In 1978 legendary horror master John Carpenter along with a cast of notables that range from Jamie Lee Curtis (Terror Train), P.J. Soles (Carrie) and Carpenter Alumnus Nancy Loomis (Assault On Precinct 13) along with other notable cast mates, and a crew that would go on to be legends in their own right in the horror movie genre! Such greats as cinematographer Dean Cudney (Back To The Future), Director Tommy Lee Wallace (Helliversity) and Debra Hill who was partners with Carpenter on a lot of his early work!
Since their has been a whole slew of sequels from that movie. These movies helped start or catapult many a career! Rather it be Jamie Lee Curtis who at that point was despite being the daughter of Janet Leigh (Psycho) and Tony Curtis (The Defiant Ones). was still relatively unknown. Or a young pre-Hatchet, or even pre-Roseanne, Danielle Harris (Hatchet 2) to even a pre superstardom Paul Rudd (Dinner For Schmucks).
Like all great franchises of yore though, there is only so many different story lines you can put your good guy (or in this case bad guy) in before the stories begin to become old and stale and it becomes time to either put the series to bed or to begin the arduous process of remaking the series for a new generation! Unfortunately Halloween is no exception.
With that in mind, and like a lot of horror movie fans, I am very hesitant to watch remakes of horror movies, I mean for the most part the way I see it is unless you can inject some fresh blood in to an aging horror movie franchise, and do so in the right way, then stay away from the franchise! It was already good the way it was! Now that’s not to say that I am not a fan of horror movie remakes, their truly have been some great ones! Rather it be the remake to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) or the remake to The Last House On The Left (2009), I just like to air on the side of caution because I have also seen some truly bad ones as well!
Now let me preface what I am about to say with this… I have also been a fan of Rob Zombies since I was in Junior High School in the mid 1990s. I followed his work as a musician when he was still a member of White Zombie, and was saddened to hear when that band broke up! When Hellbilly Deluxe came out, and I discovered that the world would still be lucky enough to be able to enjoy Rob’s work, I was ecstatic! When he started directing movies such as House of 1000 Corpses (2003) and The Devils Rejects (2005) I was thrilled!
So when I heard that they were re-making Halloween, I was excited, but like I am sure more then a few people, I was concerned that this remake was going to turn out to be bad! That’s why it brought me great joy to discover about a year after watching The Devils Rejects that Rob Zombie (Who at this point was really making a name for himself as a master of horror) was coming back to direct the remake! I knew that movie was gonna be in good hands… And boy was I right!
Written and Directed by: Rob Zombie and starring Scout Taylor-Compton (An American Crime), Danielle Harris (Halloween 4 and 5), Kristina Klebe (Zone Of The Dead), Malcolm McDowell (Class Of 1999), Daeg Faerch (Hancock), Sheri Moon Zombie (House Of 1000 Corpses), Brad Dourif (The Child’s Play Series), and Danny Trejo (From Dusk Till Dawn) with Tyler Mane (Gunless)
The Halloween remake tells the story of a young Michael Myers, a boy who grew up in a horrifically broken home! Where his abusive step-father, ‘Ronnie’ (Played by: William Forsythe) was beating him down verbally all the time. Where his older (more promiscuous) sister Judith (Played by: Hanna Hall) ignored him. Where the only family members that liked him were his baby sister Angel and his stripper mother Deborah (Played by Sheri Moon Zombie). At School he is picked on all the time by kids who think they are better then he is… This has all led up to Michael brutally torturing and then murdering animals as a hobby!
This is until that Halloween…
That morning while Ronnie and Deborah are having a huge fight, Angel crying in the background, and with Judith exacerbating the situation with her brazenly flirting with her stepfather…
Now while this is going on Michael is up in his bathroom with the door locked and he is playing with his mouse… When he is done with that he decides that he has had enough with the mouse and kills it, and when Judith rudely tries to get Michael down to breakfast, Michael is at present washing the blood from a scalpel that he had in their (What is a 10 year old doing with a scalpel, eh?)
