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What Was Michael Myers’s Greatest Feat of Strength? And Several Other Considerations About the ‘Halloween’ Killer.

Including: what you should do if he’s chasing after you

Getty Images/Ringer illustration
Spoiler alert

Halloween opened wide this weekend. It is fun and interesting and Scary Movie Intense. My second favorite part of it is that large chunks of the movie are dedicated to placing the viewer alongside Michael, allowing you to, in a manner of speaking, participate in the pursuit. It’s a trick that they pulled off expertly in the first Halloween, and one that I was glad to see carried over to the new one. My first favorite part is that it asks you to ignore the other nine Halloween movies that have come out between 1978 and today; it’s a sequel that takes place 40 years after the original. And that was a smart play, because it allows you to focus on just these bare facts: (1) Michael killed five people one night in 1978 when he escaped from Smith’s Grove Sanitarium. (2) Laurie Strode, one of his intended victims, made it through that night alive. (3) She has since prepared for his return, sacrificing a normal life to do so. (4) Michael has escaped again. (5) And now it’s going the fuck down.

Here’s the thing, though: You can’t just ignore the other stuff from the previous movies. Brains don’t work like that. So while I was watching the new one, which reveals that Laurie had a daughter who was taken from her by Child Protective Services decades earlier, I kept wondering what happened to her son, John, who was played by Josh Hartnett in 1998’s Halloween H20: 20 Years Later. And I kept wondering how Laurie survived being stabbed and dropped off the side of a building in 2002’s Halloween: Resurrection. And I kept wondering where the Rob Zombie branch of the franchise—2007’s Halloween and 2009’s Halloween II—fit into everything. And I kept on wondering things like that all through the movie, right up until it looked like Michael was about to stab a [REDACTED] with a [REDACTED], at which point I said to myself, “IF HE FUCKING KILLS THIS [REDACTED,] I PROMISE I’M GOING TO GET UP AND WALK OUT OF THIS THEATER.”

Again: The new Halloween is fun and interesting and Scary Movie Intense. Here are 11 considerations from the entirety of the franchise.

What was Michael’s greatest feat of strength?

If we’re excluding all the times that he was able to get back up after he was shot or hit with a car or stabbed with something or set on fire and so on and so forth, and also if we’re excluding any of the times that he would stab someone with something with so much force that he would lift them up off the ground, then there are three real options to choose from when trying to figure out Michael Myers’s greatest feat of strength.

There’s the time in 2009’s Halloween II when he decides to flip a car over and roll it into a ditch. There’s the time in 2018’s Halloween when he rips a guy’s jaw apart and then pulls his teeth out. And there’s the time in 1998’s Halloween H20: 20 Years Later when, as Laurie is creeping around the hallways of the private school where she’s battling Michael, he uses just one arm to lower himself down from a pipe near the ceiling to sneak up behind her.

Of those three, the car thing seems like the obvious pick. But I’m going the other way. I’m going with the lowering-himself-down-from-the-pipe move. Because look at the GIF of him doing it. It’s one thing to lower yourself down from a thing with one arm (which, in and of itself, is already a very difficult thing to do), but there are four other pieces to consider as well.

  1. Balance: Look at his body. It’s not leaning to one side or wobbling or anything. He is somehow holding himself perfectly straight, which would require an almost unfathomable amount of strength.
  2. Ceiling height: The pipe that he’s lowering himself down from isn’t more than a couple of feet from the ceiling. And Laurie walks right underneath while he’s hiding. That means he had to be holding the lower half of his body parallel to the ceiling, like how gymnasts do on the rings, except he had to do it with only one arm.
  3. Patience: Laurie was actually outside with her son and his girlfriend when Michael climbed up onto the ceiling pipe. He waited up there for at least a solid two or three minutes.
  4. Vertical: There aren’t any chairs or steps or anything else like that in the general area. That means Michael had to jump up to the pipe all by himself. The guy who played Michael in the movie (Chris Durand) is 6-foot-2, and the pipe was somewhere around 12 feet off the ground, meaning Mike had to have about a 48-inch vertical.

When was Michael most dedicated to a kill?

This one is a tricky question because it all depends on the Halloween timeline that we’re talking about. Because if we use the timeline that started with 1978’s Halloween and then ended with 2002’s Halloween: Resurrection, then the answer is easy. It’s when he finally was able to kill Laurie at the start of Halloween: Resurrection, given that he’d been chasing after her in movies for over 30 years by that point.

