The Most Pause-Worthy Moments In The Halloween Franchise
Universal Pictures

“Happy Halloween, Michael,” Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) growls as she assaults the terrifying killer in 2018’s “Halloween.” It’s a critical moment in the history of the “Halloween” franchise that has long seen Michael Myers stalk and viciously murder countless victims. Now, he’s on the receiving end, but he never goes down easy. And even when it seems like his end is assured, he returns with a bloody vengeance. The “Halloween” franchise has captivated audiences since John Carpenter’s original indie venture in 1978. That film would go on to spawn countless sequels and define an entire subgenre of horror we now know as slasher films.

Perhaps, the most intriguing aspect of our leading man is the mystery behind his goals and desires. Michael Myers is bloodthirsty — there’s no doubt about that. But what compels him to kill relentlessly? Most of the films in the series have kept the specter of Michael’s motivations elusive. And the one time filmmakers attempted to unveil a mystical cult masterminding his deeds; the film failed and was promptly written out of existence. The franchise has been rebooted and retconned multiple times, always bringing the serial killer back to his mysteriously terrifying ways.

There’s something in our minds that connects with the macabre making Michael’s dark adventures thrilling to watch unfold on screen. It’s the old “like watching a train wreck” adage. A boogeyman donning a William Shatner mask as he guts hapless teens and adults alike is somehow morbidly captivating. With that said, here’s a look at the franchise’s most intense moments begging for fans to hit the pause button, or even rewind just a tad.

The single camera-take of Michael’s killing spree – Halloween (2018)

The Most Pause-Worthy Moments In The Halloween Franchise
Universal Pictures

We all recognize Michael Myers, or do we? He’s the guy with the dark blue jumpsuit and the William Shatner mask, right? Or is that just another guy dressed in a costume? Perhaps, the most terrifying aspect of the 2018 “Halloween” reboot is the idea that Michael Myers can commit unmitigated murder in a scenario where absolutely no one is paying attention to what is happening around them. In director David Gordon Green’s “Halloween” revival, he reintroduces Michael Myers to the quaint town of Haddonfield. His murder spree from decades ago is well in the rearview mirror for these folks, and most are from a newer generation that never experienced his particular brand of terror.

It’s Halloween once again, and the leaves coat the sidewalks of the residential streets in town. Children are running to and fro dressed in their costumes, trick-or-treating while some adults are heading out to parties. It’s the festive celebratory atmosphere that Michael needs to go to work. No one even gives the man a second look. After all, Michael Myers is now a well-known figure in Haddonfield, Illinois, with many likely to dress up as the serial killer. The film then engages in a single-take sequence where Michael invades home after home, killing the residents inside. At one point, he even exits a house from a fresh murder using the front door while the streets are bustling with people. But again, it’s Halloween. Who would notice? The murders in this sequence are brutal, and it takes one or two watches to really soak in the camerawork at play. Go ahead — hit the pause button a few times as you enjoy the brilliant execution (no pun intended) of this sequence.

Bob’s death – Halloween (1978)

The Most Pause-Worthy Moments In The Halloween Franchise
Compass International Pictures/Aquarius Releasing

John Carpenter’s original foray into the mind of a serial killer was light on death compared to today’s standards but heavy on palpable anxiety and unease. The original “Halloween” only resulted in the deaths of three teens once Michael arrived in Haddonfield. All three happened to be Laurie Strode’s friends, who were off enjoying the holiday evening while Laurie stayed trapped in her babysitting gig. Of course, Annie Brackett (Nancy Kyes) was supposed to be babysitting, but she pawned her child (Kyle Richards) off on Laurie. But before Annie could enjoy any bit of fun, Michael Myers kills her.

Later, Lynda (P.J. Soles) and her boyfriend, Bob (John Michael Graham), head over to the house in which Annie is supposed to be babysitting. They make themselves right at home in some stranger’s house and apparently defile some poor sap’s bed with their teen angst and sexual activity. Let’s hope they would have had the decency to wash the sheets. But we’ll never know, thanks to Michael and his need to kill. After Lynda sends Bob downstairs to rummage the fridge for a beer, Michael appears and grabs the young fellow. He pins him to the wall with a knife to the gut. Now, we have to wonder what miraculous physics are at play here. A knife would have to be in the wall pretty firmly in order to hold the weight of a body. Yet the knife had to be long enough to travel through Bob’s torso and be firmly planted in the wall. It’s a head-scratcher, but a gruesome and iconic kill nonetheless. Fans might want to pause to understand the logistics of that feat, however.

