Tuesday, October 21, 2008

HORROR EPICS: Halloween (2007)

Since I had no interest in seeing either of Rob Zombie’s previous forays into horror films, I was less than thrilled when I heard that he was at the helm to remake the John Carpenter 1978 classic. But I gave it a chance, and it came out better than I’d expected it to. Zombie’s Halloween is as watchable as any of the current Generation ADD horror movies. I liked that this version went into a back-story more, as I always thought it’d be cool if the original Halloween series had a prequel chronicling Michaels’ descent into madness. That’s fulfilled to some degree here as we watch Dr. Loomis fail to penetrate the twisted mind of Michael Meyers. The murder scenes deliver appropriately, and another four-eyed jackass gets pinned to the wall. Much of the cast reads like Horror and B-Movie Trivial Pursuit, including Dee Wallace (E.T., The Howling, The Hills Have Eyes), Brad Dourif (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Child’s Play), Udo Kier (The Story of O, Suspiria, Blade), Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead), Danny Trejo (he’s in everything...seriously...), and William Forsythe (American Me). Even Sid Haig has a bit role. Malcolm McDowell is in the Donald Pleasance role of Dr. Sam Loomis. It’s got a killer soundtrack that includes hits from KISS, Nazareth, Blue Oyster Cult (“Don’t Fear the Reaper,” natch), Rush, and the Misfits’ “Halloween II,” which was a nice touch. They certainly pulled out all the stops for this remake...to distract the viewer from how generic Halloween often is. Michael Meyers’ abusive white-trash upbringing is predictable, as is his propensity for killing animals. In a major 1970s cultural gaffe, there’s not a cigarette to be found anywhere in the Meyers household. Not even a crushed-up pack of Pall Malls. There’s no need to interpret Michael’s murderous intentions or ask questions—the answers are all laid out nice and neat in case you were having any trouble figuring it out for yourself. When Michael finally escapes from the sanitarium nearly an hour into the film, business starts to pick up. It’s ironic that people complained about the pacing of the original Halloween and how long it took for anything to happen. Laurie Strode and her cock-hungry friends are cute, but don’t give Jamie Lee Curtis, P.J. Soles, or Nancy Loomis any competition. I didn’t mind renting it, but ultimately the Zombiefied Halloween is a predictable retelling of the original story that is viscerally lacking despite a bigger budget.

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