I've now seen both versions of Rob Zombie's "Halloween" and let me be the first to say that the workprint cut is easily the better of the two versions. And that's not saying much, really. Either way you slice this, Rob Zombie's Halloween is an unmitigated disaster of a film. It doesn't measure up to Carpenter's original in the least, but it clearly doesn't aspire to either. Being a fan of Zombie's previous two films I have to say I was shocked and surprised by the terrible writing, the lazy scares and the astounding lack of tension and/or scares. Let me be clear when I say that I don't think this movie failed because it doesn't measure up to the John Carpenter film. That's simply not possible. Halloween '07 fails entirely on its own merits, and the few things it gets right (workprint cut) have been stricken from the theatrical edit rendering it a woeful cinematic experience that rivals Black Christmas '06 for it's overall awfulness. It's obvious from the very beginning that Zombie's Halloween takes a different approach to our beloved cinematic Boogeyman. We're supposed to learn the "why" behind Michael's rage. This being a totally different interpretation of a great story, I wasn't entirely against that idea, but the problem with Zombie's story is that it never really progresses beyond that. It's simply an idea that fails to follow through. The film doesn't explore anything. It offers up some cliched reasons for Michael's madness (abusive stepfather, slutty sister, cruel peers, blah blah blah), without ever giving us a glimpse into Michael's head. And by the time young Michael starts murdering, the impact has already been lost. It's total overkill on Zombie's part, and the movie stumbles fairly quickly here with one of the most unintentionally hilarious moments in horror history--believe me, you'll know it when you see it. There's a moment or two in the first half of the film that work surprisingly well thanks largely to the classy presence of Malcolm McDowall as Dr. Loomis. McDowall makes a fantastic Loomis to be sure, playing the part radically different from his predecessor, the great Donald Pleasence. His Loomis isn't frightened by what he finds in young Michael, rather he's intrigued by the boy's ability to deny his own actions and views the child as a challenge for his esteemed career. The workrpint has some fantastic scenes of McDowall playing these aspects to the hilt. It works wonderfully (less so in the theatrical edit--which reduces his screen presence considerably) because he's not the terrified doctor who wants only to destroy Michael. The entirely different take helps to give Zombie's version a little distinction, and one wishes he would've explored this even further. The supporting cast doesn't do this thing any favors, either. Most of the horror "favorites" come and go so quickly that you hardly remember them after watching. Udo Kier's part in the theatrical cut is chopped down so much that it barely registers as a cameo. Ken Foree is charming even if his part is nothing more than spouting off a few Zombie "witicisms". William Forsythe and Sybil Danning have some of the most thankless scenes in movie history and Brad Douriff is criminally wasted as Sheriff Brackett in the second half of the film. And the second half of this thing is where it comes off the rails. Hard. Zombie essentially discards his interesting Michael/Loomis dichotomy in favor or rehashing the 1978 film again. Imagine if Laurie was bitchier, unlikable and entirely devoid of the charm that Jamie Lee Curtis imbued within the character. And if Lynda did nothing more than shout obscenities and threaten other girls (workprint). Annie probably comes off the best in this version, and that's to say unmemorable. But it's a huge problem for Zombie reaching back to his own House of 1000 Corpses. The man cannot write normal, believable characters. His victims in Corpses were unlikable cartoons and his girls here are awfully similar. I realize its not 1978 anymore, but as someone who worked ten years as a grocery store checkout manager, I can say that this is not how today's girls act (thank god). Well, maybe they do in Rob Zombie's dismal universe, but still... But the entire last act is awful. It's John Carpenter's film on speed. Michael stomps around killing people uncontrollably. And since we've spent so much of the film with him all of his mystique is now missing. There's nothing left to be scared of. And Zombie doesn't bother to stage any type of suspense, instead we just watch things unfold indifferently. We don't know Laurie, Lynda and Annie here, so why do we care that they're in grave danger? And by time this thing limps along to it's pathetic conclusion it's impossible to care. And that's this Halloween in a nutshell. Who cares? With any luck, Zombie's first cut will see a DVD release. It's a bad film, marginally better than Halloween: Resurrection, but not without merits. The ending of this version is somewhat interesting (again, thanks to McDowall, mostly) if fatally flawed. But the theatrical cut is an entirely different animal. It is, in fact, a WORSE film than Hip Hop HalloweeN, with an ending so tasteless, heartless and needless that it's astounding...and so obviously a studio imposed edit. A whopping mess of a film from start to finish. I knew this wasn't going to be the Halloween that scared the hell out of me as a ten year old boy, but I was hoping Zombie would give us something worth getting excited about. The workprint version is a colossal disappointment, but the theatrical cut? Easily the worst movie of the year.