Unmasked Michael Myers – Halloween (1978)

The Most Pause-Worthy Moments In The Halloween Franchise
Compass International Pictures/Aquarius Releasing

When you think of Michael Myers, you think of that eerie William Shatner mask. For all intents and purposes, that is the face of Michael Myers — a blank, motionless expression with eyes as black as his soul (there’s a reason he’s credited as The Shape in the first film). Regardless, he still has an actual face underneath it all. In most of the “Halloween” films, we never once see Michael’s face. However, we do see a shadowy glimpse of it in the first film when Laurie Strode pulls off his mask for a brief second.

What’s disconcerting about the reveal is not that he’s hideous or monstrous-looking underneath the mask, but rather how normal he appears. But if you’re looking for any scars or giveaway features, if you pause on the moment, we see that Michael apparently has some scarring on his left eye. However, we are never informed as to what caused it. In the 2018 sequel film, the podcasters that visit Michael in a psychiatric institution get a small glimpse of the man without his mask. We don’t see his face directly, but for a moment we are shown a few of his features from the side. Once again, he appears to have scarring on his left eye that is reminiscent of the same detail we saw in the original film. “Halloween Kills” also depicts more of the serial killer with his mask off, but his face is often obscured by shadows or blurred by the camera’s focus. Still, the same details can be gleaned. These are all moments worthy of a pause, as they tease the mystery behind the man.

Jamie Lloyd’s death – Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers

The Most Pause-Worthy Moments In The Halloween Franchise
Dimension Films

“Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers” isn’t exactly a major fan-favorite of the franchise. It sought to provide a strange supernatural explanation for Michael Myers’ murder spree and capability to stay alive despite his numerous wounds. There’s no doubt something about Michael’s nature that is beyond our understanding, but the mystery is what elevates his character in the eyes of fans. Still, “Curse” offered some horrific moments regardless of its low standing in the eyes of “Halloween” fans. Jamie Lloyd (J.C. Brandy) returns, this time as an adult. She had been taken by a cult and birthed a child. After her escape from the cult, she secures her child’s safety. However, she is still being pursued by Michael, her uncle.

The murderous maniac, apparently being influenced by a cult, traps Jamie in a barn. It is there that her story ends. He impales his niece on a thresher. After she angrily asserts that he’ll never have her child, he turns the thresher on which causes the machine to rip her to shreds. It’s a visceral scene and one that fans of blood and gore effects might appreciate. After all, the only real way to innovate a long-standing horror icon that murders people is to get creative in his methods of killing. A thresher is most certainly a new one.

Seeing Michael Myers’ monstrous size – Halloween (2007)

The Most Pause-Worthy Moments In The Halloween Franchise
The Weinstein Company/Dimension Films

Rob Zombie took the reins of the “Halloween” franchise after the disastrous release of “Halloween: Resurrection.” He took everything back to the beginning with a reimagining of John Carpenter’s original film. However, this time, more exposition was given regarding Michael’s (Tyler Mane) past and what eventually led him to his cold, bloodthirsty state. He is institutionalized for the murders of his sister (Hanna Hall), her boyfriend (Adam Weisman), and the abusive boyfriend (William Forsythe) of his mother (Sheri Moon Zombie). It is in lock-up that he remains well into adulthood. An orderly, by the name of Ismael Cruz (Danny Trejo), takes a liking to Michael and attempts to care for him even though the rest of the staff treats him horribly.

At one point, Dr. Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) returns to inform Michael that he will no longer be visiting as there’s nothing more he can do for him. Michael is a full-grown adult at this stage. Ismael and another guard go to his room to collect him for the visit. As Michael stands, we can see that Trejo’s head barely reaches Mane’s shoulders, highlighting just how hulking and frightening this man is. Mane, a retired professional wrestler and the actor behind Michael Myers, is huge in real life. As physically imposing as Michael is in this version of the character, it’s no wonder that not a single person can withstand his wrath in a direct encounter.

Michael and Laurie’s reunion – Halloween H20: 20 Years Later

The Most Pause-Worthy Moments In The Halloween Franchise
Miramax Films

Ever since 1978, Michael and Laurie were destined to have their fates intertwined until one of them eventually bit the dust. David Gordon Green’s most recent “Halloween” offering takes this concept as its main driving force and depicts a reunion between the combative duo 40 years after the first time Michael set his sights on the neighborhoods of Haddonfield, Illinois. Before this 2018 retcon, however, a previous retcon came along only 20 years after that fateful night, undoing the events of “Halloween 4” and “5” by bringing Laurie back into the fold. This time, however, the film is set in California — a faraway land where Laurie could distance herself from her nightmarish memories of Haddonfield and live a new life under the alias of Keri Tate.

