Quint has read the script for Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN remake!!!
Published at: Jan. 19, 2007, 1:43 a.m. CST by quint
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with my thoughts on Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN remake script.
Let's get the background out of the way first. I liked the first 10 minutes of HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES, but it went downhill after that, turning into a boring exercise in style over substance. However, Zombie won me back with DEVIL'S REJECTS. I can point to some dialog that didn't work, but overall the tone he captured, the characters he gave us and superb casting of horror icons really won me over. To this day, I think REJECTS made good on the promise he was making about CORPSES being a return to hard edged '70s exploitation.
I am a gonzo huge fan of John Carpenter's original HALLOWEEN. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say I've seen that movie 50 times from start to finish. I'm very protective of it, but at the same time I recognize how shitty the sequels got. The only film I really hold up on a pedestal is the original, though I love HALLOWEEN II and get a bizarre kick out of the Michael Myers-less 3... but that could be due to my idol worship of Tom Atkins.
So, I wasn't the biggest fan of the idea of remaking HALLOWEEN, but having loved the '70s feel of REJECTS and seeing that Zombie seemed to hold HALLOWEEN as dearly as I did, I thought I'd give him a chance. I'm not automatically against a remake if there's someone really interesting involved, like when Carpenter remade THE THING. He had an interesting vision and made an incredible film. Hell, I even really liked the ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 remake that came out a couple years ago.
So it was that I cracked open the script. And so it is that I'm writing this now, absolutely befuddled.
I'm hoping the script I read (a long script, at 125 pages) is a very, very, very early draft. Even if it is, there are some very fundamental things wrong with it.
The script starts out with a home movie of the Myers family, which freezes on a gap-toothed young Michael Myers grinning for the camera. The title HALLOWEEN is placed here. From this point on, we're treated to over 40 pages of the Young Michael Myers Chronicles. In these adventures, bullies pick on him, his stripper mom's redneck boyfriend (to be played by William Forsythe) calls him a faggot and keeps talking about fucking his mom in front of him and the 10 year old Myers masturbates to Polaroids of various animals he's killed while listening to them die on playback from his trusty tape recorder.
Look. This is a remake, so of course I was expecting some things to change. I would have been kind of pissed if it was just a retread, but what I really find myself disappointed with is the lack of understanding Zombie is showing on why Michael Myers works. In the original film, Myers was bigger than a serial killer or a psychopath. He was evil. Unemotional. Uncaring. He was the boogeyman. Hence the ending line. His character was never even referred to in the script as Michael, but as The Shape.
When you explain away Michael, giving him modern day serial killer hellish upbringing, you take away his power. He no longer represents a myth bigger than a person, he doesn't represent death incarnate. He's just an average psycho in a mask. There's nothing special to him anymore.
I was hoping that Zombie, as a professed fan of Carpenter's film, would understand that and it's my biggest disappointment in the script that Zombie doesn't seem to.
There was even a point, around the time 10 year old Myers is in Loomis' care and chatting it up while coloring paper masks, that I thought I might have a fake script. But the script is filled with new characters that Zombie has cast, like Big Joe Grizzly (Ken Foree) and Ronnie White (Forsythe) and Nole Kluggs (Lew Temple), that there's not a real possibility that I got a fake. So, the hope is still there that it's a very early draft and the reason that hope is there is thus: A) There seem to be about 2 typos per page and B) A cast character, Ismael Cruz (Danny Trejo), is not in the script I read. Every other character who has been cast is in it and there are a ton of roles I can see Trejo in.
So, let's get back to the script a bit. There are two ideas in the new script that I really like. Despite Michael's rough childhood, he always showed affection towards the baby, nicknamed "Boo." Followers of the Halloween series will know why that is important and if you don't know, I'd advise you to stop reading. I'm not going to ruin new, specific beats, but I am going to talk about this as a fan of the mythos of the series.
Of course, "Boo" is baby Laurie. If it was up to me, I'd show Myers as an emotionless kid, always kind of blank, but a glimmer pops up whenever he sees the baby. I like the idea of him drawn to her and that giving him a reason for seeking her out later.
I also quite like the idea of spending some time with Dr. Loomis trying to get through to Michael. Ideally, it'd be a good place to explore Loomis as a character. He shouldn't be having conversations with Myers, he should be slowly realizing what he doesn't want to. If Michael's pure evil, without having a reason to be evil (no verbally abusive father figure or mean bullies), it flies in the face of everything Dr. Loomis believes in as a psychiatrist. That is where Loomis' obsession with Myers comes from. That's fascinating to me.
Here, Dr. Loomis falls into the background. This is all Michael Myers all the time, which is another mistake. Zombie forgoes Myers being a quiet shell, with dead eyes, from the moment Loomis sees him. We see his mood swings, he chats away and colors in different pieces of paper to make masks that we find out later, when we meet the adult Michael Myers, that he uses them to represent his mood, including when he needs to take a shit. In Michael Myers' mind, he goes, "It's about time I put on the 'I gotta take a shit' mask so I can express myself."
We meet adult Michael Myers on page 48 and here's another shocker. There's a reason Tyler Mane was cast. Michael Myers is described in the script as being 6'10" and 280lbs. Again, that strikes me as being untrue to the original character. Making him a hulk of a being kind of puts him into the Jason or Leatherface realm, no?
As an adult, Michael Myers feels like an amalgam of the Myers we know and Leatherface from the CHAINSAW remakes. He's big and he chases people down. Gone is the sure and steady, calm and unemotional Myers.
Laurie Strode isn't introduced until page 69 and the final moments of Myers stalking Haddonfield don't really happen until the last 20/25 pages. And yes, it does feel rushed.
And yes, adult Michael Myers, with the mask, does speak. Ugg... And yes, they try to show Myers' "human" side in the last act. Double Ugg...
The good news is just from a pure exploitation angle, Zombie included lots of gore and a ridiculous amount of nudity. It's going to really weird me out if Hanna R. Hall (the first Jenny in Forrest Gump) reveals as much as the script requires Judith Myers to reveal. And the 10 year old Myers groping her before stabbing her is also going to freak me out a tad. Sheri Moon's character is always wearing something skimpy in the script and Danielle Harris' Annie (a great move casting Harris, by the way) gets very exposed. Actually, pretty much every female in the script except for Laurie Strode, will get naked. Great. I just wish he'd make that a different movie, take the mask out of it, change the names and not draw the comparisons.
I can see Malcolm McDowell (another great bit of casting) being excellent in the role of Dr. Loomis and I can see him making some of the weak dialog work just out of sheer charisma and talent, but compared to the Donald Pleasance Loomis, I'm afraid he's going to fall short. This Loomis, as written, is too weak and when he goes a little mental trying to talk people into the threat of Myers he just comes off as annoying.
The script has a very high body count, ample nudity and a solid cast. But I firmly believe Zombie completely missed the boat on Myers and is making a big mistake with the story. The script really feels like he just wants to make Halloween... but super-badass hardcore and fuckin' extreme, without a thought to the character work that went into the original. The dialog is distractingly bad at times. He does keep Lynda's overuse of the word totally, but then he adds in Annie and Lynda always calling each other "bitch" every time they see each other. "Hey bitches!"
If I can get my hands on a the shooting draft I will. I wanted this to work, but the script I read is a real disappointment. Hopefully there are some big changes from the draft I read. And I mean big. You can play around with a lot of things... setting, style, camera movement and certain characters, but to mess with Michael Myers as a movie monster is unforgivable.