Jaq's Review: Rob Zombie's Halloween - All Treat and Few Tricks
by Jaq Greenspon
September 2, 2007
To paraphrase an old car commercial: This ain't your father's Halloween. No indeed. Where John Carpenter's 1978 film was a modern fairy-tale about the dangers of pre-marital sex, Rob Zombie's version eliminates the moralizing over-tones and brings in a back story which tries to define, once and for all, how an American psychopath is made.
And it works. Mostly.
Taking the '78 film as his starting point, Zombie completely re-envisions the background and history of Michael Myers, the Boogeyman who started the trend. In his film, Zombie lets us in, albeit only slightly, to the mind of young Myers (a haunting Daeg Faerch). In this world, Myers is the only son in a dysfunctional family unit populated by a lay about step-father, a stripper mother (Sheri Moon Zombie) and a slutty older sister, all of whom, ultimately, fail the young boy. All he is looking for is a little compassion and understanding and he gets none. The only family member he cares about, other than his mother, because, after all, every little boy loves his mother, is little baby Boo, the innocent infant. So with a home life the antithesis of Norman Rockwell, it only stands to reason young Myers would also have trouble in school. He is the victim of stereotypical bullies and we begin to get a hint something is wrong when the principle has to call mom in due, not only to a fight in the bathroom, but also to the dead cat found in the boy's backpack.
Naturally, Halloween night comes along and this boy, who seems to be trying to hold his maniacal side in check, just wants his sister to take him trick or treating. When she refuses, choosing instead to spend the time having sex with her greasy boyfriend, a little switch trips somewhere and by the end of the night, everyone in the house, except Baby Boo, is dead.
Michael is sent off to the sanitarium, there to be mentally prodded by Dr. Loomis (Malcolm McDowell). It only takes about a year for Myers to totally withdraw, killing a nurse with a fork and being put into permanent lock-down. It is also here Zombie, who also wrote the script, really starts to bring the character to life. He imbues Myers with a fascination for masks, things which cover his "ugly" face. When we first see Michael as an adult, we are treated to one of the most disturbing visuals in the whole gory film: a cell covered with a multitude of masks. The thought of all the different Michael Myers (now played by the enormous Tyler Mane) who might be present is a daunting thing, leaving us to wonder which one will escape… because yes, one will escape and he will return to his hometown of Haddonfield to wreck whatever vengeance his addled mind deems appropriate.
The escape scene is bloody, but not to the point of absurdity. Zombie definitely understands how to draw the most squeam from his buck. And when Myers returns to Haddonfield the film starts to get back onto a more familiar footing. This is where Zombie rejoins with the 1978 film, although the small town is certainly given a new millennium update. It is also here, 17 years after the original incident, that some of Zombie's logic begins to fail him. An observant mind will question the age of Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) and Zombie's characters do, in an effort to hold true to the essence of the original, commit some of the cardinal stupidities of horror films. During the third act, you might find yourself screaming at the film, yelling at a character for doing something inanely dumb.
Of course, if you do, then maybe Zombie has succeeded in what he set out to do - make a horror film where you actually care about what happens to the characters, even the bad guys,
Reader Feedback - 13 Comments
I wasn't planning on seeing this, but after reading your review, I might just have to cough up some money for a ticket.
Bonnie Jones on Sep 3, 2007
Wretched movie. there was no reason to remake this. oh yeah, I forgot, $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
andrew on Sep 3, 2007
This film is a complete disgrace. I'm a big fan of the original, and Michael Myers is my second biggest fear (behind sharks, thanks Jaws) but at the same time I love letting him scare me over and over again. But I'm not so much a fan that I hold the mythology of the original so dearly as to stop me from enjoying a remake or sequel. Hell, I really like Halloween: H20. But with all its noise, backstory, and blood I was not thrilled or scared for a second of this piece of cinematic sewage. Everything in the film maybe except the look of it is a misfire. The first time they use the classic theme music is pathetically inappropriate as is the first time we see Myers put on the mask. And Zombie is the only one to fault. I think he would have done a better job creating a sequel in the series and taking it his own route with interesting new ideas and characters, rather than trying to "reinvision" the original, which still holds perfectly. Even if you don't hold the original up to any sort of standard and don't care how they mess it up I would still have a lot of trouble finding anything to recommend. Everyone talks like characters in The Devil's Rejects, only they're in the wrong setting, the pacing is slow and then a final 30 minutes take over that are exhausting in the worst way possible. This is as bad a disgrace as Resurrection was, because while Resurrection was a joke, this one takes itself very seriously and you can feel how self-satisfied Rob Zombie is with every frame of it. After House of 1,000 Corpses and this, the man should never be allowed to hold a camera again, he's a dangerously bad filmmaker with a big head. PS. *minor spoilers* Michael Myers never ever ever runs or takes off his mask in front of others, and he does both in the final 15 minutes...what a joke.
