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MUNCIE, Ind. – When the eleventh Halloween movie hits theatres on Oct. 19, a Ball State professor who studies horror films and fictional serial killers says the film series is “comforting” to its audience.

“There are people who are very dedicated to this movie franchise.  We seem to enjoy going back to our favorite monsters in these films. We know them. We sort of understand the killers and why they do things because audiences can relate to the characters,” said Dr. Ashley Donnelly, Associate Professor of Telecommunications at Ball State.  

Donnelly says characters like Michael Myers in the Halloween series can represent the same thing to audiences as Darth Vader in the Star Wars series.  She says the same people who first watched these two films when they debuted more than 40 years ago have a connection with the characters.

“People want to see what has happen to them over the years. In this case, it’s been 40 years, and Michael Myers looks pretty good for a man nearing 60.  It is a blessed family of creepy people,” jokes Donnelly.

The original Halloween was released in 1978 and was the first major film role for Jamie Lee Curtis.  She returns as Laurie Strode, who has been antagonized throughout the movie series by the character Michael Myers. 

Donnelly believes the film will be successful, like the recent Star Wars movies, because it has such a strong connection to the original.  

She also jokes that the series will likely continue as long as people continue to feel a connection to the characters, in spite of how old those characters may become.

“I guess that’s going to be the next [sequel]?  They’re in a retirement home.  That could be horrifying,” Donnelly said.  

Photo: Getty Images / Gabriel Olsen