Behind the Monsters – “Michael Myers” is Shudder’s next step into the horror documentary space. Behind the Monsters promises a guide to legendary horror icons.

No horror icon came out of a filmmaker’s first draft fully formed. There were early drafts, wrong turns, experimentation. Once made flesh (or latex), there’s presentation, impact, audience response and legacy. Each of these steps that nudge a horror creation toward the annals of legend will be explored in Shudder’s BEHIND THE MONSTERS. Each episode examines a horror icon who has broken free of the confines of the film from which it was born and become the stuff of legend.

Shudder Synopsis for Behind the Monsters

The series’ first episode deals with the biggest slasher icon of all, Michael Myers of the Halloween franchise:

A cheap film shot in 21 days changed the landscape of horror, made several careers, and gave one acress an iconic role that she’s tweaking 42 years later.

Shudder Synopsis for Behind the Monsters – “Michael Myers”

So, the question is, how good is this examination of a horror icon?

Behind the Monsters - "Michael Myers" title sequence screencap with Michael Myers illustration
The gorgeous title sequence deserves a series of prints.

What Worked with Behind the Monsters – “Michael Myers”

The episode is a remarkably affectionate look back at why fans and audience have loved the character of Michael Myers, and the larger Halloween franchise, for over four decades. The show uses a combination of new interviews, film clips, and archival content. The episode is a generalized survey of the franchise, specifically as it relates to Michael Myers as a slasher character. This may not be a show geared toward people who have been into the character for a while. You’ll end up seeing a lot of the same discussion points you’ve seen revisited again and again. However, they are presented in an entertaining and slickly-produced way. New information is pretty rare. Yet, the joy comes from commiserating. The interviews diverse array of fans who have such fond memories and strong opinions of the franchise are fun.

Half the entertainment is seeing who pops up in the span of 45 minutes. From the franchise, there are interviews with Nick Castle, Jamie Lee Curtis, and John Carpenter, and producer Bryan Turek. James Jude Courtney and Christopher Nelson from Halloween (2018) show up as well. From the larger world of fans, you get comedians like Jonah Ray, Matt Gourley, Paul Rust. Even LPotL‘s Ben Kissel and Henry Zebrowski appear. The Boulet Brothers, Vanessa Guerrero, and Rebekah McKendry also lend their insights to the proceedings as well. While hardcore fans may not learn much new from the episode, it is a great entry point for newer and less knowledgeable fans.

Behind the Monsters - Michael Myers screenshot of Nick Castle speaking.
Nick Castle, the original Shape is always fun to listen to.

What Didn’t Work

Again, the show is well-produced and fun, but for those hardcore fans of Halloween, there isn’t much new at all. All the debates present within the fandom are there, ranging from the canonicity of certain films, the cult status of the originally maligned Halloween III, and the mixed feelings on Rob Zombie’s take on the franchise. One unexpectedly in-depth discussion, one to inspire continual discussion: the nature of the Shape itself. Does motivation kill the mystique of Myers? Some fans say yes, some say no. Agreement seems impossible. It is a frequent debate among fans, given a spotlight by this show.

However, while a little lacking in revelations for the hardcore horror nerds, Behind the Monsters – “Michael Myers” is still very much a delight at roughly 45 minutes. You won’t really learn anything you didn’t already know, but you’ll get the sense that the thing you love is still very much important thanks to the wide variety of interviewed talents. We feel it is worth a watch at four out of five Cthulhus.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Did you watch Behind the Monsters – “Michael Myers,” yet? Let us know what you think. Is there something to offer the hardcore Halloween fan, or is this more suited for newbies to these iconic characters? Catch new episodes on Wednesdays exclusively on Shudder.

About the Author

David Davis is a writer, cartoonist, and educator in Southern California with an M.A. in literature and writing studies.

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