Updated: Feb 1
Inside every one of us, there exists a dark side. Most people rise above it, but some are consumed by it. Until there is nothing left, but pure evil. - Dr. Samuel Loomis
We’ve been given quite a few glimpses and opinions of who Michael Myers is and why he slaughters his victims effortlessly. He’s been accused of not even being human. But, don’t we all kind of walk through our lives in the same clothes, mechanically and kill it at our routines ,metaphorically, everyday?
Some of us will or will not admit that waking up everyday to tend to these routines is about as hard as trying to stay above turbulent water. Some of us are constantly trying not to drown while life around us is floating on their own calm seas. Rob, better known as @the_real_michael_myers is one of those people. But, instead of relenting to the illness, Rob has become a beacon of light to everyone he encounters.
When I first encountered Rob, I was intimidated. Even though I had been following him for a year or two on Instagram. The guy is well known for his very convincing portrayal of Michael Myers and who was I to even consider taking a picture of him? I just kind of stood back and observed this unique version of Michael Myers. At Monsterpalooza this past April, despite my pre-judgement of Rob, I was totally drawn to his cosplay shake-up. He decided to ditch the blue jumpsuit and mask and instead re-created the intense introduction scene in Halloween 2018. The scene where Michael Myers was being held at Smith's Grove Rehab facility dressed in a white uniform, hands and feet shackled and the unobstructed blind eye. Rob obliged all requests for photos, including mine, by facing a wall and standing silent as only Michael Myers can.
My mind was blown! Even though I didn't have the balls to speak to Rob that day, I was intrigued and warmed by how nice Rob was to everyone. I was even more curious when I really looked into his Instagram profile and discovered that Rob openly fights against anxiety and depression daily and has been doing so for over 23 years. Yet, here he is playing the most epic slasher killer of all time, all while making others laugh, dancing, taking animated pictures and even playing with kids. They are like little magnets! When they see Rob, they run towards him instead of away! I was fortunate to catch Rob at Terror Market back in August and he was very warm hearted and welcoming towards my friend and I. Despite the pictures he had us take of him choking us, putting his knife to our throats and bashing our heads together. But, I discovered, personally, that Rob is actually very soft spoken and insanely kind hearted. I found he’s not intimidating at all! Since then, I have witnessed Rob receive gifts and hand drawn pictures from children and adults. In a sea of Michael Myers cosplayers, you will always know its Rob.
It was announced just a few days before Salem's Market that Rob would not only have his own photo-opp but, he would be running optional donations for NAMI Orange County. NAMI is a Mental Health organization that offers support, education and advocacy for people struggling with mental illness. There could not have been a better person for the job and Rob was humbled, grateful and once again open about his struggles. So, imagine my anxiety when Rob was kind enough to grant me a few moments of his time to talk about himself, Michael Myers and this damn illness. You can see my anxiety in the picture below. Ignore the beer. It didn't help calm me down anyways.
MH: How long have you been cosplaying and what moved you to do it?
Rob: Since 2013, I just stumbled doing it. I just like Halloween and just like dressing up.
MH: Do you consider it a form of therapy at this point?
Rob: Sometimes yes, well now especially but, as a kid, no, I didn't know any better.
MH: You have other cosplays before Michael Myers. So, what is it about Michael Myers.
Rob: I just like the movie. It's the silence he portrays. I don't have to really talk to anyone so I just go and walk around and be creepy and take pictures.
MH: How was it for you donning the mask for the first time?
Rob: Felt good.
MH: Would you care to elaborate? Was it sweaty and hot? Did it smell?
Rob: Well, yea it gets hot, its latex.
MH: I've seen the reactions people get when they see you. Just recently you made a surprise visit to the Sugarmynt Gallery's backyard screening of Halloween and the crowd loved your appearance! Your dancing is legend, you get drawings from kids. You bring a unique energy to every even you attend. Do these reactions give you a sense of happiness?
Rob: Don't forget autographs for kids. Yes, it all gives me a sense of happiness. Thats why I do it.
MH: Do you reflect on those moments when your anxiety and what I call "darkness" takes over? Like, those times it hard to get out of bed or you feel like you can't move.
Rob: I normally tend to just try to cope with it. Like everybody. Having a child, you have to put on that parent face.
MH: Funny story, I was really intimidated by you when I first encountered you.
Rob: Its the eye.
MH: Ha! No, its not. But, now that I have gotten to know you a little bit, I have found you're not intimidating at all. I was wrong, I'm so sorry for judging you. So, my next question, When you're in a shitty headspace, do the people around you misunderstand you?
Rob: Everybody judges. No matter what they do. So, like people at work for example judge me because I have a bunch of horror stuff all over my desk. I even get judged for being the white boy at work. Whatever. Its kindergarten crap.
MH: When we were growing up and even now, our generation has this stigma about depression and anxiety. Like it's something we can control. I found men have it harder. Do you agree?
Rob: Everybody has it bad. It doesn't matter if its a man or woman. Everybody suffers. I think mental illness is easily mislabeled.
MH: Now, you've mentioned to me that you get anxious and overthink before events. Does it ever get any easier?
Rob: Sometimes. It depends on where I am. Like, here its ok. You're always going to get those cobwebs. Is something going to go wrong? The weather. How does the mask look? How does everyone see you? If I trip and fall and I pray I don't. Accidently run into a kid.
MH: What methods do you use to calm yourself:
Rob: It usually just switches off. Like, today. Its really nice with the horror community. It's more accepted here compared to non-horror events where they bash you for wearing a superman costume and that person for being fat.
MH: Thats why I love the horror community.
Rob: Yea, everyone is happy to see you (meaning Rob) here.
MH: Back to your dancing. Are those moves solely for the guest's entertainment? Do you get any personal benefit out it?
Rob: I just let it loose. Break it out. Like, earlier there was nobody here, I just get that vibe and think, "hey its a good song" And then I pull out the dumb dancing.
MH: I missed that, damn it! Well, if someone came to you with any advice, are there any words of encouragement you can give to those out there struggling in silence?
Rob: Just talk to somebody. Talk to anybody. There will always be people out there that may not listen to you. But, there is help even on google. Get the suicide prevention number. You may not know that person, but they are trained to help you. Even use social media. You aren't alone.
Rob is modest and humble and it was my utmost pleasure to be able to talk with him. As one of the leading examples of how horror eases mental illness, I look forward to seeing Rob continue to emerge as the best of us in the horror community. You can follow Rob on Instagram @the_real_michael_myers. Subscribe and like his YouTube channel Cosplay Michael Myers.
And most importantly, if you need help. Just reach out.