Character Ref – Michael Myers

Michael Myers is the main character and antagonist from Halloween, a horror film series spanning 34 years. The franchise contains 10 feature films all focusing on Micheal’s story.

Key refs:

  • The mask – it’s meaning, and the man behind it.
  • Slasher – to do or not to do?
  • Psychological background and upbringing of a serial killer.

“If a character has no face, his face is that mask.” – Rob Zombie

One of the key points of the inspiration for my indie practice from the halloween franchise is the use of the main character Micheal Myers. His mask and the idea of hidding his face is key to the horror/psychological side of his character. I found a documentary that describes the many masks of Myers, which offers up some useful info from the actors, director etc:

A key thing that popped up from this video is that the actor and director wanted to emphasise some form of character behind the mask. The initial utilisation of a mask in all mediums is effectively to create a barricade that shows no emotion, or a fixed set emotion. This theory could be linked back to Commedia dell’art. Within Halloween they effectively have allowed the character of Myers to become more than the initial concept of a ‘shape’. This is done through the use of shot composition and the actor’s ability to express emotions through simply his eyes. On a side note this technique of showing emotive values through simply the actor’s eyes reflects back to Les yeux sans visage(Eyes Without a Face).

Another intersting part is the section with the clown mask. I especially like the shot where the mask is slightly offset on the face, so that Myer’s eyes look jagged. I think this tiny offset to what we know as a typical, usual human face makes this even more scarier. This is one of the main reasons why on my design for Bubbles we have this distorted and unmirrored face. Especially to heighten the reasons as to why he may have wanted a mask in the first place; similar to Myers near the beggining of the film when he states that he wants the mask to ‘hide his uglyness’, to hide his face. The other key part about this lack of symettry is that when the mask is ofset it is harder to see the person’s eyes. This being a key point of my struggle with Bubbles’ development. I think that it is more beneficial to have the mask offset so that the player can hardly see his eyes, as this invokes a sense of unease and confucion within the viewer. Eyes are the key to human emotion, and if we can’t see someone’s eyes we find it harder to read them, and understand what is going on in their head. This relates to horror perfectly and it is showcased in loads of films. Imagine that you are beign chased by a villain, they corner you and you manage to grab a piece of scrap iron to use as a weapon. You can’t see their eyes, only a half illuminated mask, that is expressionless, is visible. What option would you choose: Fight for your life, Plead with them or Run? The lack of understanding of the villain makes it immpossible for the viewer to know what is the best option. By knowing more about them for instance we could say that the look in their eyes has some form of compassion, it isn’t just a ruthless killer, this means that the best option would be to plead with them.

A really good example of this is shown in Hostel 3 HERE. Warning extreme violence. On a complete side note, this is actually quite intersting to see how similar this is to the scene in Les yeux sans visage.Completely different in approach and style of horror; Hostel chose to show the gore, whereas Les yeux sans visage opted to hide the gore and allow the viewer to imagine what was happening.

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