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Movie Review: Halloween (2007)

Written and directed by Rob Zombie based on the 1978 film written by John Carpenter and Debra Hill
MGM/Dimension, 2007

In the original Halloween, an opening tracking shot taken from the perspective of an unknown killer just outside a house follows a girl and her boyfriend as they prepare for an extremely quick lovemaking session. Once the boyfriend leaves, the killer walks up the stairs and murders the girl. We know his name is Michael after the screaming, but the shock is that once the camera pulls back, we find out it’s a little boy. He killed his sister.

And what’s scary is that the little boy looks like a normal, healthy kid, and the expression on his face reads that he doesn’t even know what he’s done. And 15 years later we find out he’s broken out of an insane asylum and he’s returning to his hometown of Haddonfield to kill people again. What for? We never really know…until Halloween II. Standing on its own, the original Halloween is particularly effective in making us scared of what we don’t know.

So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that writer/director Rob Zombie decides that perhaps the original Halloween was a bit too “wussified” and didn’t explain enough. Shot with his usual love of close-ups no matter what the situation, the Myers family becomes Rob Zombie’s usual band of extreme rednecks: the mom Deborah (Shari Moon Zombie) is a white trash stripper; the stepdad, Ronnie White (William Forsythe), is a lecherous, verbally abusive asshole; Judith (Hanna Hall), the sister, wears over-revealing clothing to the dinner table, spurring the stepdad to inappropriately comment any chance he gets; there’s the baby we know will one day be Laurie Strode; and then Michael (Daeg Faerch) himself, a long blond-haired kid who gets pushed around at home and at school, likes to torture animals, and is quickly approaching the edge.

After an incident at school, Dr. Sam Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) pays a visit, warning that Michael’s animal torture could lead to more serious things (heh; I just realized…Michael and animal torture…Michael Vick?), and just as he says this, Michael has escaped school and is beating the life out of the school bully. Halloween night, with stepdad asleep, sis screwing her hippie boyfriend, mom stripping for cash, Michael commits several acts of murder, with only mom and baby sis left. We then get Michael at the insane asylum, as Loomis tries to figure out his mind. Michael doesn’t even seem to remember the incident and appears ready to go back to normal life, until he finds a way to kill again and is locked up.

And this time, we see his escape from the insane asylum fifteen years later (now played by Tyler Mane). Then it focuses more on the story of Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) and her friends Lynda (Kristina Klebe) and Annie (Danielle Harris, a major player as the 10-year-old niece of Michael Myers in 1988’s Halloween 4 and 1989’s 5; it’s between erotic and strange to see this girl do a nude scene). And the movie arrives to the point where the original started. You just have to wait about 45 minutes.

And Zombie screws this up, too. Myers goes in for the kill pretty quickly, there’s absolutely no suspense to it. Yeah, he’s still looking into windows from the outside of the house and that’s kind of creepy, but absolutely in no way is this executed with the panache of John Carpenter. Carpenter’s score is alive and well in this one, but it seems certain themes are used in the wrong places. It all just feels so wrong. And when Michael finally stalks down Laurie Strode, the film tells you exactly why. Historians of Halloween will know why, but again I say, isn’t it better off not knowing anything?

Zombie went out to try to make Michael Myers a badass again, which he succeeded in doing. But it’s no different from any other terrible slasher film you will ever see. Suspense has been completely drained out of Hollywood. They will spend an hour talking about the reasons why someone kills instead of using that time to heighten your senses. Hey, you know, I guess I could have just said this movie sucks.

A remake of Halloween (1978)

Follows: Halloween: Resurrection (review by Sam Loomis)


Comment from Jonathan
Time: August 31, 2007, 12:43 pm

It’s interesting because let’s say the original wasn’t such a box office smash, or for whatever reason they decided not to do sequels. Then, we would never even have the sister angle. Most people forget that this wasn’t mentioned in the first one unless you count the new scenes they shot to make the running time fit a telvision time frame when it aired on ABC after the second one had been released. One of the scenes involves Loomis going into Michael’s room at Smiths Grove which he has ransacked and written the word “SISTER” in blood on the wall.

And as you say, the first one seen from the perspective of no sequels bares down to this evil force just fucking going around and killing whomever he feels like. And you don’t know why which makes it even scarier to me. So, with Zombie humanizing the character, I can’t imagine it’s nearly as effective. He’s also cutting the original film down to what, about 45 minutes. Won’t get to see this till after the holiday weekend, but I might post my opinions on L&N; however, I have a feeling my opinion is not going to differ much from yours.

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