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HALLOWEEN (R) (2007)

Dimension Films

Official Site

Director: Rob Zombie

Producers: Rob Zombie

Written by: Rob Zombie, John Carpenter (1978 Screenplay)

Cast: Tyler Mane, Daeg Faerch, Malcolm McDowell, Sheri Moon Zombie, Scout Taylor-Compton


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 Carpenter’s 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 I’ll pass. Even the later installments, though not nearly as strong as the first film, are like pizza and sex… even when they’re bad, they’re 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 Carpenter’s 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 “Don’t 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 mom’s boyfriend is a verbally berating pile of human waste and his mother, played by Sheri Moon Zombie, is Michael’s sole means of love and support.

Oh yeah, did I mention she’s 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 Michael’s 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 sister.

Though Halloween is violent (it was the first time I have ever been carded for a movie) it wasn’t 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 killing machine.

This film is not as great as Carpenter’s, 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 can’t wait for the inevitable sequel. There’s always next Halloween, right?

-Danny R. Phillips

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

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Itís worth a matinee ticket.

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