With that said he does ultimately come down and after some more verbal abuse from his step-father is sent off to school!
This scene can be said to be the catalyst moment that brings Michael to the edge of the point of no return… What I mean by this is the fact that while ole Mikey is in the bath room, 2 of the school bullies show up and are talking about the hell that they raised… When they see Michael, they are start in on him, by holding Michael against the wall while they taunt Michael about his mother, and her profession, as well as what they would like to do to her sexually…
Well this sets Michael off, and may be the point when Michael stops caring anymore. The reason that I say this is because during this altercation that Michael is having with the boys, Principal Chambers (Played by: Richard Lynch) comes in to try and stop what is going on… When this is done, and while the Principal is trying to figure out exactly what is going on, Michael basically tells Principal Chambers to “Fuck Off” and then runs out of the room.
Of course that is not the last that we ultimately hear from Principal Chambers, because Principal Chambers searches Michael’s belongings and after discovering the photos that Michael took of the animals that he tortured and killed… Principal Chambers decides to call Deborah in, and a Child Psychiatrist by the name of Dr. Samuel Loomis (Played by: Malcolm McDowell) for a meeting.
During this meeting Deborah discovers the more disgusting side of her son’s life style and ultimately decides that the interview that Dr. Loomis is recommending probably really is the best way to go.
This of course sets off the now majorly unbalanced Michael on a path to get revenge on those that caused all of this trouble… This is where he meets up with one of the boys that had picked on him earlier, and with a slight resemblance to the man that Michael would ultimately become, proceeds with clown mask on to beat the kid to death…
Now we cut to that evening and a seemingly normal Michael who is prepping for Judith to take him out trick r treating. Of course this doesn’t happen as right after his mother leaves, Judith and her boyfriend decide to go upstairs and have sex with each other… This of course like probably most of his life, saddens him and he takes off trick r treating on his own.
When he gets back to the now virtually dead quiet house, he is sitting in the kitchen eating his candies that he had gotten from trick r treating… When he is done with this, this is where the fun begins and we see Michael coming in to his own…
Michael putting on his clown mask decides to grab a nice big knife and some duct tape and decides to duct tape a sleeping Ronnie to his chair and slit his throat!
During this time Judith and her boy friend are having sex in her room. When they are done her boy friend goes down stairs to make a sandwich… While he is eating Michael strikes again! (Literally) Michael with a metal bat in hand decides to beat him to death! When he is done he goes after his older sister… When Michael gets to her room, she is listening to some music on her head phones.
Michael comes in and puts on the boy friends mask (Or probably the most prolific ghost face mask in the series) and has the one (as weird as this may sound) tender moment with his sister… The only problem is that it is the wrong type of tender moment. This at first freaks out and then angers his sister.
When this happens Michael freaks out and stabs his sister! And while she is trying to escape from the attack, Michael decides to stab her repeatedly until she dies! After all of this is done and with Michael tired, he goes in to baby Angel’s room and puts the bloody knife down and takes off the mask and kisses her on the head and then bundles the baby up and sits outside until his mother comes home.
When Deborah does get home, and sees that Michael is sitting on the porch, she goes in and notices the carnage inside. Michael is then taken away by the Police, and after a trial Michael is found guilty of the murders that he committed and is put in Smithsgrove Warren County Sanitarium under the watchful eye of Dr. Loomis.
As the years progress, and as Deborah is starting to loose hope of ever having her son come home, and as Michael is slowly descending deeper and deeper in to his own madness. Things lead up to a moment in which Deborah has come to visit Michael in the hospital. Both Deborah and Michael are having a meal with Dr. Loomis… With Michael at this point being almost entirely uncommunicative, Deborah decides that it is time to go, and Dr. Loomis decides to walk her out leaving Michael in the care of an antagonistic Nurse!