In this timeline of the “Halloween” franchise, Laurie has a son named John (Josh Hartnett). In one fateful moment, John and his girlfriend Molly Cartwell (Michelle Williams) are stalked by Michael. They attempt to find safety inside Hillcrest Academy — a school where Laurie now works. After pleading with someone to open the door, Laurie finally lets the couple in and shuts the door behind her, only to be staring at Michael through the window of the door. This chilling reintroduction of Michael Myers into Laurie’s life sets the stage for a killer who simply won’t let sleeping dogs lie. He is bound to find and torment his sister, even if he has to track her across the country two decades later. Talk about a next-level stalker.

An homage to Halloween III – Halloween Kills

The Most Pause-Worthy Moments In The Halloween Franchise
Universal Pictures

As most are well aware, “Halloween III: Season of the Witch” is the only film in the franchise to not feature Michael Myers. It was meant to take the franchise in an anthology direction instead of staying solely focused on the masked killer (via Den of Geek). However, the film didn’t sit well with fans and filmmakers returned to Michael Myers with the next entry. Time has been kind to the film, however, as it has garnered a cult following over the years and has even seen multiple home video releases due to demand. David Gordon Green paid homage to the legacy of the “Halloween” franchise by including a not-so-subtle nod to this third outing in his reboot series.

As Michael’s killing spree reaches a fever pitch, Lindsey (Kyle Richards), who is now all grown-up but markedly still scarred over her experience with Michael in 1978, finds three fresh new victims in a playground. These are the bodies of Vanessa (Carmela McNeal), Marcus (Michael Smallwood), and another returning character, Marion Chambers (Nancy Stephens). Unfortunately, Michael takes more from Marion this time than just her car. The killer has decorated the bodies of his victims with the three iconic masks from “Season of the Witch.” The skeleton, the jack-o’-lantern, and the witch masks even have the Shamrock logo on the back of the masks, just like the ones seen in the third film. It’s an Easter egg worth pausing for to see the finest details that recall a “Halloween” film of the past.

A young child’s grisly death – Halloween III: Season of the Witch

The Most Pause-Worthy Moments In The Halloween Franchise
Universal Pictures

“Halloween III: Season of the Witch” may not have had Michael Myers around to paint the streets red with the blood of the innocent, but the film didn’t shy away from the administration of gruesome deaths. The movie centers around a businessman, Conal Cochran (Dan O’Herlihy), whose ancestry stretches back to the Celtic pagan traditions of old. In an effort to restart the balance between pagan gods and man, he aims to offer child sacrifices. To do this, he’s taken shards from Stonehenge and implanted masks with microchips. The microchips are linked to image patterns that are presented as a commercial from Silver Shamrock. Viewing this commercial activates the microchips, and the mask wearers die a horrible death as their brains melt and insects and reptiles pour out of their heads. Sounds like a fun Halloween evening, eh?

Well, “Halloween III” gets the award for enacting this atrocious and grisly death on a young child. As an unspoken rule for quite some time (and especially in the ’80s), children had largely been off-limits when it came to violent deaths in television and film. If they did occur, they were often implied off-screen. In the case that a child death did occur on-screen, it’s often met with shock simply because of its rarity. Nowadays, we have Pennywise biting off children’s arms, so that rule might be out the window in the modern era. Still, Cochran tested out his product on an unsuspecting family, and we witnessed their boy crumble to his death as his head rots inside the mask and insects and snakes pour out of his skull and mouth. The visual is enough to elicit a pause from any bewildered viewer.

Jamie Lloyd brandishing bloody scissors – Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

The Most Pause-Worthy Moments In The Halloween Franchise
Galaxy International Releasing

As the title implies, Michael Myers returns in “Halloween 4.” Gone is the idea of creating an anthology series out of the “Halloween” brand. Michael is here to stay. In this continuation, Laurie is gone, having been killed in a car accident. Her daughter, Jamie (Danielle Harris), has been orphaned and lives with a foster family. Michael awakens from a 10-year-long coma and returns to Haddonfield to pursue his niece. His foster sister, Rachel Carruthers (Ellie Cornell), gets swept up in the Strode family drama as she helps Jamie flee the looming killer.

The ending of the film takes a sideways trip into absurdity that is thankfully course-corrected in the follow-up film. Still, it’s a moment we all might need to pause and utter, “what the –?” After Michael is seemingly out of the picture thanks to the police and an angry mob, a new threat arises. After Jamie and Rachel head home and breathe a sigh of relief, we begin following a pair of wandering eyes in the first-person view. A mask slides over the screen, and the mystery person grabs a pair of scissors. They then enter Darlene Carruthers’ (Karen Alston) bathroom, and the woman is attacked. In what is meant to be a shocking reveal, we then see Jamie holding the scissors as everyone laments the horror. Apparently, the need to kill is hereditary. Or maybe all the stress got to little Jamie. There’s really no good explanation here. But it’ll leave you pausing the film in total confusion.

