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*** Official HALLOWEEN (2007) Review Thread


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#1 of 15 OFFLINE   MattFini

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Posted August 30 2007 - 01:40 PM

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.
Universal, please release Streets of Fire on Blu-ray.

#2 of 15 OFFLINE   Ray_Gootz

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Posted August 30 2007 - 07:50 PM

I just got back from it.

I really loved the first half and firmly belive that if it was a seperate movie about a diffrent killer then it'd be freakin' awesome.

The movie completly dies in the second half. I wish Zomibe had gone in a completly diffrent direction and just did his own storyline. The second half is the entire John Carpenter movie on speed. And Zombie writes the worst heroines in history. These girls suck. Laurie was pathetic. Zombie cannnot write good heroines. His villans are too powerful and his heros are all wimps.

However that being said.....this is Zombie's best film. I enjoyed this much more then 6, 7 and 8. Zombie was able to get me to like Danny Trejo, Dr.Loomis and his wife as the Shape's mother. Plus I really liked the kid who played young myers. He was awesome Rob Zomibe is getting there. I know this guy has a masterpiece in him. I just want it to come out!

If you go into this and kinda just take it out of your mind that this kid will become this horror icon and just watch it as the tale of some messed up kid....then the first half is awesome. This movie is not that bad. Time will show that this movie is being unfairly judged. I think the first hour will stand the test of time.

But for the next few years this thing is gonna get shread to pieces.

#3 of 15 OFFLINE   Jason Roer

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Posted August 31 2007 - 06:37 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jordan_E
Zombie needs to fire his screenwriter! Plain and simple.


Zombie is his screenwriter! Don't see him firing himself.

Gotta make this quick. I saw the film this morning. A little background - I really love Zombie's previous films. I thought House was a mess, but showed serious passion and a raw talent. Devil's Rejects was one of the largest jumps in refinement of skill I've ever seen between a freshman and sophmore film. He got rid of all the flashy (and kind of bizarre transitions) and focused on the story of the Firefly family. Made some great choices with Rejects.

Onto Halloween. I went in with the distinct mindset NOT to judge this film based on comparisons to Carpenter's Halloween. The fact is that in modern society, tension/suspense and the Hitchcock school of filmmaking has given way to excess/in-your-face/bloodthirst. Good or bad, that's the way it is currently.

With that said, I enjoyed this film. It was a mess and I believe a MAJOR backstep for Zombie. After making such a huge leap forward between House and Rejects, this caught me offguard.

I was prepared for the excessive profanity (not that I condone it. This has always been my biggest gripe with Zombie's dialogue. Profanity should punctuate the dialogue, not take it over.) The dialogue, much of the time, makes these characters seem more like caricatures instead of real, believable individuals.

Once I got settled into Rob's world and had my bearings, I enjoyed watching his take on Michael's backstory. Yes - it was cliche - but at least executed well. I still feel that a kid who comes from a well-adjusted family, who suddenly snaps and for NO apparent reason kills is far scarier, but this is not the route taken in the film. I can only judge a film based on what it chooses to accomplish and thus, my earlier comment where at least Zombie executed the backstory well.

I agree that there are many structural issues with the film - in fact way too many to even begin picking them apart. The scond half does feel like the "highlights reel" of Carpenter's version. And I did find myself getting bored toward the end. The biggest problem for me was how incredible dull the kills were. I definitely enjoyed Ken Foree's scene and the absolute brute strength that Myers had, but other than that, it was ho-hum - seen it all before.

Also - hey - I'm a guy who likes my nudity in films (and real life of course!). But there was actually one sex scene too many in here. And with absolutely no need. I'm referring to Annie's sex scene, if you're interested. We'd already had one. Danielle really didn't need to take her clothes off. And that gets us back to the ho-hum effort in the kills. Nothing creative here. And actually this gets me thinking about why anyone was even killed in Haddonfield when Myers comes back for Laurie. I didn't want to get into this, but it's jumping out at me. Zombie does a good job incorporating the "sister" canon. However, with his version it is clear Myers does not want to hurt Laurie initially (until she hurts him). He has come back to her, because he loves her. So why is he killing all of these people? Maybe he kills the parents for sort of taking over for his mother? I can get head around that one, but why the friends? Is it because they might take away Laurie's attention from him? I don't quite know. In the original film, it works for Myers to be killing, because that's what he's specifically there for. But here, Zombie has given him a different motive and that motive doesn't gel with the killing spree.

