The Last Horror Blog: Celebrate Halloween with These Classic Dr. Loomis Quotes

The Last Horror Blog: Celebrate Halloween with These Classic Dr. Loomis Quotes

Oct 30, 2014

Welcome to The Last Horror Blog, a biweekly column on all things horror.


Halloween Donald Pleasence

When one thinks about the Halloween franchise, the first thing that springs to mind is Michael Myers and his quest to kill his sister Laurie Strode (and later, her daughter). Myers is one of the screen’s all-time great bogeymen, a silent slasher hidden behind an emotionless, modified William Shatner mask. Myers makes the Halloween franchise special, but it’s always been my contention that the films genuinely work as well as they do (yes, even the much maligned sequels) not because of the killer, but because of the man chasing the killer.

Donald Pleasence’s Dr. Sam Loomis doesn’t get all the guts and glory in the Halloween franchise, but the doctor who first tried to rehabilitate a young and murderous Michael Myers before deciding society was better off if the monster was locked away forever does get all of the best lines. Pleasence’s penchant for taking melodramatic dialogue and making it sound awesome plays just as big a role in making the original film awesome as Michael’s relatively (by slasher-film standards) understated murders. As the pitch rises in the sequels, Loomis nearly surpasses Myers in terms of sheer over-the-top ridiculousness. With that in mind, we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate Halloween than by chronicling seven of Dr. Sam Loomis’ best quotes.

I- I- I watched him for 15 years, sitting in a room, staring at a wall, not seeing the wall, looking past the wall -- looking at this night, inhumanly patient, waiting for some secret, silent alarm to trigger him off. Death has come to your little town, sheriff. Now you can either ignore it, or you can help me to stop it.” – Halloween 1978

Halloween 1978 Loomis

Loomis never shines brighter as a character than he does in John Carpenter’s original Halloween. Nearly every line Pleasence utters in that film is a classic quotable that not only highlights the inherent danger of Michael’s impending rampage through Haddonfield, but also gives us a glimpse into Loomis’ state of mind. Loomis will become more and more unhinged in the sequels (where he takes on a Captain Ahab quality), but here he’s just a slightly eccentric doctor who sounds a little off his rocker. This line is one of my favorites because it’s understated in comparison to the good doctor’s more bombastic proclamations, but it still sounds ominous as hell.

 

“He's gone! He's gone from here! The evil is gone!” Halloween 1978

If that first quote is the understated Loomis, then this one is the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Pleasence unleashes this gem right in the opening moments of the film, after Michael has stolen Loomis’ sweet station wagon and nearly killed Nurse Chambers. Pleasence really sells the line, which makes it twice as awesome. The whole scene leading up to this moment really does a great job of establishing Loomis’ character – and his motivations for the rest of the series.

 

“I met him, 15 years ago. I was told there was nothing left -- no reason, no conscience, no understanding, and even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, of good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and the blackest eyes... the Devil's eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized that what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply... evil.” – Halloween 1978

Of all the Loomis lines in the original film, this is the one everyone remembers – and how could you not? The black-eye description always reminds me of Quint’s monologue in Jaws, but what really makes this particular bit of dialogue work is the understated way in which Pleasence delivers it. Again, it’s a huge contrast to the raving doctor we’ll find in the sequels.

 

“In order to appease the gods, the Druid priests held fire rituals. Prisoners of war, criminals, the insane, animals... were... burned alive in baskets. By observing the way they died, the Druids believed they could see omens of the future. Two thousand years later, we've come no further. Samhain isn't evil spirits. It isn't goblins, ghosts or witches. It's the unconscious mind. We're all afraid of the dark inside ourselves.” – Halloween II 1981

Halloween 2 Loomis

At the time Halloween II was released, this just seemed like a pretty cool throw-in line to let Loomis be Loomis. I wish it had stayed that way, but unfortunately Moustappha Akkad and company ran with the whole Samhain/Druid angle in Halloween 6 – which is the second worst decision in this franchise’s history, with the first being the one that made Laurie Strode Michael Myers’ sister. Again, this one feels like a Carpenter line inspired by another film – this time, Dario Argento’s Suspiria, which features a quote about witches, broken mirrors and broken minds.

 

“Michael? Why now? You waited 10 years. I knew this day would come. Don't go to Haddonfield. If you want another victim, take me. But leave those people in peace. Please, Michael? [pause]. Goddamn you.” – Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

Halloween 4 Loomis

Loomis, like Michael Myers, somehow miraculously returns for this 1988 entry – and he looks a lot worse for wear. By this point, the good doctor’s frayed around the edges, and you get the feeling that maybe he’s stared into the abyss for so long that it’s starting to stare back into him. Still, he’s hell-bent on stopping the evil once and for all, which we see in this scene early in the film. Loomis even gets to fire off a shot against his old nemesis in what’s arguably the most powerful scene in this film.

 

“I prayed that he would burn in Hell. But in my heart, I knew that Hell would not have him.” – Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers

Halloween 5 Loomis

This entry in the series might be Loomis’ darkest hour as a character – he’s pretty much full-on insane for most of this movie, presented in a way that doesn’t make him entirely sympathetic (he uses a nine-year-old girl as bait to lure Myers to a final showdown at his old homestead) or even particularly likable. Of course, this is Loomis – and even if he’s crazy, it’s totally like a fox so you know he’s got some angle to try and stop Michael once and for all. The above is his best line in the whole movie, which manages to be melodramatic but cool. Most of his other lines in this sequel are just melodramatic.

 

“Michael Myers was just six years old when he stabbed his sister to death in 1963. Here in this house. For the next 15 years, I became obsessed with finding out what was living inside of him. He was my life's work and my ultimate failure. I knew what he was but I never knew why.” – Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers

Halloween 6 Loomis

If it’s not already obvious, Loomis was really a character who was a bit of foil for the mute Michael Myers throughout this series. Sure, Pleasence chases after Myers in each of the films, but all his bombastic quotes serve double duty – they show us a bit about Loomis’ mind state, but they also fulfill the need for someone to remind us just how dangerous and otherworldly Myers is. Loomis’ proclamations make sure we never forget that Michael isn’t just some mass murderer – there’s something supernatural about him too – and since Myers can’t speak, Carpenter and company used Loomis to voice some of those things aloud.

However, it’s fitting that our last quote comes from Pleasence’s final appearance in the series – and that it focuses more on Loomis than it does Myers. Halloween 6 is a terrible film, but at least Loomis (who looks very tired and old – this would be Pleasence’s last screen appearance as the actor would die soon after) is back to being likable after his work in Halloween 5.

After five films, this quote pretty much sums up everything Loomis is – he acknowledges the obsession and his ultimate failure, letting us know that if he could have just figured out the “why” of Michael Myers, maybe all this tragedy could have been averted.

Personally, I’ve always been sad that Halloween 6 and Fatal Frames were the last two films Pleasence made before he passed. Neither is particularly good, nor indicative of what a great character actor he was. That being said, I'm at least glad that Loomis got to utter these lines before he exited the stage for the final time. As a summation of what drove one of the franchise's most vitally important characters, they could have done a lot worse than this. 

Happy Halloween!

 

 

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