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A Review Of The Latest Cut Of Rob Zombie’s HILLBILLYWEEN And A Rant On Screenings!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. There’s a review down below, but this first guy wanted to send a review and was frustrated by one of the quirks of the test screening process. I tried sending a lot of people to this one, and several of them were turned away for various reasons. What was this guy’s story? Check it out...

Harry, Originally, this was to be my first review submission to your website (of which I have been an avid fan and reader for years), it is now a rant (I am fairly certain it won’t make it on the site, it’s more of a cathartic excresise for me) Typically when I am asked by a person with a clipboard at the local theater “do you want to see a free movie?”, it is usually some lame Ben Stiller comedy where he is with a girl too pretty for him, but damn it she falls for him anyway. So you can imagine my surprise and delight when I got a flyer for and advanced screening of “ROB ZOMBIES: HALLOWEEN” I almost peed my big boy pants. Submitting a review to Aint it Cool News with the possibility of seeing my moniker on your site next to yours, mirajeff, Capone, moriarty…. It was to be one of the crowning achievements in my geek life (to date they are 1. Marrying my wife 2. the birth of my son, 3. meeting Bruce Campbell at Comic-con ) I was 10 when the original Halloween came out. I remember it vividly for 2 reasons- first, my birthday was 3 days after its release (thus making the holiday “my holiday”), and secondly, the local twin cinemas(former Jerry Lewis Twin Cinemas) had the coolest lobby decorations for Halloween. There was even controversy over the working guillotine in the lobby that was secured behind only a velvet rope. I made it my mission to sneak into see Halloween back then, and succeeded. To date it is still one of my favorite horror movies of all time. I still get chills watching it. Fast forward to last night in lovely Chatsworth CA , where I was in line with my fellow geek buddy eagerly waiting to get in to see if Mr. Zombie did it up good. I have no hard fast rule when it comes to remakes, other than “make it good, make it your own”. Everything was perfect up until I heard those 6 little words. “You are not our target demographic’. The woman who spoke those words to me never asked my age (okay I am 38, but look 30… no really) or bothered to inquire anything about me. She looked me up and down and advised me “You are not our target demographic” It was a swift kick in the man sack I get that studios want feedback from test audiences and they want a diversity of people, but there were people visibly in their 40’s getting in (the flyer was for 17-34 year olds), as well as a group of teenage girls who, by the way, actually stated in the presence of Movie Woman “God, I don’t even like horror films” “I probably won’t be able to even look at the screen” “Why are we even seeing this?”. They made all of these statements right in front of Movie Woman and were still given a wristband and let into the movie. I equate that to a record company calling me for my opinion on a Country album- I don’t listen to it, don’t own any country albums why would you give a shit what I think. I inquired with Movie Woman exactly how I am not their target audience; her reply was “We need more girls in the theater”. At the time she was saying this, there were about 200 people still waiting to get in, and at best 25 were female. Basically what it came down to is Movie Woman had a clipboard and literally was just “checking the boxes” when it came to letting people in. You would think for any film, you might want a little more information on your test audience than just a visual once over. I can only imagine the feedback the teen girls were able to provide Movie Woman- “Um .. like it was totally, like, scary and stuff… I dunno really… I like had my face in my hands the whole time… didn’t they like make this movie before…. I would have totally had Lindsey lohan play the babysitter, and instead of killing people, maybe she could have like given Mikey a makeover like she got in Mean Girls and like they could be roommates and have cool adventures” My point is, I have worked for companies where it is just the “check the box” attitude and you almost never get the quality results you require. Studios spend millions to make movies; shouldn’t they have a better system for “target audiences” than just literally looking at someone? Isn’t this the same system that said “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” sucked (I’m sure you can list more movies they’ve missed on than I can, that was the biggie that came to mind) I can’t imagine Rob Zombie typing away at this screenplay and wondering if teenage girls will dig it. He is gunning for the fences on this one and trying to make the kind of movie that guys like me will watch and say “fuck yeah” when all is said and done. Your site is my source for reviews when it comes to movies. I may not agree 100% of the time, but your sites batting average is better than most. I am the guy in the office and with my friends who people look to for advice on movies like this. But none of that matters. It’s 2007 and the best system the have to cull a “target audience” is “check the box”, which is why studios will continue to put out half ass movies and not be overly concerned with quality. Pixar is the only studio that comes to mind that actually seems to put quality first. They don’t put it ahead of profits, because they know that if they put out the quality the profits will come. The rest seem to just want to fling shit at the walls and see what sticks. Well, I am about out of steam… not that you will use this, but I do feel a bit better and bit less bitter… You can call me irrelevant elephant

Awwww... you’re not irrelevant. You’re just old. As am I. It’s weird realizing that you’re no longer part of the “most desirable demo,” isn’t it? Here’s the review, and it seems to be an even-handed, fiar look at the film as it stands right now:

Moriarty, I saw Rob Zombie's Halloween last night at a screening in Chatsworth, Ca. and wanted to share my thoughts before it gets cut down to an R rating. (Light Spoilers Ahead) It is impossible to judge this film on it's own, as I'm sure Zombie knows, so I won't try. The film is basically the same as the previous NY screening (as described), with the exception of no rape scene. I'm not sure what said scene entailed, but it must have disturbed enough people that it was removed. The successful points of the film inevitably mirror the failings: Yes, the casting of the leads is great (Malcolm McDowell, Tyler Mane, Scout Taylor-Compton, etc.), however, the film is cameo HEAVY! Beyond Zombie's usual suspects, he has cast so many horror/sci-fi icons and just film personalities, that it takes you out of the story each time one pops up. I'm not spoiling here... it's on IMDB... two words: Clint Howard. The film is very erratic in it's pacing. Where the best moments are the quiet, character-developing scenes between Michael and Dr. Loomis or Michael and Ismael Cruz(Danny Trejo), which add pathos to Michael and are actually kind of sad, the scenes involving Michael's family are over the top and continue to explore Zombie's fascination with "Redneckdom". The good characters just aren't given breathing space, so when it happens, you just don't care that all three teen sex scenes end in them being ripped to shreds. There is virtually no suspense or atmosphere in the film. As one of the previous reviewers pointed out: you ALWAYS know where Michael is and what he is about to do. On the other hand the film is beautifully shot, with some really fresh angles and lighting. Lastly, the violence is brutal and unrelenting. Michael is in no way subtle in his killing. I'm a grown man, and even I was getting overwhelmed by the carnage. I have to go back to the original for a moment. One of the great things about the 1978 film(forgetting the sequels a moment), is that the killings (apart from the dead guy in the field) were all isolated to the teens in the story. This not only launched a genre, but it also made the goings on seem like a dream world within the town of Haddonfield. Where this monster is walking around doing these horrific things, but only this small group is affected by it. That is not the case here where everyone in Michael's general vicinity gets murdered in a real "action-packed" way(I don't know if this showing included the newly-shot scenes). Bottom line, the film will make money because it's coming out at the end of summer, though opening in October would have helped the lack of atmosphere. Rob Zombie has proven that he can be a great filmmaker, but as it was pointed out in a previous story, he should have reinvented the genre, rather than unnecessarily reinventing a classic. Bandit Darville
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