Halloween review by Matt FuerstIt's 2007 and I'm 29 years old. Too young to have really taken part in the 80's golden years of horror movies theatrically. No real chance to go see Friday the 13th open theatrically on a Friday the 13th (did they ever do that? I am sure Google knows the answer but I'm [A] too lazy and [B] writing a review right now), a Halloween open around Halloween weekend or a Nightmare on Elm Street play with someone dressed up like Freddie Kruger. I vividly remember seeing Jason Goes to Hell and the 3-D Freddie in the theatres, but that was way beyond the time when these horror movies were in their prime. Now I can't argue with you, looking back none of these movies could really be argued for as great movies, they mostly continued on via the power of their own inertia. We've seen some new horror franchises born in the past few years, I guess we've got the Saw series (entertaining at times, but not really my cup of tea), Blair Witch (I actually like both entries personally) and a handful of Asian-takeoff flicks; In spite of the kid-driven nature of The Ring 2, I have to give a thumbs up to the series given the incredible experience The Ring is. So, news of the remake of Halloween, driven by Rob Zombie at the helm, held some serious promise for me. I was excited at the thoughts of going to see an old school horror movie on opening weekend, imagining 80's kids with bad puffy hair standing in line to on opening night of something like Halloween II. Sadly, Zombie's Halloween fails to capture any of the fun of the horror movies of old, instead replacing it with vile nastiness that I find to be completely boring and trite.
Zombie takes the original Halloween tale and does a great deal of "yard work" on it. He takes the hedge clippers to the "modern day" part of the tale (Michael Myers stalking Laurie Strode, his only living relative) and instead creates, stretches and improvises the Michael Myers backstory. The film begins with sadly typical day in the Myers household. Deborah Myers, Michael's mother, is preparing breakfast in a dilapidated, run down kitchen in suburban Illionis. Live-in boyfriend Ronnie White, currently crippled, is cursing at Deborah and her infant child. Deborah continues to try to gather her children for breakfast, son Michael and daughter Judith. This initial scene is just so filled with nastiness I really knew I was going to be displeased with the rest of the film. The boyfriend Ronnie deals out F-Bombs like they are going out of style, insults the infant child, threatens to kill or maim Michael, and comments he'd like some of the "dumper" of the teenaged daughter. I am not ignorant of the world, I am sure there are plenty households out there that are this violent and angry. Still, I don't consider a trip inside of one to be my idea of entertainment. I guess I am being hypocritical here, Halloween is unmistakably a horror movie, it's not like I was expecting The Notebook. And Zombie is delivering just that, the real horror that exists out there. There aren't many real Michael Myers running around there, unstoppable killing machines of pure evil, but there are plenty of households like the Myers family, which is the true horror that exists in lower class America today. But, I go to movies to be entertained, and I'm sorry, that is just not entertaining to me.
Back with our regularly scheduled broadcast; Michael is a troubled kid due, not only due to his environment but we also sense there is something amiss within him. He is torturing and killing animals; is repressed and finds himself wearing masks to try to hide from the outside world. Michael has enough one day, and ends up bludgeoning a bully to death after school. That night, Halloween, his sister Judith refuses to take Michael trick or treating, and Michael goes on to slaughter the entire family while mom is at work (at the strip club). Mom comes home, finds the fam dead, Michael gets sent up to the nuthouse. Story proceeds in the nuthouse, Michael continues to withdrawal from the world as he refuses to talk, and the true evil inside begins to become apparent, given the opportunity he kills without remorse or hesitation. Fast forward to "modern day" (where the majority of the original film took place).
Myers is being transported to a jail facility, and predictably breaks free. He returns to his family house, and begins to search for his only living relative, now living in the town of Haddonfield, Illinois under the name of Laurie Strode. Laurie was adopted by a family as a baby and doesn't know of her family connections with Michael Myers. Myers follows Strode, and proceeds to eliminate her friends in an effort to track her down. The final confrontation happens and all, by honestly by this point I had fairly effectively tuned out everything on screen with Halloween. I know the movie ends as expected (I don't consider this a spoiler if you've ever seen a horror movie): heroine survives, crazed mad killer mysteriously disappears after appearing to be dead. But really I was pretty numb to most everything happening. The healthy dose of nastiness at the beginning pretty much made me not care for the rest of the flick.
Sherri Moon, as Deborah Myers actually delivers a nice little performance as a broke, but not broken matriarch. William Forsythe, playing the boyfriend Ronnie White made me hate him from his first time on screen, so I have to give him credit where credit is due. Zombie pulled in all his House of 1000 Corpses/Devil's Rejects regulars for bit parts, and Ken Foree as Big Joe Grizzly was probably my favorite bit in the movie. Child Michael Myers is done well, I may not have liked how his part was written but I appreciate the maturity it must take to pull off such a role. I'm not a huge nut on the "guy behind the mask" phenomenon, where horror movie fans get attached to the yahoo playing the murderer. The clown in the updated Halloween meets all the appropriate criteria, he's big, and he wears a mask.
Rob Zombie made Halloween more realistic, updated to reflect the world we know exists far too well thanks to Jerry Springer bringing it into our living rooms every day at 3 PM. But in this case, realistic, and meaner, does not mean better. Having Myers as a mysterious force of evil in a body, as in the Carpenter original, was a far more entertaining movie than having him be the abused kid down the street.
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IMDB Link: Halloween
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