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You ready for another one? MiraJeff takes on HALLOWEEN next!

Greetings AICN, MiraJeff here with a quick review of Rob Zombie’s “re-imagining” of John Carpenter’s 1978 classic horror film, Halloween. I just got back from a midnight screening and while this won’t be a full review, I wanted to weigh in. First of all, I should explain that I consider myself a pretty big fan of the horror genre and I hold the original as one of its finest achievements. It is truly a classic in every sense of the word. There is only one Laurie Strode and that is Jamie Lee Curtis. The Shape IS The Bogeyman. End of discussion. Second, as for Rob Zombie, I think he’s made one good movie, The Devil’s Rejects. House of 1000 Corpses had a couple cool scenes but it was hardly a good movie. And while Rejects wasn’t perfect itself, I loved how nihilistic it was. If you’re going to re-invent Michael Myers and his considerable mythology, you’ve gotta have balls, so when Zombie got the gig I was happy for the most part, even though I felt like the whole project was unnecessary considering how the original still holds up to this day. Still, it could’ve landed in worse hands and Zombie isn’t a director I’d ever accuse of holding back. Lastly, even though I read and completely believed every word in Quint’s script review, I still went in with an open mind. I was willing to give Zombie a chance. What more can you really ask, right? So? I thought the movie was okay. I was totally on board with Zombie through the first half-hour, where we see Michael’s ugly childhood and how it breeds the unspeakable evil inside of him. I liked the actor who plays young Michael. He was creepy looking without obviously looking creepy, like that kid in Joshua. I admired Zombie’s attempt to humanize the character and show us that he didn’t just appear out of nowhere like some urban legend. He was a boy like any other, more or less, aside from being your friendly neighborhood pet serial killer. He used to smile. He loves his Mommy. He went to school and went trick-or-treating, although it didn’t surprise me to learn that young Michael was largely friendless. We see him eating and drinking, which we never did in the original. I liked how Zombie really went for it in that first half-hour, putting his own white trash stamp on the script. It felt like a Rob Zombie movie. But eventually we flash forward 15 years and this is where Zombie lost me. Adult Michael felt unstoppable. Bad move casting a professional wrestler. It made him feel like Jason, and if not him, then Resurrection-era Michael. Snapping handcuffs by clenching his fists, breaking people’s necks with the flick of his wrist, nearly blowing doors down with the hair on his chinny-chin-chin. He’s like the big bad wolf, and the three teenage girls he spends the holiday stalking are like the three little pigs. Obviously the last little pig figures out how to stop the monster, by doing that little thing that everyone was screaming at Loomis to do in the original masterpiece. It was a surprisingly satisfying ending, in that it made sense to me that Michael would have some remnant of humanity hiding behind his mask, but aside from that last-minute changeup, the final half-hour played more like a shot-for-shot remake than a re-imagining. If Zombie had stayed true to his vision all the way through, maybe Halloween would have turned out better, but as it stands, it only offers mild thrills, chills, and especially kills, oddly enough. How many times can I watch Mikey stab or strangle somebody. I guess I’ve become so jaded by horror series like Saw and Hostel, I was looking forward to some creative kills, but Zombie keeps a surprising amount of carnage off-screen. The performances were largely forgettable. The lead actress, Taylor Scout Compton, was rather bland and Brad Dourif was criminally underused. Malcolm McDowell is forced to deliver some truly embarrassing lines. There were more than a few times when the audience collectively snickered, whereas there were only two scary moments that made me jump a little in my seat. Though we’re given more insight into Michael’s psyche, the other characters remain paper-thin, just bodies waiting to become victims. Considering how many more people die in this version, it’s too bad Zombie couldn’t get more creative with the violence. I also felt there were some unnecessary shaky cam shots and night scenes that were shot too dark, and I didn’t care for siren that seems to blare whenever Michael goes on one of his sprees. Some of the pros include the return of Carpenter’s score, albeit a little jazzed up, William Forsythe’s sleazy stepdad, Danielle Harris nudity (that’s one for the true fans) and Ken Foree’s brief but memorable scene. Zombie throwing in his wife Sherri Moon’s gratuitous strip show set to ‘Free Bird’ was also a classy touch. The pacing was also pretty effective. Even though the film is a bit long for a horror movie, it never really drags, which a lot of horror movies of late are guilty of. On the whole, Zombie’s Halloween isn’t bad, but you’re better off re-watching the original. It’s obviously an improvement over the last few entries in the series, but that’s not saying much. I’d recommend it to die hard fans only, whether they’re fans of Halloween or Zombie or horror in general, so long as they don’t go in expecting Zombie’s vision to compare to Carpenter’s. I’m glad Zombie decided to make this a stand-alone film and resist the temptation to leave the door open for a sequel (although never say never with the Akkad meal ticket) but part of me wishes Death Sentence had scheduled a midnight screening. I hope that film won’t let me down like this one did. I wanted to believe in it but it just didn’t deliver like I hoped. That’ll do it for me, folks. This is MiraJeff signing off…


Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 31, 2007, 8:45 a.m. CST

    Danielle Harris nudity?

    by Blanket-Man

    Link to bootleg screencaps, please.

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 8:54 a.m. CST

    Are we gonna

    by Loopster

    get a vern review?

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 9:30 a.m. CST

    Sucks

    by jmike9243

    This movie really sucked

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 9:38 a.m. CST

    what was...

    by celtic chief

    the michelle trachtengerg scene in Hostel 2? Screencaps plz....

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 9:39 a.m. CST

    seriously

    by onetruevillin

    I actually really liked this movie. The original never could keep my attention. I also thought michael growing up to be a really huge guy was cool. I didnt know he was a pro wrestler, but if I saw a guy that big wearing a white melted shatner mask coming after me with a huge fuckin knife, i would probably piss myself.

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 9:42 a.m. CST

    Not Michelle Tractenberg...

    by Dmann

    in Hostel 2, it is, Heather Matarazzo. Michelle Tractenberg isn't even in Hostel 2.

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 9:44 a.m. CST

    Between Danielle Harris

    by Dmann

    and Madeline Zima from THE NANNY showing her hoots all over CALIFORNICATION on showtime, I feel like a very dirty old man looking at the one time cute little girls from tv all growed up and nekkidly.

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 10 a.m. CST

    didn't realize

    by pikagreg

    that danielle harris was in halloween 4, i think...that was a few years before her breakout role in "the last boy scout"

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 10:17 a.m. CST

    Rob Zombie fails again

    by Turd Furgeson

    Surprised? Not really... This guy is really a terrible film maker.

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 10:37 a.m. CST

    Rob Zombie's Toxic Avenger!

    by Devasitor

    Can we start remaking movies that were not so good in the first place, but had potential?

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 10:43 a.m. CST

    Modern horror relies too much

    by veritasses

    on the visual and completely laying things out. They would be better off if they showed less and instead relied on letting the audience connect the dots, draw conclusions and conjure up their own horrors in their mind, ie use the audience's own imagination as a story telling device... good story telling isn't just about film and dialog. The audience is usually far more "efficient" at imagining the things that are going to scare them (individually) most vs being forced to react to the things that the director thinks is scary and can get away with putting on the screen. So showing us that Meyers is an unstoppable killing monster as a means of telling us that he's an unstopple killing monster isn't that "efficient". In contrast, Carpenter's version is simply brilliant in this respect.

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 10:55 a.m. CST

    Mirajeff, didn't Jamie Lee Curtis direct the original?

    by where_are_quints_hobbit_set_reports

    My cat farts better reviews

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 12:03 p.m. CST

    Halloween absolutely does not hold up to this day

    by 3rdrate

    In the same way that the newest generation of movie-goers don't find Dawn of the Dead scary or Ghostbusters hilarious, all movies eventually become relics of their time period. That doesn't detract from their significance and enjoyability, but I hate when people claim a movie "still stands up to this day" despite the fact that it doesn't elicit either laughs or screams.

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 3:08 p.m. CST

    Fuck rob zombie's HEE-HAWLOWEEN

    by TORTURE PWN1

    aka THE HADDONFIELD HILLBILLIES.

