aka: Halloween – The Beginning
Director: Rob Zombie
Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Scout Taylor-Compton, Tyler Mane, Daeg Faerch, Sheri Moon Zombie
Evil has a destiny
Michael Myers was an outcast as a child. He was bullied at his school, his mother worked as a stripper and has a bad choice in men, which makes it impossible for Michael to have a male role model in his life. He finds comfort in making Halloween masks and torturing small pets. After his sister refuses to take him out to trick or treat on Halloween night, he calmly kills off both his obnoxious stepdad, his big sister and her boyfriend.
He gets locked up in the Smith’s Grove mental hospital and put under the care of doctor Sam Loomis, who tries his best to get through to Michael without succeeding. Michael’s mother has enough after he kills off one of the nurses at the hospital, so she gives up and commits suicide. Michael is kept in the hospital for fifteen years until he sees the opportunity to get out of the place and sets out on a path to get home to his home town Haddonfield to finish off his family by also killing off his baby sister Laurie. Dr. Loomis heads after him and Laurie’s only hope is that he can get to her before Michael does.
It takes me some time to accept that someone has remade a movie I care much about, so this is the first time I’ve seen Rob Zombie’s version of Halloween. Some films are so great that there is absolutely no need to remake them and Halloween is definitely one of them. What Rob Zombie attempted to do with this is to keep some parts of the Carpenter version, but also elaborate and focus more on the Michael Myers character instead of the leading girl Laurie Strode that got more screen time in the original.
The focus on Michael makes us see more of him and there is an attempt to explain how he became this evil serial killer. It was a bold move, since Michael Myers originally was an entity more than a human and didn’t need any explanation at all. He was evil incarnated and that’s what intrigued horror fans about him. Even if they tried to explain the character, I didn’t think they succeeded in doing so.
Yeah, he had a shitty home and a tough time at school, but none of the hospital scenes gives any explanation of why he became the way he was, so what was the point of having all those scenes? We also see that he cared for his little sister as a child and I didn’t get why he would suddenly now want to kill her or why did he even turn mute? In the end he is just another serial killer on film, this time with a Kiss t-shirt on and a cool beard.
The rest of the characters have all become foul-mouthed people who seem to only find enjoyment in beer and sex. There is also too many irrelevant characters in the film and the characters that I guess we are supposed to care for get way too little development. One of the reasons why the original worked was that we got to know and care for Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode character. Scout Taylor-Compton looks cute and does her part well, but there is just way too little focus on her character to fill the viewer with tension when she is being stalked by Michael.
I actually found more sympathy with the Annie character, played by Danielle Harris since she was able to bring the terrified emotion to the screen much better and her character was featured just as much as Laurie. Malcolm McDowell as Dr. Loomis might seem like a good replacement for Donald Pleasence on paper, but he came off more or less as a knock off version of the Pleasance version.
While Rob Zombie sure succeeded in bringing some of his own style, if you can call it that, by adding some “white trashiness” to the saga, he did not deliver any scares at all. The few atmospheric shots are ones that also are featured in the original and while the cinematography looks slick, there is also way to much shaky cam movement when there’s a lot of action going on.
Rob Zombie’s Halloween might be gorier than the original, but it also lacks any atmosphere and scares. If you are able to put away the annoyance that they remade the classic, then you will find a decent slasher film to enjoy here but ironically enough it is a film with plenty of flaws and a film that could use a remake in the future.