The new Halloween movie undoes the overwrought lore of the series, but fails to expand on the darkest secret of the films: killer Michael Myers is the groundbreaking French mime artist Marcel Marceau. I know what you’re thinking: “This theory again!”, but hear me out. The more you connect the dots the more you’ll realize they were hiding it under our noses the whole time.
Let’s start at the beginning. After committing his very first murder at the age of six, lil’ Michael is taken to a mental institution. It’s here we establish some key features of the will be teen destroyer, but one detail stands out. Young Michael Myers kills his sister while dressed as a clown. That’s right, clowning, the old European art form connected closely with mime work in Commedia dell’arte. On the surface Michael is simply expressing a preference for killing with masks on, but in this context his adult mask becomes a symbol of his progression from general clowning to focused mime work. Marcel even has an act about mask making/wearing!
Think about it: the white face? The stiff but dramatic gestures? The mute persona? Marcel Marceau referred to mime as “the art of silence”, you’re probably smacking your forehead now with extreme dumbfoundedness. It was so obvious, in front of us this whole time! Even their names are both abbreviated MM! Still not convinced? Look at how both Marcel and Michael perform death. Moving quickly from pose to pose, emphasizing a sense of space and maintaining a high drama.
Commedia dell’arte has a long tradition of archetypal characters. Similarly Marcel Marceau’s mime portrays both cultural caricatures and cultural symbols. Much of the appeal of Michael Myers is his inhumanity, more than just a killer but an embodiment of death itself. The eternal, relentless, statue-esque Myers is the embodiment of fear, a commentary our weakness, and exactly the kind of character Marcel would use. You know my words ring true but you need to see with your eyes to believe?! look at the steady, purposeful gait of a mime/killer walking towards you:
Now that you see it the puzzle clicks together, and one can only wonder what more there is to uncover? Marcel spent his youth in the French resistance fighting the Nazis. Maybe we’ll see Myers as a symbol of the creeping cultural force of fascism, taking advantage of our sense of security to get the long knives out. Marcel was friends with Michael Jackson, was Myers the inspiration for thriller? The three of them all share a love of blanched, mask-like faces. In turn Michael Jackson supposedly contributed to the soundtrack of Sonic 3, will Marcel (who died in 2007) be doing mocap for the upcoming live-action Sonic movie? So much to wonder, join me another time when I’ll explain why Jason Vorhees is surrealist opera singer Klaus Nomi.