Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Halloween (2007)

I may be in the minority, but sometimes I cannot sleep at night, or I wake up really early in the morning and I just lie in bed and watch movies. This happened to me on Sunday morning. After going out until 2:30 AM Saturday night, for some reason my body told me at 6:18 AM it was time to wake up and it was not letting me go back to sleep for anything. So, what else is there to do at 6:18 AM, but watch a movie. And a gory horror movie works best for early rising.
The new Halloween by Rob Zombie is available to watch on demand and being a HUGE fan of the original (this is an understatement by the way) I did not see this movie in the theater and was wary of it. I remember watching Halloween 1, 2 and 3 virtually every year on Halloween day and when I was around 10 years old, I watched 4, and 5 and finally was able to see 6 my Freshman year of college (and being so disappointed after the great cliff-hanger of 5 but that's a post for another day.) I remember hating H20 when it came out, and the newer version with Busta Rhymes that I saw in the theater, so I was starting to think maybe Michael Myers mythology was over and done.
Then I watched this movie. Rob Zombie is hit-or miss for me. House of 1,000 Corpses and Devil's Rejects both have their positive aspects and I would rank in the "good" category with Devil's Rejects actually the better of the two. This new Halloween suffers from some of the same problems the original had, but it also has some very great aspects to it. The best thing about this movie is the first 30-40 mintues. In John Carpenter's original Halloween movie from the 1970s, we see a first-person point of view shot of a little boy kill his sister while wearing a clown mask, and then we flash forward 15 years until that little boy is all grown up, breaks out of prison to try and finish the job. This happens in the first 5 minutes of that movie.
Rob Zombie took those 5 minutes and lengthened them into a great 40 minute mini-film where we get more background into Michael Myers homelife and more explanation as to what made him so angry/disturbed to commit these acts. Zombie paints a picture of a kid with repressed homicidal tendencies that kills animals in his spare time. On top of that, he has an abusive father and an older sister that couldn't care less about him. He also has a stripper for a mother who although she loves him greatly, is the cause of ridicule from his classmates. We see a day-in-the life of 10 year old Michael Myers and what causes him to make his first human kill of a person (we assume) and how that spills over to his 2nd, 3rd and 4th.
This first 40 minutes borrows so well from the first movie that I am happy to have this in Halloween canon and was shocked at how good this movie was. Michael then goes to the mental institution and we see more of his relationship with Dr. Loomis than ever seen before. Although this is decent, Malcolm McDowell is not as good Donald Pleasence who simply WAS Dr. Loomis.
The rest of the movie plays out similarly to the original, but the scares were not as good for me. We see many of the same scenes only with more gore and I come from the school of horror where less truly is more. Sure I love my buckets of blood as much as the next guy, but I find the scariest movies really are where your own imagination goes with it more than what is on screen. I will say I was happy to see Danielle Harris in this movie who played Michael Myers' niece in Halloween 4 and 5 (two of my favorite movies when I was 12 years old or so).
But the real problem is since the last hour of the movie is basically a retelling of the original, it just pales in comparison. I have no problem with watching the first 40 minutes of the new Halloween movie and then throwing in John Carpenter's original and watching them as one long movie. That might be fun.

Also, one quick sidenote: The Halloween music is my favorite movie music of all time. It is just perfect. The right amount of spookiness and fear and power in music. You can listen to it here.

It really is perfect and probably the main reason for my love of the original movie.

Fun Fact: Michael Myer's original mask is just a rubber William Shatner Halloween mask that was sold anywhere painted white. This is interesting for these Star Trek times.

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