Major spoiler warning as we dive deep into a highly controversial moment in the David Gordon Green-directed Halloween in which Michael Myers makes a highly conscious decision.
One of the highlights of Halloween comes after Michael’s escape from Smith’s Grove. You see, for whatever reason, they decided to transfer him on Halloween night. Possibly with the help of Dr. Sartain (Haluk Bilginer), the bus crashes and out comes The Shape. Michael then makes his way back to Haddonfield (randomly or in search of Laurie?). It’s in this moment that he viciously goes from house-to-house slaughtering everyone in them. Well, everyone except a little baby who lay crying in their crib. There’s a moment of suspense as Michael walks by the baby’s crib, making the audience gasp in horror as he makes a hard(?) decision. He leaves.
While the mythology is confused from the beginning, this is the exact moment that Halloween falls apart. It’s contradictory to what John Carpenter told us in 1978 and it’s also a conflict to what the filmmakers of the direct sequel are preaching from scene one. All of a sudden Michael Myers has a conscience? I’m in no way implying that Michael should have killed a baby, but what I am saying is that the scene should have been left ambiguous (letting the viewers debate if he actually killed the baby or not) or removed completely. It derails everything that comes after.
Interestingly, a candid David Gordon Green admits to the LA Times that the scene is problematic to Michael’s mythology and even owns up to the fact that he broke their own rule.
“Our rule in the writing process was to give him nothing…” Green shared.
“In production, we added one thing that may come back to haunt me, but I stand by it at the moment. We gave him an ethical decision in which he doesn’t kill the baby. That was something that came up while we were shooting.”
He explains why the scene exists, although it doesn’t offer any actual reasoning behind Michael’s decision.
“We were looking for an interesting 15-second gap in a long sequence. And there were 15 seconds, no tension, no new information. And the goal was, ‘How do we put something that’s 15 seconds’ worth of intrigue in the sequence?’ And the production designer and the DP came up with the idea of putting a baby crib in the living room and then a baby. It was one of the things that was just exciting, and it fixed the problem; it filled the gap.
“And now we’re looking at a character who I proclaim is the essence of evil and has no motivation, no emotion, no real stimulation other than being a predator. And yet, we’ve given him this one consideration in which he does the right thing. So I’m not exactly sure how to stand by that and justify that, although I think it’s fascinating to think of someone that is nothing but a cold-blooded, faceless, motivation-less killer.
“[Michael] made one decision that we are happy that he made.”
His answer is as messy as the film and its mythology. He broke their own rule and essentially created a massive conundrum within the huge fan base. Do we accept that Michael has a conscious or not? Is he actually pure evil or does he have a heart?
If we really want to dive into the film’s issues we can even explore the idea that Michael is tracking Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), which doesn’t exactly make a whole lot of sense considering the filmmakers spend so much time removing the mythology that she’s no longer related to him. Revenge? Killing the one that got away? These ideas are never even touched on.
It’s frustrating to this long-time fan that Halloween is trying to sell nostalgia and a return to the original film’s roots, only to see it do everything in its power to land somewhere between Halloween II and Rob Zombie’s two films. We’ve spent 40 years having an open dialogue as to what Michael’s motives actually are and Green somehow undoes it all in just 5 seconds.
What do you guys think?