Dr. Sam Loomis is arguably the most famous character in the Halloween movie franchise, next to Michael Myers. His passion and poetic allegories helped to create the mysterious persona that is The Shape. Donald Pleasence’s portrayal of the justice-seeking doctor was a great success and a fan-favorite. However, the film’s depiction of a child psychiatrist was not as successful.
Halloween is one of the most beloved horror movie franchises of all time. Intentional or not, the original movie’s formula worked so well that it became a template for many slasher films to come in its wake.
What the film didn’t do is look into how a psychiatrist should react if their patient escapes a mental hospital. Dr. Sam Loomis is one of the protagonists of the franchise, and is played by the late Donald Pleasence for the first six movies (not including the third, which has no relation to Michael Myers or the Myers legend).
Sam first meets Myers after Michael was admitted to the Smith’s Grove Sanitarium for the murder of his older sister, Judith. Michael, seven at the time, is in an emotionless state. Some would call this “shock” or “acute stress disorder”. Not Dr. Loomis. He calls it “…this blank, pale, emotionless face and…the blackest eyes – the Devil’s eyes”. The complete lack of medical terminology is just the tip of the iceberg. His former patient is so triggering to Loomis, it soon becomes baffling that someone doesn’t take his medical license away. Nearly no one cares about this lunatic running frantically through the streets, terrorizing the community (yes, I am still referring to Dr. Loomis).
Although Sam Loomis is not an accurate depiction of a child psychiatrist, his crazed tenacity in destroying evil is still wildly entertaining to watch. And since we are still quarantined, I figured what better way to spend my time than to watch Dr. Loomis unravel, movie to movie. Read on for every time Dr. Sam Loomis should have been fired throughout the Halloween Franchise.
Dr. Sam Loomis Fails to Pick Up Michael Myers
In the second scene of the movie (Loomis’ first appearance in the film), Sam is rambling to a nurse on their way to pick up Michael. Loomis warns her not to underestimate it (referring to Myers) because it is pure evil. I understand that this is 1978 and even doctors might not have been as PC, but referring to your patient as less than a person seems…crass. A drinking game could be made out of how many times Dr. Loomis refers to Michael (possibly his only patient?) as it, evil, not human, etc. Regardless, what does Loomis do in this scene? Underestimate Michael Myers. Michael breaks free from the sanitarium, assaults the nurse, and steals Sam’s car. Amidst the chaos, we never see Loomis call the police, the FBI, or anybody. But “the evil is gone!”, so we shan’t worry. We simply shan’t.
Misses a Dead Body
Dr. Terence Wynn (rightfully) accosts Loomis the following day for not warning anyone about Michael’s aggressive outbursts. Loomis drives off angrily in what we can assume is a borrowed car. He stops somewhere on the highway to finally call the Haddonfield police department about his escaped mental patient possibly making his way to their town. We’re not sure why it didn’t dawn on him to call earlier, and we’re not sure who gave Michael directions to Haddonfield, but it is what it is. Sam gets off the phone and notices a tow truck parked nearby at what seems to be a gas station. He walks towards the truck, and notices a white hospital gown inside. Loomis sprints off, assuming this means Michael is on his way. If he would have scanned the area, maybe to check and see if Myers was still there, he would have found the dead body of the truck driver lying a foot from where he was standing. Sam does not call again about anything he has found. So, we are left to assume that no one finds the body for the remainder of the movie.
Tells the Police to Not Warn the Community
Dr. Loomis arrives to Haddonfield in a fairly nonchalant manner, considering the climate of the situation. He tells the Sheriff not to “phone in” about the lunatic on the loose (I am referring to Michael Myers this time) for fear of scaring Michael off. He tells the Sheriff to instruct the officers to “keep their heads down and eyes open”. You know, exactly what you wouldn’t want police to do while a killer is on the loose. Everyone continues on with their Halloween celebrations, completely unassuming.