chrisg on Sep 4, 2007
How does Zombie handle the escape scene?
B on Sep 4, 2007
Jaq - Thanks - I was just wondering because I know it's different from the workprint that leaked which is an unsettling rape scene.
B on Sep 4, 2007
So, who would you least likely want to meet in a dark alley? Chucky, Freddie Krueger, Jason, Leatherface, Michael Myers, or Phil Spector? Vote today at http://www.pollicious.com
JengoPop on Sep 4, 2007
chrisg is a pansy retard who shouldn't be watching movies to begin with. he praises halloween h20, a piece of cinematic cow shit, but he dosn't like rob zombies masterful remake of halloween? rob zombie is a genius, and his halloween was an example of a masterful use of the horror movie tropes that we've all come to recognize, but given new birth by zombie's love of horror and his vision as a director. everything from the camera techniques and angles used to the soundtrack in halloween shows why twenty years from now rob zombie is going to be one of the classic names in horror cinema. chrisq is no true horror fan. he is a thirty year old man who lives with his mother and considers a quality film something with lots of tits and explosions. do not listen to him....he masturbates to granny-tranny porn.
joec on Sep 5, 2007
anyone who says they didn't like the remake of halloween is just trying to hold onto the past too much. sorry pal. stuff has to evolve and change. what did u want the remake to be? the same exact story and the same exact timing of music cues and everything? u must be a complete idiot to say zombie did anything less than a phenomenal job remaking a horror classic. its not easy to take something so close to perfect and put your own little spin on it and still make is comparable to the first. In this case it was not only comparable but in my opinion genius. The guy completely thought up a believable reason for Myers to snap and become the menacing killing machine that he is. Stop being bitter that it isnt the 70's anymore pal!
Erik Zeiss on Sep 6, 2007
Rob Zombie may be original, he may be remarkable in his talents for directing and writing, but this was no masterpiece. Michael Myers was supposed to be an intelligent killer, not some huge Jason Vorhees-wannabe Crashing through shit when he can't find a decent place to hide. He had premature signals of schizophrenia, his mother was a whore, his sister was a whore, his dad was a white-trash cripple and he was bullied in school. THAT was enough to make him "snap and become the menacing killing machine that he is."? Then god help us all, cause that proves that 1/3 of my graduating highschool class should be institutionalized IMMEDIATELY! It seems that half the people who enjoyed this film only enjoyed it because it was indeed Rob Zombie who directed it. If it didn't have his name in the credits, then they would of looked at it with completely different eyes. Hell, even i'm a huge fan of Rob Zombie and his achievements, but there's no way in hell that i'm going to roll over and put my critical perspective in a shell just because he played a large role in it's development. Word of advice: wait for El Superbeasto to finish up, now THAT one's going to be worth a trip to the movies!
Zach on Sep 7, 2007
I thought the movie had to much porn and not enough killing and the music sucked. The third one was better and that one was retarded
jacob on Oct 26, 2007
Ok first of all....Rob Zombies remake of Halloween was no better than the first one. The rape scene was completely uncalled for. Pieces of crap like Rob Zombie have to put rape in a movie just to shock people. Find some other way to shock people you sick f**k. People like me dont want to see a woman screaming being raped. It's not very appealing to me. Although...the one they showed in theaters I liked. It didn't have the rape scene in it.
Alicia on Jan 10, 2008
I enjoyed the rape scene u stupid oversensitive bitch. It was one of the best bits of the movie. Those prison guards were just having good ole fashioned "enforced sex" or involuntary sex- the politically correct term for rape now. Grow a set of tits babe or don't go watch 18 cert films
Jack on Jun 19, 2009
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