Next week, everyone will get the opportunity to see Hatchet - simply put - the BEST horror film to come out in years! It does what no one has been able to do since the early 80's. Hatchet is FUN! It brings fun to the horror genre again. When I saw it, I saw it in a packed house and the energy in the room was electric. It was like being at a rock concert! I've never had more fun in a movie theater in my life. People were just going nuts. And what it does so well - thanks to incredible writing on the part of director Adam Green - is make characters YOU CARE ABOUT! It is equally funny and SCARY! And Victor Crowley rocks the house as a latest horror icon.

Everything I just said about Hatchet, is what I wish I could have said about Rob Zombie's Halloween. I wanted to go in and have a really FUN time. I had an all-right time and I'm glad I saw it. But that's all. I don't see myself watching it again. And that is too bad. I've seen House and Rejects of few times now and enjoy them every time. So hopefully, Zombie will get himself back on track with his next effort.

Cheers,

Jason

#4 of 15 OFFLINE   IanDP

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Posted August 31 2007 - 06:59 AM

I agree with Jason on all points.
I too liked Zombie's previous films. They were fun and creative and ambitious, made with passion by a fan of the genre.
Halloween on the other hand, while mostly fun, just got too generic by the end. From the beginning we could see Zombie making the film his, but the movie jumped ahead 15 years, and then something happened ... it turned into a generic slasher flick.
Overall, I enjoyed it. So, if you liked Zombie's other movies, then by all means, go see Halloween. But be warned, it's not as much fun as his two previous films.
My guess is that this movie will make a few bucks, as it is NOT torture porn, but is more like an old school slasher flick. In fact that's it downfall... it's just a lot of stuff we've all seen before in the early '80's.
Posted Image

#5 of 15 ONLINE   TravisR

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Posted August 31 2007 - 07:18 AM

I'd love to say that the word of mouth was wrong but it ain't. This movie is not very good. During the first section, I was thinking "This isn't so bad. Maybe this is just the usual 'I hate everything' internet bullshit'" but when it got to Halloween night, the movie took a terrible turn.

There was no chronology to the Halloween night stuff- it just jumped from kill scene to kill scene. I thought they flip flopped reels when
Linda and Bob are murdered
and then Laurie is still at home talking to her mother.

The part of the ending where
Laurie is chased around the Myers house
seems like they inadvertantly remade parts of Halloween 5. I'm sure that wasn't the intent but the scenes are reasonably similar (and bad) in both movies.

On the positive side, I thought the little kid playing Michael was good in a role that's tough for a kid to play, Sherri Moon Zombie was much better than I thought she'd be and overall, I liked the cast. I was glad that Laurie didn't have a stick up her ass in this one (though that was fine in the original) and I liked that Tommy and Lindsay were annoying like most little kids are.

It was fun hearing Alice Cooper, The Misfits and Iggy Pop songs in a movie. I loved that they played Don't Fear The Reaper and had The Thing From Another World and Forbidden Planet on TV again. And they had House On Haunted Hill and White Zombie on TV too. And of course, it was cool seeing all of Zombie's usual suspects in cameos.

As for the abundance of profanity, I normally talk as profanely as the characters in the movie so I was happy to hear someone talking like me in a movie for once. Posted Image

#6 of 15 OFFLINE   ScottR

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Posted August 31 2007 - 07:36 AM

Wow, what a mess! The first half of the movie wasn't all that bad...several disturbing moments, actually. But everything past the mental hospital was HORRIBLE. Haddonfield looked like an old college campus, not a suburban neighborhood. And those hand held camera shots were out of control. The atmosphere was all wrong...I didn't get the feeling of a true Halloween holiday here; just a regular night with a bunch of friends that we don't even get to know. The acting was pathetic for the most part (although the acting in the first half was better.) The actress who played Laurie was alright, but everyone in the second half was pretty forgettable. I like unintentional laughs in horror films to lighten the mood. I didn't crack a smile once in this. And it was about 20 mins. too long.

