Michael Myers’ Renfield

This op-ed is supposed to play compare and contrast with the character Dr. Sartain from 2018’s HALLOWEEN and the apostate priest of RAWHEAD REX. Unfortunately the author lost me early on in what would otherwise have been an interesting piece by complaining about the Sartain character’s ethnicity. “I don’t think it’s great that the Michael-worshipping, self-appointing apprentice character…is also one of the movie’s only prominent characters who isn’t white.” Geeze Louise, does *everything* have to devolve into politics nowadays? The ethnicity of the actor playing the part in this case is completely irrelevant. He did a good job in the role. That’s all that matters. Not every casting choice has to be politicized.

I also took issue with this: “…there was one element of the movie that both the people who loved it and the people who hated it seemed to be united in their distaste for, and that’s the whole arc surrounding Dr. Ranbir Sartain.” And “It is impossible to bring up this movie without hearing someone complain about how unnecessary that character’s whole storyline is.” Um, no. Not true. Maybe try polling a larger test group, since I’ve heard literally *no one* bitching about Sartain, and I talk to a *lot* of Horror marks. (But then I don’t go surfing the ‘net *looking* for grousers to fit a narrative. Maybe that’s why I haven’t heard anything.)

Anyway, let’s get past the stuff that makes me roll my eyes to the parts I agree with. “A Renfield Complex, to me, denotes a character like Dracula’s Renfield…who works in service of the main monster…I personally love this particular trope because, no matter how its portrayed, it gives the villain a mythic quality, even more so than they may already have. In that respect, it was particularly great to see in a Halloween movie, because even as grounded as this movie is, it makes it feel a little larger than life. I can’t explain it, but seeing a character with that kind of reverence for the killer helps Michael feel like he’s finally entered classic monster status.” Yes. Thank you! I couldn’t agree more. And I love the way that “Renfield” has become a trope unto itself in the Horror genre, the same way an “Ahab” has, with its own inherent meaning recognizable to the literate Horror faithful. Dr. Sartain is a Renfield. A classic example.

By TheCheezman

WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS, specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced, and directed (and occasionally acted in) over two dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and True Crime genres. He obtained a doctorate in Occult Studies from Miskatonic University and is an active paranormal investigator. Is frequently told he resembles Anton Lavey. And Ming the Merciless. Denn die totden reiten schnell!

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