Dir: Rob Zombie
Release Date: 2007
“Escaping from an institute after 15 years, a killer makes his way back home to finish what he started”
I will lay this down for you all right at the beginning of this: I LOVE the 1978 film by John Carpenter and saw no reason for a remake/reboot/reimagining or whatever these things are called these days.
When I heard that Rob Zombie was at the helm and he was going to throw some focus on Michael’s background, I kind of hoped it wouldn’t be too much of a disaster at all.
Turns out, I was wrong.
The decision to focus the first 30-40 minutes of the film with Michael as a kid just ended up humanising the monster from the original while ticking some clichés off as we went along.
Abusive stepfather? You got it – credit though to William Forsythe who really plays repulsive bastards well.
Stripper mother? You’d better believe it! Just an excuse for Zombie to show us how sexy his wife is. After all, she is no actress.
Bullied at school? Of course he is – though he sorts that out for himself.
Picked on by promiscuous older sister? Tick that box.
Tortures animals? Well, that turns the sympathy off again but he sure does.
So all of this is laid out for us for 25 minutes and then, finally, we catch up with how the 1978 version begins. Somehow, Michael puts on the actual Halloween mask instead of a clown outfit and sets to killing his sister. Oh, and his stepfather.
The next 20 minutes is a selection of shit dialogue with a clearly ancient Malcom McDowell wearing a terrible wig chatting to young Michael as he, in turn, wears a variety of home-made masks in Smith’s Grove Mental Institution. McDowell’s Loomis character tells Michael that he is his best friend, how he is very lonely, how his wife never understood him, what his favourite colour is, how he likes to wear women’s underwear under his suit and how he believes that climate change is a hoax perpetuated by the media to maintain a culture of human drones living in fear.
Not all of that is true but it would have at least been more memorable than the nonsense he actually does say.
15 YEARS LATER - Michael has now grown to the size of a pro wrestler and still wears rubbish masks which are all over the walls of his room/cell. He is looked after by Danny Trejo who seems like a nice guy because he is wearing glasses and talks to Michael like a normal person. Loomis meanwhile has taken off his wig and has now decided that Michael can’t be cured so goes to see Udo Kier who still looks like a mad old Nazi and spouts some sub rate garbage about his eyes being black (Michael’s not Udo Kier’s).
Donald Pleasance did it all so much better which I thought all the way through.
Loomis doesn’t think Michael should be transferred and says so. Udo Kier ignores him. Nazi.
A couple of drunk Institution porters turn up in Michael’s room with a female patient and proceed to rape her in front of him which is totally unnecessary. After a couple of minutes, Michael has had enough and kills them both.
He then kills Danny Trejo who clearly works all the hours available to him. I guess that’s to show us that Michael is a bad egg.
Off he goes, into the wind. B-movie legend Clint Howard phones Loomis and tells him that Michael is loose.
Laurie Strode – yes, the Jamie Lee Curtis character actually IS in this film – gets some screen time after almost an hour and, played by Scout Taylor-Compton, she is not the innocent girl she was back in ’78. The beautiful Danielle Harris also gets in on the act playing a totally unconnected character to Jamie Lloyd who she played in Halloween 4 and 5 and she later bares her breasts which was much appreciated.
Richard Lynch (a massively impressive filmography for the Cult) plays the school principal and has never looked well, Brad Dourif is the sheriff, Bill Moseley pops in and the late Sid Haig gets a couple of lines. Ken Foree from Dawn of the Dead shows up as a truck driver so Michael kills him in a toilet and steals his clothes. That’ll show him. Even Mickey Dolenz from The Monkees turns up in this film.
If Rob Zombie put as much effort into ‘writing’ this shit show as he did trying to get his mates shoe-horned into it, it may have turned out better.
Michael pops back home, finds the same mask from when he was a kid in quite remarkable condition (I had a Michael Myers mask and it melted in the Sunshine through the window) and wanders around, we actually see him just walking about and not just being there like ‘The Shape’ did back in the day.
Loomis tells people to be careful as there is a killer in their midst but never really instils any dread or fear.
The beauty of the ’78 version was that Michael could have been anyone in a mask and the film incorporated mistaken identity into the panic that ensued.
How nobody can find a 7 foot guy in a small town is pretty amazing in itself. You have to question whether Brad Dourif is actually any good as a cop let alone managing to become the Sheriff.
The kills are quite violent and gory and seem to be the only thing Rob Zombie knows how to do properly (music excepted, I do quite like his music) as though this makes up for the rest of the film being so lacklustre.
Danielle Harris gets her tits out – I know I mentioned this already but I have always had a thing for her so it’s worth another couple of seconds. Her gory death is a highlight for me and not just because she was topless throughout (well maybe a bit) but she somehow reappears for the sequel – I refuse to watch that abomination again.
Michael seems to try to be nice to Laurie, shows her a photo of them together as children but she fails to understand and causes him to react violently again. Michael Myers, the classic walk-slowly-after-people-and-still-catch-up/appear-there-first character at one point runs at Laurie and tackles her over the bannisters.
Somehow, this legendary Horror classic has been allowed to be made into a very average film, turning an unstoppable maniac driven by pure evil, stealthily invading a quiet neighbourhood into a freakishly massive murderer with a bad childhood stamping around the place.
It lacks everything that made the original such a landmark film. The best bit about it (apart from Danielle Harris’ breasts) is the music and that’s because it uses the original theme.
I own this on DVD twice for some reason but this review is the only motivation I had for watching this for a second time in 13 years.
Next October 31st, I’ll go back to the original.
FAVOURITE CHARACTER: Danielle Harris as Annie Brackett
FAVOURITE MOMENT: Danielle Harris getting her breasts out
Annie Brackett: Oh please! It’s probably just some pervert cruising school poontang!
FAVOURITE DEATH: Danielle Harris and her topless slaughter