Fargo's Moving Picture Extravaganza! Halloween (2007)

Or 'Why Rob Zombie Should Never be Allowed to Make Another Film Ever'

Halloween (2007)


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I'm just going to get this out of the way now: I don't like Rob Zombie. Okay, to be fair, I'm sure he's a fine person in real life. In fact, in interviews he comes across genuinely knowledgeable and ecstatic about horror films, but each and every one of his own films is a complete and unmitigated disaster. In fact, disaster is probably too nice a term for them. Disaster gives the idea that they had a chance of success, but along the way something horrible happened and they fell apart. Instead, it feels like the films were doomed to begin with, because Rob Zombie is an awful director, and he's an even worse writer to the point where The Devil's Rejects and House of 1000 Corpses sit in the top 10 of my least favourite films of all time.

But yet, I had some vague optimism when I put the disc in for his remake of John Carpenter's classic, Halloween. I had heard shockingly good things, specifically about Zombie taking Michael Myers past and expanding on it, giving the character more development. Some may argue this isn't actually a good thing, given what Michael Myers is supposed to represent and I would generally agree, but I felt that there is an opportunity to explore the character and give him more of a backstory, while still retaining the concept that Myers is simply pure evil. So with that, I sat down with some glimmer of hope that Rob Zombie might produce something genuinely commendable. Oh boy, how wrong I was. So, Dear Reader, let us take a trip into one of the worst cinematic abominations to blight the screen since Equilibrium.

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Before we begin, I feel it is important to state I am not against remakes, although I do believe that the ratio of good to bad is heavily in favour of the latter category. There have been some awesome remakes in recent times, such as Last House on the Left and the Hills Have Eyes, and I feel those two films succeeded because the studio wasn't afraid to let them be a hard R, and the Halloween remake is certainly a hard R. The problem with the film therefore isn't it being toned down (the gore and sex have instead been considerably ramped up) but rather that Rob Zombie couldn't have missed the point of Halloween any more if he had been aiming in the complete wrong direction.

For those unfamiliar with the plot of the original Halloween, it's pretty simple. A young kid named Michael Myers murders his sister one night on Halloween, and fifteen years later he escapes from the a mental institution and returns to his hometown and begins a new killing spree. Meanwhile, his psychiatrist Dr Loomis attempts to stop him before it's too late. In terms of story, the major addition bolted onto the remake is a long, drawn out section chronicling Michael Myers past, and why he became the masked killer we're all familiar with. In the original film, Myers is shown to be a normal looking kid from a normal looking family. The opening scene is certainly brief, but there's enough exposition given to inform us that Michael Myers grew up in a pretty ordinary, pleasant family. The remake instead shows a Myers who has a family that couldn't be any more of an epitome of 'white-trash' if they held lynching's on their front lawn and sold tickets. What this does is it completely removes the idea of Michael Myers being special, of him being a soul-less killer not because of his upbringing but instead because he is just pure, unnatural evil. By showing Myers as an ordinary kid, the original Halloween made this concept of pure evil so much scarier and far more convincing. He simply had no reason to be a psychopath. Even Dr Loomis remarks how any method of modern psychiatry failed to make a dent in the boys psyche. In Rob Zombies remake, Michael Myers isn't special. Instead, he just becomes the kid who snapped and took a gun to school; something chronicled so much in the real-world that it's neither shocking nor interesting.

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The worst thing is this attempt sounds like it could at least bring some humanity and empathy to the character, right? Wrong. Rob Zombie doesn't understand the audience won't feel sorry for characters just because he manipulates his scenes to give the impression we should. This is the exact same problem I had with Devil's Rejects: Zombie tried to make me sympathize with the three lead characters, despite the fact early on they had raped and butchered a hotel room full of innocent people. In Halloween, Rob Zombie makes an effort in creating characters that are purposefully and almost cartoonishly mean to kid Myers, so when he does butcher them we're supposed to believe they deserve it. Not only does this diminish any kind of fear, as the audience is expected to be on the side of the killer, it just doesn't work because Rob Zombie isn't a good enough writer to give us a reason to care about Myers, or to make us hate the people he's murdering.