First Half: B-
Second Half: F

#7 of 15 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted August 31 2007 - 07:43 PM

This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Halloween (2007)". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread. Any plot details that could negatively affect another's viewing pleasure should have spoilers attached to those comments.

Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.



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#8 of 15 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted September 01 2007 - 07:08 AM

Halloween (2007) Posted Image

Rob Zombie tries to remake one of the greatest horror films ever made but this film turns into a disastrous train wreck and only gets worse by the time the ending comes. I respect Zombie for trying something different and not just going for a straight remake but I believe it's time for Zombie to put down his screenwriting duties and hire someone who knows how to develop a story. The first half of the film deals with Michael Myers as a young boy growing up in a bad home, which the director says is part of the reason behind his madness. After he murders most of his family, he's sent to an asylum where Dr. Loomis () tries to reach him but this never happens and fifteen years later Myers escapes and goes on another killing spree. The first half of the film works a little bit as its interesting to see where Zombie is going to go with the material but this stuff drags on nearly an hour and eventually loses steam and becomes quite boring. When Myers returns home things don't get any better as Zombie seems to think everyone has seen the original so he doesn't have any character development and instead we're just shown quick highlights of the most memorable stuff in the original. The reenactments from the original film lack any originality and comes off as a violent mess without any suspense. The ending is Zombie on his own as he pretty much gets away from the Carpenter film but once again, there's no suspense and everything just seems like a mess. The entire film seems to be missing scenes so I'm going to guess there were a lot of reshoots and other things cut out to bring the running time down. I really can't say anything good about Zombie because his screenplay is just terrible and his directing skills can't be seen anywhere in the film. This movie enters the torture/porn reign of recent horror films and even on this level the film can't compare to the best of the best out there now. As a remake this thing is horrible and as a 'today's horror film', it's even worse. Even Malcolm McDowell as Dr. Loomis is very boring. The one fun thing about the film are all the cameos by various "B" horror actors including Brad Dourif, Sheri Moon, William Forsythe, Tom Towels, Udo Kier, Clint Howard, Danny Trejo, Bill Moseley, Leslie Easterbrook, Dee Wallace Stone and Ken Foree. Danielle Harris, the stalked niece from Halloween 4 & 5 plays Annie here but doesn't add too much. Tyler Mane plays the adult Myers as a bulking maniac, which just doesn't work either. Not to mention the ending, which once again borrows/steals from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Shame, shame, shame.

#9 of 15 OFFLINE   Lucia Duran

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Posted September 01 2007 - 08:18 AM

I've never seen any of Rob Zombies other films, so I am reviewing this movie based solely on being a fan of the original series.


First off, the beginning of the film I only LISTENED to, due to my irrational fear of clowns. I had my eyes closed the whole time and did not see a thing until they showed Meyers older in the institution. What I heard was very disturbing and frankly I am glad I did not see it. My husband thought the movie was disgusting. He said it was so gross he actually lost interest in his popcorn.

I love horror movies, but I feel as though lately directors are throwing guts and blood in our faces and putting too much out there and not leaving our minds to WONDER about things. I feel as though I might be getting a bit tired of the horror genre and losing my passion for those things that once scared me in a fun way. There is a difference between being scared for fun and leaving the theater feeling totally disturbed. Not what I call a night of fun and fright.

The original Carpenter's Halloween was so fun and scary, in an intense spooky way, unlike Zombie's in your face brutal take on the sick mind of Meyers. While I can appreciate his take on the Meyers story and trying to give us a glimpse into what caused him to be so tortured, I just have to say that I will pass on the graphic nature of the killings. Too much for me, even if I only heard some of them.

