On July 13th, 2020 the entertainment-based website Screen Rant published an article on the subject of ‘Halloween’ that, quite frankly, really grasps for straws in trying to pinpoint the motivation behind The Shape’s actions. The article in question, titled “Halloween Theory: Dr. Loomis MADE Michael Myers Into A Killer”, centers around a fan-based theory floating around the internet that suggests Michael was a product of Loomis’ obsessive madness, even going as far as likening him to that of Victor Frankenstein, with Michael being the Monster/Prometheus of the story.
Before I get into this too deep, I do want to clarify that this is NOT an attack on Screen Rant nor the author of the article I’m referencing. It is clearly specified in the article that this is just a Fan Theory, and it’s mentioned multiple times that it was “One interpretation”. I am not casting a negative light on the website or the author, only the subject of the article itself.
The theory is a little thin as it hinges on two points that require a lot of stretching, especially considering the fact that we, the audience, know that Michael killed prior to meeting Loomis. We witness this every time we watch the opening to Carpenter’s 1978 film, so the points behind this theory would have to be strong, compelling and in-depth for this theory to even work at all. Sadly, they are not, and the theory can easily be disproved. The first point is a misinterpretation of young Michael’s expression at the tail end of the opening sequence, in which Michael is unmasked by his parents after killing Judith. The fan theory states that he looks shocked and confused, but that is not the case. The expression that the young actor gives is meant to represent the exact emotionless face that Loomis describes later on. It’s easy to see where some people may mistake the expression for one with emotion and shock – I’d imagine that it must have been difficult for Carpenter and young actor, Will Sandin, to convey such a look in a believable way. For what its worth, the kid did good.
The second point in this theory is the toughest sell and is one that has absolutely nothing to support it at all: according to the fan theory, Loomis may have been lying when he was describing Michael to Leigh Brackett. This would require you to believe that Donald Pleasence was insincere in his delivery of these lines and that he played the role with some sort of secret backstory that only himself, Carpenter and Hill knew – one that was never hinted it, not even subtly, or explored in any of the films featuring the character – not even when Carpenter was stuck during the writing process of ‘Halloween 2’ (1981). You would think that if this was the case, and that any of them had this secret backstory in mind while filming the first film, it would have been at least explored when Carpenter was trying to crack the story for the sequel.
An early interpretation of the second point first appeared in 1986 as a plot point in Dennis Etchison’s rejected script for ‘Halloween 4’. In this script, television reporter Robert Mundy (a character who appeared on television screens throughout ‘Halloween 2’) reluctantly takes the assignment to cover the ten-year anniversary of Michael’s rampage through Haddonfield in 1978. Mundy ventures to Smith’s Grove where he interviews Marion Chambers (Now Marion Stern) regarding security measures in 1978 and the advancements made to them since Michael’s escape. Marion, however, does a little public-relations and uses the deceased doctor as a scapegoat to clear Smith’s Grove of responsibility. Marion shows Mundy a video tape of one of Loomis’ sessions with young Michael in which Loomis loses his cool with the boy. In a betrayal of her sympathetic nature towards Loomis during ‘Halloween 2’, she makes an argument that Michael could have been innocent, and that his lack of speech could have been the result of finding his sister dead, going into a state of shock, and that it was Loomis’ beliefs and treatment of the boy that drove him to kill following his escape in 1978. It’s important to note the context of the information provided in this scene: as stated above, Marion, now head of Smith’s Grove, is doing public-relations and Loomis is being used in a game of finger pointing. It’s a political move on the characters’ part. We, the audience, know that Michael walked up to Judith’s bedroom after her 4 and a half second trip to pound town, and we know that Michael did, in fact, murder Judith. We also know that Loomis was entirely motivated to keeping Michael locked away. Marion knows this too. After all, she was instructed by Loomis to give Michael a drug that would ensure he couldn’t move or stand in the beginning of the first film. She even apologized to Loomis and admitted that he was right about Michael in the second film. We know that the theory is bullshit, and so does she.
