Here, first, is a brief list of Things That Never Should Have Happened:
- Rob Zombie’s remake of Halloween.
Well, I did say it was brief.
Typically, I don’t condone real violence of any kind, but I would like to officially request that I be allowed to kick-box Rob Zombie in his outtie bits for the full 2 hours that I wasted on this piece of shit movie.
I warn you now: This post will be graphic in language and anger, and will spoil the hell out of Zombie’s remake. Why? Because I’m angry that I wasted time on what I knew in the very core of my being was going to be shit, and I want to make damn certain that none of my denizens make the same stupid mistake.
Unfortunately, I may ruin bits of John Carpenter’s original movie as well, so be forewarned. Actually, though, if you’re reading this and you haven’t seen Carpenter’s Halloween, stop right now and go watch it. I’m not kidding. I’ll still be here when you’re finished, venting and howling pointlessly.
First let’s begin with…the beginning. The opening of the 1978 version is so classic and so iconic. The clown mask. The fastest sex scene in the history of movies. The killing. The reveal. Oh, the reveal. What a brilliant moment that was, wasn’t it? How the camera that has been, up to this moment, showing us the action from the killer’s POV, changes to now show us that the killer is a tiny little boy with the most chilling, expressionless face in the history of Haddonfield. I can honestly say that I found this to be one of the most disturbing setups for a horror movie villain ever.
How does Zombie fuck it up? The same way most people from my generation fuck things up: by taking it TO THE XTREME!!!11!!!!1 We’ve got to see everything! We have to have reasons! Why and how!! We can’t be satisfied with just seeing a little boy fall into the abyss of pure darkness. We have to see what made him that way!! So what’s Zombie’s take on what made Michael Myers? He’s full-blown, over-the-top, no-holds-barred White Trash, of course.
I hate copouts like this. It’s a benchmark of lazy, unimaginative writing to fall back on something so trite and, quite frankly, stereotypical.
Also, which do you find more disturbing? The idea that Michael Myers was the product of a by-the-Hollywood-numbers dysfunctional upbringing, with his stripper mom (of course she’s a stripper!!) and her abusive, useless boyfriend, his slutty sister and houseful of predictable White Trash insanity? Or that Michael Myers was the son of a bland suburban family living in a bland suburban house in a bland suburban neighborhood, with two happily boring parents and an older sister too busy fooling around with her desperately-in-need-of-stamina boyfriend to notice that her baby brother was getting ready to step into the darkness of pure evil for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
I don’t know about you, denizens, but the latter version is way more disturbing to me.
Plus, in addition to the White Trash angle, Zombie heaps on gluttonous helpings of offensive language and over-the-top unnecessary violence, including showing Michael Myers massacre his entire fucked-up family minus his mom, who’s off stripping, and his baby sister. Yeah, Zombie decided to embrace that portion of the Halloween franchise and make Laurie Strode Michael Myers’s baby sister.
Of course, what Zombie fails to then explain is how exactly Michael Myers knows where his little sis ends up after he’s put away and his mom kills herself over the clusterfuck her family became. He also fails to explain how Myers ends up being built like a brick shit house when all he does is sit in his locked room in his locked ward, making papier-mâché masks for himself. We all have to suspend disbelief now and again, I suppose. After all, Carpenter’s Myers not only knew how to drive a car but also seemed to instinctively know how to return home, even though he’d been locked up in a mental asylum since he was a little boy. However, I feel far more amenable to suspending belief for Carpenter than I will ever feel for Zombie.
I do not understand why anyone allowed this remake to happen. I know that Zombie told Carpenter that he was doing it, and Carpenter’s response was that Zombie should make it his own story. But all Zombie did was bring FAIL to name Halloween. Carpenter’s original 1978 movie is sheer horror brilliance. Yes, it shows its age in many areas. Yes, there is this weird puritanical undertone that only virginal good girls survive horror movies (thank you, Sidney Prescott, for disproving this “rule” with such panache; now please go away and take Gale and Dewey with you).
