I'm not a big fan of the recent trend of remaking all the classic horror films of the '70s and '80s, but I decided to go see the new "Halloween" anyway, if for no other reason than I'd never seen any of the original films in a theater. (That, and I figured they couldn't do much worse than the god-awful "Halloween: Resurrection", the most recent entry before this remake.) IMHO the original "Halloween" is one of the greatest horror films ever, and certainly the best "slasher" movie (unless you count Hitchcock's "Psycho", but that's another topic.) I really expected to be let down, even though I haven't seen any of Rob Zombie's other movies.
For the first five minutes, I thought, "Great, they took this classic American slasher flick and turned it into a white trash festival." But once Michael started talking (which he never does in the original film) something clicked, and I was hooked. The new film takes the Michael Meyers "mythos" (if you will) and fleshes it out, giving the audience a frightening insight to the true horror that exists all around us before eviscerating us with the shocks and gore we really paid to see.
The movie loses some of its momentum when it jumps to the present day, when too often it reverts back to simply restaging some of the trend-setting scenes from its predecessor - Laurie staring out the window at school and seeing the weirdo in the coveralls and the white mask staring at her, only to vanish seconds later. But hold on, friends - just when you think you know what's coming, the new "Halloween" veers off on its own course, and from then on all bets are off.
One of the most significant updates to the "Halloween" legend is the development of Dr. Loomis, the Van Helsing to Meyers' Dracula. The original Loomis (played memorably by the late Donald Pleasance, who kept returning for sequel after sequel despite his age and - in later years - ill health) was little more than John Carpenter's answer to Captain Ahab. Each film saw him trying to convince another group of skeptical law enforcement officers of the imminent slaughter, never to be believed until the bodies started piling up. The new film's Loomis, however, is a more complex character; he's not the selfless hero the old Loomis was, but he's not quite a villain either, as long as one can forgive him for giving up on Michael to turn his experiences into a cottage industry of "true crime" books and public speaking engagements. When Loomis and Michael are reunited later on, there's more going on then can be seen in a first viewing.
Zombie's "Halloween" succeeds on all fronts. It brings modern touches to a format that had long since fallen into cliche without changing it so much that it becomes unrecognizable. It manages to restore the menace and dread of the iconic Michael Meyers character in an era when masked psychopaths usually prompt the audience to laugh rather than gasp. Most importantly, it delivers the goods horror fans demand but includes enough depth and subtext to make it more than just cinematic junk food.
In short, I was pleasantly surprised with this new version of "Halloween". Like Zach Snyder's redo of "Dawn of the Dead", the 2007 "Halloween" could never replace its predecessor, but does make for a very admirable companion piece to a horror classic, blending the old and the new into an entertaining and thought-provoking fright film.
The residents of Haddonfield don't know it yet... but death is coming to their small sleepy town. Sixteen years ago, a ten year old boy called Michael Myers brutally kills his step father, his elder sister and her boyfriend. Sixteen years later, he escapes from the mental institution and makes his way back to his hometown intent on a murderous rampage pursued by Dr Sam Loomis who is Michael's doctor and the only one who knows Michael's true evil. Elsewhere a shy teenager by the name of Laurie Strode is babysitting on the night Michael comes home... is it pure coincidence that she and her friends are being stalked by him?
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September 11, 2012 at 12:24 pm