The only good character that comes out of the film is the revised Dr Loomis, and I'm giving all credit of that to actor Malcolm McDowell. Ever since I saw A Clockwork Orange I have loved Malcolm McDowell, and in this film he puts in a genuinely great performance. You truly believe he wishes the best for young Michael Myers, and even though the dialogue does its damn best to try and screw with this, he ended up being the only character I had any form of emotional connection to. The rest of the acting is passable at best, with some shockingly bad performances. Rob Zombie needs to stop putting his wife into roles, because she is genuinely incapable of acting like a human being. Scout Taylor-Compton is good as heroine Laurie Strode, but her performance is spoiled by the gratingly bad and just plain vulgar dialogue.

If the Halloween remake could be considered a car-crash, the vulgarity is the truck that slams into the wreck at 100 miles an hour. As mentioned, the dialogue is vulgar, and not in the witty Clerks fashion either. Instead, it's just crass, with the F-word being used at least 100 times for no other reason than Rob Zombie really likes the F-word. Characters also seem to only casually converse in the most sexually provocative ways possible. If what they're saying isn't badly constructed exposition, it's instead painful sex-talk. The vulgar nature doesn't stop with the writing either. The violence is totally over-the-top and completely unnecessary. Apparently nobody can die in a Rob Zombie movie unless they have been stabbed 47 times in the face or beaten repeatedly with a blunt object, and there is a rape scene that is the very definition of bad taste. It serves no purpose other than for Rob Zombie to try and convince us that the two characters involved in the rape aren't very nice people.

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The worst thing is, all the ultra-violence isn't even disturbing or scary. The reason Michael Myers was scary and threatening in the original is because of his clean, methodical style of killing people. Very rarely was there a drop of blood or an extended struggle between him and his victim. Instead, he took them out with precision. In the remake, victims crawl away covered in blood screaming while Myers stabs them over and over again, in the most brutal fashion possible. This doesn't make Myers scary as he instead comes off like a lumbering ape with a kitchen knife, rather than a slow, careful murderer who takes delight in his killing.

The Halloween remake is a spectacular failure, and it hurts all the more because it could have turned out to be something quite interesting. The concept of giving further development to the character of Michael Myers is actually a solid and interesting idea, but Rob Zombie eschews all this and instead paints Myers as a typical abused child. It makes him normal, and thus completely uninteresting. Rob Zombie doesn't even have the directing chops to make it a decent horror movie on its own standing, making every kill drawn out and messy rather than allowing any tension to be built. Halloween (2007) is a complete failure as both a remake and a film in general.

And I had heard good things about this film...Well, this seemingly really sucked. Not the review, mind, as it was just fine. =D

Marter:
And I had heard good things about this film...Well, this seemingly really sucked. Not the review, mind, as it was just fine. =D

Who told you good things about this? Because they must be punished.

And you didn't notice any annoying typos? Yayz!

FargoDog:
Who told you good things about this? Because they must be punished.

Someone from school.

And you didn't notice any annoying typos? Yayz!

Not really in a big nitpicky mood. There might have been some, but I must have overlooked them.

I couldn't agree more. You hit every issue on the head, and explained exactly why they ruin the movie. Fantastic review, as always.

Now you should review Halloween 2. :o

zombiesinc:

Now you should review Halloween 2. :o

I haven't actually watched it, but I've heard awful things from people who liked the first film, strange creatures as they are. I really, really want to stay away from it, but I guess I probably should.. Sigh..

FargoDog:

zombiesinc:

Now you should review Halloween 2. :o

I haven't actually watched it, but I've heard awful things from people who liked the first film, strange creatures as they are. I really, really want to stay away from it, but I guess I probably should.. Sigh..

It's far, far worse than Halloween, but that's exactly why I'd like you to review it. It'll be interesting to read your analysis.

zombiesinc:

It's far, far worse than Halloween, but that's exactly why I'd like you to review it. It'll be interesting to read your analysis.

Far, far worse you say?

If that's to be believed the review won't be an analysis. It'll be a suicide note.

Good review I guess....you're going to hate me for this though...

So there >>

zombiesinc:
snip

sorry, Jenn. Seems there's something we don't agree on after all <<

Julianking93:
Good review I guess....you're going to hate me for this though...