Put all that aside and what you have is an amazing script brought to life by a director who knew that, to really scare his audience, he needed one thing. Come on, you know what word Loba’s about to write, don’t you? Let’s say it all together now…ATMOSPHERE!!
Carpenter’s vision of this story is so expertly controlled. He never takes it over the top, never makes it seem implausible (okay, the asylum breakout scene was a bit vague). He didn’t need gallons of fake blood or CGI trickery or truckloads of pedantic and patronizing exposition. Truth is, he and co-writer Debra Hill banged out the script in a very short period of time, made minimal rewrites, and filmed the original movie for about a dime more than what a Starbucks Venti latte costs today. Further evidence to support my motto that “Less Is More.”
Carpenter’s Michael was a whisper on the wind, a diaphanous demon who skirted the perimeters, always watching, only seen by us, the helpless audience, who could do nothing but scream impotently at the screen as our protagonists bounced, popped, sang, and screwed their way along (“Totally!”), until Michael deemed it their time to exit, stage left. It’s torturous bliss, done to perfection by Carpenter’s direction. Myers is there in the flutter of a curtain, the creak of a door, the shimmer of candlelight. And then…he’s gone.
There was none of this greatness in Zombie’s take on the story. If Carpenter’s Michael was a whisper, Zombie’s Michael was a freakin’ bulldozer: all rumble and destruction, no grace or tact.
Also, and this is my own personal pet peeve, when we first see him as a young boy, he speaks. Michael Myers doesn’t effing speak!
Then there’s Dr. Loomis. Donald Pleasance should be granted permission from whatever afterworld that might exist to exact unmerciful punishment against Zombie and Malcolm McDowell for this insipid, touchy-feely bastardization of the great Dr. Loomis. Dr. Loomis was fierce and scared and heartless in how he spoke of Michael to others he was trying to warn, and we didn’t need any freakin’ explanation as to why. We didn’t need to know what he saw during those 15 years that he worked with Michael. We were a smart enough audience that we could figure out on our own that it must have been some pretty fucked-up shit.
And Pleasance’s Loomis would have never…I repeat, NEVER in a bajillion years, told Michael at any point that “in a weird way, you’ve become like my best friend.”
You know what? Zombie should have left his original ending in which Michael killed Dr. Loomis, because this version of the character didn’t deserve to live. I don’t care how great Malcolm McDowell may be in other movies, in this he stinks. Of course, you’re only as good as the material you’re given to work with, and that’s not saying much in this instance. You’d think that someone who obviously loves McDowell as much as Zombie does (ever see his video for “Never Gonna Stop”? Red, Red Kroovy, baby…) would have given him something better to work with than a shitty hairpiece and a shittier script.
To call this remake an abomination is a gross understatement. Every time I heard Carpenter’s original Halloween theme play, I understood the true meaning of the word “sacrilege.” It’s also further proof that Hollywood respects nothing beyond the almighty dollar. If they did, they would have never let anyone remake this movie, but they would have especially been vigilant of placing such a classic in the hands of the man who directed House of 1,000 Corpses and who continues to insist on casting his wife even though she has the acting ability of a can of potted meat.
I’m actually angry at myself for renting this movie; I feel as though I’ve somehow validated the remake by doing so. It was my own stupidity though. I’ve resisted watching it for this long, but after listening to a podcast recently that said not completely unkind things about the remake, I decided that maybe I was being too critical (as I am prone to be) and perhaps I needed to learn a little lesson in leniency. Consider this post to be this horror disciple’s penance before the cock crows three times.
Burn, Zombie. Burn and take every last copy of your shitty remake with you. This is the perfect movie to explain why I hate remakes right down to my very core. Also the perfect reason why I’m not even giving the Nightmare remake a second thought. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to finish rinsing my brain with peroxide.