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B-Tizzle Survives Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN!!

Merrick here...
You know, I don't understand it. Remaking so many movies when there's so much original material waiting around to be made. Above all, I don't understand remaking so many films when The Powers That Be clearly have limited, or no, understanding of the source material they're lifting to begin with. What makes this happen? Laziness (it's easier for the folks in charge to crib someone else's material than develop stuff on their own)? A sense of / desire for box office safety (if people know the title, there's less marketing to do & more built in audience interest)? Ego (title "X" is old - we must be able to do better nowadays)? Or, all of the above? Whatever the case, it's a damn shame. It's rather myopic of the industry to perpetuate such a trend. Case in point: Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN. Because...John Carpenter's original film is lacking in so many ways, you know. And, apparently, elements that made the original film work aren't being ported to the remake. So... ummmm.... B-Tizzle sent in this rather thoughtful look at Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN remake. It very much echoes a review we posted earlier. I.e. good, but not great. In the interest of fair play, it should be noted that he saw an INCOMPLETE version of the film. Many changes may come about before the movie's August release.
With this in mind, here's B-Tizzle!
I attended a test screening of Rob Zombie's "Halloween" remake in New York, and thought I would through in my two cents. I'll be straight with you up front because I honestly loathe the idea of just remaking every major horror movie that may be special to any viewer without any style or class. I did, however, feel that the Halloween franchise was in major need or a relaunch or reboot of some type, though I am utterly depressed that the original continuity ended on "Resurrection," with Laurie dying and Michael getting kung-fued. I get furious just thinking about the best horror franchise of all time being reduced to that. I think I'll just pretend "H20," utterly flawed as it is, was the last movie, and tell myself that "Resurrection" never existed. As I stated, "Halloween" is my favorite horror franchise of all time. It hits you emotionally like no other because it has stronger heroines and a better concept than "Friday" or "Nightmare." It doesn't have to be about blood like the others, it can be about shadows and suspense and the nature of true evil at its best. The concept is so simple and beautiful... And now it's been remade. I purposely avoided any spoilers or trivia on the movie in order to go into it fresh. The good news is that it doesn't completely suck. The bad news is that it isn't really good either. As the movie commenced, it appeared my worst fears were confirmed as Zombie begins to delve into the background of Michael Myers, going into detail about how he became what he eventually becomes. Uh, the allure of the character is that we know nothing about his background save that he killed his sister that fateful night for no apparent reason because his soul is black as pitch! We don't need to know that he takes pictures of animals he killed, or that his sister is the only thing he really cares about in the world. We just need to know that he is evil. And will never stop. I understand what Zombie was going for with the flashbacks, I really do. Adding something to the mythology to just not make the movie another pointless remake is a really good way to reboot the franchise, but this is the wrong way to approach it. Zombie does it with style, does nothing to make fanboys scream in revolt, and yet it it utterly unnecessary and makes the subsequent two thirds of the movie lose a great deal of tension because Michael is not a monster. He's a man. And a callback to these earlier sequences at the finale of the film ruins much of the tension that was built at the climax. It's also rather disconcerting because Zombie spends so much time with Michael and so little with Laurie. Before the horrors of Halloween night descend on the film. The writing and characterization do nothing to separate any of the teens from all those other token dead teenagers in slasher films, which is a darn shame. However, thankfully, the movie is amazingly-well cast, and they go above and beyond where the script falls short. McDowell utterly becomes Loomis for the audience, and by the end I had accepted him and didn't even think of Pleasance in the role. But honestly, I think we all knew that was going to be the case, didn't we? But I was shocked (SHOCKED!) at how well Scout Taylor-Compton slid into Jamie Lee Curtis' shoes, and how much charisma she has, and how effortlessly she carries the latter half of the movie. I shouldn't have cared about her, Zombie didn't give me a real reason to, but because of Taylor-Compton I did. Let's talk about the good first, shall we? Though there isn't a great deal of suspense untilt he final meeting of Laurie and Michael because we know inherently, because we have seen all the movies before and all their imitators, when to expect the scares and when to get the popcorn, Zombie does a phenomenal job of building atmosphere and a sense of location and mood to any given scene. The final showdown between Laurie and Michael is phenomenally done, pitch perfectly choreographed and the tension exploded in the audience, myself included. My ass slid to the edge of my seat and my fingernails began to put indentations in my palm. Zombie got it right. The first time Michael puts on his mask also sent shivers up my spine...however, looking back at this moment now along with other smaller moments I liked, I have to wonder... ...did I shiver and scream because Zombie did a good job creating his own version of Halloween, or because I just love the franchise so much? Having seen all the movies numerous times, perhaps I'm not the right person to be evaluating it, because I'm too close to the material? Maybe. Probably not though. Remember how I said Zombie did an excellent job with the suspense in the final faceoff? Well, that suspense is nowhere to be found in earlier suspense scenes and killings. And when Zombie kills off certain characters, his style of direction changes from atmosphere building to what I can only describe as him with a handheld camcorder trying to pee with one hand and shoot the scene with the other. Hold the damn camera steady, man! And there are certain things I can't go into without ruining major plot developments in the film, but there is a certain plot development that involves the rape of a character that should have never gotten out of Zombie's mind and onto the script page. It infuriated me. It was cheap and done for no other reason than to disgust. And it needs to be removed immediately. The cut I saw was rough, with the old score instead of the new. The good news is that at least half of the film's major problems can be fixed in editing. The first thing Zombie should do is begin snipping the character of Michael way down, and adding scenes with Laurie. Michael is supposed to be a presence more than a character. A shape. The shape. Suspense and tension is created by how characters we care about, like Laurie, react to that presence instead of just showing us why they should be reacting. Is "Halloween" a good movie? It can be. But right now, it's a fair movie that doesn't deserve to be as good as it is. You can call me... B-Tizzle

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