"I met him fifteen years ago. I was told there was nothing left. No reason, no conscience, no understanding, not 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...I watched him, for fifteen years. Sitting in a room, staring at the 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."
--Dr. Sam Loomis, Halloween (1978)
A couple of days ago, for the first time, I saw Halloween II. It wasn't as good as the first one, but I liked it. I love trying to figure out what the hell Michael Myers is thinking. I mean, does he do this for fun? Is he driven by dark voices, or some crap like that? Or does he just feel, for some reason, obliged?
At one point, having garroted the irritating EMT, Michael glides into the next room and puts his hand on the shoulder of the irritating EMT's half-nekkid girlfriend. She has her back to him, and does not realize that it is not her boyfriend's hand. She reaches up to touch it, presses it against her chest, kisses it. She sucks on Michael's fingers. For some reason this stops him in his tracks: he stands there, passive and still, until she turns to look at him (at which point he kills her, of course). Why, I wonder? Is he waiting for that moment of revelation in order to make her death even more agonizing? Or is it something else? Hell, maybe he likes having his fingers sucked. Or maybe he's just plain terrified.
This movie, like its predecessor, features Donald Pleasence as Dr. Sam Loomis, two-fisted child psychologist. Little did Loomis know in 1963, when he became Michael's doctor, that he would eventually be forced to become a kind of latter-day Van Helsing, chasing his renegade patient all over creation with a six-shot revolver. He is the only one who knows what Michael truly is, and he spends much of the first two movies trying to explain this to other people: when that doesn't work, which is most of the time, he yells at them or threatens them with physical harm. (In one of the sequel's lovelier moments, Loomis jabs his gun into the neck of the police officer driving him away from Haddonfield, ordering him to turn the car around. When the officer refuses, Loomis says, "What is it you fellas normally do? Fire a warning shot, right?" and fires one into the passenger-side window. The officer turns the car around in a hurry.) Presumably it is this supremely thankless job that has made him into such a bitter and ironic man, given to melodramatic speeches, violent outbursts, and turns of phrase such as "The evil is gone from here!"
He must never get a moment's peace, poor man. He must never get to take a vacation or go on a date. He probably dreams of Michael Myers, the patient he couldn't reach, couldn't contain, and couldn't kill. But he never stops trying. So here's to you, Dr. Loomis. You'll always be tops in my book.
Tonight I saw The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, another movie I had never seen before. It kind of ruled, though the Radiohead songs the theater employed as a soundtrack were off-putting at times. Cesare, the helpless slave of Dr. Caligari, a whisper-thin and tragic-eyed young man clad in tight black clothing, would fit right in in any goth club. And the Doctor himself is creepy as only someone who keeps a man in a box and feeds him oatmeal with a spoon can be. Cesare never speaks, but his eyes are wonderfully expressive -- in those few scenes in which they're actually open. He spends most of the movie in a deep sleep, including when he is eating the oatmeal. And if you don't think a man in a box eating oatmeal in his sleep is creepy, then you and I obviously have very little in common.
Oh, and also, I got Vince an Alice Cooper jack-in-the-box for Christmas (or the solstice, or whatever). I mention this in case you had this image of me as a person who never leaves the house, who just sits around all day brooding over slasher flicks, baseball, pigeons, and mental illness. I can think about other things. I'm multifaceted, honest.
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