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Noah Forrest

By Noah Forrest

Review: Halloween

Let’s just get it out of the way: Rob Zombie should not have remade Halloween. That being said, however, I don’t think it was a terrible idea for Rob Zombie to make this movie … let me explain.

I think most remakes are usually bad ideas, but I also think that if you’re going to remake a movie then you might as well add something different, something that we didn’t get the first time around.  Because of this, I think the first half of Zombie’s Halloween works.  It just doesn’t work as aHalloween movie.

The biggest mistake that Zombie made when making this movie was by using the name “Michael Myers” and the titleHalloween.  The first hour of this movie didn’t necessarily have to be “Michael Myers,” it could have worked perfectly fine as the birth of a serial killer, any serial killer.

We see little Michael torturing animals and the hell that was his life at home and the way he is picked on at school.  Zombie clearly has those kids from Columbine in mind during the few scenes in which we see young Michael at school being bullied.  At home, Michael has to deal with a sister that makes fun of him and a dad that calls him a “queer.”  None of this is exactly genius-level material but the kid who plays young Michael, Daeg Faerch, helps make the first hour of Halloween a semi-fascinating study of the origin of a serial killer.  We see the perfect storm of nature and lack of nurture that helps create this monster and while it isn’t as good as anything in the original film, it is still riveting stuff.  There are a lot of moments where Zombie lets things go overboard, lines of dialogue that lead to eye-rolling, but the presence ofMalcolm McDowell as Dr. Loomis helps lend some calm and class to the proceedings.

I can forgive some of the lesser sub-plots that don’t really add up to anything, like Udo Kier as the head of the asylum Michael is sent to or the janitor played by Danny Trejo, who takes a liking to Michael for no reason whatsoever.  These are mistakes, but not unforgivable ones.

When Michael escapes (in a bizarre rip-off of a scene from Kill Bill – where do all these hillbilly orderlies come from?) and goes on his killing spree, the wheels fall off and the movie becomes tedious.  The first hour of the film is spent building the character of Michael, so we only have about ten minutes to get to know Laurie Strode and her friends and it is not enough time to have a connection with them before Michael starts picking them off.  None of the actresses have any time to create a character, so instead they play stereotypes and the effect of their demise is nothing more than a shoulder shrug. Almost every single one of the characters that is introduced feels plastic, going through the motions purely for the titillation of the audience.  Instead the only person that we can identify with is Michael; and that’s the problem.

I understand that when Rob Zombie decided to remake this film he wanted to put the Michael Myers character front and center.  He wanted to find out what his story was.  While that is, indeed, an intriguing premise, the beauty of the original film was that Michael’s mystique was more frightening when we didn’t know the whole story, when we didn’t see him as just a regular kid.  Instead Carpenter tells the same story in five minutes that Zombie takes an hour to tell and because of that, we find Michael far more frightening in the original.  In this remake, we see Michael as a human being instead of as a bogeyman and, while it makes him more real, it also makes us far less intimidated by turning out the light.

I know that some people find Rob Zombie to be a wonderful filmmaker, but I think his films (this one included) are far more misanthropic than anything Eli Roth has done.  Zombie seems to derive pleasure in having innocent people die on screen, while also making the case that nobody is really innocent.  Perhaps that is Zombie’s larger point, but I think it was made crystal clear with his last two films and didn’t need to be hammered home using the ‘Halloween title.

Still, I think if you had never seen the original film or can go into this film with an open mind, there is some enjoyment to be had in opening hour of the picture.  It’s not the horror film that you’ve been waiting for to really scare the hell out of you, but it won’t be a total burn either.

[Editor’s Note: After receiving a couple of inquiries, we asked Noah to clarify the origin of his review for us. His comments follow: “As many folks have heard, a workprint of Rob Zombie’s Halloween leaked online before the film opened. When I came home after viewing the theatrical version, I was directed towards where I could view a scene of the workprint that had been drastically altered in the theatrical version (the escape scene). I watched that scene almost immediately after watching the theatrical version and thus confused which escape scene was actually in the movie. Workprints are not meant to be reviewed and I certainly didn’t mean to review even one scene from it. The rest of my review still stands and I apologize for any confusion (and for my own confusion).”]

– Noah Forrest
August 31, 2007

Noah Forrest is a 24 year old aspiring writer/filmmaker in New York City.

The opinions expressed in these columns are the writers and do not neccessarily reflect the opinions of Movie City News or any of its editors or other contributors.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

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~ David Simon