When I first heard that Halloween was going to be remade I was as upset as when they remade Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Why remake something that is perfectly good? Anyone who knows me knows that I am a massive fan of the original Halloween. I was as big of a sceptic as there could be and incredibly wary of anyone remaking Halloween. When I found out that Rob Zombie was going to do the remake, I knew right then that this film would be interesting and I would enjoy it. When I watched the film, I realized it was not really a remake; it is a revision of Halloween (1978- through the eyes of Rob Zombie). Rob Zombie was not trying to remake John Carpenter’s version of Halloween because he thought he could do a better job, but because he was so inspired by the original. To those critics and over enthusiastic fans who cannot get over the fact it is a re-working of the original film, get over it. It is a unique fresh look at an amazing story. Having said all of that, the downside to any remake is that too many people, especially the teenage and younger crowd, have not had the exposure to the original film and are under the assumption that Rob Zombie’s film is the original. I am always disappointed when people assume that movies like Prom Night (2008 ) and The Texas Chainsaw Masacre (2003) are originals, and in their naivety miss out on amazing works of art.
I am a huge fan of Rob Zombie’s work. I think he has an amazing eye and I see a lot of potential in his ability as a horror movie director. The Devils Rejects is one of my favourite films of all time. I love the artistic flair he adds to films. The dynamic character development is something I really appreciate about his work. The gritty dirtiness and the detail on the movie sets add a realistic feel to his movies and causes them to be more frightening.
The biggest difference between the original and the 2007 version is that Rob Zombie dwells a lot on Michael’s childhood experiences. We are shown a lot of the possible reasons as to why Michael ends up snapping as a child and mutilates his family. The original film does not offer a lot of answers as to why Michael does what he does. I appreciate the fact that John Carpenter does not lay everything out on the table for the audience. We do not know why Michael does what he does and why. In a lot of ways the fact we have no rationale and we have to use our imagination to figure out why Michael is a sadistic fuck, makes the original more scary. However, because Rob Zombie’s Halloween provides a plethora of deep character development with good acting and a detailed plot the film is quite chilling.
I think the time which was spent on the character development of Michael as a child and his time in the sanatorium makes Michael seem more human than monster, like in the original. The human quality Michael possesses makes him seem scarier to me, because some of what Michael experiences seems relatable; we have all gone through horrible experiences in our family life and our school life.
There are two parts to the film. The first part is the childhood of Michael Myers and his time in the asylum. The second part is the escape of Michael and his return to Haddonfield and tracking down Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton). The second half of the film is pretty much as expected, and very similar to the original. There are interesting guest appearances from Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, William Forsythe and Lew Temple who play two minute parts.
Unlike the original film, Halloween 2007 provides more details regarding the relationship between Laurie and Michael. We do not find out until Halloween II that Michael is Laurie’s sister, but in the 2007 version we found out in the second half of the movie that Laurie is the baby sister, Boo, to Michael. I think the reason that Rob Zombie did that is because there have been seven other films since the original and it is common knowledge that Laurie and Michael are kin, so there is no point to try to fool the audience.
I question why Rob Zombie cast his wife, Sheri Moon Zombie, as Michael’s mother; she plays a villain much better than a sympathetic character. I understand the rationale for the mother’s character. She is the only beam of light of hope and positivism in Michael’s life. There is almost a sense of denial that her son could be capable of all the mayhem and destruction. When she witnesses young Michael (Daeg Faerch) kill the nurse in the institution it is as though she finally realizes her son is the devil incarnate and her life is ruined. When she commits suicide she is the last bit of beauty and sanity left in Michael. He turns over to the dark side completely and hides behind his masks.
Donald Pleasence, who plays the original Dr. Loomis is unique and is as important part to the Halloween movies as Anthony Perkins is to the Psycho movies. He is irreplaceable. The part of Dr. Loomis had to have been hardest part to cast, however I was the most impressed with Malcom McDowell who played the hip, modern Dr. Loomis. I felt as though Malcom added a humorous element to the character
I was disappointed with the choice of Scout Taylor-Compton as Laurie Strode. I found her character annoying and not in the least bit sympathetic. Laurie’s character in the original is a sweet, all American virginal good girl and I think Rob Zombie spent too much time explaining the early story of Michael and way too little on Laurie and none of Laurie’s sweetness in the original is there. Laurie’s character is pivotal to the story of Halloween and that side of the story fell short. That being said, it is hard to put aside the fact that Rob Zombie’s version of Halloween is not meant to be identical to the original, and nor should it be. But for some reason Scout’s acting bothered me; the acting seemed pushed and phoney. She was introduced too late into the story and it was hard to become sympathetic to her character.
Halloween 2007 definitely adds an interesting new look at the Michael Myers flicks, however the original is truly scary and edge of the seat stuff, because of the camera angles, music and mystique of the unknown. Rob Zombie adds a psychological element with grit, more detail and true to his name a lot more gore. If you are a true Halloween fan it is definitely worth checking out, but leave your predetermined judgements before turning on the movie.