Published at: Aug. 31, 2007, 6:17 a.m. CST by quint
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here.
Despite my troubles with the script, despite my dislike of the clips and trailers I’ve seen, I went into tonight’s midnight screening of HALLOWEEN with a tiny kernel of hope. I knew it wasn’t going to be the film I wanted it to be, but I had hope that the arguments coming from Zombie and his fans since my script review hit had some validity. They had basically said, “This isn’t John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN, this is not a remake, it’s a reimagining. This is Rob Zombie’s HALLOWEEN.”
My hope was that I’d like Rob Zombie’s HALLOWEEN the same way I like Zack Snyder’s DAWN OF THE DEAD. It’s not the original, not even by a close margin, but it’s a damn fine piece of entertainment and a showcase for an interesting filmmaker to display his talents.
I can honestly say that after the credits rolled on Rob Zombie’s HALLOWEEN I felt it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. It was worse.
What hit me as I was watching it was that the core argument about this not being a remake of John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN was completely invalid. If the film had only been the Michael Myers as a kid part, then that argument would have been valid, but about an hour and twenty minutes into the movie Zombie pretty much Gus Van Sant’s it, but on a much more condensed level. We get a 25 minute reel of an almost shot for shot, line for line remake of HALLOWEEN before a crazy new ending.
Let’s backtrack a little bit.
The audience was full of people wearing DEVIL’S REJECTS and White Zombie T-shirts. Lots of tats and piercings. It wasn’t a crazy, rowdy audience, but there was definitely excitement in the line waiting outside.
One of the most entertaining parts of my movie going experience tonight was looking back at the theater and seeing the crowd’s reaction. I’d say it was a healthy mix of pissed off faces and bored faces. There was one lady sitting behind me that never changed her expression (that of a woman who just walked in on her husband in bed with her sister) throughout the entire film and it made me laugh every time I looked back.
The pacing of the movie is probably its biggest problem outside of the traditionalists’ disconnect from the remake. It’s an hour and five minutes before we see grown up Michael Myers and the movie ends up with a total runtime of over 2 hours and it feels like much more.
Myers’ parents are every bit as white trash as I expected from the script review, but even William Forsythe couldn’t save the early part of the movie. There’s no subtlety to the characters. Every one of them is loud, every one of them is mean… in short, they’re all caricatures. That in and of itself isn’t a killer, especially in this genre, but we are never given anybody to relate to, not even in the DEVIL’S REJECTS “These are sleaze-bags, but damn are they fun to watch!” way.
I couldn’t believe what I was watching in the beginning. It really did border on parody.
For instance… the night of Halloween we have Michael’s mom going off to work as a stripper, so she can’t take him out Trick Or Treating. She tells Judith, his sister, to do it, but instead Judith just fucks her boyfriend. Michael’s stepfather passes out on the coach, but not before calling him a faggot a couple of times.
Little Michael sits in front of his house, his empty pumpkin Trick Or Treat bag next to him as LOVE HURTS by Nazareth blares through the theater’s speakers. This is all intercut with Mommy stripping and Judith fucking her boyfriend and little Michael looking sad.
Zombie did seem to try to change up his script since I read it. Gone is the jerking off to dead animals (don’t worry, they still feature prominently, just not as spank material), gone is little tape-recorder he uses to record his killing of said animals, gone is adult Michael speaking, gone is Loomis telling a colleague about Michael’s “Gotta Take A Shit Mask,” and gone is the ending where adult Michael Myers is gunned down by the coppers as little Michael Myers sings a song about loving ice cream and candy and won’t you be his friend. I’m not kidding about that, either. At one point that was the ending to this movie.
My buddy Kraken had a theory when he saw the first trailer that Rob Zombie didn’t actually want to remake Halloween. He wanted to remake THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. He was more right than he knew. Myers is huge, brutal. He even throws open a heavy sliding door like Leatherface in the climax of the flick.
And if you see the flick and don’t think of TCM at the very end then you probably haven’t seen the original CHAINSAW MASSACRE.
I know that me saying I didn’t like Zombie’s HALLOWEEN isn’t a surprise, but I can only tell you that I wasn’t expecting to be won over, but hoping to be, if that makes any sense. I had a few things to hold on to and first and foremost was Malcolm McDowell as Loomis.
I thought from the beginning that McDowell in that role was inspired casting, so you can imagine my disappointment when I saw Zombie directed McDowell into his career worst performance. I don’t know if it was just the dialogue he had to spew or what, but he felt so awkward with the words he had to say. His wardrobe went from atrocious to pretty cool… he starts off looking like Beavis & Butt-Head’s hippy teacher and at the end he gets the trademark trenchcoat.
The kid who played young Michael was never intriguing. He either was too evil or too innocent. Again, he felt awkward whether it was him screaming out obscenities or saying “I love you” to his mom.
The three girls (Laurie, Lynda and Annie) are all beautiful, but are just horrible. I’m sorry, but the original girls were all their own characters. I wouldn’t ever say that Nancy Loomis turned in a great performance as Annie in the original film, but I will say that she invested enough into her character that you really were afraid for her.
Scout Taylor-Compton is a very gorgeous girl and comes off as very sweet, but doesn’t get much to work with. The whole Haddonfield rampage is so rushed that none of them get a chance to be anything but walking tits that call each other “Bitches” a whole lot.
If all you want out of a horror movie is tits, ass and blood then you might like this movie. I do appreciate getting some extended topless Danielle Harris and Hanna Hall scenes, don’t get me wrong, but I would have liked it so much more if it was in the context of a movie with any atmosphere whatsoever.
I wasn’t alone in my opinion it seems. When the film ended the entire audience was quiet with one guy in the far back of the theater clapping for about three seconds. It was a midnight screening and by the time I got out to the lobby there was not one group that stayed around to talk about it. The place was dead, something that never happens at these midnight screenings.
Everything I was worried about from the script review was there. By demystifying Michael Myers they made him boring. His size worked against him... It's easier to turn off any investment you have when a giant hulking brute tears apart a house trying to get at the girl... a girl you don't get time to like or give a shit about in the first place. The foundation was bad and it showed through, despite some last minute changes to the wall-paper.
So, those are my thoughts. I’m sure a lot of you will be seeing the movie this weekend, so feel free to comment on it below.
Now it’s time for me to hit some updates before I crash for the night. Keep an eye to the site!