Alright guys, we’re heading back into the frey with another classic.. John Carpenter’s Halloween, and of course, Rob Zombie’s second attempt at it, also called Halloween. Also, please comment on these guys, I want to know what your favorite version was, what your favorite remakes are and just anything else you suggest, think, or recommend. 🙂 So lets get started, it’s time to take a look at …
Starting of course, with John Carpenter’s 1979 classic slasher film, starring Jamie Lee Curtis. This movie, well, here’s the IMDB description :
A psychotic murderer institutionalized since childhood for the murder of his sister, escapes and stalks a bookish adolescent girl and her friends while his doctor chases him through the streets.
That’s it. We open with a young Micheal Myers murdering his teenage sister on Halloween, and from there we cut to his escape from the asylum. We never really know anything about Micheal, and that really is what makes him so frightening. He is nearly a force of nature, and once that mask is on, we’re not going to know who or why is is the way he is. Making this one of the most effective horror villains of all time. Not to mention, the most iconic.
This is where it started, after this we saw Jason Voorhees, and Freddy Krueger, and a litany of masked, or disfigured murderers followed this example. This movie has aged surprisingly well, the formula is something that we see a lot these days, but it’s an extremely effective one. At least in this case.
That being said, it does seem to drag on in a few places, there is a lot of build up to oncoming onslaught of murder. Not to say that it doesn’t built tension well, it’s just a little bit draggy in a few places. All of the actors are likable enough, and Micheal is really effective at being a formidable force. Not to mention, a god damn legitimately frightening one.
Like I said, the movie has aged extremely well, it’s still scary, it’s still watchable and it really does hold down its place as a classic among horror films. John Carpenter proving again and again that he really was a master of the genre. I would argue, he is above Craven in terms of overall quality of his body of work. That’s just me, feel free to tell me I’m wrong.
This time, we’re fast-forwarding 29 years. Rob Zombie had set himself up as a heck of a horror-film maker with The Devil’s Rejects (Yeah, that’s the one I chose, because House of 1000 Corpses is weak balls.) Then he set his sights on our boy Micheal Myers. His remake of Halloween came out in 2007, and IMDB says :
After being committed for 17 years, Michael Myers, now a grown man and still very dangerous, escapes from the mental institution (where he was committed as a 10 year old) and he immediately returns to Haddonfield, where he wants to find his baby sister, Laurie. Anyone who crosses his path is in mortal danger.
Well, there you have it. The movie begins with what is my BIGGEST issue with the movie. We spend a LOT of time with a young Micheal and his home life. For me, part of what makes Micheal so frightening is that we don’t really know anything about him. He is (as I’ve said before) an unstoppable, force of nature.
However, in Zombie’s version we get to see what a WEIRD LITTLE KID HE WAS. We spend a substantial amount of time setting up his horrendous family, with his stripper mom, his crippled and abusive father, his awful sister, and the weird dysfunctional home he grew up in. Plus, the fact that he tortures and kills small animals, and is a victim of bullying, and is just an all around disturbed kid. These things take away the mystery, and the real terror that Micheal brings, and it really just didn’t do anything for me.
The other major issue I had was that EVERYTHING had an origin story, from the mask to his god damn overalls. Details that were covered in less than a minute in the original movie, needed to be set up. Also, producing one of the sillier images in the entire movie (see above). After the set up of his child hood, and the murder of his family, we spend another unncessarily large chunk of time in the insane asylum with Micheal. Again, this isn’t information we needed and this makes up nearly half of this 2 hour movie.
Now, once we get to adult Micheal, things start to go in a direction that I understand and enjoyed a bit more. The movie as a whole is shot very well and I do enjoy Rob Zombies visceral and gritty way of shooting movies. It really does it for me, and I give full credit to that. Not to mention, the 6’8″ Canadian monster Tyler Mane, is a formidable force in this movie, and you really feel the presence that he puts forward. He’s intimidating, and once we have the coveralls and the mask on, I’m totally sold on him as The Shape.
The second half of the movie, when Micheal finally returns to Haddonfield is pretty enjoyable. It’s dark, its brutal, it’s gritty, and it’s what the entire movie should have been. There’s nothing (NOTHING) wrong with making a 90 minute movie. Which, I think this should have been. It actually probably would have made the movie more frightening to leave the mystery behind Micheal’s life alone.
The original is still a scary film, because we just don’t know anything about this killer and it makes it so much more effective than learning about all the cats he killed or watching him brutally murder a bully with a stick.
Also, I could do without the gratuitous ‘hillbilly rape scene’ Zombie. I think we all could.
All in all, the original wins, hands down, and the remake is… gritty and brutal, but just not nearly as effective in comparison. Still watchable, and still has it’s moments, but it just doesn’t stack up at all.
1978 : A
2007 : C