Michael Myers has terrorized Haddonfield, and more specifically Laurie Strode, for decades. Since the first Halloween film in 1978, there have been many sequels, some of which have attempted to explain why Myers is so obsessed with killing the Haddonfield residents and why he can survive despite many, many attempted murders.
Rob Zombie’s two installments in the franchise, Halloween (2007) and Halloween II (2009), give more backstory to Myers and his motives than the previous movies, with a younger version of Myers even speaking, a first for the character in any film. Zombie’s films also focus more heavily on Myers’ childhood and attempt to explain that Myers was emotionally abused by his older sister Judith, whom he eventually murders, and that he is the older brother of Laurie.
It’s fair to say, though, that not everyone agrees with explaining why Myers is a psychopathic serial killer. In a recent Reddit thread on the /r/Horror subreddit, a user asked why fans of the Halloween franchise disliked the idea of a backstory that humanizes Myers.
The top commenter uses two quotes, one from the video game Alan Wake attributed to Stephen King and the other from horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, to explain why backstories can make a villain worse:
“Stephen King once wrote, “Nightmares exist outside of logic, and there’s little fun to be had in explanations; they’re antithetical to the poetry of fear.” In a horror story, the victim keeps asking why – but there can be no explanation, and there shouldn’t be one. The unanswered mystery is what stays with us the longest, and it’s what we’ll remember in the end.”
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown”
Another commenter said that there didn’t need to be a further explanation of Myers’ background other than the one provided in the very first movie, which was that he was a child that killed his older sister and was subsequently admitted to a mental institution for about 15 years before escaping and beginning to murder more people.
“What else do I need? What I don’t want out of Michael is a motive. He’s just a bad person. Some people are just bad people. Some people are serial killers and sadists because it’s fun to them, good upbringing, bad upbringing, or otherwise. It doesn’t need any further explanation. As for why he’s immortal, do I need to care about that? Do they need to explain that for me to believe it? No amount of cult this or Samhain that is going to make me believe it any more and it’s just going to convolute the story with more useless junk.”
Here are some of the other top comments.
What do you think? Has Michael Myers gotten too much of a back story over the years?