Short Story Review: Halloween: Sam

So, I found a copy online of Stefan Hutchinson’s short Halloween (the movie)-inspired short story Halloween: Sam here. Sam in the title is Dr. Sam Loomis, the psychiatrist who tries, and ultimately fails, to keep Michael Myers locked up after he kills his sister Judith Myers on Halloween night 1963. This story follows, largely, the final year in Loomis’ life.

Hutchinson is apparently well-versed in this world, as he’s the writer, producer and director of the Halloween: 25 Years of Terror documentary, and wrote other comics, such as Nightdance, First Death of Laurie Strode, 30 Years of Terror, One Good Scare, and Halloween: Autopsis, according to the Halloween movie Wiki.

I believe this was published in 2010, but I’m not entirely sure about that.

It’s a 39-page story, so that made for easy reading this morning. Spoilers ahead. Read the short story first, if you don’t want to be spoiled. It really is a quick read.

I’ll say two things right off the bat (these two thoughts I had after reading the first couple of pages):

1.) I love the idea of centering a Michael Myers story on … Dr. Sam Loomis, and adding in more backstory for that character. For example, the story starts with Loomis in London with a journalist named Elizabeth Worthington, and seemingly, Loomis, for whatever reason, leaves her and London for Illinois and has his run-in with fate, aka, Michael Myers.

2.) After Loomis leaves London, we get the scene we all know from the original 1978 movie: Michael Myers, as a six-year-old, killing his 15-year-old sister Judith Myers. There’s already something sexually deviant about it from the movie in terms of Michael Myers killing his sister while she’s half-naked in her room, albeit, from the point-of-view of that scene, he’s even more fascinated by the knife he’s using to kill her than her exposed breasts. That said, Hutchinson has a weird line to describe a 15-year-old who was just killed, “She falls half-naked from a chair with a thud, landing against the floor as blood begins to pour from the knife wounds that open-up her perfect body.” That’s weird, and not too get too “woke” on you, but aside from being rather lame writing (using the word “perfect” to describe something), I don’t think a more mindful author would describe a 15-year-old girl’s body as “perfect,” particularly in the context of her being butchered. So that irritated me after being excited about the initial Loomis set-up.

I’m also not convinced that Loomis, upon reviewing the crime scene as he does, would be filled with “vile, dizzying nausea.” He even pukes! In the films, Loomis strikes me as almost surgically clinical in how he operates, and while he would clearly have empathy, I don’t think he would be overwhelmed by death, even of a 15-year-old. He’s used to working with killers and the deranged.

That said, I can believe that after all he had seen, it would still have an effect on him, and he could become suicidal as a result, particularly in confronting Michael Myers, the absolute embodiment of evil. So I’m okay with that part.

Interesting choice to speed past the events of the first two films, but I quite liked this line as part of that, “Haddonfield, a small town famous for absolutely nothing, would become known around the world – a mass grave of innocence, a red-smeared mortuary of youth.” That’s a great way to describe the “before and after” of Haddonfield.

Overall, as I said, I love the idea of revisiting Loomis, and stretching back to pre-Michael Myers life, where he served during WWII. That’s fun, and Hutchinson does a commendable job of juxtaposing what seems to be a more carefree Loomis pre-Michael Myers and certainly a more weighty Loomis post-Michael Myers. The latter Loomis has the weight of the world of hell on his shoulders. He feels responsible for each death Michael Myers commits. That’s potent. I dig it.

I don’t so much dig the primary scene in the story when Myers somehow arrives at the hospital with Elizabeth undetected. Even putting that aside, Loomis does too much talking for my taste. That said, I do like the thread of an idea within the rantings that Michael Myers, now without (so Loomis thinks) Laurie Strode, his other sister to stalk, he doesn’t have the ability to recreate the death of Judith Myers. So, Michael Myers, like Loomis, is lost. So these two central forces in the story, the yin-and-yang, have a throughline of being lost together. I enjoy that thought.

And I know Michael Myers likes the “trick” part of “trick-or-treat” and messing with people, but I’m also not a fan of carving “Keri Tate,” which is the name and identity Laurie Strode takes on after faking her death, into the back of Elizabeth. It was too fan-fiction-y for me.

He also left Loomis alive, which is odd. Perhaps in service to him seeing the carving, but I would prefer the carving to not be a thing, and therefore, for Loomis to reach his demise at the hands of Myers.

Kid

Finally, a note on the comic drawings by Marcus Smith in the short story: Pretty solid. I enjoy the one of Myers’ eyes, which is the feature photo of this blog post. Because the “blackest eyes, the devil’s eyes,” is the line of the story and a pivotal aspect of Myers. The other comics are okay. The one colorized of Myers in the clown suit standing over a fallen Judith, pictured above, is great. I don’t much care for the rest, though, they have a weird colorization to them, almost like something you’d see in a futuristic Halloween story with that sanitized, sterile silver, as seen below.

bleh

Overall, Hutchinson did a decent job adding to the mythos of Halloween with more backstory on Loomis. This fits into the Halloween H20: 20 Years Later timeline (one of many timelines with this story), presumably before the film, as Loomis is dead and Michael Myers knows Laurie Strode is still alive. Now it’s only a matter of finding her whereabouts. I would have made some different creative choices, but I like the few ideas Hutchinson has here that, if in other hands, could have been fleshed out to great effect.

If you’re already a fan of Michael Myers and the Halloween films, then this is worth checking out.

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