Movie Defense Force: Halloween (2007) - Rob Zombie Makes Michael Myers Interesting

Halloween (2007) - Rob Zombie Makes Michael Myers Interesting

It's almost Halloween, so this is timely, so shut up.

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Funny, I thought his name was "Joe Bitch" and his Middle name was "Grizzly".
"I'm Joe Grizzly Bitch" Not, "I'm Joe Grizzly, Bitch"

Christ I remember going to see this in theaters opening night with a friend, little Michael scared the fuck out of me. It's nice to see someone give this movie a decent review.

Totally agree with Jim. Remake also is, for me, better than original. Kreepy and remind me of House of 1000 Corpses. Sloooow action but when something happen - BAM! Or you just wait to kill a dude with raw brutality, like he did with Joe Grizzly! Bam, bam, bam, bam! Awesome scene!

I actually liked the idea of giving Meyer's a concrete backstory as opposed to having him lumbering around killing people for very little given reason.

I loved the remake, glad I am not completely alone.

This movie was quite good. Only thing i would change is the red neck arsehole family. I would have had him grow up in a perfect happy family life yet he still turns into the killer. Kinda like his nature was to be evil and break away from his family. Though i loved the stuff in the asylum where he slowly become detached from life.

I honestly think this movie is a testament to what is wrong with the remakes of horror icon movies. The problem is that showing more about the killer and trying to humanise them doesn't work. Michael being a killer that seems to have no real motive and simply wants to see his family dead and all those that try to stop him is a scary thing because that's inhuman. It's monstrous. It makes Michael seem so detached from humanity that he becomes nothing but an embodiment of evil with but a single goal.

Dr. Loomis in the first movie saying that he was never able to connect with Michael, never able to find a shred of humanity behind his eyes and seeing nothing but pure evil was a lot more frightening than "He had a bad childhood". It broke the movie rule of "Show, don't tell" but it did it right because in his exposition Loomis displays nothing but absolute fear that Michael is loose.

Jim's take on these remakes is interesting, considering that one of the major criticisms about recent horror remakes is that they try to add more backstory to the monsters in an attempt to make them more interesting, when some believe that this results in making them less scary. That these monsters are supposed to be boogeymen and that trying to explain the motives of their actions (or simply make them something other than just mindless killing machines) takes the edge off of them.

I hadn't seen it, but I had heard that people that it was okay. Nothing great, but definitely not the worst Halloween film to grace the screen. On top of that, I like the idea of Michael getting a better backstory, considering the first one didn't really do that, and when they finally did, well, Indigo Prophecy Syndrome all the way. Occultic stuff is nice in Occultic movies, but a slasher film about a guy who never even was really all that supernatural, it just didn't fit all that well, at least not in my opinion.

I'm a fan of Rob Zombie's music and directorial pursuits, and this retelling of Halloween was excellent. I also like the take on Loomis, how his character changed from the first and second films. It felt a little more believable to me, though of course its Hollywood. I'm also happy he chose Tyler Mane, the guy may not be a great speaker (as evidenced by his lack of lines in all his film appearances) but his former pro-wrestling experience gives him a leg up on storytelling through actions. I also thought he looked the part of Sabretooth better than Liev Schrieber. Anyway, digression aside, the tone of the film, the cinematography and the overall story was excellent. I haven't been scared of many movies in my life but the Halloween series always stuck with me, there's just something absolutely creepy about the Shatner mask and Zombie picked up on that same vibe and managed to permeate the entire film and its sequel with themes that still creep me out. Great movies and great storytelling. I really believe that some people are just inherently wrong for this world, like Micheal Myers. These films (and their predecessors) are horror classics in my opinion.
One of the few times I disagree with the apparent majority (if Rotten Tomatoes is considered a reflection of the majority).

I've always felt that was makes the original such a standout film is that Meyers doesn't really have much of a backstory.
While that approach doesn't work for every villain in every slasher flick it makes him stand out.

I look at Meyers much in the same way as I view the Joker. I don't need to know where he comes from or what his motivations are, in fact the force of nature style in which they're presented is part of their charm.

That being said, I don't view the backstory from the remake with nearly the same venom that I view Jack "I killed the Waynes" Napier. It may strip the story of the element of the unknown, but it doesn't ruin the story.

Vausch:
Michael being a killer that seems to have no real motive and simply wants to see his family dead and all those that try to stop him is a scary thing because that's inhuman. It's monstrous. It makes Michael seem so detached from humanity that he becomes nothing but an embodiment of evil with but a single goal.

The problem with that is that I was likewise detached from Michael and the rest of the film. Humanizing Michael made him more real, and made the films events seem like they could actually happen. Besides, a mute giant who shrugs off gunshot wounds with the power of psychotic determination is plenty inhuman.

Frankly, I thought Silence of the Lamb's Dr Hannibal Lecter was a far, far better example of someone being evil for no discernible reason. (I'll admit, the "origin" prequel did ruin that character. Then again, it wasn't a good movie overall) The original Michael Myers was just lazy writing in comparison. Which segues to my next counter-point...

Dr. Loomis in the first movie saying that he was never able to connect with Michael, never able to find a shred of humanity behind his eyes and seeing nothing but pure evil was a lot more frightening than "He had a bad childhood". It broke the movie rule of "Show, don't tell" but it did it right because in his exposition Loomis displays nothing but absolute fear that Michael is loose.

