Freddy would kill you with a wise crack, Jason would violently smash you against a tree in your sleeping bag after you had sex or drank or smoked pot. Pinhead would rip you to shreds and send you to Hell, and Chucky would hunt you down for your soul. Michael Myers....well, he'd kill you silently for getting in his way then tilt his head while observing his work...and no one else in the house would know you were dead until it was too late.
Now, this is merely my opinion and everyone is entitled to their own, but Michael Myers scared the hell out of me and I think he is the most frightening slasher of the 1980s. I know, I know he came around in 1978, but I was born in 1980 so I didn't see him until I was 6 or 7. There was something about that white, motionless face and the sound of his breathing behind it. We all knew the name, but who was he? What did he look like under there? Did he smile as he hung Bob on the wall like a macabre painting? Was he lustful towards Lynda before he "totally" strangled her? Did he enjoy scaring Tommy Doyle and Lyndsey? We don't know because he hid behind that blank face. It was almost as if it was his face and not a mask... no feelings... no color or care at all.
John Carpenter's masterpiece, Halloween came out in 1978 and scared the hell out of babysitters all over. It was a low budget film that put the Slasher Genre in the right direction and made Jason, Freddy, et. al. possible! When the film starts, we are looking through young Michael's eyes as he stalks his sister. After the fastest sex act in film history, Michael stabs her to death for no reason! Flash forward a few years and we meet Dr. Loomis, who was so terrified of the boy, now 21, that he wanted him doped up and locked up forever. But, why? Why did he do it? No plausible explanation is given for his actions and I refuse to accept the "Thorn" cop-out of the 6th film.
Michael breaks out of Smiths Grove nut-house and goes back home after killing a tow truck driver for his clothes and steals a mask, rope and knife from the Haddonfield Hardware Store. I love how Sheriff Brackett didn't think that a knife, rope, and friggin' creepy mask being stolen was suspicious, but I digress...
Laurie Strode, the "virgin" of this classic is the victim that Michael seems to be hunting for some reason, and the audience is never really told why. Now, I won't ruin the film for those few that have never seen it, but I will say that the fact we are left with so many questions is what was terrifying about Myers. Just ignore 4,5 and 6, and Rob Zombie's remakes for a moment and imagine you are a teen in 1978 leaving the theater after watching Halloween. Michael is called pure evil without reason, he is an average size and height and hiding behind a William Shatner mask painted pale white. His only motivation seems to be to kill these kids without explanation. Now imagine walking to your car in a dark parking lot of a theater after the ending of Halloween...
In Halloween 2, we are told Laurie is Michael's other sister, but still no reason is given as to why he wants to kill her. Now he wandering around a hospital trying to get to her and hacking up nurses and orderlies in the process. He is evil hidden behind a mask that seems to kill for no reason at all. The filmmakers left it to us to figure out why Michael, or "The Shape," would break out of a mental hospital to kill teenage girls on Halloween. Sure, in the last few movies of the 80s and 90s we are given some bullshit about Samhain and a Thorn cult controlling Michael, but I ignore those films. I think he is more frightening as a motiveless killer.
In Rob Zombie's Halloween, we take a very in depth look at Myers' childhood. We get to know him as a person. He was living with a stripper for a mother, (who meant well!) an abusive step-father, and a slut for a sister. Right away, we see the baby, so we know about Laurie right there. No mystery. After seeing how he is treated, you feel sorry for him. He had a true, detailed origin and that, for me at least, killed the character.