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Murray Leeder

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781906733797

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906733797.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 25 July 2021

A Very Sinister Doctor and a Cosmic Monster

A Very Sinister Doctor and a Cosmic Monster

(p.83) Chapter 5: A Very Sinister Doctor and a Cosmic Monster

Murray Leeder

Murray Leeder

Liverpool University Press

This chapter focuses on the character of Dr. Sam Loomis, Michael Myers's psychiatrist. Loomis's only accomplishments in the film Halloween (1978) are entirely outside of his training as a psychiatrist, and may even run counter to it. Terms like ‘psychopath’, ‘schizophrenic’, and ‘neurotic’ appear nowhere in Halloween, and even ‘catatonic’ appears only in the extended television cut. All of Loomis's therapeutic methods have not allowed him to understand, let alone help, Michael, and the psychiatric establishment around him has done little to recognise and prepare for the threat that he rightly feels Michael represents. Loomis provides a link to another tradition of horror fiction, in which doctors and scientists investigate and confront monsters and supernatural phenomena. His character is also reminiscent of the tormented scholars who prove to be some of the more capable protagonists in H.P. Lovecraft's short stories. Though John Carpenter's work is probably more dependent on a ‘homocentric’ worldview than Lovecraft, Lovecraft's mode of cosmic indifferentism provides a framework for addressing the old question of what motivates Michael, while reconsidering the film within the generic framework of cosmic horror.

Keywords:   Dr. Sam Loomis, Michael Myers, psychiatrist, Halloween, horror fiction, tormented scholars, H.P. Lovecraft, cosmic indifferentism, cosmic horror

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