But if we don’t count that, then the most dedicated he ever was to a kill was when he cooked that woman’s head off in the superheated hot tub in 1981’s Halloween II. He kept dunking her in the near-boiling water over and over again, as more and more of her face peeled off from the heat each time. And it has to be that one because he was also cooking the skin off his own hands at the same time, which takes a real kind of grit and determination.

(Prior to this past weekend, I’d seen six of the 11 Halloween movies that had been made. I went back and watched the ones I’d missed after going to see the new one. Those ones in the middle—the ones where they start trying to explain away Michael’s evilness as an occult-based thing—are really bad.)

When was Michael Myers the least redeemable?

When he killed those two dogs in 1978’s Halloween. :(

When was Michael Myers the most redeemable?

When he killed those two guards who raped an inmate at the sanitarium in 2007’s Halloween.

When was Michael Myers the most resourceful?

When he couldn’t find a weapon within reach when he was in the ambulance in 1988’s Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, so he just jammed his thumb into the guy’s forehead like it was a metal spike.

(There’s another scene in this movie where he presses his thumb into another guy’s head, and there’s also a scene in this movie where he straight up just rips a guy’s face off. He took a very—hold on … wait for it … wait … it’s almost here … waaaaaait here it comes—he took a very hands-on approach to killing in Halloween 4.)

Which of Michael Myers’s injuries was the most impressive to watch him walk away from?

Easy. It was in 1981’s Halloween II when Laurie shot him from close range with a large caliber revolver in each of his eyeballs. And she shot him from a sitting position, which means the bullets definitely went up into his brain. And he still just kept on coming, swinging his knife around blindly, hoping to hit her somewhere critical. (I wonder if there was a moment any time after this happened where Laurie thought about being like, “Alright, man. You know what? You got it. You deserve this. Go ahead and kill me,” and then letting Michael kill her?)

Who was the most dedicated to their job in a Halloween movie?

It was Danny Trejo in 2007’s Halloween. He plays a guard named Ismael Cruz at the sanitarium where Michael is staying. He happens into a mass murder crime scene the night that Michael escapes. He sees all of these dead bodies and blood everywhere, and he’s kneeling down to check on one of them when Michael appears behind him. He turns around and sees Michael. What he should’ve done right there is been like, “Alright, bro,” and then fucking sprinted off in the other direction and then gotten in his car and drove to Alaska. That’s not what he did, though.

What he did, because he is a very noble Latino, was say to himself, “You know what? Let me do my job, for which I am paid a barely livable wage, and let me try and get Michael to go back to his cell.” And that’s how he ended up dead. He told Michael that he was going to have to try to get him back in his cell, then asked Michael if he could put some handcuffs on him. Michael reached his hands out like he was going to let him, but then right when Ishmael got within arm’s reach of him, Michael grabbed Ishmael, threw him around a little, then tried to drown him in a sink full of water. When that didn’t work, Michael ripped a TV out of the wall and then used it to crush Ishmael’s skull.

Who’s the best rapper to have ever appeared in a Halloween movie?

LL Cool J played a school security guard in 1998’s Halloween H20: 20 Years Later. Busta Rhymes played the director of an internet reality show in 2002’s Halloween: Resurrection. LL Cool J has a larger shadow in the hallways of rap history, but if we’re just taking each of them at the very tip-top of the most impressive points of their respective careers, I think late-’90s Busta Rhymes defeats late-’80s LL Cool J. It’s the video for “Dangerous” that puts Busta over the top.

(Also, Busta Rhymes turning out to be a kung fu master in Halloween: Resurrection is one of the franchise’s all-time most unexpected surprises, right up there with Michael being part of a cult in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers and there being no Michael Myers at all in Halloween III: Season of the Witch.)

Who had the best luck in a Halloween movie?

Judith’s boyfriend during the part in 1978’s Halloween when Michael kills Judith. He’d been upstairs with her having sex, and as soon as they were done he took off. Immediately after that is when Michael kills Judith. If her boyfriend had stuck around for even just a couple of minutes longer, he’d have also been killed. (This is the mistake that new Judith’s boyfriend makes in the 2007 remake. He goes downstairs and makes himself a sandwich and ends up getting beaten to death with a metal baseball bat.)

