Thursday, October 29, 2015

Halloween (2007)

There was a time back in the mid ‘00s where, for some reason, movie studios felt the need to totally revamp the old horror classics that nobody ever had a problem with to begin with. But the studios really wanted to do updated versions, even though nobody was asking. And I get it - Hollywood has always lived on the backs of remakes. We have timeless stories and we make them new again for new generations. However, it really seems like Rob Zombie was trying to kill the story of Halloween with this remake rather than keep it going.

Director: Rob Zombie
Starring: Scout Taylor Compton, Sheri Moon Zombie, Malcolm McDowell

Co-written with Michelle and Tony.

This is an awful, repulsive piece of trash with nothing really good about it. It’s seriously just amazing how bad this really is. Zombie wasn’t bad at making pseudo-Texas Chainsaw rip offs like House of 1,000 Corpses, and The Devil’s Rejects was legit a great movie, but it was this movie where he showed his true colors - i.e. he can’t do anything else. But if you want screaming, cursing rednecks and lots of sleazy sex scenes, you’ll be in paradise here. And if you want that, I'll know to stay the fuck away from you.

The only question is, what does any of that have to do with John Carpenter’s 1978 classic, Halloween? Nothing. It has nothing to do with it.

We start off with something that doesn’t make sense from even the first line of dialogue: hillbilly rednecks living in the midwestern suburbs. Yup, the Myers family in this is apparently a bunch of constantly unpleasant jackasses, led by the stepfather Ronnie, this greasy looking motherfucker who looks like he belongs in a trailer in Alabama, but is instead in the suburbs in Illinois now. I guess Zombie really, really needed to put in guys who look like him! It’s like a security blanket or a pacifier for an infant.

Yup, this is how Halloween should open up, said no one ever.

In the first few minutes, Ronnie says he thinks his own stepdaughter's ass is hot and says Michael’s mom is jealous of her own daughter’s ass. That’s how we’re starting off this movie. A pair of adults talking about a teenage girl's ass. Ah, it’s refreshing to start off with absolutely zero expectations or integrity. How could you get any worse, movie? That was a rhetorical question. The movie gets way, way worse.

It’s fucking amazing how unpleasant this is to watch - like, really, even if you don’t care that it has nothing to do with Halloween, it’s still bad on every level. What’s entertaining about watching a bunch of white trash rednecks scream and break shit? I guess the point is to show how bad Michael’s home life is, but frankly all that’s missing here is the cops on speed dial for the next time there's a domestic incident in which one of the kids or the mom, uh, fell down the stairs. Yeah. That's it.

If you never pictured the hulking behemoth Michael Myers as a whiny, stringy-haired 10-year-old, well, now you're safe and will never be afraid of him again. Thanks for fucking nothing, movie.

Michael's mother is of course played by Sheri Moon Zombie, because the entire cast of every Rob Zombie production goes like this: 12 big hairy ugly dudes, and Sheri Moon Zombie wearing a bikini top most of the film. That sounds like the beginning to a terrible porno, which makes sense because Sheri's only role in every one of these films is to show off her tits and ass.

If it seems weird to you that Zombie constantly casts his own wife in these films just to let the whole world see her naked, well, I guess some marriages are just never meant to be understood.

And yeah, as most criticisms of this movie mention - it’s an origin story for Michael Myers, one of the most recognizable horror movie villains. Not to quell the creative ambitions of Rob Zombie (haha...hahahaha….ha ha HA…), but if we needed an origin story, we probably would have gotten one before this movie came out in 2007. The scary thing about Myers was that he was pure, unexplained, unstoppable evil. Explaining him and giving him an actual character is like shining a light under the bed and telling your kid there’s nothing there, it’s all in her imagination.

But seriously, even if you get past that, just think about it: if you were to give Michael Myers an origin story, and show it on screen, why the fuck would you want it to be this one? We don’t need scenes of him whining in the bathroom or being bullied at school. Why would we ever need that? Even if you wanted to know more about why he became a killer, these are very poorly written scenes where every person he meets is a total unrepentant, over the top dick to him. They’re all basically just excuses for Zombie to go for the shock factor of having people say fuck around little kids and show boobs. That’s not interesting to watch.

I want to see all my horror slasher icons as bratty children. That makes the REAL terror shine through...

But hey, he gets his revenge by killing a bully who was mean to him in the woods!