During this time the Nurse who is sitting at the table grabs a picture that had been left for Michael of both him and his baby sister by his mother. The nurse decides to tease Michael about this photo which finally does set him off and prompts Michael to stab the lady in the throat!
Well of course with the alarms having gone off, both Dr. Loomis and Deborah (who hadn’t left yet) go running in while a couple of orderlies are pulling a now feral Michael off the nurse…
That evening when Deborah is at home, she is watching old home movies of Michael, and then puts a gun in her mouth and decides to commit suicide!
Now we cut to 17 years later…
Halloween is coming up again… During this time, the violence that plagued the Myers family has basically been forgotten about (so much so that the now abandoned Myers’ House is now known among the kids as ‘The Spook House’)
This is where Laurie Strode (Taylor-Compton) comes in. Laurie is from a good a family, an average middle class mid-western family in which her father Mason (Played by: Pat Skipper) runs a real estate firm and her mother (Played by: Dee Wallace) is a home maker.
Now Laurie herself is a happy go lucky high school student who is asked to drop some paper work off at the old Myers place. Which she does so on her way to school. On her way to the Myers place, she is met by a young boy by the name of Tommy Doyle (Played by Skyler Gisondo) who when they make it to the Myers place, pleads with Laurie not to go up there (claiming that, that house is the spook house!)
Of course Laurie thinking this to be silly, and not knowing that Michael is in there watching them (Michael having escaped Smithsgrove the night before and having cut a bloody swath through Illinois, that included a cameo from the always awesome Ken Foree!) Laurie decides to stick her hand in to the mail slot and pretend like it had been caught hold of by a fictitious monster… This act helps Michael to zero in on his sister.
Now with the body count soon to be on the rise, Michael will stop at nothing (including murdering Laurie’s friends and family) to have the reunion with his sister that he has been hoping for years that it would be!
What makes this an awesome b movie you might be asking? Well a few things:
1. Rob Zombie… I obviously mentioned him in the beginning of this recommendation, but I really gotta say that he did a real solid bang up job in this movie! I mean even though I have to admit that I am still more of a fan of John Carpenter’s ‘Halloween’, I gotta say that Rob Zombie did a real great job in bringing Carpenter’s movie to a modern audience!
2. The next person that I feel deserves some special mention is Scout Taylor Compton. I mean before this movie I never had seen Ms. Taylor-Compton in a movie before, and I gotta say that she really came out strong in this movie. So much so actually that I have seen her in other non-Halloween related things now, and I gotta say DAMN! She is an impressive actress!
3. Malcolm McDowell is the next person that I thought that I should mention here… I thought that with some one replacing Donald Pleasence (who happens to be one of my favorite actors) was going to suck! Well I gotta say that Malcolm McDowell did real well, and really seemed to honor the memory of what Donald Pleasence brought to the role!
4. The last person that I thought should get special mention is Danielle Harris… Now for me being a fan of old school Halloween, and having seen her play Jamie Lloyd in both Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers (1988) and Halloween 5: The Revenge OF Michael Myers (1989) was a real joy. But seeing that she did not reprise her role for Halloween 666: The Curse Of Michael Myers (1996) was real sad… So it was a really awesome to see her sort of come back to Haddonfield so to speak, through taking over the role of Annie Brackett, which had originally been helmed by Nancy Loomis.
5. With that said, I did want to say that the cast was real awesome! From Dee Wallace (With whom ABMs Matthew Dowling had a chance to meet this past weekend at the Monsterpalooza horror movie convention) to Ken Foree with whom I had the pleasure of meeting last year at the Weekend Of Horrors Horror movie convention!
6. Also look out for special appearances from other horror greats such as Bill Moseley (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2), Sid Haig (THX 1138), Udo Kier (Blade) and Clint Howard (Ice Cream Man)!
Even though this movie is not the John Carpenter original, check it out! you won’t regret it, and it may even suprise you as to how good it is!