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Halloween$
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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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‘Purely and Simply Evil’

‘Purely and Simply Evil’

Chapter:
(p.95) Conclusion: ‘Purely and Simply Evil’
Source:
Halloween
Author(s):

Murray Leeder

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781906733797.003.0007

This concluding chapter addresses the question of Michael Myers as an abstract embodiment of pure evil. In Halloween (1978), John Carpenter presents an ‘anonymity of evil’, with evil simultaneously localised within an individual and made faceless, traceless, and inexplicable. As Carpenter explains, this blankness was designed to allow the audience to ‘project their own feelings and thoughts and fears into this character so he's more than what he was, more than what was there’. The film works formally to underscore Michael's status as a dehumanised and abstract ‘evil’. The chapter then shifts the issue from moral philosophy to cinematic presentation, from ‘evil’ to ‘villainy’. Cinematic villains are often designated as pure evil but come off as less evil than intended simply because of the humanising touches performance inevitably adds. Carpenter worked against this tendency through the presentation of Michael Myers, so calculated to exclude everything that is human. The mask, which both resembles but is clearly not a human face, works to winnow away the human factor from Michael Myers. Like an actor in a Greek drama, Michael wears his villainy plainly on his face.

Keywords:   Michael Myers, Halloween, John Carpenter, evil, cinematic presentation, villainy, cinematic villains

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