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Michael Myers: The Original Terminator

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If you are enjoying The Sarah Connor Chronicles you might want to take another look at John Carpenter’s Halloween.  In 1978, the film revealed a monster whose lack of humanity foreshadowed the coming of a new robotic killer, a terminator, in 1984.

John Carpenter said he wanted to “raise this Michael Myers character up to a mythic status; make him human, yes, but almost like a force. A force that will never stop, that can’t be denied.”  (Considering the vast number of sequels, novels and comics inspired by the masked creation, Carpenter achieved that goal on more than one level.) The mask Myers wears does more than just make him scary. While terminators cover themselves with skin to appear more human, Myers covers himself with a mask to appear more like a machine.

Carpenter’s idea for the Halloween antagonist came, in part, from an android cowboy in the 1973 Sci-Fi film Westworld. The Gunslinger, played by Yul Brynner, is a robot at an amusement park that starts thinking for himself and kills humans that insist he do their bidding. Carpenter saw him as a “killer robot that couldn’t be destroyed.” Indeed, Michael Myers works like an unstoppable machine that has been programmed to kill his family and nothing will get in his way.  Machines don’t have names and, in fact, Myers was called merely “the shape” in the film credits. He never dies.

The recent Rob Zombie re-make misses the point.  Rather than scaring with an evil machine, he humanizes the Michael character completely.

See the original, cyborg-inspired take of a killer in the original Halloween tonight on AMC at 11:30 p.m. | 10:30C

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