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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Halloween


So I finally got around to watching the latest "Halloween" movie, which was a remake, um, reimagining by Rob Zombie. All I can say is wtf?

Couple disclaimers upfront. First, the original "Halloween" is one of my favorite movies of all time. Almost all horror movies that followed borrow heavily from it. And with the exception of the Busta Rhyme movie, all sequels had something redeeming to them. Yeah, even the 5th one, the kiddie movie. At least in comparison to other horror movie franchises, Halloween always stood as the leader and the best. Second, I really do like Rob Zombie. Not the hugest fan of "House of 1000 Corpses", as I thought it borrowed too heavily and directly from the first two Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies. But it was a very strong horror movie (not saying much). And I really enjoyed "The Devil's Rejects". Visually, there is a lot to like about Rob Zombie movies. And he seems to get it.

Initially I was intrigued by Zombie's reimagining of "Halloween", if not extremely apprehensive. When the reviews came in so negative though, I lost all interest. After watching "Halloween", I will give it some kudos. Compared to the horror movies made today, including all the remakes, it is at the top. I mean this as far as visuals and suspense. And I think this movie could have been interesting if he had done something similar to his other movies by using "Halloween" as inspiration. All he needed was to lose the Halloween tie-in and create a new story. For some of his limitations were caused by having to abide to aspects of the original storyline. In general, this made for some very strange and unsatisfying choices that did not work for me.

Some things that really bothered me (obviously, SPOILER alert).

- Not sure why he spent so much time on Michael Myers as a youth. One reason the original worked so well was because we didn't know why Michael killed his sister. It played into the story that Michael was the personification of evil. While not providing us much detail, the appearance was that Michael grew up in a suburban household that was quite average and relateable to many. Zombie now decides we need to know why Michael became evil. So he created the background of a stripper mother, an alcoholic invalid as a stepfather, and a slutty sister. The Myers became the stereotypical white trash family. This instantly makes his upbringing unrelateable. For I imagine even people who fit into that stereotype believe they are better. It also lessens the evilness of Michael, as it becomes less about an unexplained evil to an evil created by his environment. Not to mention he spent more almost half the movie on this.

- For some reason, Zombie then tries to shift gears and focus on Michael as the personification of evil. This is accomplished through Dr Loomis' words. Yet we just saw that his upbringing was at least partially responsible for his murdering ways. Truly confusing.

- Then, there's Michael as man-child in the sanitarium. He's basically Lenny from "Of Mice and Men". A big oaf who doesn't talk and is therefore treated as non-threatening. Though he's huge! And he becomes obsessed with creating masks. WTF? In fact, one guard even feels a connection with Michael and tries to reason with him when Michael goes on his killing spree to escape the sanitarium. Sometimes it's better to leave things to our imagination. For I may not know what Michael became all his years in Smith's Grove. But I never thought he became this pathetic yet dangerous man-child.

- The actual ending is thoroughly confusing. Sure, the original ending is nearly perfect as far as suspense goes. So I am upset that he completely changed that. But again, we have Michael reverting to a man-child. And this confusion between Michael as pure evil vs him as a misunderstood human who just wanted to loved. When he gives Laurie the picture of him holding her as a child, I could not help but laugh. This is Michael frickin' Myers! Evil returns to Haddonfield to punish the town, seek revenge, and kill of his remaining family. Evil does not return to become close to his baby sister.

I did enjoy Zombie making Michael into an unstoppable killing machine. That was pretty cool. As was the nakedness of Danielle Harris. But the whole movie really did seem like a slightly different movie he tried to force into "Halloween". Though I did appreciate something different than an exact remake, which is pointless.

Tags:

Halloween Michael Myers Laurie Strode horror Dr Loomis Rob Zombie

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