Killer Life Lessons from Michael Myers

by Matt Cates 11 months ago in pop culture

Six Scarily Effective Tips We Can Learn from the 'Halloween' Murderer

Killer Life Lessons from Michael Myers

I've often said we can learn a lot from villains. And whether we like to admit it or not, we're always drawn to those characters who flaunt the rules of society and go after their dreams... however sick and twisted those dreams may be.

Michael Myers stands out as a perfect example of our obsession with the bad guys. For 40 years, he's been the star of the successful Halloween film franchise, featuring in 10 of the 11 movies (Halloween III bore the name, but none of the characters of the series).

So after all those gruesome horror flicks, what can we learn from Michael? What's the secret of his success and how might we incorporate some of the less bloody elements of his character into ourselves? Let's peek into the closet and find out...

Never give up. Literally.

Persistence pays.

In the new box office-smashing Halloween, Michael is reintroduced after 40 years in Smith's Grove Sanitarium. 40 years! And in all those years, he's stood there stoic as a Spartan, patient as a Buddhist monk, waiting for his opportunity to get back to work and pursue his dream of murdering Laurie Strode.

Why so obsessive? What's his raison d'être for killing her? As The Rock would say, "It doesn't matter!" His reasons are his own. What does matters is that, like any successful person, he never, ever gave up on his dream.

No matter the odds, no matter how bleak things looked, he stayed crystal-focused on achieving his goal. Too bad that in the new flick, Laurie became equally obsessed with killing him, too!

Let others help you.

Time and again, Michael Myers has demonstrated his capacity to swallow his pride and accept the help of others. This is psychopathology at its finest. Like any master manipulator, Michael truly doesn't give a damn about others. But he is good at playing along.

When he needs someone to tend to his near-lethal wounds, or help him implement his longshot escape plan from incarceration, he'll pretend to let down his guard and allow them to assist.

Of course, the literal millisecond that Michael's use for that person is over, he ruthlessly murders them on the spot. No remorse, no hesitation. Yet the fact remains, he is willing and able to recognize when he cannot do something on his own.

That takes insight... and self confidence! Nuts or not, a successful person needs to be able to assess their own weaknesses objectively, and find someone who can help get them over their hurdles.

Learn new things.

When Micheal Myers was a young boy, he butchered his sister with a butcher knife on Halloween night. Why? No one quite knows why (though I have my theories, and yes they involve sex stuff, obviously).

After her murder, the wee lad was put away until he was a grown man. And yet, the second he found a chance to escape, he took matters into his own hands, killed a few folks, and made his getaway by car.

By car, you say? Aye, and there's the rub! For as someone asked his psychiatrist, Dr. Sam Loomis (and I'm paraphrasing here, "How the _____ did this guy learn to drive??"

As the paranoid Loomis pointed out, perhaps someone at Michael's mental facility had been giving him lessons. Think about that. Just imagine being sentenced to a life of incarceration... and yet having the initiative to learn how to drive a vehicle!

Was it foresight, to prepare for the day he makes his escape? Or just a way to pass the time? Either way, Michael made time to learn a new skill, and it paid massive dividends when the time came.

Stay in shape.

No pun intended, but the Shape (as the name Michael's character is famously credited under in the Halloween film credits) somehow manages to stay in great shape!

Unwilling to let his physical conditioning decline simply because he's locked up forever, the new movie shows Michael at age 61 (while the actual actor Nick Castle is himself 71), with short gray hair and a light gray beard, basking motionless in the sun in the middle of a checkered courtyard.

He never seems to move or get much chance to workout. Yet off-camera, Michael must be doing something right, because when the time comes and he's able to get back into the swing of things, he shows zero signs of being a frail old man.

On the contrary, he lifts people off the ground by the neck just as easily as he did in his 21-year-old prime. Never a fast walker, Michael still lumbers along as always, so speed and agility are weak spots of his. But in terms of raw strength, his seems completely undiminished after four decades of being locked up... making him ready as ever to launch into a murderous rampage at a moment's notice.

So if the Shape can stay at that peak level of physical conditioning at his age, then the rest of us have no excuses!

Be true to yourself.

One thing no one can ever accuse Michael Myers of is hypocrisy.