Not a film I will be seeing again.
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#10 of 15 OFFLINE   Inspector Hammer!

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Posted September 01 2007 - 09:52 AM

This is Halloween as envisioned by a total madman.

Just got back from seeing it and pretty much everything i've read here so far nails my feelings exactly. I actually found myself enjoying the first half as we see a disturbed young Michael lose it and kill his entire family, but the second half goes off the rails and becomes just another slasher film that seems to forget the intriguing first half.

First off, the kid who played young Michael seriously creeped me out and I think he did a great job but having said that the whole film suffered from overkill of everything, overkill with the backstory, overkill with the violence and overkill with the adult Michael...they showed him waaaayy too much!

Gone was the stealthy entity from the original (that's what made him scary to me which is why I bring up the comparison) and he's now just a hulking brute that's really no different than Jason Voorhees.

The performance by the lead girls was 2 dimensional and forgettable, the reason I think it didn't work was because Zombie chose to spend so much time with Michael that when it came time for Laurie, Annie and Linda to show up they seemed like an afterthought, almost as if Zombie said to himself "Oh yeah, almost forgot to bring them into the story!" and by then it was too late to make them effective because most of the films running time was now gone.

Zombie also seemed to be trying to pack too much into his movie, I noticed elements from at least three of the films, the original, Halloween II and Halloween 5.

In the end this film stands as an example of how films are made now, in place of subtle chills and smart writing we get fast, loud and brutal violence in it's place. While I found the film a passable time at the movies the flaws far outweigh the virtues and in the end it was an unnecessary exercise. I don't know what sort of things Rob Zombie see's in that head of his when it hits the pillow each night and I don't want to know, either.
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#11 of 15 OFFLINE   Doug Miller

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Posted September 01 2007 - 06:02 PM

I could pretty much cut and paste Matt's review, in fact, I think I'll send it to my friend Chris and save me the typing. This movie was horrible. I went in having heard that it was pretty good (from initial screenings) and that it would stand on it's own, etc., etc.

I was ready to leave in the first 5 minutes of the movie. Fleshing out Michael's character, and giving the audience the reason he kills, ruins the mystique of the character. I could see the movie was going nowhere good fast -- And by the way, I saw 1000 Corpses and Rejects in the theater and thought they were OK homages. This wasn't a homage, it was just shitty. I don't think I felt bad or sympathized with a single character in the movie, except maybe Michael's mom. Everyone else, didn't care, and that included Laurie.

Doug

#12 of 15 OFFLINE   Travis Brashear

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Posted September 02 2007 - 05:53 AM

Unhidden spoilers abound--READ WITH CAUTION!

Then I shall be the voice of the opposition.

I went into Zombie's arguably unnecessary remake of Carpenter's classic already certain it was going to be a disaster of cataclysmic proportions but, you know what? I was wrong. For anyone who loves both Tim Burton's BATMAN and Christopher Nolan's BATMAN BEGINS, you may have exactly what it takes to appreciate Zombie's from-the-ground-up reimaging not so much of Carpenter's narrative but the fundamental nature of the Michael Myers character. You see, it is absolutely essential that you divorce the Carpenter film from your mind when you see this movie and approach it solely on its own merits and goals. In fact, as has been noted in the negative reviews above, it is when this film attempts to crib directly from Carpenter's original scripting that it most suffers, blazing through the introductions, then subsequent murders (or attempted murders), of the three high school female friends without any regard for proper character development or cultivation of atmosphere. But I'm getting ahead of myself--back to what Zombie is up to here with the Myers character, and I think the fundamental failing of certain critics to recognize: Carpenter's film was a thinly-veiled supernatural piece, whereas Zombie's is not. In Carpenter's film (and taken to the extreme with the sequels, but always building off of Carpenter's groundwork with the first two films), there is no need for a backstory because Michael Myers is not created--he simply becomes The Shape. In any meaningful sense, there is no human Michael Myers anymore--he is either possessed by Evil itself, Evil as an physical force, or becomes said Evil (though the former seems more valid to me, in light of the sister storyline and other elements of the sequels, predominantly in Part 5; Evil itself would have no need or desire to be tied to human lineage, but Evil could get quite a kick out of making a possessed person kill off all his loved ones). Dr. Loomis understands this fundamentally, and flat out tells us in (on the surface) histrionic lines like "he's not human" and "this isn't a man" and, of course, "I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply...Evil!" This provides a context for the bizarre twist we discover in Myers charater late in the first film--his utter indestructibility. No matter how insane any person in this world could be, simple physics determine that Myers would have been dead a couple of times over before the first sequel could have seen the light of day if he was just a man. But Evil itself doesn't...can't...die. Carpenter's Michael Myers is truly not human at all, but a supernatural archetype.

