‘Halloween’: Not a treat

Thu, 09/06/2007 - 4:11pm
By: Michael Boylan

Rob Zombie has made some very nasty horror movies in the past and his version of “Halloween” keeps his streak alive. Zombie is a very capable director, but it is hard to get through either of his previous films. They aren’t just filled with disturbing images and violence, they tend to be kind of mean, too. His version of “Halloween,” which isn’t necessarily a remake or a reboot, but rather a kind of prequel, is way more brutal than John Carpenter’s (classic) original and it just isn’t necessary.

“Halloween” is the story of Michael Myers, a masked serial killer who stalks a young babysitter in Haddonfield, Illinois. Carpenter’s film gives the audience a POV view of Myers, as a boy, killing his sister. It then flashes forward a number of years to the night Myers escapes from an insane asylum and makes his return to Haddonfield. Zombie gives us all of the events leading up to Myers snapping and killing his sister, then stays with the boy as he goes even crazier in the asylum and then flashes forward to his escape. Instead of spending much time with babysitter Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis in scream queen mode in the original), we spend more time with Myers as he rushes around and kills at will.

So why does Michael Myers go crazy and kill most of his family one Halloween night? Well, he kind of comes from a broken home. His dad is dead, his mom is an exotic dancer, his sister is kind of loose and his step-dad or mom’s boyfriend is a foul-mouthed, alcoholic. Myers gets picked on at school and when the school administrators find out what Myers has been doing to animals, they call in a child psychiatrist to try to intervene.

Too late.

Before Dr. Loomis (Malcolm McDowell, sporting a really silly wig) can talk to Myers, he has run off, killed the school bully and is ready to go out and trick or treat.

The body count in Zombie’s “Halloween” is really high and unlike Carpenter’s original, the viewer is exposed to a much higher level of gore and violence. The new “Halloween” makes the original film, or even other late 1970s, early 1980s slasher movies, look like cartoons. Perhaps Zombie is trying to ground Myers’ murders in a form of reality and shock the audiences into seeing exactly what type of monster Myers is, but I felt like it really backfired. Zombie’s “Halloween” has very little suspense and nobody to root for. It is virtually impossible to enjoy and that can’t possibly be the goal of the film.

So why did I even bother giving it two stars? Here’s why. Zombie, when he’s not showing extreme, extreme close-ups, is a good director. He fills a frame well and pays attention to detail. He also generally casts a film well and provides a good soundtrack. All of those things are evident in this film. In addition to some interesting cameos (Micki Dolenz, anyone?), the casting of Daeg Faerch as young Michael Myers works very well. The kid looks creepy and does a pretty good job during the first half of the movie.

Here’s what you need to do though - skip this movie and rent the original film. It is a much better movie through and through.


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