So. Rob Zombie’s remake of John Carpenter’s Halloween. Sorry, I should say reimagining. In some ways, it reminded me of Michael Bay’s Nightmare on Elm Street remake. But mostly it didn’t remind me of that at all. And mostly I liked this one. I just wish it weren’t so long. It’s really long.
I mentioned Michael Bay’s remake mainly for the darker take it had on Freddy Krueger. Adding in a bunch of flash and over-the-top makeup didn’t help — overall I wasn’t impressed with that Freddy. It took away what made the original Freddy scary.
This movie also had a darker take on its antagonist. In this case, however, the darker version of Michael Myers is no less scary than the original. In some ways, Rob Zombie’s Michael Myers is way more scary than John Carpenter’s. While John Carpenter’s killer was “the Shape,” an inhuman, unsympathetic thing that terrorized babysitters, Rob Zombie’s killer is partly a product of his environment.
In fact, the only thing you know about Michael Myers in the original is that at six years old he murdered his sister and her boyfriend for no apparent reason and is basically an unfeeling killing machine throughout the entire film. In this film, a good amount of time is spent on Michael Myers as a kid (ten years old in this one). The additional character development humanizes Zombie’s Myers just enough to make what happens next horrifying as well as terrifying. It’s an effective appeal to morality that the original explicitly avoided.
Which makes Rob Zombie’s movie more about the horrors that humans inflict on each other than a simple slasher film. This is never more obvious than in the (some spoilers) violent rape scene and the ensuing kerfuffle (to put it quite mildly) that ends with poor Danny Trejo. Oh, and on top of the horrifying aspects, there’s way more blood and gore in this than in the original.
This movie gets a lot of points for being respectful of the original while taking it in a completely different direction. The acting is great (unsurprising with Dee Wallace and Malcolm McDowell in the cast), the music is well chosen (when it’s not the same theme from the original), and it has some absolutely terrifying moments. I just wish it were shorter.