Zombie, on the other hand, has no concern with flights-of-fancy horror--his Michael Myers is steeped in gritty, dirty reality, in the science of psychiatry. He is at all times a real, flesh-and-blood man, a warped mind, sure, but a creature whose Evil comes not from outside the human condition but is cultivated by its basest elements. When this Myers survives a stabbing and a trio of gunshots, we know it's not because Evil is regenerating him, but (similar to the effect of certain drugs, or heavy bursts of adrenaline) because his maniacal rage is driving him to soldier on. I doubt anyone in the theater questions if Myers is dead at the end of Zombie's movie, but in Carpenter's, Myer's decimated head would have surely simply reformed, T-1000-style, for another go-around. It took me awhile to grasp this innate truism about Zombie's take versus Carpenter's (the early part of the film was beginning to irritate me because I was expecting all that backstory to lead up to a presentation of the same Michael Myers character I'd known for 29 years, and the two do not mesh) but, when I grasped the inherent character difference, everything about the film, and how Zombie chose to shoot and script it, came together for me in an epiphany. Many of the things I was missing about Carpenter's film--the studied cinematography, the slow, agonizing build-up to something happening--had no application here; Carpenter's film was about the horror of knowing something bad is coming and dreading what it would be; Zombie's horror, which is admittedly stripped of dramatic leading tension, is the horror of being in the moment of that "something bad". Zombie's murder sequences are intensely violent and disturbing...and deliberate. For whatever pacing problems there may be with the footage connecting the murders, the murders themselves play out as realistically as any I've ever seen on film, and Zombie never lets you make an early exit when you want. He holds the terror out well past the point where it's fun for the audience, and more power to him--the equation that horror movies = fun has become most disquieting in our modern age. It's as if he's daring the audience to enjoy what they're seeing. This Michael Myers is a true serial killer, not the kind that can only exist in the movies, like Carpenter's original, but the kind we've all seen living in TVs and newspapers and, god forbid, maybe even our own neighborhood, and witnessing their murders should not be thrilling but chilling and sickening and horribly final. In the new HALLOWEEN, they always are.

Due to this character change, we are witness to a rather dramatic shift in the sister dynamic as written between the two directors; Carpenter's Evil Shape wants to terminate the entire Myers family line (as I've said before, I've always felt that whatever vestiges of the human boy Michael Myers remain inside the body of The Shape are being tortured by the possessing Evil by making him kill his own loved ones for no other reason than because Evil relishes the suffering of others) but Zombie's more overtly tragic Michael wants to preserve his sister, which answers the question a poster made above about "why kill Laurie's new family and friends?" Because, for this Myers, Laurie represents the only truly pure, innocent thing in the world. All other people she comes in contact with are a threat to that innocence, and stand to rob her of it as many others robbed Michael of his earlier in life. In Myers's view, only he and Laurie should survive the night--everyone else is fair game for eradication. That is, until Laurie lashes out at him and, in doing so, joins the ranks of all the other people in the world who have failed and disappointed Michael. This scene conjured an emotion in me I'd never encountered in eight previous Myers outings--pity. Every human system has failed this poor soul--the friend, the institution and now, utterly and with finality, the family. By the time we get to the final frame of the movie, a photograph of two soon-to-be doomed innocents, I felt hearbroken...a feeling I'm used to in dramas but almost never in horror films. It's a testament to Zombie's storytelling prowess, and a testament for defending the validity of a remake as, if not necessary, then at least worthwhile.

