- Written, Directed, and Produced by Rob Zombie
- August 31, 2007
A mental patient who was committed to a sanitarium for committing murder on Halloween night escapes years later and returns to his hometown where he stalks and kills while under pursuit by his psychiatrist.
As a general rule I like Rob Zombie’s work as a director. I like a good slasher film which he is a fan of and knows how to make well. House of 1000 Corpses and 31 are very good examples of the genre with minimal tweaks made to the format for modern audiences. The original Halloween is a classic that is very nearly perfect so why remake it? At least it was in good hands though I felt.
The purpose of a remake should be to improve upon the flaws of the first. Fix what was wrong and keep what worked. The problem with the original Halloween is that whatever was wrong was very minimal and had more to do with the limitations of the budget than anything with the narrative.
For example in this version of the story there’s a lot of backstory put into Michael Myers (here played by Tyler Mane). There is a complete explanation of how Myers came to be the monster that goes after Laurie Strode (here played by Scout Taylor-Compton). Rather than growing up in a seemingly normal family and just snapping one night, Michael is instead the product of severe abuse and neglect that aggravates his own demons which results in the monster we get as an adult.
Not knowing why Michael Myers killed was not a flaw of the original. That was one of its strengths. He just went off and that made him all the more frightening. Violence with an explanation is understandable and even acceptable on some level. Violence just happening with no reason is so much more disturbing. Could you be the next victim?
Not all of the growth of Michael Myers as a character though is bad. Personally I do like the small element that brings him into contact with Dr. Loomis (here played by Malcolm McDowell) early on and that is Loomis treating him for his torment of animals. It gave a better reason why Loomis was so freaked out by Michael. He knew just how messed up he was and how deep it went. That element also expanded upon the character of Michael and his disturbing nature without humanizing him. Beyond that everything else just brought him down to earth and made him less of a monster.
While the character of Dr. Loomis is somewhat likable as is Sheriff Brackett (Brad Dourif), everyone else from Laurie to the bulk of the victims are either unlikable or insufferable. You’re glad they get killed rather than being shocked or bothered when they get killed. It’s a relief to have them gone from the story.
Laurie in particular should be a likable character. She’s the focus of the killer’s rage and anger. You shouldn’t be hoping that he kills her before the end of the movie. You’ve got to want the victim to survive. Zombie seems to go out of his way to make you thoroughly hate everyone. That may work once or twice but if it is the entire list of victims makes watching the movie rather pointless.
Zombie adds to the first film narrative the element of Laurie being Michael’s sister which was something not added until Halloween II. While he did add elements explaining things he did not seek to change the foundational mythology which too many creators try to do when they become involved. Star Trek and its complete bastardization starting with JJ Abrams is a prime example. Zombie understood this was not his to recreate but rather to present again.
As a slasher film done by Zombie, this Halloween is rather bloodless. It lacks gore. Zombie has put some sick crap to film yet that same touch is clearly lacking here. It is rather safe and clean as his films go. It lacks shock or surprise and ends up rather toothless ultimately.
Rob Zombie’s Halloween makes additions to the narrative that harm the story and harm the character as well as lacking any shocks. On the whole it is largely faithful to the original in narrative. This is a curiosity that you don’t need to seek out but not necessarily turn your nose up at.