When they say fight back against your bullies, I’m pretty sure they just mean throw a punch back. Not ambush them in the woods and beat them to death with a stick. But it’s okay, because this is never mentioned again. Yes, really…

The whole movie so far has just been the equivalent of a really obnoxious guy screaming in your face. Every scene is full of greasy, grimy looking people swearing and talking about sex in the most annoying ways possible. But hey, at least we get to see the realism in how Michael finally snapped and became a killer! He’s sitting there eating candy in his house, and then, with no provocation, he gets up and starts slaughtering his whole family.

This is a ridiculous scene where it plays "Love Hurts" over top him sitting on the sidewalk by himself - just awful. It's baffling to me that anyone thought this would be touching. It's as emotional as watching a pet fish flushed down the toilet.
It was the fucking candy corn after all. Damn candy corn.

Yup, that’s it. That’s what Rob Zombie wanted to show you to account for a ‘realistic’ backstory! I mean, I guess it can happen in real life. But the way it’s shown here isn’t particularly realistic, subtle or well written - he’s sitting there eating candy, and then he goes and kills people. I guess he should have had an apple or rice or something. Maybe then he would have been fine.

And yeah, he kills his stepfather, his sister’s boyfriend AND his sister this time, as opposed to just his sister like in the original. That isn’t a big deal, but I just find it funny, like the movie is the bratty little brother of the original trying to outdo all his big brother’s stories. “You had one person killed, huh? Oh yeah, well I can have THREE people killed and in more bloody ways! And I’ll have child Michael wear the Michael Myers mask when doing his first kill!”

Nobody ever wanted to see a midget cosplaying Michael Myers, movie.

So then we get like forty minutes of him in a mental hospital with Dr. Loomis, who is played by Malcolm McDowell. He looks less like a doctor here and more like an aging rock star your dad would be friends with and your mom would disapprove of because he always sleeps on your couch blind drunk after a show down at the county fairgrounds on a Wednesday.

Hey, don't judge him. He's trying to clean up. He's just in a bad place right now.

These scenes all pretty much go like this: Michael asks to go home, Loomis tells him he can’t because he’s a terrible child, Michael cries. Rinse and repeat for like over 30 fucking minutes. Except for one scene that changes up the formula, where a janitor played by Danny Trejo of all people gives Michael a random pep talk about not letting the hospital get him down. I don’t even think Trejo was part of the cast. He was just walking by the set wearing a janitor costume for no reason, and delivered this speech unprompted.

"Remember, kid, don't let them get you down."
"Okay, Mr. Janitor. I don't know why you're telling me this, but okay."
"So why are you in here, kid?"
"I killed my whole family."
"Really? Oh, well forget what I said. You're fucked."

Oh, and this is apparently the worst hospital in the world, as they give metal forks to patients who have murdered people, and train their nurses to make rude comments that provoke the patients to murder them! Ha ha ha! Oh wait, I guess that wasn’t supposed to be funny.

The REAL origin story of the film is telling how mental hospitals learned to stop letting patients have metal forks.

After that, I guess they learned their lesson and kept him locked up for the rest of his life. But hey, what could have really been done about this? You know, things happen!

Until about 15 years later, when a couple of wretched security guards decide to rape some innocent girl who was brought in as a patient. They drag her into Michael’s room and do it there. It’s extremely unpleasant and grating to watch, as they scream “fuck” and “faggot” through the whole thing and obviously the rape itself is extremely awful to watch, and nothing I’d even want to subject my worst enemy to. There is no point to this scene. And it takes way too long. So, congrats on that one, Zombie, you can film a fucking awful rape scene. Hang that award on your wall.

Seriously, what am I supposed to get from this? I guess he really wanted to make Michael Myers the good guy, because I don’t think anyone in the audience is sad that these rapist assholes got murdered. Nothing about this scene or anything else so far has actually been scary so much as fucking gory and awful to look at - neither of those things are compliments. A gonorrhea infection is also awful to look at, for a comparison point. This does not make a good movie.

My only real conclusion has to be that Zombie wasn’t interested in making a horror movie, because this is not a horror movie. This is porn. It’s porn for people who like watching serial killer films and who get off on reading about Jeffrey Dahmer or some shit.

Sigh. So I guess Michael kills everyone else in the hospital, including Danny Trejo, and breaks out. After like, an hour and a half of all this unwatchable, unpleasant, unscary bullshit, what more is there to do? Regurgitate the original 1978 classic, of course!

