While nothing will compare to the shock of the original, Rob Zombie reminds us why John Carpenter’s “bogeyman” is no laughing matter.
After 10-year old Michael Myers is sentenced to a psychological hospital for treatment, Dr. Samuel Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) discovers that behind the child’s eyes is an unstoppable, amoral killer. Years later, an adult Myers (Tyler Mane) escapes the asylum to terrorize the small town that still remembers him as the Halloween bogeyman.
If you need more of an explanation than the above description, you’re probably not a fan of the original Halloween by John Carpenter and Debra Hill. Back in 1978, the idea of a mindless, unstoppable killing machine bent on mayhem became a very real fear as a masked Michael Myers racked up a body count. The success of Halloween has often been attributed to being the right original idea at the right time, so when it was announced that, like so many other John Carpenter films, someone wanted to do an update or “re-imagining,” groans of The Fog remake surfaced quickly. But with horror-rocker Rob Zombie at the helm, could this new vision actually have a chance?
The good news is, Zombie in no way diminishes our nightmares. While not so much a unique vision as a loving tribute, director Zombie updates the classic with a tighter script, re-thought locations for some key scenes, and a decent cast willing to to make a true slasher film, teen nudity and all. Unlike The Fog remake that threw out all the elements that made the original so scary and watchable, Zombie lifts scenes and lines from the original while making better sense and setting a better pace. Amazingly, Zombie’s Halloween is an improvement over the original film, exactly the kind of film one expects when lamenting, “Wow, can you imagine what this movie would be like if they made it today?”
Plot elements are better explained and character motivations are given more depth. For example, Dr. Loomis in the original film (Donald Pleasence) spent a lot of time standing around waiting while cryptically hinting at the mayhem to come. By comparison, Malcolm McDowell’s Loomis has a sense of urgency and even more of a sense of responsibility concerning Myers. Sadly, today’s audiences may be desensitized to much of the mayhem only because it’s been almost 30 years since the original and plenty about it has been spoofed or ripped off since then, but in a Hollywood that insists upon turning out remakes like The Fog, When a Stranger Calls, and the dismal Black Christmas, Rob Zombie’s Halloween shines as a tribute to the slasher genre instead of proof of its passing.
If you’ve never seen John Carpenter’s Halloween, see Rob Zombie’s version first before going back and experiencing the original that inspired it. If you have seen it and are a fan, follow the exact same instructions.
(a three and a half skull recommendation out of four)
Oh come on. I have no objection to seeing this film with an open mind and from some of the reviews and synopsis I think I will enjoy it. But I think the critical response to the film proves beyond a shadow that its not a patch, let alone better, than the original.
I agree; this IS indeed my opinion. And many of these critics aren’t fans of horror let alone John Carpenter, and fans of horror films aren’t exactly mainstream.
I`m 38 years old. A HUGE fan of Horror! Always have been. So I`m going to be brutally honest as much as this movie was brutal to watch.
Rob Zombie managed to take a classic horror movie a slasher/thriller genre and turn it into a cheap white trash, filthy, foul, and downright painful to watch stereotypical serial killer movie. He has completely taken away the mysterious Micheal Meyers persona of a ‘pure evil monster’ that came back again and again. Nothing could stop this evil, and turned him into someone he`s (Rob Zombie) IS TRYING TO MAKE YOU FEEL FOR. This movie blew it on so many levels, the way teenagers talk, the F-bomb being dropped into every conversation even if it didn`t fit, just for the purpose of saying it out loud, the horrific acting, the complete lack of the ‘thriller’ aspect.etc….I was so hoping that I would like this movie, but it failed in every way. Shame on you Rob Zombie.
I know I`l get some terrible feedback to my comments, but it`s worth it to speak out loud about how completely dreadful this movie is.
Out of curiosity, how is knowing an evil killing machine’s motivation make him LESS of an evil killing machine?
It doesn`t make him less of a killing machine. It makes him less of a mystery. RZ put a reason behind Micheal`s killings a stereotypical, had a bad life as a child, turned into a serial killer, where in the original there is no reason because he is not meant to be perceived as human. He is meant to be be a ‘mysterious creation’ of ‘pure evil’. If this is to be considered a pre original into the background of Micheal, how are we supposed to believe that he can come back from being killed or lack of being able to kill him if he is just a human. The entire mystery of Micheal Myers is what makes the original film a classic horror. I`m not trying to piss anyone off. It`s my opinion. I`m not telling people not to watch it. I`m just saying I hated the ridiculous script, the cinematography and everything else about it. That`s just me. There are way too many remakes now. Hollywood has run out of ideas and they are going back to the golden age of horror/slasher and trying to make original classics into cheapened down versions thinking that by adding more gruesome killings it`s going to make the movie better. It doesn`t. The thriller/suspence of these originals are what make them classic horror.
I agree completely about the sheer number of remakes. Here’s an idea: instead of remaking all of John Carpenter’s films, why not give him a shooting script so he can make a NEW film?!
Yes please! That`s a a fantastic idea. New films, What a concept. =-)
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Awww… I’d blush if I had any skin.
[…] original Halloween inspired both intentional rip-offs and self-aware horror-comedies — even a competent remake by Rob Zombie before going of the rails in his sequel — is the film world ready for an intelligent slasher […]