When I was around seven or eight years old, I discovered our
local late-night horror show, Friday Fright Night, hosted by Kansas
City legend and car dealer extraordinaire, Ray Adams. Every
Friday night, I would tune in not knowing what movie was going
to be shown; it could be anything from The Mummy, Invasion
of The Body Snatchers, Them! or even Hellraiser.
It was through this program that I discovered the great slasher
films: Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre
and what would become my all-time favorite of the psychopathic
killers, Michael Myers in John Carpenters Halloween.
I love the entire Halloween franchise in different degrees,
with the exception of Halloween 3: Season Of The Witch;
it has no Michael Myers and Halloween masks kill people, not knife
wielding nut jobs wearing Halloween masks. I think Ill pass.
Even the later installments, though not nearly as strong as the
first film, are like pizza and sex
even when theyre
bad, theyre still pretty good. So, when I heard that Rob
Zombie was writing and directing a reimaging, not to be confused
with a remake, of the first Halloween I became intrigued
and slightly offended.
How do you improve on a movie like Halloween with
its entire low budget, high return perfection? I asked myself.
As a challenge and out of protest I did what every opinionated,
stubborn critic would do
I bought a ticket for opening night
and readied my notebook for the carnage. Though there are changes,
it is obvious that director Rob Zombie took great care to keep
the spirit of Carpenters classic intact.
Instead of opening the film with the creepy music that every
horror fan knows, this one opens with the just as appropriate
Blue Oyster Cult gem Dont Fear The Reaper.
The story begins where none of the other movies cared to explain,
with a ten year old Michael Myers. Young Michael, played by Daeg
Faerch, has much to deal with: he is bullied ferociously at
school, his sister is the town slut, his moms boyfriend
is a verbally berating pile of human waste and his mother, played
by Sheri Moon Zombie, is Michaels sole means of love
Oh yeah, did I mention shes also the lead stripper at the
local skin bar? All of these things build up in Michael until
as Dr. Loomis, played perfectly by Malcolm McDowell, puts
it, he is the perfect storm of internal and external forces
colliding. And boy, do they ever collide.
After beating a school bully to death in the woods on his way
home, he calmly kills everyone in the house while his mother is
at work, sparing only his favorite baby sister, Boo. From there
on we get to see Michaels exploitation by Dr. Loomis for
his own personal glory, his incarceration, his bloody escape from
Spring Wood Asylum and his return to Haddonfield for his little
Though Halloween is violent (it was the first time I have
ever been carded for a movie) it wasnt gratuitously so,
it is not torture porn in the class of Hostel or the Saw
movies. Zombie has taken the slasher film past all that and has
succeeded in showing what it takes for a person, or child, to
snap and fall into the abyss becoming a soulless psychopathic
This film is not as great as Carpenters, but it does prove
that Zombie is a gifted director capable of setting a mood, getting
inside your head and scaring the shit out of you. I cant
wait for the inevitable sequel. Theres always next Halloween,
-Danny R. Phillips