Seeing this poster on a Google search while you have this remake on would be the only way you'd ever be reminded of the original while watching this piece of shit.

Yes, really - an hour and a half in, we get introduced to Laurie Strode finally. She’s played here by Scout Taylor-Compton, who doesn’t seem like a bad actress. But her first scene has her miming being molested by making over the top sex noises and playing with a bagel, and I died inside just typing that sentence.

You know, it doesn't matter if I even explain this scene more. It would still be stupid.

Her whole character doesn't even make sense. She's a girl next door type who makes jokes to her parents about child molestation! She's an outgoing peppy chick who gets inexplicably shy like a different person entirely when her best friend asks if she has a boyfriend! These things could be fine if written better, but in this movie, I think it's safe to say Zombie isn't in tune with how teenage girls act.

Well, that bagel-child-molestation thing would be bad no matter what. Seriously, what the fuck?

The whole thing just kind of plays out like a dumber, trashier version of the 1978 one, with several scenes just being shot for shot the same. It’s full of really shitty changes from the original. Like when this one girl and her boyfriend just finished having sex. In the original one, it’s just a dumb, harmless scene - they had sex and she tells him to get her a beer, and he gets killed by Michael. Here, though, she’s a total bitch to him and seemingly can’t stop being rude even for one second just because the sex was bad.

Christ, even her face is annoying to look at. I'm sure she's a nice person, but this character is just so bad in this movie.

I’m not saying that’s unrealistic - though the dialogue and writing suck - but it just points out what’s wrong with this. This wasn’t a change made for some great change to the overall story. It was just because Zombie seemed to want to make everything super gritty and "realistic," which mostly just comes off as dumb as fuck in this. It comes off silly, tired and dated. Making people shittier and ruder isn’t being realistic, it just shows what a small minded view you have of people.

The final chase scene is extremely boring and lame. It goes on for fucking ever. Like seriously I could have read a few chapters of Infinite Jest by the time this goddamn scene ends. The original movie’s chase scene wasn’t night and day from this one, but this movie has been completely unwatchable poison up to this point, so I guess it’s just hard to sit through more of its fat rolls of “plot.” There’s a moment at the end when you think it’s over - Laurie does her whole “was that the Bogeyman?” line, and Loomis replies. But then…

Yup! It’s still going. You hack ass piece of fucking shit. JUST STOP! Sorry for the tasteless profanity. I got possessed by the spirit of the movie there.

It finally ends, after like twenty minutes of aimless wandering through the Myers house in another stale attempt at a chase scene. The least this movie could have done was end sooner, but no, we don't even get that. We have to sit through Zombie's unique vision - a dull, dime-a-dozen chase scene that anyone could have filmed. Woo hoo... Anyway, Laurie finally kills Michael and THEN it's really over!

Wow, was that all? After two hours of rednecks screaming the word “faggot,” unnecessary violence, rape scenes and people being horrible to each other for no reason, I really want more. I think Rob Zombie really did capture what made the original a classic. I’m surprised he ended it at only two hours myself! I know I could have watched at least another two hours of this tasteless, irredeemable bullshit.

A lot of people talk about how this remake ruined the original’s point by explaining Michael Myers’ character, and they’re right. The original movie was only scary because of how mysterious Michael was, and how he was this unstoppable evil force who just descends randomly on a small town. It was the arbitrary, random nature of it that made it scary. Here, once Zombie explains it all, it’s just a bland serial killer upbringing story that has as much charm as reading a Wikipedia article on Ted Bundy.

But even if you don’t care about that, the movie is still complete shit. This is an annoying, irritating movie on every front. It’s visually grimy and grungy, annoying to listen to because every character constantly spews "fucks" and "faggots" every other line in awful redneck accents and even the violence and sex can't save it, as neither one of those things is even remotely enjoyable to look at here. The movie is not even remotely tense, scary or atmospheric. The writing is woefully slow-witted, blunt and dull, so they can’t even fall back on ideas in the script and claim the gratuitous sex and violence was an artistic decision. It feels more like a dumb 15 year old’s attempt at scaring his mom and little sister because they made him go to church.

This movie fucking sucks, and Rob Zombie fucking sucks. The Devil’s Rejects was a fluke. This is all he really has to offer.

Images copyright of their original owners; I own none of them.