. But if you revisit the original two films, which are really the Kill Bill of horror movies in that they beg to be watched as one, you can still see the terrifying effect he can have. I recently rewatched both films with my boyfriend and he couldn’t have been more overwhelmed by the innate sense of dread this guy evokes, even when he’s not in a scene and just looming somewhere in the distance. Without much explanation or motivation for his knife-wielding up until that point, Michael is the embodiment of any sane person’s greatest fear: the deep, dark unknown.