Halloween 2007: The Review that Came Two Years Too Late!!!!!

Posted: May 18, 2009 in Movies
Tags: ,

       Two years ago Rob Zombie released his remake of Halloween. Some loved it, some hated it, but I never saw it. It never came to Korea, which was disappointing since I’m a big Halloween fan. I’d heard a sequel was coming out at some point. A few weeks back when I went to see Wolverine, I was curious to see a Halloween poster. “Oh they must be getting part 2” I thought. Later I realized, I was actually looking at the poster for the remake from 2007. So this past weekend I finally got to see it. Some of you reading this may have seen it already. You might have loved it, or hated it. Regardless of it being old news I wanted to share my thoughts anyway. Besides it’s my blog right?

        Zombie’s vision was both a prequel and a remake, as we see more of the childhood of Michael Meyers. At the age of ten his father is dead, and he lives with his stripper mom, slutty sister Judith, and a crippled abusive stepfather. Like Jason Vorhees, Michael is only loved by his mother, but Michael is loving towards his baby sister Laurie. (If you remember the first Halloween, Laurie is NOT Meyers’ sister. Them being siblings was added in Halloween II, in what we comic folk would call a retcon.)

        Michael Meyers starts out Halloween day by apparently killing one of his pet mice while wearing a clown mask. He often wears masks at home, which weirds everyone out. Then he’s off to school where two kids bully him in the bathroom. A teacher breaks it up and for his troubles gets told “Fuck you” by Meyers. Next, mom is in the principal’s office, where a hippy-ish Dr. Loomis is introduced. He reveals Michael has pictures of dead animals that he probably killed. Loomis recommends psychiatric treatment. Mrs. Meyers is not open to this, and Meyers runs out of school and heads home. Along the way he finds one of his bullies in the woods. He takes a tree branch, and beats him to death. He’s now killed his first human.

       That night his mom has to work, and Judith is supposed to take him trick or treating, but instead stays home and screws her boyfriend. Heartbroken, Meyers goes trick or treating on his own, and after his last childhood moment, kills his sister, her boyfriend, and his step dad. Mom comes home to find young Meyers sitting on the front porch holding his baby sister, and death inside.

       Meyers now stays at the Smith Grove mental hospital, meeting with Loomis often and occasionally with his mom. He says he doesn’t remember killing anyone, and wonders why he can’t go home. Over time he becomes more agitated about having to stay there, and withdraws more with his masks, which he now wears all the time. His frustration boils and he eventually kills a nurse with a fork. His mother is now at her breaking point, and kills herself while watching home movies of Michael.

        Michael does not speak another word for 15 years, Loomis leaves the case, thinking he can do no more. One night Meyers, still mask clad, is supposed to be transferred somewhere. I’m not sure what that’s about. (In the original, he escapes when he is 21 while being taken to the parole board) I missed what he did to get out of his chains, but anyway he escapes, and is of to Haddonfield.

       Now we meet the teenage Laurie Strode, whose dad I think is still in real estate, as in the original. The next few scenes are similar to the original, introducing young Tommy Doyle, the Sheriff’s daughter and the cheerleader, who wears a Slayer shirt, something a popular cheerleader wouldn’t be wearing. Loomis publishes a book about Meyers, and his wardrobe is now pitch black. He’s informed that Meyers escaped, comes to Haddonfield and buys a gun. Judith’s Tombstone stolen, but this time it actually has something to do with Meyers intentions. Again, in the original, Myers simply sees Laurie and is infatuated with her. What’s interesting in the remake is he’s not stalking her to kill her, he just wants to find his sister. He sees Laurie in the same circumstances as the original, and somehow just knows it’s his sister, which may be a bit of a stretch. He also kills Laurie’s step-parents, which is a nice addition, as he seems to want her to himself. (We also learn the circumstances of how Laurie was adopted.) One set of friends have sex in the abandoned Meyers house, where they are disposed of in a repeat of the Ghost costume bit. Pinning the boyfriend against the wall is also recreated, but might have been unnecessary. They didn’t repeat the strangling on the phone but which I thought they should have. He also kills attacks the Sheriff’s daughter and boyfriend, I assume to set up a trap for Laurie.

       In the final act Laurie does something kind of stupid, and their might be a continuity goof with the police. In a very interesting scene Meyers tries to communicate to Laurie that they are siblings, but she doesn’t understand. He and Loomis have a confrontation, and Loomis is apparently killed, which was unexpected. It’s good though because it leaves Laurie to fend for herself.

       So after all this you may be asking, well did I like this movie? Yes I did, I liked it a lot in fact. I liked the casting for young Michael, he was so chilling, but in other moments so endearing, you believe under better circumstances he could have been a normal kid. Laurie was played well and the kids were nice and bratty. Malcolm McDowell didn’t have the intensity that Donald Pleasance had as Dr. Loomis. McDowell played it more sorrowful, he was sorry he couldn’t help Meyers, whereas Pleasance’s Dr. Loomis was scared out of his mind, knowing exactly what Meyers was.

       In the original, Meyers is seemingly supernatural as bullets and stab wounds don’t stop him. No explanation is given to how this boy from a normal small town family became a killer, except for just Loomis saying he’s the embodiment of evil. Zombie’s vision shows a troubled childhood, along with a pre-occupation with killing animals, this fetish escalating into killing people. This is a realistic way that actual psychopaths are made. No supernatural elements seem to be in play. However, near the end, Meyers keeps coming after a stab wound and three gunshot wounds. There’s no evidence of these wounds slowing him down. I didn’t like that as much, as it violated it’s internal logic.

       There’s lots of nice touches cueing the original. Where Mike got the traditional mask is interesting. I just realized I forgot to check the end credits to see if he’s listed as The Shape. I forgot probably because we get Meyers home movies during the credits. The kids still watch Thing from Another World, but also watch Bela Lugosi’s White Zombie, from which director Rob Zombie took the name of his band from. There’s also musical cues with Don’t Fear the Reaper, and Mr. Sandman. (Thankfully not remade, which another director might have asked for) The theme music is intact, in fact it’s touched up a little and actually scarier. Moments of this film hearken back to the 70s era, which are the roots of the original. (The scene where he kills the trucker comes to mind) Other soundtrack choices include Rush, and Alice Cooper. The final frames, featuring Laurie’s madness over the situation, hearken back to 1974’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre. (For my money I would have loved to see a kid wearing a skull mask from Halloween III, but that’s just me.)

       Regardless of what cues this took or didn’t take from the original, it’s actually scary!! It’s real scary in fact, and it’s scary through the whole movie! Few FEW movies ever achieve that.

        From what I remember, this was a controversial remake. People either loved it or hate it. The original was a very simple boiled down thriller, about a force of pure evil. The 2007 film was a re-imagining of the mythology, given a realistic slant. As Halloween creator John Carpenter requested, Rob Zombie truly made this his own.

4 and a half out of five stars. Here’s looking to Halloween 2.

  1. DenzelWor says:

    Good afternoon, Happy Happy Halowen!!

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