Seeing Loomis recreated for a flashback sequence – Halloween Kills

The Most Pause-Worthy Moments In The Halloween Franchise
Universal Pictures

The modern age of cinema has pulled off a magic trick: immortality. Technology and make-up artistry has become so advanced that deceased actors can be recreated. Likewise, current actors can be aged or de-aged.  In the case of “Halloween Kills,” fans have the treat of witnessing the visage of Donald Pleasance, who died in 1995, appearing on screen once again.

After the events of “Halloween” in 2018, fans might be wondering, how did Michael get caught after the 1978 original film? That movie leaves on the note that the killer has survived his gunshot wounds and escaped. “Halloween Kills” clarifies that gap in the story with a flashback depicting Deputy Frank Hawkins (Will Patton, de-aged as Thomas Mann) as one of the young officers who apprehended Michael Myers. The scene will surely elicit nostalgic feelings from fans as the filmmakers expertly recreated the Myers home. But the appearance of Loomis was even more welcome. Dr. Loomis was created with a mixture of practical effects applied to the film’s construction foreman, Tom Jones Jr., and a separate voice actor (per Collider). But fans might want to pause the film in an effort to linger on the handiwork and compare details to actual images of Donald Pleasance — you know, just to see how uncanny and accurate the portrayal is.

Laurie discovers her dead friends – Halloween (1978)

The Most Pause-Worthy Moments In The Halloween Franchise
Compass International Pictures/Aquarius Releasing

Perhaps the most haunting scene from the first film isn’t when Michael Myers is stalking the young babysitters. Nor is it when he kills the three teen victims. It’s in the climax of the movie when he puts his handiwork on display for Laurie Strode to find, causing her to shriek in horror. The beginning of the film alluded to “someone” having stolen Judith Myer’s gravestone from the local cemetery. The groundskeeper chalked it up to ruffian teens pulling a nasty Halloween prank. After all, the Myers are famous in Haddonfield. Long before Michael became the serial murderer that he is, he was just a simple ghost story with only one death on his ledger: his sister, Judith (Sandy Johnson).

After Halloween night in 1978, that all changed. Michael connected the past with the present as he hoisted Judith’s gravestone on a mattress in the home across the street, laid Annie’s body across the bed, and placed Lynda and Bob’s corpses in the same room. The glow of a jack-o’-lantern on the nightstand completes the haunting tableau, which will likely be seared into Laurie Strode’s mind for years to come.

Michael Myers in flames – Halloween II (1981)

The Most Pause-Worthy Moments In The Halloween Franchise
Universal Pictures

As an apparently supernaturally gifted killer, Michael Myers has survived several gunshot wounds as well as falling from a second-story balcony. “Halloween II” ups the ante in the climax of the film, however, as the deranged killer tracks Laurie down at the local hospital. He finally reaches his mark in the closing moments of the movie, but Loomis is there to help Laurie end the killer once and for all. After stabbing Loomis in the torso, Laurie manages to shoot out Michael’s eyes, blinding him. Either that or he has so much blood draining down his mask that he can’t see.

As he slashes around blindly, Loomis and Laurie turn on the gas in the backroom, and Loomis ignites the fumes, immolating himself and the killer he has long pursued the entire evening. Michael still manages to emerge from the room, covered in flames. It’s a hellish sequence that has us beckoning to Laurie, “Don’t just sit there and watch, run!” But Michael succumbs to the flames and slumps to the ground, seemingly dead. Of course, “Halloween 4” confirms that both Loomis and Michael somehow managed to survive the impossible.

Michael survives the mob – Halloween Kills

The Most Pause-Worthy Moments In The Halloween Franchise
Universal Pictures

Perhaps, Michael’s most insane feat of survival comes when he manages to keep killing after receiving several supposedly fatal wounds at the hands of a mob. In “Halloween Kills,” Karen (Judy Greer) leads Michael into a trap where he’s cornered by the townsfolk who inflict their brand of mob justice on the monster who has terrorized their town for half a century. After being stabbed in the back with a pitchfork, Michael takes a beating, and multiple stabbings, from the good people of Haddonfield. It’s a near-certainty that no normal man would’ve been able to survive such anger and wrathful vengeance.

Yet Michael recovers when the mob begins to back down, and he murders all of them in a frightfully horrific sequence. What fuels Michael’s immortality? Is it hatred? Or something far more sinister? The film fans the flames of the gripping moment with a haunting soundtrack and intense, visceral action from the main man. It may take a few pauses to note all the wounds Michael’s body has been afflicted with, even as he recovers like a devil spawned from the infernal pits below. Yikes.

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