Written by: Brent R. Oliver
Michael Myers is a sweet, scary pimp and I love to watch him work. Over the years he’s carved a gory trail through horror history with his trademark kitchen knife. While he’s not an extemporaneous murder genius like Jason Voorhees, he’s got a single-minded focus on slaughter that has produced dozens of impressively cool kills. There’s a lot to like about the way the Shape handles his business in the original films, before Rob Zombie stuck his meddling hands into the mix. From pretty good to the absolute best, here are the ten finest examples from Michael Myers’ extensive body of work.
10. Judith Myers – Halloween
This is the one that started it all. It’s not gory, and the actual murder scene itself is slightly clumsy and dated, but in just four minutes it set the tone for the whole franchise.
Michael is creeping around his own house after going trick or treating. We see everything from his point of view as he pops into the kitchen to pull a long knife out of a drawer. This will become an iconic instrument of the death he deals for the next 24 years, minus whatever the fuck was going on in Halloween III.
He slinks through the living room as his sister’s boyfriend barrels down the stairs and goes out the front door. Michael slowly stalks up the stairs and finds his clown mask on the floor. Since he’s still wearing the rest of the costume, it seems like a good idea to put the mask on, too. I mean, it looks silly without the mask. He slides it over his face and the camera’s view is restricted by the two openings for his eyes.
Now we hear his breathing through the mask’s nose holes. That creepy breathing will float atmospherically through most of the Halloween movies.
Michael moves into Judith’s room where we see her sitting topless in a chair combing her hair. She’s not long for this world but she’s going to look good on her way out.
Young Michael stabs the ever-loving-beejesus out of Judith. We never see the knife splitting her flesh but, considering the exuberance and repetition, we get what’s going on. She falls back onto the floor, bloody and dead.
Michael heads back down the stairs and wanders out into the front yard as a pair of headlights drift up. His parents get out of the car and pull the mask off their son, leaving him standing like a statue in a clown suit, grasping his bloody kitchen knife.
And that’s where we begin. No reason, no motive, no explanation.
9. Bob Simms – Halloween
Michael’s murder of his sister Judith is noteworthy because it kicked off the whole thing; this one is on the list because it originated Michael’s favorite move. Let’s call it the Hoist and Stab. Although sometimes it’s the Stab and Hoist.
Bob has just finished having sex with his girlfriend Lynda in a near-stranger’s house that’s oddly deserted. Predictably, he’s going to get her a beer. Michael is lurking in the kitchen because he knows it’s going to be scarier to kill Bob here and then arrange his body for some other teenager to stumble across later. Lynda is waiting alone for Bob in the bedroom because kids make bad decisions after sex as well as leading up to it.
Michael lunges out at Bob and choke-grabs him before he can make a sound. Even though he’s been institutionalized for fifteen years, it seems Michael’s been working out. At the very least he had one of those squeezy things that builds your grip.
He lifts Bob up by the throat until his head damn near touches the ceiling and then plants his knife in Bob’s chest. He shoves it through good and hard until it hits the wall on the other side. Michael lets go of the knife and steps back to inspect his workmanship. The corpse hangs there impaled. Michael cocks his head curiously and gives it a good long stare. It should be silly since he’s tilting his head like a golden retriever that’s just seen a card trick but it isn’t. It’s creepy as hell.
8. Kelly Meeker – Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers
This is an excellent example of the Stab and Hoist mentioned above. Michael is fond of his big knife – perhaps overly fond – but he’s certainly willing to branch out when circumstances demand.
Michael has found out he has a niece, Jamie Lloyd. Naturally, Jamie is living with her foster family where? Yup. Haddonfield fucking Illinois. That makes it easy when Michael destroys an ambulance and murders all the emergency medical personnel. Not only does he already know how to get to Haddonfield, he’s pretty sure there’s an auto shop along the way where the mechanic wears a blue jumpsuit.