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 3:56 p.m. CST

    correction, DaddyLonghead and Righteous Bro

    by The Real MiraJeff

    First of all, the lead actress' name is Scout Taylor-Compton. My bad. I knew that was wrong last night when I wrote this up at 5am. Secondly, Daddylonghead, that is some cat you've got. I'm glad I can always count on you to act like an asshole in a talkback. Congrats on being that guy. And lastly, Righteous Bro, about that witchhunt. As of 1030 pm last night I had absolutely no intention of even seeing Halloween this weekend, let alone reviewing it. But I had jack-shit to do (no surprise there, hold your jokes) and there were no Death Sentence midnight screenings so like the rest of AICN, I went to see Halloween because I was curious to see what Zombie did with it. I think that the negative reviews you've been reading here today attests to the esteemed regard we all hold the original in, and how we had hopes (not high hopes, but hope) that Zombie would do something fresh with the material, which he does up until a point, before like Mori said, he goes all Van Sant on us. Believe me, I'm not out to get the guy. But I came back from the screening, finished up my Nines review and decided to weigh in on the Halloween remake. It took me about a half-hour. My piece isn't as thoughtful as Mori's, which downright puts this review to shame, but it is what it is and if you had your fill of negative AICN Halloween reviews you shouldn't have clicked on mine since it's not long it was going to make a difference anyway. I definitely liked it more than Mori and Quint, but not nearly as much as Massa did. I'm straddling the fence on this one. Maybe THAT'S why my ass is sore this morning, hmmm....

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 3:59 p.m. CST

    oops and 3rd rate

    by The Real MiraJeff

    long=like and 3rd rate, I completely disagree. I think if you sat a 13 year old down in front of something like Saw, he'd find it cartoonish. But if you showed that same kid the original Halloween, he'd be peeking through his hands. The original captures a very real sense of dread that is scarier than any torture device Jigsaw can come up with. If you showed a kid both those movies back to back, I guarantee he's checking his closet for the Bogeyman, not a doll on a tricycle.

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 4:40 p.m. CST

    the point of the original was missed....

    by GavinVanDraven

    young michael meyers is scarier when you have no reasoning behind his killing. no motive. no fucked up childhood. just a normal kid that snaps one day. a kid that doesnt talk or cry or laugh like a normal child would be scary too. like a freaking pod person living in your house..... that one day picks up a knife. but i liked this movie anyways. it was different. not your father's michael myers

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 6:31 p.m. CST

    Mirajeff, I only insult you because you SUCK

    by where_are_quints_hobbit_set_reports

    Your reviews are consistently riddled with basic factual errors about not only the movie you're reviewing but all the other movies you name check in your attempt to sound like you have a clue. <p>I can only conclude your dad holds the deed to Harry's mortgage or something, I can't imagine why else your shit shows up on AICN. You really aren't any good, nor do you ever have anything interesting to say.

  • Aug. 31, 2007, 10:08 p.m. CST

    it dragged.

    by blonde redhead

    that last sequence needed scissors badly. too long, too boring, too bad. biggest problem? not scary. giant, glaring TCM ripoffs throughout and not a one of them scared me in the least. slam another door shut, michael. this was a piece of crap from start to finish.

  • Sept. 1, 2007, 1:03 a.m. CST

    Oy Vey, what a pile of dreck!

    by The Mummer

    Zombie's white trash gothic sadism is wearing real fucking thin. What was the point of this remake? This flick is one of the most cogent and compelling arguments for illegal downloads I have ever seen. If I had paid to watch this, i would be so pissed.

  • Sept. 1, 2007, 5:44 p.m. CST

    Dr Gonzo obviously didn't see the original

    by cyclo

    because the kid Michael Myers didn't slaughter his family. He only slaughtered his older sister.

  • Sept. 2, 2007, 1:47 a.m. CST

    Halloween

    by ZombieGhoul1973

    Rob's been tackleing these films with a very extensive background on horror so I don't think he is butchering halloween just makeing it so, that going back to the movies of the eighties or seventies. To give it modern but going back to the 80's 70's horror. So he copied JC iin some of the middle,He still added the front story on Micheal & The different ending from what I heard was great. the way it should have ended in JC's version. I'm going next week with another horrorfreak like me, Bring it Rob like only you can. Devilman!!! Devilman!!!!