Review 4: Halloween (remake) (.5/5)

 

Halloween (remake)

Directed by Rob Zombie

Starring: Scout Taylor-Compton, Malcolm McDowell, Tyler Mane, Brad Dourif, Sheri Moon Zombie

Released on August (really?) 31, 2007

Running time: 2h 1m

Rated R (Suggested rating: NC-17 for prolonged sequences of strong brutal violence throughout, strong sexual content and dialogue throughout, graphic nudity, and frequent use of strong language)

Genre: Horror, Exploitation

Normally I don’t get angry about horror movie remakes not being faithful to the source material. Hell, just film adaptations of anything in general, from books to video games to TV shows. While The Last Airbender movie made some changes, at least it didn’t completely butcher it’s source material. It may have removed some story elements, but it did not completely redefine each of its characters. Even The Silence of the Lambs wasn’t 100% faithful to the source material. Even Psycho wasn’t 100% faithful to its source material. Unlike this remake of the timeless, though flawed, horror classic, and undeniably scary and iconic horror villain.

Rob Zombie apparently said something along the lines of this: he tried to give a soul to the boogeyman.

However, what made Michael Myers in the John Carpenter classic legitimately scary was this. We only knew this about him: he killed his sister at age 6. He spent the next 17 years in an insane asylum. And then he escaped. He’s after Laurie now, and he’ll kill anyone who gets in his way. Oh, and Dr. Sam Loomis says that Michael is reeeaaally eeeeeeeeeeevil. But we all forgot about that backstory when that white mask showed up on screen. We were witnessing the basic boogeyman being thrown at us with full force. He never says a word. You can’t reason with him. You can’t hurt, let alone kill, him. And all he wants to do is kill you. And he’ll kill anyone who gets in his way.

That was pretty scary. Not the movie, but Michael. While I thought that the original Halloween was for the most part unimpressive, I did find the character of Michael Myers to be decently scary.

Want to hear what Rob Zombie did to him? I thought not.

We begin with Michael (played by Daeg Faerch, who, honestly, gives a surprisingly good performance as young Michael) as a child. He has been implied to have been gruesomely killing several of his pet rats. We learn that he has a papier-mâché mask fetish hobby.

He is then revealed to be living with his abusive, unemployed father, his loving and caring but stripper mother (Sheri Moon Zombie, in her only non-nude role that I know of), his slutty older sister Judith, and his baby sister, known only as Boo.

Like a moron, Zombie tries to hide the fact that Michael’s baby sister Boo is oh-so-obviously Laurie by having her never be addressed by name, and having young Michael address her as Boo. Does he seriously think that we didn’t see the original?

Oh, and Michael genuinely loves little Boo. Then what’s supposed to happen to the original’s main plot point: Michael hunting Laurie?

We learn that Michael suffers from another cliche: he’s bullied at school. Really bullied. Oh, and he drops F bombs way too many times to look like a six-year-old. (Or is he ten in this remake? I forget.) He regularly gets beat up, but he manages to hold his own in a fight.

That afternoon, on October 31st, he corners the bully in the forest. Wearing a clown mask, he bludgeons the bully to death with a stick. Umm…yay?

He then goes home and ties up his father in his easy chair, and duct tapes his mouth. Therefore, Judith and her boyfriend don’t notice him when they arrive at the Myers residence. Michael slits his dad’s throat after he sees Judith and her boyfriend go upstairs to have sex. Michael puts on the iconic mask, goes upstairs, and brutally kills both Judith and her boyfriend post-coitus. Michael goes downstairs, gets Boo (Laurie), and they both wait outside for their mother.

The murders result in the trial of the century, and Michael is sent to a mental institution. Dr. Sam Loomis, played by a way-too-talented-for-this-crap Malcolm McDowell, develops a relationship with Michael, who slowly but surely stops talking altogether. After Michael murders a staff member with a fork (interesting choice of weapon), Michael’s mother commits suicide…offscreen. Mr. Zombie, that was a missed opportunity. For a man who LOVES his gory as hell flicks, he did not show this death onscreen. Michael is now completely silent and never takes his mask off. His mask fetish hobby has increased dramatically, so far as hanging each of his masks on the walls of his cell. He remains in the institution for 15 years.

On October 30th, a pair of janitors attempt to rape a female, mentally retarded inmate. Michael (now played by Tyler Mane) kills them and escapes, leaving a trail of blood all the way home to Haddonfield. I found it interesting how Daeg Faerch has blond hair, but Tyler Mane has dark brown hair.

And now, at long last, we finally meet Laurie (Scout Taylor-Compton), who, I swear, has the most ball-scrapingly annoying voice, and sex-obsessed mind. It’s truly remarkable how I’ve only known this character for a minute, and I already want her to die.

A few scenes later, we see the famous shot of Michael being there, standing still, staring at Laurie, and being gone in the next shot…if it had been done by Carpenter. But no. Zombie actually shows Michael trudge offscreen.

The gutting of Michael’s character isn’t even the worst part.

While John Carpenter was very minimalist, Rob Zombie is really over-the-top.

The 2007 remake of the 1978 horror classic features graphic, bloody (not actually gory) violence, illicit and explicit sex, illegal drug use, and F bombs being dropped almost constantly. John Carpenter didn’t need all of that!

Absolutely disgusted by this travesty, I walked out after roughly forty to seventy minutes of its two hour running time.

If this is not the worst remake of a horror film, then it makes it all the more shameful. Two actors with legitimate talent allowed themselves to participate in this crap. Malcolm McDowell and Daeg Faerch turn in fantastic performances as Loomis and young Michael, respectively. Interestingly enough, Sheri Moon Zombie actually put forth a surprisingly convincing performance as Michael’s mother.

I will not be viewing the 2009 sequel anytime soon, but considering that it actually received lower reviews than its predecessor, I believe that Zombie has rubbed salt into the still-painful wounds left by the 2007 film. From what I’ve heard, Michael actually removes his mask and TALKS.

No.

Update: Nine months later, I have watched the sequel, making sure not to walk out.

It was worse.

Final verdict: .5 out of 5 stars. Not even Malcolm McDowell and Daeg Faerch can save this.

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