Most of the cannon-fodder characters end up barricaded in a house waiting for the state police to arrive. It seems Dr. Loomis’ rational, cogent statements about Michael Myers have finally persuaded someone. Despite the house being heavily stocked with local cops and teenagers with guns, Michael sneaks in and starts offing folks.
By the time he gets to Kelly Meeker, he’s fresh out of bladed weapons. Lucky for everyone involved, there are plenty of firearms lying about. Michael recognizes a good stand-in when he sees one and jams a shotgun barrel all the way through Kelly’s chest. It seems unlikely that he could pin her to the wall with an instrument as dull as a shotgun but, by God, he makes it happen.
Kelly’s body is left hanging much the same way as Bob Simms’ was in the first movie. This time Michael doesn’t spend more than a second admiring his handiwork. By now, he knows that shit’s good.
7. The Great Redneck Truck Fight – Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers
There are multiple deaths associated with this one because sometimes a slasher just has to break loose and kill a bunch of motherfuckers all at once. Said motherfuckers in this case are the hillbilly posse that volunteered to help find and kill Michael Myers. Four of them are going to drive Jamie and her foster sister Rachel to the next town over because, I dunno, maybe they think Michael’s powers only work in his hometown or something.
The best vehicle for this mission is definitely a pickup truck. Any time you need to quickly move six people from one town to another at night with an indestructible killer at large, you want a pickup truck. Because rednecks.
With three slack-jawed armed yokels in the bed, another driving, and Jamie and Rachel crammed in the cab, their safety seems assured.
But then Michael’s hand creeps over the tailgate. The sneaky bastard has apparently been clinging to the underside of the truck all along and no one noticed. Doesn’t seem like a big stretch, really. The three cretins in the pickup’s bed don’t see Michael’s hand on the tailgate. Nor do they see his other, knife-wielding, hand appear. They also don’t catch on when he climbs all the way into the bed and stands up. It seems like something they’d notice since their apparent job back there is to watch out for Michael Myers, but sometimes three guys just can’t keep an eye on every inch of a four foot by six foot space.
Michael tears through those rednecks like a murder robot whose only setting is “ninja.” He’s like a natural disaster in the bed of that truck, stabbing hillbillies and tossing them over the side like he gets more points for speed. When he’s done with them, he smashes the driver’s window and just plain claws that guy’s neck open.
6. Lynda van der Klok – Halloween
Remember good ole Bob who was going to get his girlfriend a post-coital beer? Bob met his end hung on the wall like modern art and his girl Lynda checked out shortly after.
Lynda is waiting for Bob and her beer in the bedroom. She isn’t being patient either, although to be fair, Bob’s been gone awhile. When the door opens, Lynda sees someone standing there in a white sheet like a cheap-ass ghost. Even though the ghost is wearing Bob’s huge glasses over the sheet on its head, we’re pretty sure it’s not Bob.
We shouldn’t think less of Lynda for believing it’s Bob, though. She doesn’t have the information we have. Which makes it all the spookier as she tries to engage “Bob” in conversation. He remains silent as she keeps talking to him, finally dropping the sheet covering her breasts and asking him if he sees anything he likes. “Bob” doesn’t move or respond.
Apparently, the boob trick was Lynda’s last gambit. She dismisses him and goes to the phone to call Laurie. After she dials, Michael creeps up behind her in his sheet and wraps the phone cord around her neck.
Laurie answers just as Lynda begins to choke. She makes all kinds of desperate howls and gasps into the phone, which Laurie at first thinks is her pal Annie trying to be funny. As Michael tightens up and finishes Lynda off, Laurie suspects that something is actually wrong. One way or the other, it’s not funny anymore, guys.
This is a genius touch in the original movie. The original final girl, Laurie Strode, forced to listen to one of her best friends die over the phone and not sure if it’s real. She can see the house across the street but she has no idea what’s going on inside.
