Since his debut in 1978, Michael Myers has become one of the prolific characters in pop culture. He is the central antagonist of the sprawling ‘Halloween’ franchise, and his existence has forever changed the horror-slasher genre. There are 12 films in the franchise, and except for ‘Halloween III: Season of the Witch,’ he appears in every one of them. If you are wondering whether he is based on a real person, this is what you need to know.
Is Michael Myers Real?
No, Michael Myers isn’t real, and the ‘Halloween’ films aren’t based on a true story. However, the character was named after a real individual. The Michael Myers of real life was the head of Miracle Films, a movie distribution company based in the UK. In 1977, he was the English distributor of ‘Assault on Precinct 13,’ a film by John Carpenter, who directed the original 1978 ‘Halloween’ film. The fictional masked killer was named after Myers to seemingly commemorate the success of ‘Assault on Precinct 13.’
Commenting on the characterization of the villain of the ‘Halloween’ films, Carpenter explained that Michael was supposed to be viewed as a force of nature. He can’t be stopped, can’t be reasoned with, and can’t be killed. In his 2003 book ‘Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night,’ author Nicholas Rogers describes Michael as the mythical and elusive bogeyman.
Carpenter was still in college when he apparently experienced the evil around which he would develop Michael’s character in the future. He was on a class trip to a mental health facility in Kentucky when he encountered a 12-or-13-year-old boy, whom he found to be “unsettling” and “completely insane.”
Carpenter wanted to maintain a certain enigma around the character to keep the audience guessing about his true nature. He succeeded in that regard, as whether Michael’s abilities are supernatural or not has been part of the pop culture discussions for decades. It was almost undone by the fourth to sixth films, ‘Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers,’ ‘Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers,’ and ‘Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers,’ which establish beyond doubt that Michael’s powers are the result of a curse and hence supernatural.
Fortunately, this was retconned by the H20 films, ‘Halloween H20: 20 Years Later’ and ‘Halloween: Resurrection,’ where Michael becomes yet another example of 1990s’ slasher villains. In 2007’s ‘Halloween’ and 2009’s ‘Halloween II,’ Rob Zombie explores the most realistic version of Michael to date. In those films, he is a psychopath, and not much mystery is attached to the character.
In 2018’s ‘Halloween’ and ‘Halloween Kills,’ director David Gordon Green goes back to Carpenter’s original idea and brings that enigma back to the character. Michael is once more the personification of evil and death, and the films don’t purposefully explain it. Danny McBride, who serves as the executive producer on Green’s films, stated that he felt that the other sequels gave Michael an inhuman level of invulnerability, which unintentionally made him less frightening.
Throughout the films, the adult Michael never speaks a word. Like Jason Voorhees of the ‘Friday the 13th’ franchise, he resonates with silent and brutal menace. In Rob Zombie’s 2007 film, Michael says a few things as a child, but he stops altogether after being sent to Smith’s Grove Sanitarium. Zombie wanted an adult Michael to say “Boo” to Laurie, referring to her nickname, but later decided against it. Clearly, Michael Myers isn’t real, and the ‘Halloween’ films aren’t based on a true story, but it’s perfectly understandable if someone thinks that way.
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