Lastly, in describing the virtues of Zombie's take on the material, I cannot give enough kudos to the fact that he was able to successfully accomplish a full dramatic arc in one film that eight prior films failed to accomplish. Namely, that Laurie Strode survives her forced tour through hell and manages to take that motherfucker right out of the planet. This is so dramatically perfect, and really the only valid, meaningful way that this storyline can be ended, HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION's offing of the previous Laurie Strode be damned. And hats off to the man for giving a hearty F.U. to those who'd want to try to milk this version of HALLOWEEN into an additional endless franchise.

These accolades aside, the film is certainly not without its flaws: the pacing is erratic, the characterizations of the girls are unbelievable (they swear and screw like 30-year old prison mates, not high school girls) and paper-thin (this is somewhat forgiveable when one takes into account what Laurie's friends represent in this version versus the original--Carpenter's film is about the forces acting on the victims; Zombie's is about the forces working on the assaulter--but still wholly unforgiveable in terms of the Laurie character herself, who is substantially better written and performed in Carpenter's on every level), the take on Loomis loses the fervency of the Ahab-and-the-Whale approach of Donald Pleasance, the timeline is hopelessly murky, supposedly taking place 17 years after 1978, but with present day cars, fashions and cell phones, etc. However, ultimately, if one is able and willing to absorb this film completely independent from Carpenter's vision, it emerges as a very brutal and effective tale of its own. Carpenter's tale came from a time when we felt powerless against and without comprehension regarding forces of chaos. Zombie's film comes at a time when we have a much better understanding of the forces that create our real life monsters, and we've found that those forces are us. To summarize it a little more concisely, it is an atheist's take on HALLOWEEN, whereas Carpenter's was a theist one. It's an amazing reinvention, one that does not surpass or render moot the original by any means, but one that certainly holds its own alongside that original, and that's no small feat.
Ernest Hemingway once wrote, "The world is a fine place and worth fighting for." I agree with the second part...
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#13 of 15 OFFLINE   Will K

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Posted September 03 2007 - 01:23 PM

I didn't hate it as I expected to, but I also didn't think it was particularly good, either. The first half-hour felt like an unbleeped edition of the Jerry Springer show and was just plain revolting. I'm no hypocrite when it comes to profanity, but I'm not sure why Zombie's dialogue always has to cross the line into pure crassness. The original Halloween will remain classy in a way that Zombie's film will never be, but I suspect class is not a quality he pursues. As for the second half of the film, it's just all over the place and there's little logic or order as far as who is stalked and when. All in all, it just felt like a standard slasher film sequel, but at the very least Busta Rhymes was nowhere to be found.
My Blu-ray collection so far:Casino Royale, The Fifth Element, 300, Unforgiven, T2, The Descent, The Road Warrior, The Untouchables, Purple Rain, Deliverance

#14 of 15 OFFLINE   Joe Karlosi

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Posted September 03 2007 - 02:24 PM

Posted ImagePosted Image (out of four)

I will place myself in the "miss" camp on this one. Just to give an understanding of where my head was at while going into it, as many know I am generally against needless modern remakes of older films which are already established as good solid movies, yet sometimes I have been pleasantly surprised. While I acknowledge John Carpenter's classic 1978 original as a good and important horror film, I have never really thought it was "excellent", and that was part of the reason why I didn't mind checking out Rob Zombie's variation. I also gave Zombie the benefit of the doubt because I was completely knocked out by his film THE DEVIL'S REJECTS, which I thought nailed the feel of the '70s exploitation schlockfests perfectly.

So, my impression here was that the new HALLOWEEN just might be the classic example to use for when an unnecessary remake is a complete waste of time and effort. And I suppose one of the good things about having seen it was that already I have been running Carpenter's classic over and over in my mind, and it fares stronger than ever before by comparison.

