The Countdown blazes on! We’ve seen some great movies and some bad movies in preparation for the upcoming celebration of All Hallow’s Eve. Some Horror films can be tied to other holidays of course. Christmas, Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day all have their share of movies. But when it comes to Halloween, one movie stands out above the rest.
A movie that helped guide all horror to come. It spawned a number of sequels, a reboot and a remake, which itself spawned a sequel. You’d think that would narrow it down a little, right? Not in this day and age of reboot madness. That’s a topic for another day. Today we are going to take a look at Rob Zombie’s Halloween.
We all know the story of Michael Myers. If you don’t know, then you have no appreciation of film culture and should be beaten with a copy of Scream 4. Michael Myers was a troubled child who murdered all of his family except for his little sister, who became his intended victim as he grew older. He wore a plain white mask (actually a mask of William Shatner), coveralls, and brandished a butcher’s knife. Very scary stuff. He pioneered the slow-moving gait that many horror killers adopted.
Rob Zombie was famous for his music, both in White Zombie and then as a solo artist. But he also became quite well-known for his films House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects. Both were shock-horror films that dared the audience to sit through them without feeling uncomfortable. So of course, when news came out that he would be helming the reboot of the classic horror series, many fans were curious to see how he would pull it off.
What Rob Zombie brought to the franchise was a definite love of the original film, reimagined with a slightly more haunting look and darker cinematic themes. It’s a pretty faithful adaptation of the first film, and could even be considered an homage to John Carpenter’s classic.
The film starts in the early years of Michael Myers, who lives in a troubled home with his mother (Sherri Moon-Zombie), her boyfriend (William Forsythe), older sister (Little Jenny from Forrest Gump) and his baby sister. We can see early warning signs that Michael has a dark future ahead of him. It starts with the killing of small animals, and eventually the brutal murder of a bully who was picking on him. This all comes to a head on Halloween night.
In one night, effortlessly and without remorse, Michael kills his mom’s boyfriend, his big sister’s boyfriend, and his big sister. There is a point during the murders where he puts on the well-known Michael mask that definitely sends shivers down your spine. He then takes his little sister outside to wait for his mom and the police. Enter Dr. Loomis (Malcolm Mcdowell), a therapist who takes michael’s case. We see him trying to work with Michael in an institution, and we can see his degradation into the serial killer he will soon become.
We learn that his mother committed suicide after one murder too many, and his little sister is put up for adoption, eventually residing within the Strode household. The film jumps ahead 15 years, and we again witness Michael in the institution, now all grown up into his hulking form (Tyler Mane, Sabretooth from X-Men) harboring a serious obsession with masks. Of course he breaks out, but the way it certainly better showcases the emotional turmoil of Michael. Also one of the most disturbing scenes of the movie, Michael kills two guards who are raping a female inmate which sends him over the edge. Up to this point there is a feeling of pity and even empathy for Michael, and when he kills the guards you feel a certain compassion for him.
Once he kills the only one who looked out for him in the institution (Danny “name a movie I haven’t been in” Trejo), all those feelings are lost and we’re left with the sadistic side of Michael. And his killing spree begins as he searches for his long-lost sister, now under the name of Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton).
The cast of the film is really what makes it an enjoyable movie. McDowell fills the shoes of Donald Pleasance perfectly, and Scout Taylor-Compton pulls off a great Laurie Strode, a role made famous by former Scream Queen Jamie Lee Curtis. Some other mentionable names are Dee Wallace (Cujo) and Danielle Harris, who was in two earlier Halloween sequels as Michael Myers’ niece. Not to mention (DAWN OF THE DEAD GUY) makes an appearance, as the trucker Michael gets his all too familiar coveralls from.
Sometimes the dialogue feels a little too forced, and Malcolm McDoweel tends to chew the scenery a little bit, especially when paired with Sheriff Brackett . I found some of the scenes between Laurie and her friends a bit wooden and didn’t really feel any truth behind it, but 2/3’s of them showed their boobs, so that kind of made up for it.
The movie moves seamlessly through the twisted, morbid tale of the Myers family, showing us a bit of what makes Michael tick, as well as the circumstances of the town that surrounds the Strode family. As Dr. Loomis hunts down his former patient, we learn more about the spectre left on the town by Michael Myers, and the search for Laurie and Michael. Despite some great throwbacks to the classic scenes, like Michael wearing the ghost sheet before killing Laurie’s friend, it does seem to stretch on a little near the end.
While it could be considered a throwback to earlier horror, it does tend to drag into a lot of running, and screaming, and stabbing near the end. Climactic without the climax. The whole constant “is he dead yet” feeling hurt more than helped the film, but it definitely left us with a rewarding ending and went out with a bang.
I loved Rob Zombies take on Halloween, and while I had a few problems with the movie, on the whole I totally enjoyed it. The fear is real, the deaths are graphic but realistic, further adding to the scare.
I’m giving it 3.5 Great Pumpkins out of 5.
I almost gave it a solid 4, but held back due to some of the issues I mentioned above. Don’t let that stop you from checking out one of the best of the classic horror remakes that have come out within the last few decades.