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rob zombie's halloween

Posted by Brad Schelden, September 6, 2007 06:45pm | Post a Comment
I have been obsessed with Halloween and the Halloween movies for as long as I can remember. This holiday and the original 1978 film will forever be intertwined together in my memory. John Carpenter is absolutely without a doubt a genius. He created the most successful independent film of all time with his original Halloween. This movies remains brilliant to this day and still manages to be scary. It really reinvented the horror movie and sort of set up the rules for the horror movies of the 80's. The second Halloween film was almost as good but the following sequels became worse as time went on. I saw every one and quickly realized the franchise was getting ridiculous with the last couple films. I remained loyal but it was really time for the series to be reinvented. They needed to go back and start all over again. But before the original even started. Similar things have been happening with other film franchises lately. Both the Batman and Superman movies had become ridiculous. Really only the first couple of both were good. Both Batman and Superman were reinvented in the last couple years. It worked amazingly well with the Batman franchise and "Batman Begins." The film gave a completely new look to the series with a great new storyline. It kept what was good about the story and just built on that. This did not work so well for "Superman Returns." I am still waiting for the deluxe version of the entire Halloween series to be released on DVD like they did with Nightmare On Elm Street and Friday the 13th. There is a box available as an import but nothing yet domestically.

Many horror films have also been remade in the last couple years. It seems to never work. These original films, The Omen, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Wax Museum, etc., hold such importance in our eyes as horror movie fans. We grew up with these films and have every detail about them memorized. It is a hard task for a director to go into such sacred ground and try and update and reinterpret these original films. Horror movies have never been the same lately. Never as good. Never as scary as they once were. So when I heard that Halloween was getting remade this year, I was very excited but also very worried. I thought Rob Zombie was the perfect director to try and reinterpret this brilliant original film. But I was also worried for him and the response he would get from those crazy dedicated horror fans. The movie opened over labor day weekend as the most successful movie for that weekend ever. But of course many fans are really upset that Rob Zombie has ruined their Halloween. But I wonder how many of these people have actually seen the movie. I saw it on Monday and I was more than impressed. And it was scarier than anything I have seen in the theater in a long while.

I think a lot of people went into the movie knowing already that they wanted to hate it. It is easy to focus on what the movie got wrong if that is what you are looking for. But I went into the movie excited and wanting to like it. But I also was well aware that I might come out of the movie a bit disappointed. But I really loved it. I am already planning to see it a couple more times. It seems that Rob Zombie had John Carpenter's blessing. John just wanted him to make his own take on the story. To reinterpret it and not just simply to try and copy it. Zombie takes the story back much farther into Michael Myers childhood. Almost half the movie shares with us his tortured family and school life. It is even more scary that I had that exact same costume as a kid. It becomes frightening when you realize that thousands of kids grow up with a very similar childhood. Michael Myers is not some fantastical super being. He is just sort of a normal kid. The movie is more of a classic serial killer coming of age story than just another teen slasher film. I thought he captured a brilliant little portrayal of 70s suburbia life. The horrible life of Michael Myers growing up. And then later, the sort of ideal life of Michael Myers grown up sister Laurie Strode and her high school friends in the same town. Zombie used similar locations so the film had the same sort of feel as the original.

The second half of the film started off where the original film started. It only became a little less scary because we already knew what was going to happen. I have seen the film far too many times but I still find it scary in parts. Zombie managed to actually still make this new version scary and frightening. The shots of the young Michael Myers, played brilliantly by Daeg Faerch, wearing the too large adult mask are horribly frightening.  He also changes up some of the end sequences so we don't know exactly what is going to happen even if we think we do. The adult Michael Myers is a giant. He towers over his guards in the asylum. It makes sense how he could overpower them simply because of how large he his. The  whole feel of the film was perfect. It started off slow and really developed most of the characters.

Rob Zombie obviously loves his horror movies. The movie is worth seeing alone for the amazing cast he puts together. For the larger more important roles he used virtually unknown actors. But for the supporting cast and even smaller roles he cast some amazing stars from the horrors movies and b movies  that we all grew up on. Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange, Cat People) stars as Dr. Loomis. It is hard to match the brilliance of Donald Pleasence. But Malcolm does a great job playing the doctor and sheds light on the relationship of Michael and Loomis. Brad Dourif (Child's Play, Body Parts) plays the Sheriff. Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead) is amazing as trucker Big Joe Grizzley. Tyler Mane (X-Men) plays the adult Michael Myers. Leslie Easterbrook (Police Academy 1-7) is one of the cops who Michael escapes from. Udo Kier (Andy Warhol's Frankenstein, My Own Private Idaho) plays the head of operations at the sanitarium and Clint Howard (star of every Ron Howard film) plays Michael's doctor. Richard Lynch (Bad Dreams) plays the school Principal. Even though he only has one line and is in the film for less than a minute, he still managed to freak me out. Danielle Harris (Halloween 4 and 5, Roseanne) plays Annie Brackett. It was a nice little touch for Halloween fans to see Danielle Harris, who played the niece of Michael Myers in the fourth and fifth Halloween, now playing one of Laurie Strode's friends. Dee Wallace (Cujo, Howling, E.T., The Hills Have Eyes, Critters, Popcorn) plays Laurie Strode's Mom. She is perfect and brilliant as always.  Sybil Danning (Chained Heat, Reform School Girls, Amazon Women on the Moon, & Howling II) plays Nurse Wynn. Micky Dolenz (The Monkees) plays the gun shop owner. Adrienne Barbeau (The Fog, Swamp Thing, Escape from New York) and Courtney Gains(Children of the Corn) are also supposedly in the film but I couldn't find them. Maybe there scenes were cut.  Zombie also used much of his cast from House of 1000 Corpses and Devil's Rejects. His wife, Sheri Moon Zombie, is excellent as Michael Myers troubled striper mom. Sid Haig plays the cemetery employee. William Forsythe is also cast perfectly as Michael Myers dad. Bill Mosely, Lew Temple and Danny Trejo all play security guards. The whole sanitarium is basically run by the cast of Devil's Rejects.

Zombie did not ruin a classic. He paid tribute to it by reinterpreting it and making another great classic horror film. After leaving the film I was seriously proud of Mr. Zombie. The original Halloween remains one of my favorite films of all times and it would have been easy for me to be disappointed. But I really loved all the character development of the young Michael Myers. I thought the whole cast was fantastic. Those with the smallest roles took their part seriously and really made an impact on the feel of the film. It almost makes me want to see a Halloween 2 with this whole new cast. Unfortunately most of them died in this film. I will be seeing this film a couple more times before the actual date of Halloween comes around. And I really hope the film continues to do as well as it did this first weekend. You should go see it.

here is a trailer for the original John Carpenter Halloween...



and here is a trailer for Rob Zombie's Halloween...

Relevant Tags

Halloween (70), Rob Zombie (2), John Carpenter (6)