5. John Strode – Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers
This one is just good fun. John Strode is the asshole father of Kara Strode, who is a main character in this movie for some reason. Her family is related to the Strodes in the original Halloween but we have no idea how. Or really why it’s important. Or even if it’s important.
Regardless, John Strode is a prick and we’d like to see him meet his end in a superlatively gruesome fashion if possible. And with Michael Myers, all things are possible.
John comes home drunk, probably to beat his wife, and finds the house dark and empty. He investigates a noise in the basement and finds that, despite the power being out, their old washer is rattling right along making a racket. He doesn’t spend a lot of time pondering this oddity because Michael is right behind him and time is short.
Michael performs one of his more impressive Stab and Hoists: after driving his knife into John’s belly, he lifts him off the floor and carries him across the basement to the breaker box. John is groaning and struggling feebly but maybe he would have stepped it up a notch had he known what was coming.
Not satisfied to just nail someone to a wall this time, Michael impales John on the breaker box itself. We can see that the electricity coursing through the knife is making Michael jitter and twitch. But seriously, John seems to be getting the worst of it. Michael looks a touch annoyed, like he ordered a Diet Coke but got a regular Coke; John looks like he’s shitting badgers.
After several delightful seconds of seizing, screaming, sizzling, and foaming at the mouth, John’s head explodes. Good.
4. Karen Bailey – Halloween II
After the events of the first movie, Laurie Strode is taken to a hospital where there are about seven people total. And one of them is Michael Myers who’s followed her there. The rest are people that Michael Myers is going to kill.
The most spectacular death by far belongs to nurse Karen Bailey. Karen was late to work but she doesn’t seem overpowered by guilt. Instead, she decides she’ll have sex with her paramedic boyfriend while on the clock. After all, her job is only taking care of the natal unit – you know, newborn babies – and that shit can wait.
She and her boyfriend Budd meet in the hospital’s basement which has a hydrotherapy tub. They crank the heat up to hot tub-sex temperature and get fully naked but only partly busy. Karen has some belated misgivings about leaving an entire ward of helpless babies totally unsupervised while she bangs Budd in the water patients use to convalesce.
Michael has turned up the temperature in the tub which adds to Karen’s discomfort. She calls a stop to the friskiness and sends Budd into the other room to turn the heat down while she fetchingly towels off. Michael makes short work of Budd, steps up behind Karen, and puts a hand on her shoulder. Thinking it’s Budd, Karen nuzzles up and sucks on a few of his fingers before she smells something strange there, like murder, and turns to see what’s going on.
Michael shoves her face into the water, which is apparently now way too hot for sex. After a couple dunks, Karen’s skin starts to blister. After a few more, it’s actually boiling off her face, which is awesome, if not exactly scientifically feasible. Also, it kills her.
3. Rudy Grimes – Halloween Resurrection
This is probably my favorite Hoist and Stab of the franchise. Describing the events that lead up to it would be fairly pointless. There are a bunch of teenagers roaming the old Myers house in Haddonfield. They’re part of a reality TV show. Busta Rhymes is there. That’s mostly it.
Rudy Grimes is confronted by Michael in the kitchen and he decides to make a stand. He hits Michael with a rolling pin, which causes Michael to drop his large knife. Then, ignoring all the actual weapons in the room, Rudy opens the spice rack, shakes something out of a container into his hand, and throws it into Michael’s face. This actually distracts Michael long enough for Rudy to get his head back together and yank two big knives out of the wooden kitchen block.
Now the shit is for real. Rudy is circling Michael, slashing and stabbing the air like Steven Seagal in Under Siege but without the ridiculous ponytail. He is, however, trash talking the whole time. This might be the first time Michael has ever heard trash talking. He doesn’t take it well.
