HALLOWEEN - Mania.com

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Mania Grade: C+

Maniac Grade: C-

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  • Reviewed Format: Theatrical Release
  • Rated: R
  • Stars: Tyler Mane, Scout Taylor-Compton, Malcolm McDowell, Sheri Moon Zombie, Daeg Faerch
  • Writer: Rob Zombie, based on the screenplay by John Carpenter & Debra Hill
  • Director: Rob Zombie
  • Distributor: M-G-M/Dimension


A remake with a quasi-psychological angle...

By Abbie Bernstein     August 31, 2007

Tyler Mane as Michael Myers in Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN (2007).
© MGM/Dimension Films
There is something almost breathtakingly counterintuitive about trying to psychoanalyze Michael Myers, one of cinema’s great boogeymen since director John Carpenter first introduced the indestructible psychopath in 1978’s uber-slasher film Halloween. Since then, Halloween has spawned multiple sequels, not to mention innumerable copies by other names. Now director/screenwriter Rob Zombie is here with a remake, staying fairly faithful to the original structure (and music score), while adding a handful of innovations that are mostly head-scratchers.
The big change in the new Halloween is that, instead of a brief prologue, the section examining the childhood of Michael Myers (played as a youngster by Daeg Faerch), before and after he stabs his older sister to death. Michael is a normal-seeming kid, something of a feat given the toxic atmosphere in his household, where loving mom Deborah (Sheri Moon Zombie) and nasty, disabled stepfather (William Forsythe) scream constant abuse at one another, with stepdad also making cracks at Michael, older sister Judith (Hanna Hall) and even the baby. Secretly, Michael is torturing and killing animals – even ones he likes – and playing with a mask. Things escalate to the point where Michael attracts the attention of psychiatrist Sam Loomis (Malcolm McDowell), who is however unable to intervene before tragedy strikes. Michael is delivered into Dr. Loomis’ care at a mental institution, where he expresses feelings of being ugly and wanting to go home. There are more incidents, Michael goes mute.
Fifteen years later, around Halloween, the now-grown Michael (played as an adult by Tyler Mane) breaks out and heads for his hometown, where his baby sister, Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton), adopted by adoring parents, has no idea about her biological family history.
The first half of the new film is relatively interesting, even if it just about never feels scary. However, if one is going to attempt to explore a psychotic character, introducing the notion that Michael kills animals (and eventually people) he has good relationships with is something worth a bit more examination than it gets here. Then we get to the second half of the film, which essentially conflates the original Halloween and its immediate sequel, Halloween II (fans will remember that the filial relationship between Michael and Laurie is revealed in the second film, not the first), and Michael is in full unstoppable killer mode – which again would be just fine if we hadn’t spent an hour going into what made him the way he is. We’re no wiser about his interest in masks, let alone how his childhood environment caused him to become supernaturally strong and indestructible. It’s possible that Loomis going back and forth between trying to help Michael and denouncing him as Satan is meant to be a darkly comical look at a therapist who a) doesn’t know what he’s doing and b) can’t resist giving a good sound bite, but it doesn’t really play right. Taylor-Compton, while agreeable, is playing a role where screaming more than strategizing is emphasized this time around. This kind of movie tends to lose something when the main character acts this much like a victim.
To give Zombie his due, his Halloween is very well-photographed and overall well-made, and a mini-army of genre names show up in small roles: Danny Trejo, Brad Dourif, Ken Foree, Sig Haig, Bill Moseley, Udo Kier and others add some spice to the proceedings. Mane does a remarkably good job of conveying subtle changes in affect through posture and McDowell is enjoyable as the out-of-his-depth Loomis.
The first Halloween codified a formula that has been repeated so many times that it begs for experimentation. Zombie can’t be blamed for trying something a little different – it just doesn’t often work in the way that seems intended.


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mckracken 8/31/2007 12:38:49 AM
house of 1000 Corpses was very well-photographed and overall well-made too, as was Devils Rejects. You cant honestly say they both "missed the mark" but sometimes it appeared that more thought was put into the films overall look than its plot and gaps in logic. if its half as good as I hope it will be, then it's hills better than all the other Halloween sequels that are out there.
gauleyboy420 8/31/2007 12:44:28 AM
I really liked both House of 1000 corpses, and devils rejects. I think Zombie is an incredibly talented artist. I'm not a uber dark guy. I don't really like metal sound or look, but Zombie captivates me. I really like the versatility of his last two films, spanning very different horror styles. I'm looking forward to his take on a slasher flick...no the original slasher flick. I thought this was an incredible review. It gave an honest grade, yet was completely constructive. Leaving out the reviewers ego, and need to sound like a movie expert, like most movie reviewers. I will check this out in the next couple of weeks, I wanna make sure I add my $$$ to the tally to help make sure Zombie gets behind the camera again. Thanks again for this refreshingly honest yet unbiased review. It's the best example of what a movie review should be that I've read on thos site ever.
jacetheace 8/31/2007 8:05:39 AM
mlauzon - Michael dies at the end of every halloween movie. :)
jacetheace 8/31/2007 8:07:11 AM
... or is that Jason I'm thinking of ...
hivelsword 8/31/2007 8:28:33 AM
Mlauzon, tell me. How are you NOT a jerk? Next time you see a movie, keep the facts to yourself.
MIKWOZ 8/31/2007 9:50:00 AM
Thanks mlauzon I WAS going to see this this weekend. Nothing like finding out things about a movie before you go see it. What a tool.
lister 8/31/2007 10:22:52 AM
This, and all the other "C" and two star ratings I've seen says just one thing; rental (or torrent if I start seeing worse reviews!)
wessmith1966 8/31/2007 10:28:57 AM
Saw the movie last night, and unlike other,s I won't post any spoilers. I was looking forward to this film, because even though the original is my second favorite horror film (The Changeling is tops in my book), I thought it would be fun to see the story's mythology in Zombie's sick and twisted (in a good way...I'm not busting on Rob) hands. I left the theater completely disappointed. The acting was sub-par and Zombie completely took the mystery out of Michael with one cliched scene and character after another. The best part of Michael, for me, was that he was an ordinary kid from an ordinary family; there was no rhyme or reason to why he suddenly went crazier than a shithouse rat. By changing what he did and casting the huge Tyler Mane as Michael, Zombie made the character just another run of the mill, B movie, serial killer. The characters were just cardboard cutouts of other horror movie victims, good guys and bad guys. There was no real depth, all flash and no substance. Yes, the girls are sexy (with some nice T&A scenes for our viewing pleasure) and the kills cool, but I expected more. I really didn't think Zombie would equal, in his own way, the excellence of the original, but I was hoping he'd at least give it a good spin. He didn't and this version was quickly forgettable and definitely won't take up residence on my DVD shelf. My friends and I decided we're watching the original tonight just to get the bad "taste" out of our collective minds. If I had to rate this movie, with the original Halloween being an A and Halloween H20 and Halloween: Resurrection being a C- (IMO of course), this version would get a D- from me.
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