Our names connect us to the world. Sometimes, our last name will connect us to our parents, siblings, and relatives. Sometimes, our first name links us to people with the same one. Of course, with many names being commonly used, you’re bound to run across someone who has your first name, if not your last name as well. If your last name is “Smith,” it’s likely you’ll probably run into half a dozen people with the same first and last name as yourself (given you have a common first name, too). Even slight changes in spelling or nicknames can easily connect two very different people together. Perhaps your last name has an extra “e” in it. Perhaps you go by “Mike” instead of “Michael.” Whatever the differences may be, people will still tend to connect you to someone with a similar name. This week’s two films examine two very different Michael Myers.
Length: 91 minutes / 1.52 hours
Those familiar with the classics of 1980s horror films will likely recognize the names of Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, and Michael Myers. Of these bogeymen, Michael Myers is perhaps the founder of the slasher film’s archetypical villain, as his first film came out in 1978, a few years before these other classics would hit theaters. Except for Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982), Myers has appeared in nine of the ten Halloween films. His motivations are simple, his methods are concise, and his legacy is timeless. Part of what makes Michael Myers a great horror character is that he is everywhere and nowhere, but still abides by most of the rules founded in reality. He’ll find the unlocked windows in his relentless thirst to kill, but can also mysteriously disappear back into the night to kill again another day.
On Halloween night in 1963, Michael Myers, a mere 6-year old boy, brutally murders his sexually-active older sister, thus sending him away to prison. While the courts want him to remain in jail indefinitely, 15 years later he escapes and heads home on the very anniversary of his sister’s death. Once there, he begins following a group of teenagers, slowly killing off each one of them as they give in to their carnal desires. Finally, one teenager remains: Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis). As she tries to protect the kids she has been given to babysit, Michael repeatedly continues his assault of the suburban home. After she subdues his attacks by using a knitting needle and a coat hanger, he is ultimately defeated by a shotgun blast from the gun of the Psychiatric doctor who has been trailing him. And yet, when they look for his body, it has vanished as Michael escapes to continue the terror for decades to come.
Length: 90 minutes / 1.5 hours
As mentioned in last week’s post, horror and comedy are about as far away from each other as any two genres can be. With such a famous name attached to an infamous villain, it’s no wonder that Mike Myers chose to use this nickname when he began acting on television in the 1980s. He hit his comedic stride in the early 1990s when he appeared on Saturday Night Live, establishing quite a few recognizable skits, one of which, Wayne’s World (1992), was his first foray into feature films. A few years after the sequel, Wayne’s World 2 (1993), Myers added multiple roles to his repertoire when the Austin Powers trilogy began with Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997). Shortly before this trilogy ended, Myers started yet another successful franchise by voicing the eponymous green ogre in Shrek (2001).
Living a content life in his swamp, Shrek (Mike Myers) is rudely awakened one day to find that his home is now a refugee camp for fairytale characters persecuted by Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow). Deciding to take this up with the man himself, Shrek sets out to Duloc, but not before running across a talking Donkey (Eddie Murphy) who decides to join him. After besting an assortment of knights, Shrek reaches an agreement with Farquaad to rescue a princess in exchange for removing the unwelcome guests from his swamp. One adventure later, Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) is rescued from her dragon’s keep by Shrek and Donkey, only to be disappointed by her rescuer. On their trip back to Duloc, Shrek and Fiona eventually become fond of each other, even though she carries a dark secret. Now it’s up to Shrek to save her once again, but now from Lord Farquaad.
2 sum it up: 2 films, 2 mismatched Michael Myers
Bacon #: 2 (Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me / Rebecca Romijn -> X-Men: First Class / Kevin Bacon)