Friday, October 28, 2011

Michael Fierce's "Halloween Food For Thought - Huge Implausibility in Halloween? Or Not?"

For those of you that are huge Halloween, Michael Myers fans, I noticed something that needed further discussion.

Michael Myers was locked up in an asylum after killing his sister, Judith, when he was just 6 years old in the year 1963. He escaped 15 years later in 1978 just as his psychiatric doctor, Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasance) arrives with an assistant in his car to the Smith's Grove Sanitarium. While Dr. Loomis is checking out the unusualness of patients roaming about in the rain and the driveway gate being left open, his suspicions immediately jump to the conclusion that Michael Myers has somehow escaped. He knows it is the night before Halloween, when Michael not only became a murderer, but when he was locked up, hopefully forever. But it was not to be so. "The Shape", as Michael Myers was known then, attacks Dr. Loomis' assistant, still in the car, who jumps out, leaving Michael Myers to escape away in the car to terrorize the town of Haddonfield on Halloween once again.

So how did Michael Myers, who has been carefully supervised and locked up in an asylum since he was 6 learn how to drive? Is this a huge and terrible implausibility made by writer / director, John Carpenter, and screenplay writer, Debra Hill? Or is it that someone at the asylum gave Michael driving lessons as Dr. Loomis cynically suggests? Well. I don't think so. Research has determined that the Smith's Grove Sanitarium had a pretty big budget, being able to afford a nearly world-renowned Dr. Sam Loomis, who regularly meets and evaluates the condition and progress of a murdering child in a seemingly well-off community. It is no stretch whatsoever during the 70’s for the sanitarium to have been able to afford many luxuries during the more financially prosperous generation of baby boomers, in what is now considered to be the "golden age of the working class.” Arcade games were very popular then and it would not be uncommon to find one at a pool hall, pizza parlor, skating rink, bowling alley, and yes, even occasionally at a hospital, or in this case, sanitarium. I have even determined exactly what arcade game Michael Myers played, learned, and practiced his skills as a driver, based on its' year of release, popularity (it was voted one of "The Ten Greatest Arcade Games of the 1970's”) and the nature, and object of it's goal, stated here in this description:

Death Race
Released: 1976
Genre: Combat
Platform: Arcade
Developer: Exidy
Designer: Howell Ivy
Sequels: Death Race 98, Super Death Chase
Inspired by the 1975 cult film Death Race 2000 (starring David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone) Death Race featured a steering wheel and an acceleration pedal. The nature of the game - running down "gremlins" that resembled stick people - and the working title, Pedestrian, touched off a media avalanche of controversy.

Maybe this idea should be explored further, maybe even in a short film context? Who knows? Well....not most of the Smith's Grove Sanitarium staff, anyway. Most of them are gone. Maybe only Michael Myers knows for sure. Halloween food for thought.

- Michael Fierce

Check out my podcast that Mikael Johnston and I compiled especially for Halloween.

And for those of you who don't use iTunes you can download our podcast episode here.

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