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Halloween (2007) /

Rated: R

Starring: Daeg Faerch, Danielle Harris, Malcolm McDowell, Danny Trejo, Sheri Moon

Directed by: Rob Zombie

Produced by: John Carpenter, Harvey Weinstein, Bob Weinstein

Written by: Rob Zombie

Distributor: MGM Distribution Company


Tyler Mane and Hanna Hall in MGM/Dimension Films' Halloween

Malcolm McDowell as Dr. Loomis in MGM/Dimension Films' Halloween

Danny Trejo , Tyler Mane and Lew Temple in MGM/Dimension Films' Halloween

     Rob Zombie must’ve had one screwed up childhood. For any human being to write and direct a picture as vile as Zombie’s update of John Carpenter’s Halloween requires not only a fondness for violence on said human’s part, but a serious need to indulge in repressed emotions. Watching this movie, I sensed that I was witnessing the work of a filmmaker who needed to get something off of his chest, to express serious levels of violence as a form of psychological heeling. Halloween indulges and revels in pornographic torture far more than any healthy horror film should, reaching much further into the depths of brutality than the envelope-pushing Saw and Hostel films ever have. Something profound had to have happened to Zombie in his past to inspire him to make a picture as ugly as this one.

     What would compel Zombie, whose House of 1,000 Corpses was actually a rather exciting and alive piece of horror, to make this version of Halloween—I do not know. Given the harshness of the picture itself, I shudder to think what feelings may have contributed to its conception. Either Zombie just likes the idea of violence, or he took the idea of “art imitating life” far too seriously when writing his script. In his Halloween, characters are stabbed, hit over their heads with sticks and baseball bats, and strangled with a stunning degree of realism. The picture is so graphic, in fact, that it never manages to become scary. Viewers will merely cringe at the film’s accurate depiction of the brutality inflicted by villain Michael Myers, rather than actually think about or be haunted by it. As was bombarded by his excessive use of gore, I found myself wishing Zombie would’ve just once thought to himself: “What would the original ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ do?” while making Halloween.

     Unlike Carpenter’s original film, which provided precisely six minutes of back-story on how Michael Myers came to be, Zombie’s Halloween spends nearly an hour depicting the villain’s psychological road to evil. This gives the writer/director an excuse to indulge in an abundance of unnecessary violence. In addition to slaughtering his older sister on Halloween Night as he did in Carpenter’s film, young Michael here also decides to take out a school bully, his mother’s boyfriend, and his sister’s boyfriend. This time around, Michael additionally has a younger sister (he thankfully spares her on his killing-spree), who comes into play later in the story in one of the most moronic third-act plot-twists of recent memory.

     Other then the heightened level of violence and the aforementioned plot-twist, the rest of Halloween’s story remains rather unchanged in this remake. Unfortunately, what Carpenter did with style and tension, Zombie does with gruesomeness and tastelessness. The time that Michael spends in jail after his initial crimes is handled in an entirely boring manner, and his later escape from captivity is too inevitable and expected to be thrilling. By the time he returns, years later, to terrorize his old neighborhood once again on Halloween night, the movie has already overstayed its welcome. Much to viewers’ dismay, they must then sit through another forty-five minutes of Michael’s pointless and stomach-churning murders. Zombie never seems to understand that the more blood he throws around onscreen, the less scary the movie becomes (not that it was ever frightening in the first place).

     Halloween’s poor quality seems especially disappointing when one recounts the clear passion that Zombie showed for both reinventing and nostalgically remembering Old Horror in his House of 1,000 Corpses, whatever that film’s problems may’ve been. This is a barbaric motion picture with hardly any redeeming qualities. (The only thing I can think of that the movie has going for it is Scout Taylor-Compton’s refreshingly updated take on the Jamie-Lee Curtis character of the original.) I certainly hope that Zombie clears up whatever repressed, violent thoughts he has inside his head before making his next horror film.

-Danny Baldwin, Bucket Reviews (9.2.2007)

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