I was twelve years old when my father bought me my “first” horror movie, Halloween. It was in October, and Blockbuster had released the film under their own brand label. I remember standing near the registers and seeing the stack of VHS tapes. He picked one up and asked me if I had seen it and when I said no, he smiled and said that I was going to love it. It was strange, not only because my dad was willingly letting me see a horror movie, but he was actually buying it. My dad didn’t believe in buying movies. I believe that was the first and last movie he ever bought.
I had seen a few horror movies prior to that night like Pet Semetery and Popcorn. I wasn’t one of those kids who scared easily, and my parents were extremely lenient on the films that I watched. All the violent 80’s action was allowed, I just had to cover my eyes during sex scenes. But horror movies weren’t watched in my home, so I hadn’t seen very many of them.
I was exploding with excitement when I got home. I was armed with my very first horror film, and I wanted to watch it in style. So I went to my room, turned off the lights, and turned on Halloween. I’m pretty sure I didn’t sleep at all that night.
What I saw was a wonderful yet terrifying film. It had such a simple plot, and it reeked of the 70’s, but it was still scary. The presence that Michael Myers had was brilliant, and the fact that he just kept on coming after Laurie no matter what she did to him was what really sent it over the top. He was just this emotionless beast of a man who could not be reasoned with. He wasn’t satisfied until everyone was dead.
So, not only does the film have the amazing character Michael Myers, the film also has a creepy and memorable score by John Carpenter, amazing use of space in each scene, and a great supporting cast. It was the perfect storm to terrify a young boy. Oh yea, did I mention my last name is Myers?
After I recovered from my initial viewing, I proceeded to watch the film three or four more times over the course of the month. I anxiously awaited our next trip to the video store because I wanted to look for sequels. I wasn’t sure there were any, but I vaguely remember seeing a box with a pumpkin on it in the horror section before. If there were sequels, I had to see them all.
I was rewarded on that next trip, since Halloween 2, 3, 4, and 5 were all on the shelf. I rented two and three, and was thrilled to see that Halloween 2 begins just where Halloween ended. I loved the connected story and was really hoping Halloween 3 just kept it all going as one long story.
I sat through an hour of Halloween 3 and it didn’t once mention Michael Myers. I was so upset, I ended up fast forwarding to the end of the tape hoping for a glimpse of the man in the painted white Captain Kirk mask. Sadly, the film had nothing to do with Michael Myers. He wasn’t in it, and it was a completely original story. I was so angry and disappointed, I considered Halloween 3 to be an abomination for years.
On my next trip to the video store I rented Halloween 4 and 5. When I got there I headed straight for the horror section and actually read the back of the boxes to make sure I wasn’t getting screwed again. Once I confirmed Michael’s presence in each film, I rented them both. I went home and had a blast with the new Halloween films, but it wasn’t the same. Halloween was the scariest, two had some great jumps, but four and five were just interesting. They weren’t really scary, and weren’t really all about Michael Myers, but they were still part of the storyline, so I was happy that it continued.
Halloween was my gateway into horror. First it was Halloween, then Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Sleepaway Camp, etc. Once I got in, my fandom ran wild. Every rental I got was spent on horror movies, good or bad. It took about a year, but I finally exhausted our local video stores of their horror films and moved onto other things.
A few months later, I was browsing the movie times in the newspaper when I noticed an advertisement for a midnight showing of Halloween 6. There was no other information, nor show times, so I called the theater to make sure it was Halloween 6, since I didn’t even know another film had come out. The person on the phone told me they only had one showing, because the movie sucked and no one came to see it. That didn’t turn me off, I immediately went into whining pre-teen boy mode and begged my dad to take me. Yeah… it didn’t work.
About a year later, we moved from Orlando, Florida to Dallas, Texas. It was an exciting move for us because for the first time ever, my brother and I were getting our own separate bedrooms. That’s a big step in the life of a child.
We arrived in town early on Tuesday morning, and once we got the truck unloaded my dad took us out for our moving ritual. Once the boxes were in the house, we’d get in the car, find the nearest video store, rent some movies, grab a pizza, and go home and relax. All the unpacking would wait until the next day.
I scanned the new releases of the Videorama when I noticed a familiar face staring back at me emotionless. It was the face of Michael Myers, or I should say, the mask of Michael Myers. It was on the box of the VHS release of Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers. You would have thought I won the lottery from the squeal I let out, and I went sprinting across the store with no regard for my safety or others, just to find my dad to show him.
My dad shrugged, unamused, but he agreed to rent the film. I fidgeted all over the place during dinner. I just couldn’t wait until we ate so I could go watch Halloween 6 and my dad could watch whatever boring film he picked out. Once I finally got excused, my little brother was hot on my heels wanting to watch the movie too. I was excited at the idea of sharing my fandom with him, so we turned off the lights and popped the tape in the VCR.