Hiding in the Bushes, Heckling Children
Sam decides his best course of action is to hide in a bush outside of the Myers home, in case Michael returns. He does not investigate the area; he just sits and plops down behind some bushes. During his tenure in the bushes, the most menacing thing Dr. Loomis is faced with is Trick-or-Treaters. He eventually gets up to stretch his legs after yelling and hissing (and smiling?) at children to get them away from the house. He then notices that the Smith’s Grove car Michael stole is parked. across. the street. The car has been across the street from Loomis’ bush for who knows how long. Michael Myers was waltzing up and down the street, killing teenagers and all Loomis did was yell at children for being on his lawn.
Dr. Sam Loomis Shoots His Patient Six Times (and Don’t You Forget it!)
Sam eventually tracks Michael down just before he’s about to make his fourth kill (that’s right, three teens were killed while Loomis was sitting in a bush). He quickly shoots Michael, follows him into another room, and then shoots him five more times until Michael falls out a window. Loomis preferred to run around like a wild vigilante instead of letting the police call it in and conduct a thorough search. Talking the patient down should have been his first choice. Or perhaps shooting a warning shot. Regardless, Loomis shoots Michael six times and still does not detain him. He vanishes from the front lawn. The Evil is gone again.
Halloween II (1981)
Dr. Sam Loomis Tries to Shoot a Child and then Causes a Deadly Traffic Jam
Early in Halloween II, Loomis is waving his gun frantically through the town, talking about how Michael couldn’t have gotten away because he shot him six times. Cut to an innocent child trick-or-treating across the street, dressed incredibly similar to Michael Myers. Sam tries to shoot the child without thinking, blinking, or breathing. The Sheriff blocks him, but the mayhem has distracted another squad car, which hits the child at full speed. The vehicle slams the trick-or-treater into a van, and then the car catches fire. The poor kid dies in the crash. Loomis immediately flees the scene in another cop car, still waving his gun like a card-carrying member of the NRA. It is later determined that the person pinned between cars is a 17 year-old, and not Michael Myers. Dental records were required to identify the body. Loomis shrugs it all off and keeps trucking.
Tries to Kill More Innocent Bystanders
Loomis and an officer now come upon an angry mob protesting outside the Myers Home. Sam quickly rotates his revolver and counts his remaining bullets, in case he needs to shoot at anyone else who isn’t Michael Myers. Someone should remind Dr. Loomis that he should not be wielding a gun and should just stick to psychiatry, but I digress.
Holds a US Marshall Hostage
After finding out that Laurie Strode is Michael’s biological sister, Loomis holds a US Marshall hostage at gunpoint. This is the same US Marshall that has been ordered to take Loomis and escort him back to Smith’s Grove Sanitarium. Right when we think the government has a win and we can finally put this mad man (Loomis) behind bars, he shoots a “warning shot” out of the window and into the night. Sam kidnaps the Marshall, and we’re back on our way to tracking down Michael Myers.
Dr. Sam Loomis Blows Up the Wing of a Hospital
Loomis finally faces Myers and does not shoot him after bragging about previously shooting Michael six times. He is out of bullets after a night of shots fired at innocent people. Loomis and Laurie Strode are now cornered in a minor surgery Operating Room. Laurie, thankfully with her wits about her, shoots Michael in the face. But Myers does not go down. Loomis decides that his next course of action should be to blow up the hospital. We are not sure where any of the other hospital patients are located at this point, but I am sure Dr. Loomis doesn’t care. Loomis proceeds to blow up an entire hospital wing.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
“And then his doctor, of all people, shot him 6 times. And then he set him on fire!” – Mental Facility Security Guard
Michael Myers is Transported on Halloween Eve. Again.