Rudy slashes at Michael, who catches his hand. Rudy slashes with the other knife. Michael also catches that hand. He then head butts Rudy across the room and hoists him off the ground by his captured paws. Michael forces Rudy’s hands toward his body and, in a fantastic parody of “why are you hitting yourself?”, drives both of Rudy’s own knives through his torso and into the door behind him.
That alone would be pretty sweet. But Michael isn’t happy yet. He walks across the kitchen to a drawer and pulls out the biggest knife yet. Walks back to Rudy hanging on the door, gasping like dying fish, and slams the final blade in. The triple play.
Rudy dies. Michael uses the door anyway.
2. Jamie Lloyd – Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers
Jamie Lloyd’s death is one of the most gruesome in the whole series. It would probably be number one on this list if it had a little more emotional impact. Not that we don’t care about Michael’s niece; it’s just she was never a great character. She was thrown into the franchise in an effort to turn it in another direction, to introduce the Curse of Thorn. Also to prolong a flagging Halloween juggernaut that needed another Myers to keep Michael’s interest.
Jamie suffers through the fourth and fifth movies as a helpless little girl while everyone dies around her. In the sixth movie, she’s fifteen and has been no-doubt forcibly impregnated by…you know what? It’s not important. She gives birth to another kid that Michael wants to kill. Let’s get on with it.
After hiding her baby in a cabinet at the bus station (which is still probably safer than having Karen Bailey from Halloween II watch him), Jamie ends up in a spooky barn because of course she does. Michael is also in the barn. After he finds out Jamie’s new son isn’t with her, he kills her.
Boy, does he ever kill her. He picks her up and, in a twisted variation on the Hoist and Stab, tosses her onto the blades of a corn thresher. Always curious, he walks closer and checks out what he’s done. Jamie holds out her hands to him and we think they might just have a moment here. But, no. Michael just shoves her farther onto the blades. Then he casually turns the machine on, which causes the blades to start gnawing and chainsawing up and down. This does absolutely nothing positive for Jamie and she steps off for good.
1. Laurie Strode – Halloween Resurrection
This is the capper, folks: number one with a blade instead of a bullet. Even though Michael goes on to gloriously murder another handful of teens (including one on this list), this is really the emotional finale of the last movie.
After the events of H20, Laurie Strode has been hiding out in a mental institution. She’s not in shock; she’s not taking her meds; she prepping to kill her brother. He’s going to come for her eventually and she’s decided it’s time to stop being afraid and wipe him out.
When Michael does show up, she’s got her shit together. Laurie lures him to the roof of the institution where she snares him in a ridiculous Wile E. Coyote trap. He’s now hanging upside down by one ankle, as helpless as he ever gets. She picks up the knife he’s dropped (where does he keep getting them?) and moves in. If it weren’t the first ten minutes of the movie, I’d think she was about to actually do him in. She starts sawing at the rope that holds him because if there’s one thing we know definitely kills Michael Myers, it’s a good fall.
He reacts violently to her cutting the rope, covering his ears and gesturing toward her. Laurie remembers that it wasn’t him in the mask at the end of H20; it was a helpless paramedic. She didn’t know that at the time and she went ahead and decapitated the poor bastard. This time she has to be sure. And the only way to be sure is to take off his mask, which will bring her well within his reach.
She does it anyway. He grabs her. The partially cut rope snaps and they go over the edge of the roof together.
It’s a little unclear if Michael does the actual stabbing or not. Laurie’s holding the knife when they go over and it ends up buried in her back. When the camera shows it, both of their hands are on the handle. Michael is holding onto the rope and Laurie is holding onto him. She gasps out a few breaths and then kisses the mouth of his mask. “I’ll see you in hell,” she says, and lets go. She falls and dies.
So ends Laurie Strode. It’s not as hideous as other deaths. It’s not as inventive, or funny, or original, or as cool as many other deaths in the series. It’s not even the last death in the last movie. But it’s the most important death in any of the movies. It’s the one that means the most to us, the viewers, and to Michael, the killer. It’s the end of Halloween.