This is Rob Zombie’s remake of the classic 1978 horror film, then directed by John Carpenter. And in true Rob Zombie fashion, Sheri Moon Zombie stars in this movie.
Sheri Moon Zombie plays Michael Myers’ mother. (I swear, would this woman even have an acting career if it wasn’t for her husband?)
The original story of Halloween is very simple. Young Michael Myers’, at the age of six, stabs his older sister to death on Halloween night. He is subsequently housed in a mental facility under the care of Dr. Loomis, a child psychiatrist, until he breaks free fifteen years later, only to return to his hometown and begin stalking babysitters. After committing multiple murders, terrorizing young Laurie Strode and being shot six times by Dr. Loomis, Michael disappears into the darkness, leaving an aftermath of horror and confusion in his wake.
Now, the remake we have here has been re-written and directed by Zombie to be his own movie, at the behest of Carpenter himself. So, while a lot of the details from the original movie still stand firm, in this version we get more of a history on Michael Myers himself.
We get to see that, at age ten (not six), Michael murders his stepfather (an unemployed abusive alcoholic) and his sister and her boyfriend, all on Halloween night, initially wearing a child’s clown mask (like the creepy clown in Poltergeist in the boy’s room) and later finds the famous face we all know in his sister’s just before her murder. Only his mother and his baby sister, Angel, are spared. In the original, we get just a short snippet on this event and we are TOLD about Michael from Dr. Loomis. Here, we get to witness the entire buildup of Michael’s frustrations and his eventual emotional overload and explosion into murder.
The stepfather is just a miserable waste of a human being, preying on anyone who dares to enter his field of fire. The sister is a foul-mouthed promiscuous teen who chooses to have sex with her boyfriend instead of taking Michael trick-or-treating, as their mother told her to as she left for work that night.
We also find out that Michael’s mom (Sheri Moon Zombie) is a stripper and THAT is the ONLY means of income at the time for the family. This is also a fact that is well known around town and thus, Michael is severely harassed at school. Let’s also just point out that this woman is not going to be winning the “Mother of the Year” award any time soon. While we witness her cooking breakfast and, although foul enough to make a sailor blush, trying to make things family oriented, it’s obvious that she has no control over this dysfunctional household.
Rob Zombie not only uses the original storyline but, also the sequel’s story, creating a mesh of a remake and a prequel (of sorts) to give a more rounded explanation of the whole situation.
We walk with Michael and Dr. Loomis through their years together at Smith’s Grove Sanitarium. Michael progresses from not being able to remember the murders and a seemingly pleasant boy to a big, bulky childlike shell of a man, silent and only focusing on his obsession with masks, a fascination he’s had since he was a boy.
While at the mental hospital, as you can imagine, over the course of the years eventually people retire and move on. This is true not only for Dr. Loomis but, for the gentleman that takes care of “Mikey” as well. As we see this man, played by Danny Trejo, training his replacement, we see the torment that this new guy intends to put Michael through.
While most of the chase scenes are on the blah side, the best one is Michael stalking our new Laurie (who turns out to be Michael’s little sister Angel, she was adopted out after the murders) as she runs through a house.
The final battle between Laurie and Michael is a good one with Laurie finally killing Michael, shooting him in the face.
The kills in this movie were good, just as you would expect from Rob Zombie. I thought Paul’s death (Annie’s boyfriend) and the hospital guard that harasses Michael were the best.
But, I will say also, that there were a few things that seemed just plain unnecessary in this film.
First, we have the final kill, that of Michael himself. Laurie, after she shoots him, is sitting on his chest, drenched in blood and screams her head off.
In the original, we see original Laurie broken down, worn out, almost catatonic from the terrifying ordeal she’s just been through. To me, THAT is much more impactful that some chick screaming like a raving lunatic.
Also, and this is just a testament to the twisted world of Zombie himself, while at the mental hospital, our replacement guard decides to grab one of the female patients and sexually assault her in Michael’s cell/room. (This is the scene when Michael escapes.) This is a brutal attack and is pretty disturbing. Now, my issue is not with the fact that sex is included is this story because, that’s almost a given in horror films but, in that this entire scene could have taken place without the assault on the girl.
Basically, this new guard wants to harass Michael, shake him up. See, this guard thinks he’s a tough guy and can take this brutal killing machine on by himself so, he talks a big game. And, I guess to prove his power, he takes this poor girl into Michael’s room (which is next to hers) and rapes her in front of Michael, with another guy acting as his aid. Now, remember, I said earlier in the movie we see this guy already picking on Michael. We know he’s going to be a problem. He could have easily gone into that room with his cohort and jacked with Mikey without ever so much as even knowing this girl was in the room next door. It just seemed like an unnecessary act of ultimate brutality and it definitely didn’t add anything to the story.
We also lose our friend Dr. Loomis is this film. I don’t mind that but, again, it really wasn’t necessary.
I do think that one of the coolest things about this movie is the repeated inclusion of Michael’s family home. By the time he gets back to Haddonfield, his childhood home is a party and make out pad for Laurie’s friends and will soon be sold by Laurie’s father. I think this gives us more of an understanding of why he kills THESE people, instead of it seeming like a more random decision or just death by association with Laurie.
Overall, I thought this was a pretty good remake. I like that it melded parts of the sequel into the original story and gave us a more complete overview of our characters and their involvement in the tale. I will say that I would recommend this to people to watch. It’s a good way to get the whole story of Michael Myers, even if you haven’t seen any of the originals.