Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween (2007)

NOTE: This is a re-posting of a review published a few years ago.  I don't typically do re-postings, but this review fits the theme of this year's blogathon.  Besides, have you ever tried to come up with 24 posts about a single character?  This fills in one more slot on the schedule.


Halloween

Written & Directed by Rob Zombie

Michael Myers (age 10)...Daeg Faerch
Michael Myers (adult)...Tyler Mane
Laurie Strode...Scout Taylor-Compton
Dr. Loomis...Malcolm McDowell

There's no denying the fact that Rob Zombie has fallen down a few pegs since his band broke up, and realizing this, he decided to take it out on his favorite genre by taking one of its most beloved icons and knocking him down a few pegs as well. I guess what they say is true: Misery loves company.

In this film, Michael Myers is re-imagined by Zombie as a bullied, chubby little bastard whose mother is a stripper, older sister is the Haddonfield tramp, and step-father is a drunken white trash piece of shit who lusts after the "pooper" of his own underage step-daughter. This ain't Family Ties. This ain't The Cosby Show. Hell, this ain't even Married With Children. This is Roseanne on crack, so it's no wonder that the young Mr. Myers is such a fucked up individual that he slaughters his whole family, and gets tossed into the asylum only to emerge later as a hulking silent killer after the sole surviving family member: Baby Boo, now known as Laurie Strode.


We all know the story, because we've all seen the original (and if you haven't, I'm fully prepared to strip you of your Horror Merit Badge, you poser!). So why bother with a remake anyway? As always, one can make the argument that Monsieur Zombie wanted only to expose the legend to a new generation, to bring it into the modern age. Blah blah blah. But the truth of it is that it's not so difficult when watching the original to get past a few feathered bangs. This was an unnecessary remake to be sure, but that doesn't mean that it couldn't be good. Look at the remakes of Dawn of the Dead and The Hills Have Eyes--but do your best to look away from Psycho and 13 Ghosts.

When watching a remake of such an iconic film, you go in with a certain level of expectation, and the first time I watched this movie, I walked out sorely disappointed. Zombie's Halloween is just as much a character study as it is a slasher or horror pic, so gone is the enigma that was John Carpenter's The Shape.  Here, Zombie is just as obsessed with determining what makes Michael Myers tick as Dr. Loomis ever was. The entirety of the curtain was stripped away, and we were all disappointed when we could see the puppeteers pulling the strings of our favorite marionette (to stretch an analogy).

Then, just recently, I watched this again on DVD. Going in with my hopes and expectations stripped away just like the mystery of the character, I was able to see this for what it was, rather than for what it should have or could have been. I found that it was more enjoyable thinking of it like this: The original Halloween was the story through the eyes of Laurie Strode. The remake is the story through the eyes of Michael Myers. If you don't like it, just accept the fact that it takes nothing away from the original. Just like a cheaply made fan-film, which is essentially what this is.

That isn't to say that it wasn't disappointing, because it was. But I'm not quite sure what we, the genre fans, expect. If you stick too close to the source (i.e., Psycho), we're disappointed. If you stray too far, we're disappointed too. I just can't help but wonder if we would have been so upset had this been yet another sequel, rather than the beginning of a rebooted franchise.

And, hey, it could be worse. They could have sent him into space.

2007
Rated R/Unrated
109 minutes/121 minutes
Color
English
United States

"Trick or Treat, baby!"
--J/Metro

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