Also, I’d like to point out here that if Judith and her boyfriend actually were having sex (which seems safe to assume given that she was sitting in her room naked afterward), it was extremely fast sex. They do that scene as a tracking shot from Michael’s point of view, and it’s just a little over a minute from the time that the boyfriend suggests they go upstairs until the time that he leaves the house. Him getting out of that scene alive is probably the best-ever argument for having an orgasm as fast as possible during intercourse.

Is there a way to stay alive in an interaction with Michael Myers?

Yes. It’s not even that hard, really. You just have to study his serial killer scouting report. These are the three most important things we know about Michael’s attack method:

  • He never runs. He just walks. Sometimes, he’ll get in a car and drive (WHAT?), but he never runs. And even when he’s in a car, he never uses the car as a weapon, so you don’t even have to worry about him trying to run you over. You just have to worry about him walking after you.
  • He never uses guns. The one time he got his gigantic hands on a gun, he used it to stab a woman to death, which, admittedly, was an effective way to kill her, but all in all was not an effective use of the gun. So you don’t ever have to worry about him shooting you.
  • He never even throws things. You know how at SeaWorld they have a Splash Zone? It is several rows of seats near the front where, if you sit in them, you are at risk of getting splashed by a dolphin or whale. That’s how Michael operates as well. He only kills people who get in his kill zone, which is to say, close enough for him to grab them. As long as you stay out of that, you’re fine.

So if you take all of those things into account, it’s easy to come up with a way to not get killed when you happen into an encounter with Mike. Let’s say Michael’s chasing you like he’s chasing Laurie’s granddaughter in the new Halloween. She’s out in the neighborhood and she’s screaming for help and he’s just walking behind her. The mistake she makes—the mistake everyone makes—is she runs so fast that she loses sight of him. That’s the opposite of how you have to handle that situation. Because, as discussed, the only time he kills anyone is if he can get close enough to put his hands on them. So what you should do is stay within, say, 12 feet of him, so you’re far enough away that he can’t grab you, but also close enough to him that he can’t disappear on you.

So if he’s chasing after you down the street, just stay there in the middle of the road, in as open a space as possible, watching him. You can holler for help or call someone on your cell phone or whatever, but just don’t take your eyes off him. You just do that long enough for some people with guns to show up to put a bunch of holes in him, and you’re good to go. You get out of that spot safe, no question.

(Why do they so infrequently shoot or stab Michael in his head? Even in the new movie, Laurie’s daughter, who trained for years to kill Myers, tricks Michael into revealing himself only to shoot him IN THE FUCKING CLAVICLE. And then, right after that, Laurie pops up behind him like, “Happy Halloween, Michael,” and then stabs him IN THE GODDAMN SHOULDER. You need head-based attacks when you’re going after Michael. Laurie had the right idea when she lopped his head off with an ax in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, but of course the mistake she made there was killing someone that was wearing his mask but wasn’t actually him.)

(The most unlucky of all of the times that someone was wearing a Myers mask but wasn’t actually him was in 1981’s Halloween II, because 1981’s Halloween II picks up immediately where 1978’s Halloween left off, meaning that someone just so happened to be wearing the exact same outfit as an escaped psycho on a killing spree, leading to him accidentally getting run over by a police officer.)

(There’s a fake out between Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, which ended with Laurie cutting off Michael’s head with an ax, and Halloween: Resurrection, which begins by showing that the person whose head she cut off was the paramedic who had gone to recover Michael’s supposed-to-be-dead body. Michael crushed the guy’s larynx and then put the mask on him and then disappeared into the night while Laurie stole what she thought was Michael’s body to kill him. There are a lot of questions that need to be asked here, perhaps the most interesting of which being: Do you think that there was a point in Movie Heaven when the paramedic that got killed in H20 talked to the paramedic that had his face cut off by Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs?)

What’s the funniest “Fuck you” moment in a Halloween movie?

It happens in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later. Laurie and Michael are going at it, and Laurie, hoping to slow Michael down for a second, stabs him with a wooden flag pole. It snaps in two as he falls backward onto the floor. He pulls it out of his stomach, and Laurie, who’s standing there watching, takes the other piece of the pole and throws it at him before running away. That’s really funny to me. She 100 percent knew that throwing it at him wasn’t going to do anything, but she still did it anyway because she knew it’d piss him off, which is exactly how you define a “Fuck you” moment.