We’re back in the Michael Myers universe and Michael is alive and somewhat well. He’s being transferred back to Smith’s Grove on – you guessed it – Halloween Eve. For some reason Dr. Loomis has never mentioned in a note or case file that Halloween might be a trigger for Myers. Moreover, Michael is still Dr. Loomis’ patient, which is shocking. Loomis hasn’t been reassigned, fired, or jailed. But I digress. Michael escapes during transport, killing everyone in the ambulance and crashing it into a ravine. They probably should have tried Christmas, Arbor Day, Valentine’s Day, Labor Day, or possibly a non-holiday.
Dr. Sam Loomis Blows Up a Gas Station
Michael murders another mechanic to procure a jumpsuit. Dr. Loomis later finds a dead mechanic hanging by chains after coincidentally going to the same gas station to fill his tank. Does he call the police? You’re damn right he doesn’t. He goes into the connected diner to find another innocent victim. Sam meets Michael in the kitchen and asks him why, after a decade, he decided to escape. Maybe it’s because they moved him on mischief night again when we know that is a Murder Trigger. But still, Loomis persists. He shoots twice at Michael, and misses again. Michael then steals a truck, and Loomis shoots into open air at the truck while he moves through the gas station. You can guess where this goes. Loomis leaves another crime scene engulfed in flames.
Gets Drunk (but Does a Good Job?)
Dr. Loomis has to hitchhike because he blew up his own car. He attempts to get into a car with teenagers but they [rightfully] leave him in the dust. He is picked up by an alcoholic priest immediately after. Loomis starts to drink and drive with the priest, like the professional he is. He eventually shows up to the Haddonfield Police Department drunk and rambling. Loomis does actually mention that there was a fire and six bodies. Point for Loomis! He did it! He finally suggests that the police tell people to hide inside and lock their doors. Huge character growth here. Is it because he’s drunk? Who is to say?
Tries to Shoot More Innocent People, and then Lets Other Non-Officers Shoot at Innocent People
Dr. Loomis picks Jamie and Rachel up with the Sheriff and sees two people dressed as Michael Myers, standing on both sides of the car. What does he do? Whips out his gun. Just as he’s about to shoot, the twin Myers remove their masks, revealing they are only teenagers, Dr. Loomis’ favorite prey. Loomis and the Sheriff then return to the police station to find all of the officers dead. I will let the police chief take the blame for not contacting the FBI on this one. Loomis instead decides to use a makeshift lynch mob of drunk and angry locals to catch Michael Myers. In a few short moments, the mob shoots and kills someone who was definitely not Michael Myers. Point taken away from Loomis.
Gets His Patient Wrong Again
Loomis, the Sheriff, and the Deputy go to the Sheriff’s house to safeguard Jamie and the other children. Loomis almost immediately grows tired and takes to the streets to look for Michael. Michael comes to the house and kills everyone inside until only Rachel and Jamie remain, hiding on the roof. Jamie and Rachel both fall off of the roof. Jamie runs off alone through the streets after presuming that Rachel is dead. Loomis appears (probably from a bush), and grabs Jamie from behind, scaring the living daylights out of her. She says she wants to go home but Loomis decides against it, saying that Jamie’s home will be the first place Michael goes. Instead, they go to the schoolhouse. How long are they at the school until Michael arrives, you ask? Four seconds. And Loomis is tossed to the side like a sack of potatoes.
He Tries To Shoot a Child (Again)
To end the movie, Jamie has her own Michael Myers moment and attacks her step mother. Loomis’ brain finally explodes. After some intense screaming, the doctor wields his gun once more to shoot Jamie, but is held back by the sheriff.
Halloween V: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Jamie is held at the Haddonfield Children’s Clinic one year later on Halloween Eve. No, no one has thought to move Jamie out of the tristate area. Dr. Loomis is still here and is now Jamie’s doctor. That’s right, the same man that tried to shoot Jamie in the last movie is now her doctor. Recent events have traumatized Jamie so badly that she is now mute. Thankfully, Dr. Loomis is a highly experienced psychiatrist.
