Halloween 1978 left a big question: how did Michael Myers know how to drive if he spent 15 years at Smith’s Grove? Let’s take a look.
John Carpenter’s Halloween introduced Michael Myers and through him created a plot hole that few know has already been solved, but that didn’t happen in the movies. Back in 1978, Carpenter changed the horror genre with Halloween, which even though it wasn’t well-received when it was released, with time critics have been able to fully appreciate its uniqueness and everything it did for the horror genre. Halloween helped popularize the slasher genre in the 1980s and also helped develop the genre, and has served as inspiration for many filmmakers.
Halloween follows the story of Michael Myers, who after killing his sister when he was six-years-old, was sent to Smith’s Grove Sanitarium. Fifteen years later, Michael escaped and returned to his hometown Haddonfield, Illinois, where he began to stalk Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her friends on Halloween night, with Laurie being the only survivor and his target in some of the subsequent movies. Michael Myers was a very special case not only because of what he did but because of his behavior at Smith’s Grove, as he never said a word and he barely moved. The night he escaped, he took Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) and Marion Chambers’ (Nancy Stephens) car and sped away, which made way for a big question that has haunted the franchise for years: how did Michael Myers know how to drive?
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As mentioned above, Michael Myers killed his sister when he was six-years-old, and while he lived a normal life up until that point, it’s unlikely his parents taught him how to drive at such a young age. Spending fifteen years at Smith’s Grove Sanitarium, where he was extremely reclusive, it’s nearly impossible that someone decided to teach such a special patient how to drive. Carpenter was well aware that this was going to raise a lot of eyebrows, so he added the scene where Dr. Wynn tells Loomis that Michael “can’t drive a car”, with Loomis shooting back with “he was doing very well last night! Maybe someone around here gave him lessons!”, but it was never properly explained how or who taught Michael Myers how to drive – luckily, the novelization did.
The Halloween novelization, written by Richard Curtis (under the pseudonym Curtis Richard) added a couple of details not featured in the movie, and while some of these contradict the source material (such as Michael speaking during his time at the sanitarium), others have answered a couple of questions, such as how Michael knew how to drive. The explanation given in the novelization is that Michael learned by watching Dr. Loomis drive, as he drove him to various hearings over the years – it’s a simple explanation, but one that fits Michael’s character, as he is quite observant. With the Halloween franchise going through different retcons, at one point it might have given an answer to this plot hole, but it’s a very lazy one and not official: in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, Dr. Wynn was revealed to be part of the Cult of Thorn, and so fans have theorized that he was the one who taught Michael how to drive.
Unless Carpenter gives a proper answer to the big question of how Michael Myers knew how to drive in Halloween, the best answer there is is the one given by the novelization, which as mentioned above, makes sense with who Michael Myers is and how he acts, as many tend to forget that, while he’s always quiet, he’s always observing everything and everyone around him.
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