Runtime: 109 minutes
Studio: Dimension Films
Review done by: Serial McKiller
Starring: Tyler Mane, Malcolm McDowell, Daeg Faerch, Pat Skipper, Dee
Wallace Stone, Sheri Moon Zombie, William Forsythe
Director: Rob Zombie
Synopsis: After being committed for 17 years, Michael Myers, now a grown
man and still very dangerous, is mistakenly released from the mental
institution (where he was committed as a 10 year old) and he immediately
returns to Haddonfield, where he wants to find his baby sister, Laurie.
Anyone who crosses his path is in mortal danger.
In the beginning there was the first big four. Beginning in the late 70's and
into the 80's. We had Jason, we had Leatherface and of course we had
Freddy Kruger. However within that shuffle there was Michael Myers, a killer
whom despite several, often piss poor sequels never seemed to have become
as much a slasher staple like the others. Perhaps this is because John
Carpenter's classic "Halloween" wasn't a gory film, but was more a film about
suspense and less is more. People actually watched those sequels expecting
something other than just gross kills, however usually that's more or less
what they got. Tommy Lee Wallace can be thanked for at least some of that.
John Carpenter's "Halloween" was something that was part "Psycho" and part
urban legend story you told to kids on a dusty and dull night to scare them.
After it Myers was the boogeyman. Now this all changed with the increased
amount of drabby additions. Not so much counting "Halloween III" which
didn't involve Michael at all, and no that's not why it sucked.
Feel free to rent that some time. But long story short Michael Myer's simply
became another lumbering, psychopath with a knife chasing dim-witted, sex
crazed teens for pretty much no damn good reason. The exclamation mark
on that being "Halloween: Resurrection" which is probably one of the worst
sequels I've ever seen. I'm probably one of the only people to see and yet
still remember it, hooray... Now all this brings us up to 2007 and Rob
Zombie's "revision" of "Halloween". Many things were said before it's release
and still more after which. A lot of people have viewed it online already (gotta
love pirates!) and thus everyone and their grandma has thoughts on it (yeah
it's that old). For me Zombie took the story in a very different road. Not the
best one sadly, but one I still found myself enjoying. No I'm not aiming this
the same way I aimed "The Invasion" which I honestly wish I could re-review
and explain that some of that was just pure critical biases since really... Well
"The Invasion" sucked. But alas some things can't change. I actually enjoyed
Rob Zombie's "Halloween".
We brought in on Michael's childhood. Growing up in a rough, white trash
world of anger and verbal abuse is what helped shape him. Sheri Moon
Zombie plays Deborah Myers, his mother and probably the kindest voice in
his world. William Forsythe plays Ronnie White something of a step-father
figure whom is loud, vile and verbally abusive to the mother and Michael.
From there we get a glimpse in at school life. He's picked on by bullies as par
his mother's job as a stripper. He gets sent to the principals office where a
few disturbing items are found. For one a dead cat in his backpack and
several pictures of dead, tortured animals. All Ronnie can do is call him names
while he hides behind his paper masks he makes. We also see Michael's first
kill. It's a particularly brutal scene that really captures Zombie's style of
filmmaking. It's a much gritty and in-your-face type of tone to it. Most of the
death scenes aren't flashy or vibrant, but he takes them as murder scenes.
Like the type you'd see in a book in black & white behind police tape. That
was also the night Michael killed members of his family.
All except the mother and his little baby sister. Laurie. Enter Samuel Loomis
now played by Malcom McDowell. Loomis wants to help and is there for
Michael for fifteen years. In which time Michael stops speaking to anyone and
just makes his masks. The comes the bloody escape massacre. For there we
leave prequel world and head into the remake. Scout Taylor-Compton steps
into Jamie Lee Curtis' shoes as the teenage Laurie Strode whom Michael has
come back to his home for. I shall not continue with minor nor major spoilers
for it's not my place, but it does do wonders for the slasher genre. This said
there's things that didn't work. For one Tyler Bate's score is too electric. I did
like his unused remake of John Carpenter's theme song and I liked another
score he re-made and that was used. I believe it's called "The Figure Stalks
Laurie". In any case those were good, but the others cues are far too metal
and distracting from the tension. Another issue is something that I feel very
half and half on, and that's the back story.
On one hand I love the fact that Zombie wanted to give a rhyme and reason
for his actions. Not only that but he showed it all in a very realistic fashion,
not generalize or Hollywood-ed up, but like someone who sat in small rooms
with psychiatric patients doing research. However with all the back story and
a look into his world it does take away a good bit of that boogeyman fear.
Part of the power of the original was that you never knew what he was
thinking or if in fact he was thinking. It made him one-dimensional, but it still
made him more menacing. Here Michael kills someone who's been nice to him
throughout his incarceration. To me it seems as if Zombie wants us to hate
Michael. Or perhaps it's to understand him for what comes later? I don't
know. I feel highly divided on some of his M.O. Something else that was a
little tippy was Malcom McDowell as Loomis. A good bit of his dialogue sounds
like something out of Bram Stoker.
I'm a mild fan of McDowell. Whenever I see him in a film I usually think of he's
the villian...and then he turns out to be so...so I'm guessing that's
something I'll live with. But there are times when it seems you're supposed
to really be annoyed with him. Which I always loved him in the old films. He
had a bit of Sherlock Holmes to him that made him interesting. But McDowell
and Zombie plays him as...well...as what he is; A shrink. Someone who cares,
yet you often wonder what it is he cares about. Is it you? Is it himself? Or is
it his nice paycheck he's getting for listening to you and slamming down
some notes. Or the possible book deal he's getting. Or maybe, just maybe
he cares about you and what you might do. The pieces of this pie are pretty
sweet though. You'll notice a ton of Rob Zombie's crew from "House of 1000
Corpses" and "The Devil's Rejects" and even more horror legends
strategically placed in there. Those are like little treats for people who know
their horror. Also his style has matured a great deal, yet he still knows how
to play with angles and lighting.
Rob Zombie is the real star of the film here because of it. His wife gives a
terrific performance as does many of the other supporting cast. The third act
does add some fun to the slasher film genre like I had hoped. Something that
"The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" remake did as well and then kind of
half-assed in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning". Michael is a
juggernaut, but one we know thinks at least a small bit. He's brutal and a
psychopath. Does that mean we have to show his killing? I think to gain what
Zombie wanted us to feel about him, then yes we did. Also I have a certain
love for the ending he chose to go with which was quite different then what I
expected. I grew up with this film. In fact this is maybe the first horror film I
ever watched as a child. I knew the music, the names, the fear and the mask.
I was and am a die hard lover of John Carpenter's "Halloween". Did the
crappy ass sequels mess that up? No, but they wrecked what could have
been a very different series of films.
Rob Zombie doesn't want us to compare both films, nor should we. However
in certain cases its going to happen. Hence why I did so many times. I
wanted a "Halloween" film that felt worthy of being part of the series and yes
this is. It's not the greatest, but it's still very entertaining and very daring
and different and that's the kicker! Some are going to loathe it, hate Zombie
and everything he stands to gain in this film. While other's will love it and find
it intelligent and very kinetic like a lot of modern horror. But that's what
happens with daring acts. Taking something so well known and deciding to
go some place very, very different with it. Generally having the balls to do it
in the first place is impressive, but to pull if off is even better. I write this not
as a horror fan, nor film critic, or writer or wanna-be director. I say this as a
fan. See this with an open mind to what he's doing. Don't sit down and
watch Carpenter's, take notes then watch Zombie's and compare. Watch it to
see what he thinks gives birth to evil and then what feeds it's flames.
Online since: February 20th, 2006