‘Halloween’ *** Movie Review 090207

The Work = ***
Let me start by saying this: Rob Zombie’s ‘Halloween’ remake is a Rob Zombie film. It is not a Rob Zombie, emulating John Carpenter film. What that means is Zombie’s ‘Halloween’ bears little resemblance to its 1978 counterpart. That is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact I think it is one of the remake’s strengths. However, that also means that those looking for their favorite, familiar, ‘Halloween’ moments will be disappointed because when some of them do come they are handled quite differently by Zombie in his remake.

I have said before that generally I have no problem with remakes. If a filmmaker takes a previous film and runs with it there is no reason they can’t make their own feature. Remakes are like any other genre really, there are goods ones and there are bad ones. Zombie’s remake is, for the most part a good one. This is the second film by the writer/ director/ musician that I have seen and second film that I have enjoyed.

Zombie’s ‘Halloween’ drops Carpenter’s smooth camera work and slow pacing. In their place are shaky’ camera style rapid cuts and often bloody violence. This is not necessarily a bad thing but it is quite different from the original film. The film opens with young Michael Myers (Daeg Faerch) growing up in an abusive, unpleasant household. He is taunted by just about everyone, except for his mother and infant sister. This film is much dirtier than the original; (not in the sense of sex and violence, although there is more of that too) the house Michael grows up in just plain grimy somehow.

Zombie seems to like his dirt and grime and some of this film looked similar to his last ‘The Devil’s Rejects’. That could have been my imagination since half the cast from that film pops up in supporting roles here. Alongside them is Zombie’s wife Sheri Moon as Myers Mom Deborah, Danielle Harris (returning as a different character than the one she played in ‘Halloween 4’ and ‘5’) and Malcolm McDowell filling in for the late Donald Pleasence as Dr. Loomis. Everyone does what they can with their roles, sometimes with greater success than others. McDowell makes Loomis a warmer if somewhat less driven character and Faerch does well in most of his scenes except sometimes when he seems to try to hard to act angry.

To continue reading this review you should be aware that I am going to go into some detail about how young Master Myers turns out, if you are one of the few who does not know, you may want to skip the rest of the review. Zombie shows the young lad displaying the stereotypical warning signs of someone who could grow to have no barometer for the value of human life. This backstory is quite a departure from the original and takes up about half the film. For me it was perhaps a bit too long with him as a child (and there was nothing showing his teenage years) but it did help to set up Zombie’s interpretation of the killer Michael Myers that has kept the franchise running for so long.

If the Michael Myers of Carpenter’s original film was something almost otherworldly, whether it be demonic or ghostlike than the Myers of Zombie’s film is something almost of a Frankenstein type monster. This extends to the character of Dr. Loomis. In Carpenter’s film, he was sort of a force of light trying to extinguish a dark force in the form of Myers. Zombie’s film has Loomis as almost a co-creator of Myers, as he is a child psychologist that treats the boy for many years. In effect, his motivation is in part guilt at what Myers has become.

What he has become is an enormously tall, powerful, figure to be reckoned with. Played by Tyler Mane as an adult, he is imposing just standing next to someone, with his massive frame and long hair covering a face that somehow always eludes the light. Actually, he looks like someone you wouldn’t be surprised to see at a Rob Zombie concert. Myers is a rampaging monster looking for a human connection that he has no way to make. Of course, it doesn’t help when he kills everyone in sight.

In the end, I can give ‘Halloween’ a recommendation for those who are partial to the latest wave of horror films. Fans of the original may be disappointed that the remake does not emulate the original’s style and tone. Zombie instead, made a film that is his own, right down to the backwards family unit. Hiring Zombie to start off a new ‘Halloween’ series seems to have been a good idea. In the same way his previous film ‘The Devil’s Rejects’ borrowed from seventies horror films with out ripping them off, his remake of ‘Halloween’ recreates some of the moments from the original without them being shot for shot. Zombie’s film is all his own and that is the biggest pro and con I can say about the film. If that sounds like something you would like to see than this one is recommended, otherwise be aware.


'Halloween' Links:


My review of Sam Raimi's 'Drag Me to Hell'

My review of the 'Friday the 13th' remake

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