The biggest counterpoint to this “Loomis made Michael a killer” theory is the character of Loomis himself, as well as the performance from Donald Pleasence in those films. Loomis was the only person to see Michael for who and what he was, and fought an up-hill battle against the incompetence of those who underestimated the potential of Michael’s reign of terror. After Michael’s escape in the first film, Loomis shows frustration as he argues with Dr. Wynn on the way to his car – frustrations that no one listened to his warnings about Michael; he scoffs at the “two road blocks that wouldn’t stop a five-year-old”, and then there’s the accusatory tone towards Wynn and the institution in regards to how Michael knew how to drive a car. Loomis demands for Wynn call the police department in Haddonfield to warn them of Michael’s escape and that he is on his way home. Wynn doesn’t listen, though. He doesn’t believe that Michael is going to travel 150 miles and would rather just let the police handle it.
Loomis takes action, immediately hitting the road in pursuit of his patient, and even pulls to the side to do what Wynn refused to do and notify Haddonfield of the situation. Once he reaches Haddonfield, Loomis is met with skepticism from Brackett. Sure, what Loomis says sounds crazy – incredibly crazy, enough so that he would be under psychiatric evaluation – but it’s the truth. It’s the truth that no one wants to accept, and when these characters must come to terms with the fact that Loomis is right, they instead blame Loomis for letting Michael out, especially Brackett before and after the tragedy of Annie’s death. No one listens until it’s too late.
Loomis took the initiative to hunt Michael down, to reach out to the authorities of Michael’s hometown, because he knew that Michael was the personification of evil and he is entirely motivated by his attempts to prevent that tragedies that would occur at Michael’s hands. It’s his determination and persistence, even against all of the odds working against him, that leads him to the Doyle house just in time to save Laurie Strode from the same fate as her friends.
In the sequel, following the disappearance of Michael after being shot off the balcony at the Doyle house, Loomis continues his pursuit. Even when the police are satisfied with their belief that Ben “Extra Crispy” Tramer was in fact Michael, Loomis wasn’t. He wanted to make sure. He wasn’t willing to let up without being 100% sure, because if Michael was still out there, their work wasn’t done. After Marion informs him of the “secret file”, Loomis risks his career and life by pulling a gun on the Marshall instructed to bring him back to Smith’s Grove, forcing him to turn the vehicle around and head to the hospital in order to save Laurie Strode. At the end of the sequel, Loomis sacrifices himself to save Laurie and everyone in town by igniting an explosion that would surely kill himself and Michael – a sacrifice for the greater good.
In ‘Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers’, Loomis isn’t satisfied with the theory that the ambulance just went off road during the storm and doesn’t believe that Michael is dead, even if Hoffman and the police are. Hoffman, like Wynn, is disbelieving and would rather wait for the results from the police, but Loomis once again springs to action, not willing to take inaction. He wants to stop Michael from killing innocent people and he wants to make sure that Laurie’s daughter, Jamie, is well protected. One line in the movie particularly stands out when it comes to defining this character, and it’s when Loomis confronts Michael in the restaurant extension of the repair shop. Loomis says to Michael: “Don’t go to Haddonfield. If you want to take another victim, take me. But leave those people in peace. Please, Michael.” – the way this line is delivered, it’s sincere. He doesn’t want Michael to kill. He wants to save lives. And then there’s the end of ‘Halloween 4’ where he completely breaks down on the staircase of the Carruthers house as he see’s Jamie holding bloody scissors. Doesn’t really seem to me as the actions of a man who would turn a child into a killer.
Now, sure, in ‘Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers’, Loomis does become a little unethical as he constantly screams at Jamie and treats her like a monster, even bordering on child abuse. Some friends have argued that this was a tired and desperate Loomis at the end of the rope, and I suppose I can see that. I just chalk it up to the writers not really understanding the character. Even still, though, Loomis takes action capture Michael. The character returned to his good-natured roots in the sixth film, ‘Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers’, which is sadly the last time we get to see the iconic character in his quest stop Michael.
Nothing in this franchise suggests that Loomis was something other than a protagonist; not in the way the character was written, and not in the way Pleasence performed. Fan theories can make for great discussion, and I understand why said things get published, but let’s not taint one character in order to justify the actions of another.
Loomis is a goddamned hero, and is one of the most iconic and recognizable protagonists in horror history. Suggesting that he’s the real villain is nonsense, and we don’t need any of that negativity in our lives.
You can read Screen Rant‘s article here: