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The true story of the boy who inspired the character of Michael Myers in Halloween.

John Carpenter was just a young man when he first came up with the idea for Halloween.

The Western Kentucky University student was visiting a mental institution when he came across a 12-year-old boy with “devil eyes”.

“I had a class—psychology or something—and we visited a mental institution,” he says in A Cut Above the Resta documentary about Halloween.

“We visited the most serious, mentally ill patients. And there was this kid, he must have been 12 or 13 and he literally had this look.”

That “look” was later described in the first film by Michael Myers’s psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis.

Watch the trailer for the new Halloween…

“This blank, pale emotionless face. Blackest eyes. The devil’s eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him and then another seven trying to keep him locked up, because I realised what was living behind that boys’ eyes was purely and simply evil,” the character says in the movie.

Years later, Carpenter was approached by film producer Irwin Yablans, who wanted to make a movie about babysitters being stalked and killed on Halloween.

He immediately thought back to the boy with the devil’s eyes.

“It was unsettling to me, it was like the creepiest thing I’d ever seen as a stranger,” he told A Cut Above the Rest. 

“It was completely insane.”

From that brief moment in the mental institution, Carpenter created the character of Michael Myers. The deranged, knife-wielding serial killer would star in all eight movies in the original franchise.

The masked killer with the “devil’s eyes” has now returned for the latest remake, simply called Halloween.

The scariest thing about Myers is that he never really dies. That was always Carpenter’s intention. He credits Yul Brynner’s portrayal as a “killer robot that couldn’t be killed” in the original 1973 Westworld film as his inspiration for raising Myers from your typical serial killer to “mythic status”.

“Make him human, yes, but almost like a force… that will never stop. That can’t be denied,” he explained.

David Gordon Green, the creator of the 2018 version of Halloween, has taken Carpenter’s vision of Myers and ran with it.

“Michael Myers hasn’t evolved as a character in any way, shape or form, he’s the essence of evil,” he told the LA Times.

“He has no character. He has no personality. He has no interests. He never has. He’s someone that is moving forward and reacting to the world around him, but not with any sort of conscious objective. And how the world around him reacts to his behavior is where our story comes to life.”

Halloween is screening in cinemas across Australia from Thursday, October 25. 

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