Has it really come to this? One of the truly iconic slasher villains is brought back to life in a remake of the John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978). Along with Jason Voorhees and Freddie Kruger, Michael Myers has long been tormenting teenagers to thrill audiences for decades in mindless sequels to the infamous originals. With a couple of grizzly horror movies under his belt in the form of House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil’s Reject, heavy metal musician-turned-filmmaker Rob Zombie had a stab at a new origins story for Myers. It’s got all the elements of the horror classic, but none of the lasting character that made it so popular.
Zombie has proven himself capable of depicting gruesome monsters and gory murders — two things that any good horror movie must have. However, with Halloween he really needed to justify why we would want to see a new rendition of a film already overexposed by dire sequels. What does he do? Attempt to suggest why the 10-year-old Myers (Daeg Faerch) became the crazed killer through a tedious 45 minutes of misery.
At home all Myers enjoys is wearing a clown mask and killing small animals such as cats, rats and mice; his mother is a stripper, his teenage sister is a slut and there’s a vile old man who lives there too for some unknown reason (all we are told is he isn’t his dad). When at school he is bullied about his mum’s job and gets into trouble on a regular basis so it’s no surprise he’s feeling a bit angry — the only person he does like is his baby sister. When left to go trick-or-treating alone while his older sister cops off with her boyfriend, it’s the final straw. Myers takes up a knife and murders the sexed-up pair and nasty elder in brutal fashion. Institutionalised, he is treated by Dr. Sam Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) to try to cure his psychopathic tendencies but the doctor fails leading to Myer’s mother to commit suicide. 15 years later, a hulking and silent Myers (now ex-wrestler Tyler Mane) breaks out of police custody on a routine transfer and proceeds to hunt down baby sister Laurie (Scout Taylor-Compton), hacking through all who get in his way.
Zombie has overlooked how ridiculous every line he has re-written for this movie sounds.
The whole process of building in this backstory for Myers seems intended to show how a boy can become completely “evil” and attempt to ground his vengeance in reality: Dr. Loomis even writes a book about Myers and launches it with a conference just so we understand the extent of his moral decay. The problem is, Zombie has overlooked how ridiculous every line he has re-written for this movie sounds. Dr. Loomis calls Myers his “best friend” while a rather embarrassed-looking Danny Trejo, who plays Myers’ minder, cries “I was good to you Mikey” as the grown up hulk dunks his head in a sink full of water. It’s all so laughable that you will be aching for the masked-up, knife wielding Myers to get on the murder trail.
When he finally does, Zombie leaves behind the gritty realism he seemed to be aiming for and resorts to brainless blood, guts and teenage sex. There is no time for suspense or atmosphere, just the sudden appearance of Myers followed by very quick deaths. Questions such as how did the 10-year-old Myers know to hide a mask and knife under the floorboards of his home, how he can stand around the neighbourhood spying on girls with no one realising how odd he looks and how he knows Laurie is his sister all fall by the wayside so they don’t get in the way of the bodycount.
This new Halloween is a pointless exercise, wasting decent acting talent (also including Dawn of the Dead’s Ken Forre who makes a ill-advised cameo) and further souring the franchise. Zombie should stick to his own moviemaking path rather than mess with the legacy of others.