Michael Myers’ Screen Time In Halloween Ends vs 1978 (& Why It Doesn’t Matter)

A comparison between Micheal Myers’ screen time in Halloween Ends and the 1978 original shows that screen time isn’t the only rubric for measuring a character’s presence. Michael Myers plays a comparatively minor role in the latest installment of the Halloween franchise as copy-cat killer Corey Cunningham takes his place as the chief serial killer of Haddonfield. While Michael eventually re-emerges from the sewers for one last confrontation with Laurie Strode, his absence is clearly felt for the majority of the film’s run time.

Interestingly, however, Michael Myers’ screen time in Halloween Ends is actually higher than it is in the original film. As revealed by the social media page Halloween Movie Source (via Twitter), the shape appears on-screen for a total of 10 minutes and 55 seconds in Halloween Ends, while his screen time in the original Halloween is only 9 minutes and 37 seconds. Though many have felt disappointed by the lack of Michael Myers compared to other movies in the franchise, this statistic seemingly proves that this criticism is unfounded.

Despite having less screen time, Michael Myers’ presence is far more pronounced and impactful in Carpenter’s 1978 classic than in Halloween Ends. One reason is that the original includes many POV shots and tracking shots of Michael as he stalks around Haddonfield, and utilizes several stand-ins for the shape such as the stolen car and Carpenter’s classic score. While Michael may not be visible in these moments, these techniques firmly establish Michael Myer’s (a.k.a., « The Shape ») presence in the original Halloween. When Michael does appear on-screen – particularly in the first half of the film – it is usually only for a split second, like when Laurie briefly sees him outside her classroom window or behind a hedge. While such shots have minimal impact on Michael’s screen time, they are vital for establishing the character’s presence in the scene as the audience, like Laurie, is left feeling that the mysterious shape lurks behind every Haddonfield corner.

This goes to show that screen time only proves the amount of time a character is on-screen and not the degree of presence or importance that character possesses. While Michael has more screen time in Halloween Ends, most of this comes in the film’s final act, during an extended fight with Laurie Strode. Michael is completely absent for the majority of the film, with no POV shots, tracking shots, and minimal split-second appearances. With Michael lurking in Haddonfield’s sewers for most of the film, Halloween End’s biggest twist sees Corey Cunningham don the famous mask and terrorize the town on Halloween night.

Throughout Halloween Ends, the focus is largely shifted away from Michael Myers himself and onto the lasting impact of his killing sprees upon the town of Haddonfield and characters such as Laurie and Allyson. Among those impacted is Corey Cunningham who, babysitting for a wealthy family on Halloween night 2019, accidentally causes the death of their young son in a scene that flips the opening scene of the original Halloween. Traumatized by the events of that night and subjected to years of being ostracized as a « psycho » and « monster », Corey eventually turns against Haddonfield. Director David Gordon Green defended this decision to shift the focus away from Michael Myers, while acknowledging that he and the production team were « taking a big risk » in doing so.

Michael’s presence is felt in a more indirect way. Not only does Corey commit the murders in Michael’s famous costume, but much of the town’s vitriolic rejection of Corey is attributed to the paranoia and division instilled by Michael Myers’ killing sprees. As suggested in Laurie’s discussion of « two kinds of evil, » Corey represents the evil « within » and becomes the Michael Myers Haddonfield created. Despite these indirect links, the choice to put Corey Cunningham’s story front and center in Halloween Ends, significantly reduces the on-screen presence and impact of Michael Myers – even if his actual screen time is higher than the original.