I didn’t think I could do it. I didn’t think I could make it through the remake of Halloween ever again, but here I sit, about to write the review, after just watching it. Surprisingly, or maybe not, my expectations where dailed in and I actually came out not hating it as much. Oh, it’s still a loud and obnoxious film, but it isn’t the anti-christ in celluloid form, like I remember it being…
Short nitty-gritty plot description from IMDb is as follows: After being committed for 17 years, Michael Myers, now a grown man and still very dangerous, escapes 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.
The remake for Halloween came to us at a time (2007) when the original series was all but dead. Halloween: Resurrection effectively killed off most fans hopes and dreams. With the remake buzz in full swing, it was obvious that Halloween would be one of the films to get the treatment. The decision to go with Rob Zombie as director, was certainly interesting, albeit very strange, considering he only had two other movies to his name, House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects (two movies that are far from the style of Halloween, or so we thought). Mr. Zombie decided what the audiences needed, not wanted, was a lot more backstory on Michael Myers and the best to way to project Michael as a troubled kid, is to have him being raised in the most redneck family possible, with an abusive stepfather, stripper mother, slutty sister and all. Combine that genius plot idea, with tons of swearing and you got yourself a recipe for disaster. I remember sitting in the theatre and not 10 minutes in, turning to my wife and whispering, “these spoken words are heinous in it’s crimes against my ears,” or something to that extent. After my recent viewing however, I still think it’s crap, but maybe not the steaming pile I thought it was originally.
Still, I managed to push all that to the side and try to look at the good in the movie. I started warming up to the backstory and came out liking the Smith’s Grove Asylum parts of the film, that much better. In fact, the second half of the movie, the part that is almost a shot for shot remake of the first Halloween, pales in comparison to these early scenes. Mind you, I was watching the unrated director’s cut, which incorporated some more scenes into the earlier parts of the movie.
As for the second half, the only real good parts are the ones that have Michael Myers on screen doing what he does best, the interactions between Loomis and Brackett and the nudity. Michael is played by two different people, with young Myers being admirably portrayed by Daeg Faerch, who was very creepy and did a standup job. Tyler Mane takes the mantle and dons the rotten mask for this trip. He’s a tall beast of a man and quite different from the original Michael. He grunts a lot and is pretty damn furious in his killings. The mask is finally nice looking for a change. The idea to introduce the mask when he was kid and have him wear it while killing his sister was neat, but somewhat comical with his bulbous head. I think my favourite part with Myers however, had nothing to do with him killing, but was when he goes back to his house some 17 years later and searches the basement for that same mask. From the floor, he picks out the same bloody kitchen knife he used to kill his sister and slams it into the floorboards and reaches in and grabs the now rotten mask. As he puts on the mask, the Halloween theme kicks in and chills ran down my spine. If only that same feeling was able to be maintained throughout the rest of the movie.
I won’t go too much into the acting for this movie, because for the most part it isn’t that great. Rob Zombie is known for injecting several cameos into his films and this one is no different. We get Sid Haig (House of 1000 Corpses), Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead), Udo Kier (Blade), Richard Lynch (Bad Dreams) and Clint Howard (House of the Dead), mostly B-list actors. I think the worst was Sheri Moon Zombie, Rob Zombie’s wife, who must be shoehorned into everything. I just couldn’t warm up to her acting, but she does look pretty good stripping. Malcolm McDowell takes on the role of Dr. Loomis and I pleased to see that he doesn’t try to mimic Donald Pleasence and instead does his own thing. The Dr. Loomis in this movie is cocky and full of himself, as evident by the giant sunglasses and long hair. Scout Taylor-Compton plays Laurie Strode and meh, she’s alright, but she’s no Jamie Lee Curtis. Really, she’s only in the last half the film and just tries to replicate what we got in 1978. It doesn’t work for the most part. Rounding out the cast is Danielle Harris (Halloween 4 & 5) who plays Annie. She’s all grown up and topless. Yay. Kristina Klebe plays Lynda, who isn’t shy to show off her body. Oscar worthy performance if you ask me. Finally, Brad Dourif plays Sheriff Brackett and comes out being one of the best in the movie. He’s only in it for little bit, but every scene he is in, he steals. Focusing a little more on Loomis and Brackett was a smart move by Zombie.
The music for the movie is for the most part, remixed and updated versions of the original themes. So you know I won’t have any complaints in that department. As for the rest, there are a few new pieces, but nothing as memorable.
Rob Zombie’s Halloween is really a story about Michael Myers and to a certain extent, Dr. Loomis. This was a good idea, but the execution was lacking. Injecting hillbilly trash into the backstory was a mistake in my opinion. Taking away his mystique and humanising him, removes most of the sheer terror you get when seeing him. Don’t get me wrong, a 7′ tall Michael Myers is certainly pants shitting, but an unstoppable evil force that looks like an everyday man, is more scary to me than a sabre tooth wearing a Captain Kirk mask. A second viewing of Halloween changed my opinion slightly and I found I was surprisingly liking it a little more, until of course you reach hour one and you’ve heard the f word or a variation of it, a hundred times.