As usual after just seeing a new film, my thoughts are all over the place. For starters, I am in the camp who felt that the cursing and "F bombs" went way overboard, and the script was not very well written. I didn't care for all the misplaced rock music used throughout the movie, though one shining exception were the couple of instances where the chilling "Don't Fear the Reaper" was placed into the mayhem (it worked in the original, and I guess this tune is "Halloween Friendly"). But I thought it was a sin to have the patented "Halloween Theme" (plus other standard cues) and "Mr. Sandman" strewn about, as if to make us think this was something as special as the older films had been.

I'd echo that the first half where we see young Michael's breakdown and how he becomes a maniacal killer is more interesting, and at least Zombie attempted to do something different. But the second half just felt like the director had to go through the obligatory motions by featuring duplicate scenes straight out of the first HALLOWEEN, and then dropping names here and there like "Ben Tramer", just because it's what fans of the original may have wanted. None of these "homages" were directed with 1/10th the flair which Carpenter demonstrated, and the characters were also not as well defined, unsurprisingly. Laurie Strode and her two girlfriends were just stuck into the proceedings because I guess that's what's supposed to happen in a Halloween remake. Malcolm McDowell is no substitute for Donald Pleasence as the obligatory Dr. Loomis, but it's not so much the fault of the actor as it is the weak writing and having to follow in the footsteps of an already established characterization.

I hated all the cute cameos too. Eventually they are distracting as we play the game of "who can we spot next?". Even worse, the screen time was sometimes so brief that there was no point in casting some of these people in the first place... okay, so Brad Dourif enjoys quality time as the sheriff, but Udo Kier and his one dumb line would have been missed if you blinked. And I don't know if anyone's mentioned this yet, but did someone besides me catch Mickey Dolenz of The Monkees as the redneck gun salesman?

I can see that near the climax of this thing, Zombie tried to take over the reins himself once again and get off the track of repeating the original film and tried to end it as his own baby. But none of that worked at all, and it was a fatal case of me just getting bored and wanting the whole thing to finish up so I could leave. Too much blood and gore, too much prolonged nonsense, and a final scene before the credits which really was a lousy way to wrap up the whole picture. Just a terrible and empty conclusion.

In an attempt to try and find something positive to say, I thought there were some good kill scenes now and then, and the boy playing the young Michael Myers was pretty good. The large actor who takes over later as a giant hulking adult version of the boy was truly deadly and imposing, and his famous "Shape Mask" was probably the best-looking since the first film. As I mentioned earlier, the first half with the backstory of Michael's dysfunctional family and how he became a demented serial killer is the more intriguing part of the movie, but at the same time it just might give us too much information and take away the mystery we've come to associate with "The Boogeyman".


But meh... what's it all for? So what? The John Carpenter classic gains even more respect as a result of this, and I think Rob Zombie delivered an indifferent and irrelevant film. It is just not needed.

#15 of 15 OFFLINE   BarryS

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Posted November 20 2007 - 04:54 PM

I just now saw this so I thought I'd contribute.

Posted ImagePosted Image1/2 out of four.

I seem to feel the opposite of the general consensus. I mostly hated the first half of Halloween, but really dug the second half. The little blond kid just did not work for me at all. I liked the idea of exploring Michael Myers' childhood, but Michael being just a normal little kid in a KISS t-shirt who likes masks didn't do it for me. And every other character (except for the mom) was completely obnoxious and irritating. The performances I thought were not very good either except for Sheri Moon Zombie who I thought did a nice job.

Once Michael grows up and escapes from the hospital, I started to really enjoy it. Zombie's Myers is tough, menacing and most importantly scary. Malcolm McDowell has some nice moments as Loomis and I was impressed by Scout Taylor-Compton as Laurie.

So, at first I really thought I'd have to agree with some folks that the flick is a complete disaster, but I really liked the second half a lot. I look forward to seeing the unrated cut as well as deleted scenes.