Sunday, October 26, 2014

Halloween (2007)

As I had finished my look at the last sequel of the original Halloween franchise, I’d mentioned that Rob Zombie twisted it up with his reboot and I think I might’ve been a little harsh with that remark.  I had liked Zombie’s approach to horror movies when he had made his directorial debut with House of 1000 Corpses and its sequel, The Devil’s Rejects.  I enjoyed the use of music he poured into most of the scenes, integrating it to go with the mood of what was presented on screen.  But I was fine with that because those were his original films that he had written.  More power to him, I say.

In mid to late 2006, it was announced that the original Halloween was going to be rebooted, with the job of directing going to Rob Zombie.  My first thought was that we were going to have Michael Myers stalking Laurie Strode with interludes of 1970s rock music throughout.  Then some disturbing news came out about how Zombie wanted to make the film a prequel, focusing on Michael Myers as a child, leading up to the point where he kills his sister, Judith Myers—no Shatner mask would be found throughout.  Man, the internet was on fire with angry fan protests and arguments.  I had to agree, I thought that was a dumb idea.

As I’m always saying, Hollywood needs to stop rebooting films and trying to pass it off as some artful retelling of a tried and true story.  But in the case with the continuing story of Michael Myers, Akkad and company jumped the shark.  There was no choice but to restart the series from scratch.  Basically, the only thing left they could’ve done was to send Michael into space, but the Friday the 13th franchise already did that with Jason.  If I were writing a fresh new screenplay to continue the sequels, I would’ve had Michael going after his nephew, John, like I had mentioned earlier.  But Moustapha Akkad, his son, or anyone else from Dimension, hadn’t called me for my services so it’s their loss (tongue planted firmly in cheek).

With all the craziness and hatred going on in the media, I was perfectly okay with the choice of Rob Zombie helming the new film, especially after it was said that we would see the adult Michael Myers in his signature Shatner mask stalking his prey.  So, waiting patiently for the release date, I was anxious to see what Zombie would bring to the table.

Now, speaking of release dates, that’s one thing that bugs me about this film—that it was released on August 31st of 2007.  Why?  A Halloween movie released while it’s still summer?  If you’re going to show a movie that takes place during October, release it in October!  Especially nowadays, where movies only last a few weeks in theaters, the movie was probably long gone in most areas when October came around.  Halloween is not your typical summer blockbuster, so it’s not something that people will flock to see during the warm season.  Normally, the films that do well during summer are action and sci-fi…and sometimes horror as long as it’s not a fall or winter themed film.  Who was the genius in the film’s marketing department that was behind this?

Well, it was what it was, so let’s break down the film.

The film begins with Michael Myers (Daeg Faerch) as a child and his life at home.  His mother,
Deborah (Sheri Moon Zombie) is a stripper and her live-in boyfriend, Ronnie (William Forsythe), is a bum who sits around all day.  He constantly makes fun of and berates Michael and his sister, Judith (Hanna Hall), all day.  Michael shows signs of trouble at school after being pushed around by a bully and on Halloween night, he snaps, killing Ronnie, Judith and her boyfriend, Steve (Adam Weisman), and is found by his mother sitting on the front steps to the house holding his little baby sister.  Michael is then committed to a mental institution under the care of Dr. Samuel Loomis (Malcolm McDowell).  But when the young boy shows no signs of getting better and begins to shut everyone out, even to the point of ceasing to speak, Dr. Loomis tells him he can’t help him anymore.  Fifteen years later, Michael escapes the institution and returns to Haddonfield for his little sister.

Hmmm, where should I start?

Let’s see…the concept of introducing a back story as to why Michael Myers became the way he had was unnecessary, in my opinion.  One of the best openings to any movie is the start of the 1978 John Carpenter classic.  It was a momentous shot, establishing the mystery as to why Michael Myers, as a child, would suddenly snap and kill his sister one night on Halloween.  And that’s the way it should’ve stayed.  The original series of films never went back and explained why Michael became evil, it was accepted and the audience moved on.  It’s more frightening to think that the boy just snaps and doesn’t appear to have a reason to want his family dead.  But to have it explained in Zombie’s version that his family seemed like a bunch of inbred hillbillies, making the child crazy by being responsible for his shitty life wasn’t as meaningful when the kid finally snaps—it’s expected and not as alarming.  Don’t get me wrong, it was different and showed that Rob Zombie wanted to do something original, but it really took away the shock when the scene finally played out.  I realize that we all know the story and knew he was going to do what he did, but I felt that Zombie’s vision of Michael’s home life was needless.

If there’s anything else that suffered from Zombie’s added exposition of Michael Myers’ childhood was the rest of the film, when he became an adult and travelled to Haddonfield.  It made the scenes feel rushed and shortened.  Seems as if Zombie really wanted the whole movie to be the prequel he talked about, but the studio wanted the reboot portion in it, then they all compromised and included both concepts into one movie.

The one thing that kept going through my mind was how unlikable most of the characters seemed to be.  I know the early scenes were to show how horrible Michael’s living conditions were, but there was no way the audience, in my opinion, could care for any of the Myers family members.  I was able to forgive those parts of the film, but as soon as we’re introduced to Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton), she annoyed me right away.  The little interaction with her mother, Mrs. Strode (Dee Wallace), embarrassing her by finger-raping the bagel she’s holding made me dislike her.  The rapport with her two friends, Annie (Danielle Harris) and Lynda (Kristina Klebe), seemed forced as well with no chemistry felt whatsoever.

Really, the only redeeming qualities of this film are the performances by Tyler Mane as the adult Michael Myers and Malcolm McDowell as Dr. Loomis.  I’d commend Dee Wallace and Brad Dourif (who plays Sheriff Brackett) in their performances, but Wallace doesn’t have much to do but to die after only a few minutes of screen time.  Dourif does well, but the silly discussion his character has with Dr. Loomis in order to force the explanation of how Laurie Strode is Michael Myers’ sister knocks his merits right off the board.

All in all, the story is rehashed quite quickly after a silly and long story as to how Myers had become the killer he grows to be.  The film is definitely worth a watch, but if you’re a diehard John Carpenter fan like myself, you may take umbrage as to what Zombie put forth in this film.  That’s my final “bit” and I’m sticking to it.

Any-hoo, thanks for reading and have a Happy Halloween!

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