Child Psychiatrist Struggles to Ask Child Questions
Sam struggles with Jamie’s silence, and often becomes agitated and aggressive towards her until she cries. If only there were someone at the clinic whose job it was to deal with childhood trauma! Loomis continues to torment Jamie into speechlessness until he throws her lunch tray.
Dr. Sam Loomis Loses His Patient
Jamie is now able to speak again (no thanks to Loomis), and needs to go warn Tina that Michael is after her. Somehow, Loomis loses track of Jamie and her friend from the clinic. There’s a Halloween pageant at the clinic, a mass murderer on the loose, and Jamie still sneaks out without Loomis noticing. When Loomis and the police (still unsure why they keep letting Loomis play chief of police) find Jamie. Tina is dead and Michael is gone. Dr. Loomis announces into the wilderness that Michael should return to the Myers Home to “stop the rage” and have Jamie. That’s right,
Uses a Child as Bait for a Serial Killer
Loomis devises a plan to literally use Jamie as bait and lure Michael into a trap. When the only police officer at the Myers Home feels uncomfortable with this decision and tries to radio other officers, Loomis smashes his walkie-talkie. Brilliant. It is outrageous that at this point in the movie, no one has suggested maybe letting Jamie heal a bit. You would think that Loomis would be trying his hardest to at least make this new patient a success story, but you’d be mistaken. His obsession with Michael consumes him so much that he is more than willing to permanently damage another child. But, Loomis does succeed in his plan. Michael comes for Jamie, and Loomis dangles her in front of him like a worm to “stop the rage”. Loomis lures Michael into a make-shift bear trap, hits him with a tranquilizer gun and then continues to beat Michael with a piece of wood until Loomis literally keels over. We pray the villain (Loomis) has been defeated, and that Jamie can finally live in peace.
Halloween VI: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
In the final installment of the original franchise (the next film was a soft reboot), it appears Haddonfield has finally gotten their shit together and canceled Halloween…until this movie. Until this movie, they were decent people for seven years. Loomis appears relaxed after retiring; maybe the stroke has softened his edges. Here we gain a sense of hope. And then Dr. Terence Wynn appears, and asks Loomis to take over Smith’s Grove. What in the world? We have to pause and question what positive attributes Loomis has given to society and Smith’s Grove in the past quarter century. He is nearly a serial killer himself at this point. The only options should be to leave him retired or turn him into the police. And yet, Loomis is offered a job. Typical. Loomis [shockingly] agrees that he has nothing beneficial to bring to the table, and attempts to decline. And then,
Dr. Sam Loomis Makes One Final Attempt to Catch Michael Myers
Loomis suddenly hears Jamie call in on a Haddonfield radio show annnnnnd, boom. We’re back, baby. Loomis almost immediately becomes poetically ambiguous and says that he can hear Michael’s heart beat, the evil is here, etc. The gloves are off. Honestly, Dr. Loomis doesn’t do too much in this movie when compared to the other films. This could possibly be due to his old age, or that actor, Donald Pleasence, passed away while the movie was being made. Regardless, Loomis does not cause as much wreckage in this film.
Never Realizes His Colleague Was the Leader of Evil Town, USA
In the final moments of Halloween VI, we find out that Dr. Terence Wynn is the leader of an ancient Druid cult. Dr. Wynn placed the original “Curse of Thorn” on Michael when he killed his sister. This turn in the franchise itself is a giant mess. You’re telling me that Loomis, who has been The Expert on Michael Myers for nearly thirty years…didn’t notice? The greatest shock of this movie is that Loomis wasn’t the leader of this Michael Myers-obsessed ancient cult.
In spite of frequently questionable decision making, Dr. Samuel Loomis is an irreplaceable piece of an incredibly accomplished movie franchise. Without Dr. Loomis, the BoogeyMan Michael Myers would be significantly less scary, and possibly would have never existed at all. But, at the end of the day, Dr. Sam Loomis was really awful at his job.