He knows precisely who he is and who he wants to be, and he doesn't give a damn what others think about him. Most genuinely successful people don't!

Even when he's allowing others to assist him, Michael's not pretending to be their friend or using flattery to persuade them. All he is doing is not killing them, and it is their mistake if they assume this to mean he has some sort of rapport with them. He doesn't.

But, since Michael isn't exactly a "talker" (he hasn't uttered a word since 1963), they have no way of knowing his true feelings about them (as in "none"). But the point is, his true feelings never change. Ever.

He has no feelings or empathy for anyone, he enjoys murdering people and staging their bodies (impaling them to walls is always a favorite), and he really, really, really loves his mask (which, if you didn't know, is basically a white William Shatner mask. Yes, look closely. Michael Myers is wearing a Captain Kirk mask painted white, and with the eye holes expanded).

Don't reinvent the wheel.

Michael Myers doesn't mind learning new things, as mentioned. BUT—he also knows how to stick to a proven formula.

In the new film, when he makes his way back to his hometown of Haddenfield, Illinois, he first picks up a hammer from an open garage, which he uses to silence a housewife whose butcher knife he happens to want.

Ah yes, the butcher knife, his tried and true weapon of choice. Why does he adore killing people with a kitchen utensil? Because it works, that's why! Successful people don't waste time fixing what ain't broke!

In the case of his butcher knife, as boring as it may seem, it serves all the purposes he needs from it. The blade is long and sharp, and a single glancing slice into a victim is enough to cause incredible pain and blood loss, slowing them down while also sending them into an instant panic.

This is precisely how Michael likes his prey. When he was a boy, his very first murder (of his sister, in their home) relied on this type of instrument because it happened to be handy. But after seeing the effect of it, he clearly became addicted to it and has returned time and again to the butcher knife as a means to his lethal ends.

A gun would never do for someone like him. He prefers to see his victims terrified and screaming, for whatever reason. Michael enjoys the game, and the chase... but he doesn't care to break a sweat (when you're wearing a rubber Halloween mask, you wouldn't want to sweat in that, either!).

So, all in all, Michael Myers exhibits numerous traits of a highly successful person. And one final note—if you consider it, he's really a sort of optimistic guy. It may not come across like that (especially if he's breaking someone's neck), but optimism doesn't always mean "happiness." He's committed (pun intended) to getting what he wants, and firmly believes that eventually, one day, he will. That's an example of the terrifying optimism of villains (of which I write more of here!).

The Terrifying Optimism of Villains

Surprising life lessons from fiction's worst scum bags!

They lied to you. All of them.

Your own family, your own friends. Even the government. Especially the government...

Now there's an Artificially Intelligent virus stalking you, and your stepfather just threw you off a bridge.

Now your DNA is being rewritten by nanobots, and you think your grandpa is behind it all.

Things couldn't get any worse.

Until... they do.


Unlike most heroes, California teen Hector Haveck's powers weren't caused by catastrophe. All he wanted for the summer was to get close to his Robotics classmate, Yésica. Instead "Heck" is forced to grapple with a new series of inexplicable and totally worthless abnormal abilities... abilities which quickly grow out of his control.

Meanwhile, unsettling side effects begin to manifest. Heck inadvertently bounces back and forth through time and keeps crossing into a parallel world called "Earch," whose underwater ruler Oannes is bent on merging the two worlds together, using Heck as the conduit. In our world, a secret cabal of spies and global elites are helping make the arrangements on this end, using Hector as an unwitting pawn.

Intertwining story arcs of Nikola Tesla, Godfather of the Electrical Age, and featuring cameos by Rasputin the Mad Monk, Napoleon of France, Jack the Ripper, and Albert Einstein, this genre-defying tale tackles every global conspiracy from Men in Black to the lost city of Atlantis, mind control programs, trans-dimensional "aliens," and secret elitist cabals plotting world domination. As Hector Haveck ties it all together, he realizes he's sitting smack in the middle of it all... the nexus of a trans-dimensional catastrophe! But with nobody he can trust, what good does it do him to know the truth?

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Matt Cates

Retired Air Force Vet; former admin at Oregon State University; author of Haveck: The First Transhuman; GI Jobs contributor and creator of 

See all posts by Matt Cates