Aside from “Friday the 13th” and “Nightmare on Elm Street,” few classic films epitomize the slasher genre more than “Halloween,” released in 1978. This film is about a serial killer named Michael Myers, who escapes his confinement at an insane asylum and starts another killing spree, and the efforts of Dr. Loomis, his psychiatrist, to stop him and bring him to justice. “Halloween” is filled with memorable quotes that will be recognizable to anyone who’s a horror fan.
“I met him, fifteen years ago; I was told there was nothing left; no reason, no conscience, no understanding; and even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, of good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and the blackest eyes… the devil’s eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized that what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply… evil.”
This quote from Dr. Sam Loomis exemplifies just how evil Michael is and how unnerving his complete psychopathy can be. His killings are seemingly without motive. During the fifteen years spent in confinement, he did nothing but stare at the wall, waiting for a chance to escape during the blackout on Halloween in 1978. Even as a child, after he killed his sister with a knife, Michael Myers displays none of the empathy essential to the human condition.
“I watched him for fifteen years, sitting in a room, staring at a wall, not seeing the wall, looking past the wall-looking at this night, inhumanly patient, waiting for some secret, silent alarm to trigger him off. Death has come to your little town, Sheriff. Now you can either ignore it, or you can help me to stop it.”
This second quote from Loomis shows just how frightened he was at the prospect of Michael being loose in Haddonfield. With his deadly skills, Michael is capable of murdering his way through the suburbs, but Loomis attempts to warn the town sheriff about his presence. It would take the police force combined with what Loomis knew about him to take him down. The quote also shows just how unpredictable a psychopathic personality can be.
“Since when do they let them wander around?”
When Marion Chambers visits the mental hospital to learn more about Michael’s case, she’s struck by disbelief at how leniently the patients are being treated. The popular image of a mental hospital is of patients being confined to padded cells and trussed in straightjackets. Someone as dangerous as Michael should have been confined permanently, but the leniency arguably allowed him to escape in the chaos of the blackout. In the film, some blame is placed on the asylum itself for Michael’s escape.
“Was it the boogeyman?” “As a matter of fact, it was.”
The “boogeyman” is a common myth told to children to scare them. He’s said to be immortal, and the story is a recurring element in the film. Michael’s seeming invincibility-he survives a stab to the abdomen, a stab to the eye, and four gunshots-add to the horror that he presents, and the jack-o-lantern mask he wears throughout most of the film adds a sense of mystery. The viewer only gets one glimpse of his face under the mask, and it’s surprisingly normal-no disfigurements appear until the next film.
“It’s Halloween;, everyone’s entitled to one good scare.”
Initially, the Haddonfield sheriff is skeptical about Michael’s return, dismissing it as just another Halloween prank. The notion of a serial killer is nightmare fuel for most people, and Halloween is the perfect time to play on such fears. It also highlights a sense of significance; Michael could have taken numerous opportunities to escape over the years. However, he chose to make his move exactly fifteen years after his imprisonment on Halloween night. Many pagan cultures believe that Halloween is the night when the worlds of the living and the dead are closest together, a belief that influenced the modern version of the holiday.
These quotes help to exemplify the tropes shown in many slasher films. Although younger viewers might look back with scorn, “Halloween” was the film that started the whole genre. Without Michael Myers, there would be no Jason Voorhees, no Freddy Krueger, and no Jigsaw.