It took me a minute to realize the grown woman was supposed to be the little girl from Halloween 5 and 6. I tried to explain to my brother who she was but it was useless. The movie was moving so fast, I wasn’t even sure what was going on. The next ninety minutes was a blur. There was the familiar music, the guy from Clueless, some cool deaths, and a confusing storyline about a cult. The only major thing that I took from the film was that Michael Myers was destined to kill off his bloodline. He would stop at nothing until he killed every single Myers out there.
My brother was shaken up after his first experience with Halloween. He was more confused than I was but he got the jest of what a killing machine The Shape was. It’s hard not to be scared by Michael Myers the first time you see him, so being the older brother, I decided to use this to my advantage.
Once the film was over, I turned the lights on and walked over and sat down on the edge of the bed and looked concerned at the floor. My brother was confused and just looked at me. I let a few seconds pass, then I took a deep breath and said quietly, “Now you know why we move so much.”
He looked up at me startled, so I kept going.
“Military families don’t move every three years. They move like once every ten years. We have to stay on the move from Michael.”
My brother had a look of both intense fear and confusion. “You’re just messing with me.”
I managed to keep a straight face, and began “No… I’m not. Michael Myers is our uncle. No one in the family talks about him, because of how bad he is. And you saw the movie, he’s out there attempting to kill off our entire family. He’s coming for us, so Dad keeps moving us so he can’t find us.”
I could tell he wasn’t buying it completely, but the moving statement justified his possible existence which was working in my favor.
“It’s a family secret. When you become ten they’ll explain it all to you. I just thought you should know about it beforehand in case he catches up with us sooner rather than later. Cause know this... he will catch up with us. No one escapes Michael Myers.”
The color left his face with that zinger. He began stammering, “I’m going to go ask Dad right now.”
“Go, but he won’t tell you the truth. He doesn’t think you’re old enough. He wants you to be a kid for as long as you can be before you have to spend every day wondering if that’s the day Michael Myers finds you and kills you.”
“Whatever Brandon. I’m going to my room. You’re a jerk.”
He grabbed the sleeping bag off the floor and walked down the hallway into his room. I heard his TV turn on almost instantly and I had a good laugh. It was evil. I know that, but it was hilarious at the time. Little did I know, he would end up getting the last laugh.
I was exhausted. We had moved all the furniture and boxes inside, spent the day seeing part of the new town, ate some pizza and watched a movie. It had been a full day, so I cut off my light, and crawled into bed. It was heaven. I was finally free to move around as I please and decorate the entire room. I went to bed smiling knowing that tomorrow was going to be spent decorating.
The next morning I woke up to the sound of snoring. Since I was hearing it, I knew it wasn’t me. I took a glance around the room realizing that I was in my room at our new home, while the snoring continued. As my eyes fully adjusted, I noticed my brother asleep on the floor next to my bed.
I didn’t say a word about him sleeping in my bedroom for the first three nights. I figured it was my punishment for scaring him. After the third night, I sat him down and explained that I really was a jerk and was just messing with him. Michael Myers is fake, Halloween never happened, and yes, military families move every three years. The look he gave me wasn’t too unlike the one he gave when I was first explaining our relation to Michael Myers. He didn’t know whether to believe me or not, so I kept repeating myself in a desperate attempt to get him to believe me and begin sleeping in his own room.
After twenty minutes of my pleading, he finally accepted that I was a jerk and I had made it all up. He agreed to start sleeping in his room, and said I would play some board game he loved and I hated. It was all going great and I was finally getting my room totally to myself, then just as he was walking out the door he stopped and turned around with a very serious look on his face.
“If you made this all up, then why do you have that?”
He pointed toward a Michael Jordan poster that hung right over my bed. It wasn’t the poster that he was pointing to, but instead the Mark of the Thorn I made out of popsicle sticks the day before and hung from a push pin.
The Mark of the Thorn was a simple triangle with a base that extends past the normal dimensions of the triangle. In Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers, the cult that supports Michael Myers all have the mark tattooed on them. I thought it looked neat, and when I saw a box of popsicle sticks, I figured I’d just make one for decoration. What a mistake that was.
My brother assumed that I had the popsicle Mark of the Thorn up to protect myself from Michael Myers. Everything I had been telling him over the past half hour was now bunk in his eyes. He would hear no more of it, as far as he was concerned, Michael Myers was coming for our family.
Eight months… that’s how long he slept in my room every single night. I tried to get my dad to intervene, even if it meant I got in trouble for scaring him. My dad thought it was hilarious and figured the best punishment for me would be having to deal with the monster I had created.
I don’t recall what finally made my brother begin sleeping in his own room. I know over time he watched the other Halloween films, since I had started collecting them, and maybe he realized that they were works of fiction or it was highly unlikely that Michael Myers would ever find us. I don’t really know. Just one night he was gone and I finally, after eight months, got my room to myself.
My brother likes to tell that story to his friends anytime I meet a new one. He loves making me look like a jerk, but more importantly, he loves telling the story of how I terrified him into loving Halloween.
I look back and think, man, I was a jerk and a bully, but there was no harm done. My brother moved on from his fear and instead embraced it as a passion. I know he has no regrets, and loves the story of how he came to love Michael Myers.