So there >>

zombiesinc:
snip

sorry, Jenn. Seems there's something we don't agree on after all <<

I.. Th.. Bu..

How?!

zombiesinc:
I couldn't agree more. You hit every issue on the head, and explained exactly why they ruin the movie. Fantastic review, as always.

Now you should review Halloween 2. :o

FargoDog:
-snip-

OK FinniusMutt, UndeadLimited. I respect you as a reviewer, but....I liked this film. More than the original

Mackheath:

OK FinniusMutt, UndeadLimited. I respect you as a reviewer, but....I liked this film. More than the original

When I first read that I was expecting a Kanye West reference. I am disappointed.

But anyway, why did you like the remake better?

FargoDog:

I.. Th.. Bu..

How?!

Because I thought it was very well done, well written, Zombie's a good director and it showed well in this film and while it wasn't acted particularly well, I got a lot more out of it than I thought I would.

So there ^-^

Julianking93:
Because I thought it was very well done, well written, Zombie's a good director and it showed well in this film and while it wasn't acted particularly well, I got a lot more out of it than I thought I would.

So there ^-^

Well.. Written? I'm sorry but when a film contains this line of dialogue..

'Fuck that fucking fuck man, if I get one more fucking detention my old man is going to fucking beat my ass'

any pretence of a film being well-written goes flying out in the window for me.

FargoDog:

Mackheath:

OK FinniusMutt, UndeadLimited. I respect you as a reviewer, but....I liked this film. More than the original

When I first read that I was expecting a Kanye West reference. I am disappointed.

But anyway, why did you like the remake better?

Now why would I do a thing like that? I mean, I'm real happy for you, and imma let you finish but Marter has the best reviews of all time. The best reviews of all time!

OT; Because I am interested in the evolution of killers; they are made, not born. The original was the progenitor of 'slash and stab' teen survival garbage that still gets pumped out today. At least Zombie tried to introduce something resembling realism to the character.

I will agree that the acting was pretty poor however. The swearing thing doesn't bother me in the slightest; I swear even worse in the company of friends. *shrug*

Mackheath:

Now why would I do a thing like that? I mean, I'm real happy for you, and imma let you finish but Marter has the best reviews of all time. The best reviews of all time!

OT; Because I am interested in the evolution of killers; they are made, not born. The original was the progenitor of 'slash and stab' teen survival garbage that still gets pumped out today. At least Zombie tried to introduce something resembling realism to the character.

I will agree that the acting was pretty poor however. The swearing thing doesn't bother me in the slightest; I swear even worse in the company of friends. *shrug*

Yeah well MTV don't think so, muthafucka!

I like the concept of some background on him, but the thing is it was even more cliche than the original Halloween. A white-trash, redneck family with a mum who works at a strip club. Seriously, he couldn't come up with anything more interesting than that?

And the swearing didn't bother me just because of what they were saying, it's just the fact that Rob Zombie puts in swearing because he can. It's hard to develop characters when all their dialogue consists of 'Motherfucking fuck fuck fuck fuck shit cunt whore cunt god damn fuck'

FargoDog:

I like the concept of some background on him, but the thing is it was even more cliche than the original Halloween. A white-trash, redneck family with a mum who works at a strip club. Seriously, he couldn't come up with anything more interesting than that?

And the swearing didn't bother me just because of what they were saying, it's just the fact that Rob Zombie puts in swearing because he can. It's hard to develop characters when all their dialogue consists of 'Motherfucking fuck fuck fuck fuck shit cunt whore cunt god damn fuck'

Problem is the sequels fucked up Myers good; first he's a killer, then he's a demon, then he's a human with a magic curse? lol no.

As far as cliché goes, thats pretty irrelevant because most killers are spawned through shitty circumstances like that; they come from working class, plain families and have normal lives until something screws it up.

Also, since this was treated much like a teen slasher movie language restraint is never a strong point. If you think the swearing there is bad, read/watch Trainspotting and examine the character of Begbie.

Lovely review! I like the size and type of content, be it in terms of text or pictures! :D

And I look forward to what next Halloween would have to offer from your end! ^^

I really like the picture size you chose though. Really complements the text while having a worthwhile presence of its own.

 

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