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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A legend is reborn


Rob Zombie has dug deep into his ambitiously creative conscious to bring us a completely new vision of the John Carpenter classic, "Halloween". I do not remember anything of the original, and going to see this movie with no basis for comparison was the right thing to do because Rob didn't make this movie as a continuance of the series. Rob wanted to take his love for this classic and put his creative input into telling the backstory of how a killer is created. I have read review after review from audiences and critics alike who insist on comparing this film with the original and by doing so they are not giving either film its due respect.

Upon telling John Carpenter of his intention to do the film, Rob was told "make it your own". As Rob has said in reference to his blessing, "what more do you need?"

What Rob brings to his film, along with many of the actors you either loved or hated in his first two films, is a renewed sense of terror in Michael Myers. Rob felt that the long line of sub-par sequels that followed the original basically stole away his thunder and he succeeded in making Michael scary again, with a very brutal and aggressive tone to Michael's rampage throughout the film.

You see in the film how Michael acquires the infamous mask that he dons as he wreaks havoc, as well as the environment that surrounds him as a child. Seeing that really makes you think about how some kids are doomed from the start and you almost understand how a child could end up like Michael Myers did. Michael's mom in the film, who is a stripper, is played by Rob Zombie's wife Sheri Moon. Apparently in the original there is vague mention of a location called the Red Rabbit Lounge so Rob expanded on that to give Deborah Myers' character some weight as a struggling mother who deals with a mouthy boyfriend and promiscuous daughter (played by Hannah Hall, known as young Jenny from Forrest Gump) while trying to do the right thing for young Michael and a baby, who young Michael refers to as "boo".

The character of Laurie Strode, a babysitter stalked by Michael Myers in the original and played infamously by Jamie Lee Curtis, returns but she is not the same innocent girl she was before. Scout Taylor-Compton plays Laurie, but with a bit of a dark side and a sharp tongue to match the personalities of her friends.

If you saw Rob's first two films, "House of 1000 Corpses" and "The Devil's Rejects" you'll have fun picking out the returning actors as they turn up in this film. Many of them are in one scene or one portion of the film and a few others are spread out more in different parts. Rob is like many directors these days who find comfort in using familiar faces in his films.

I've seen this film twice now and you can bet that I'll be grabbing the DVD on its release date to go home and watch it again, probably with the directory commentary on to hear Rob guide me through his brilliant vision. I loved this film and I will go rent the original because I want to see the film that Rob Zombie has such high respect for. One thing I will not do, as no one who views either film should, is to use it as a comparison tool.

Rob has said about his "Halloween" film that "it has a beginning, a middle, and an end, that's it". He will not be involved in any sequels that may be made following his film, which he says he's pretty sure will happen. Personally, I don't think this film should be touched. I think this film is a unique instance of a director fulfilling a dream to complete one film that stands alone. Rob Zombie is quickly becoming a serious force in horror filmmaking, but expect to see a departure from that genre as he has revealed that he signed with Dimension Films to direct two more, and they may or may not be horror films.

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