I disagree about that "working." The original Michael and Loomis were one-note stock characters. Again, this didn't make Michael seem as detached as I felt watching that film.

The movie was too simple for its own good. The victims, the "typical teenagers," were the most interesting characters by default. Partly because of that, the build-up half of the film felt less like building-up and more like filler more often than not. Then again, maybe there were some subtleties I missed while I was watching the clock. I dunno. It needed a character arc, or some kind of sub-plot. Something, anything to make the slower-paced parts feel like a pace rather than a stall.

Halloween helped define a genre, but not in the sense you would probably mean it. I see it as more of a historical note. A step in how horror films evolved over time. I frankly believe that it has otherwise been rendered obsolete by other movies since. In other words, I believe people are reviewing the original Halloween today through rose-tinted nostalgia lenses.

Not that I'm saying the 2007 Halloween was great. No, it was just good. Its a freaking Rob Zombie film. "Just good" is the most you can hope for. That IMO reinforces how the original didn't fare the test of time so well.

But rather than be 100% argumentative contrarian, I'll extend this olive branch: an indispensable caveat to liking Rob Zombie's Halloween is pretending the sequel never happened. (unfocused writing + far slower pace than John Carpenter's original Halloween + more generic death scenes compared to the 2007 film + drop in acting quality amongst returning actors + bait-&-switch trailers = ugh!)

EiMitch:

Dr. Loomis in the first movie saying that he was never able to connect with Michael, never able to find a shred of humanity behind his eyes and seeing nothing but pure evil was a lot more frightening than "He had a bad childhood". It broke the movie rule of "Show, don't tell" but it did it right because in his exposition Loomis displays nothing but absolute fear that Michael is loose.

I disagree about that "working." The original Michael and Loomis were one-note stock characters. Again, this didn't make Michael seem as detached as I felt watching that film.

The new Dr. Loomis isn't really much better if you think about it. I mean all he really does in the movie is tell Michael about how horrible he is and what he did was so bad, and then when he's an adult spends the whole time saying how he failed him. I mean I love Malcolm McDowell but he really just didn't have anything to work with. Not to mention what they did to Laurie. I mean Jesus Christo, if you want us to sympathise with the character how about try making her at least a little likeable?!

Vausch:
The new Dr. Loomis isn't really much better if you think about it. I mean all he really does in the movie is tell Michael about how horrible he is and what he did was so bad, and then when he's an adult spends the whole time saying how he failed him.

And he sold out like a whore. You forgot about that part. That technically makes him more complex. Not to mention that created a bit of antagonistic tension between him and the police. A bit of filler I admit, but I enjoyed it.

Not to mention what they did to Laurie. I mean Jesus Christo, if you want us to sympathise with the character how about try making her at least a little likeable?!

Granted, there is no replacing Jamie Lee Curtis. But I didn't find the new Laurie unlikable. She acted like a more believable kid. And frankly, creating sympathy by making someone a Mary Sue sweetheart is just lazy writing.

Diddy_Mao:
I look at Meyers much in the same way as I view the Joker. I don't need to know where he comes from or what his motivations are, in fact the force of nature style in which they're presented is part of their charm.

The sad part is that you seriously undermined your argument by bringing up the Joker, a far far more interesting character. How does Michael Myers stand out? By being a mute, mask-wearing, stabby-slashy killer? I'd be a smart-ass and call him Jason Voorhees, but even Jason was a more interesting character. I stand corrected: that last is actually the sad part.

Diddy_Mao:
I've always felt that was makes the original such a standout film is that Meyers doesn't really have much of a backstory.
While that approach doesn't work for every villain in every slasher flick it makes him stand out.

I look at Meyers much in the same way as I view the Joker. I don't need to know where he comes from or what his motivations are, in fact the force of nature style in which they're presented is part of their charm.

That being said, I don't view the backstory from the remake with nearly the same venom that I view Jack "I killed the Waynes" Napier. It may strip the story of the element of the unknown, but it doesn't ruin the story.

What I think works about this origin is we come into it late. We see Michael just before he completely snaps, but he's been building up to it for some time.

I was fascinated with the psychology of serial killers and it really seems to come down to a person who just can't process what happened to him early in life. It might be something as simply as discovering your sister is actually your mother or it might be systematic abuse; but Zombie seemed to capture the offness of Michael; that he just wasn't capable of processing the negative aspects of his childhood, which was mostly just a steady stream of unpleasantness rather than any particularly traumatic event.

The origin doesn't really explain him, it just shows the slow disintegration of a personality until you're left with this unknowable Other. And the true horror in Zombie's Halloween is watching that someone slip further and further away... then caps it off with a meh remake of the first film. Still a really good movie until Zombie tries to ape Carpenter's style and loses sight of what he brought to the table.

Vausch:
I honestly think this movie is a testament to what is wrong with the remakes of horror icon movies. The problem is that showing more about the killer and trying to humanise them doesn't work. Michael being a killer that seems to have no real motive and simply wants to see his family dead and all those that try to stop him is a scary thing because that's inhuman. It's monstrous. It makes Michael seem so detached from humanity that he becomes nothing but an embodiment of evil with but a single goal.

Exactly. Myers in the original had a normal family background but he just snaps one night and murders his sister. That's far scarier than the back story Zombie gives him in the remake. The idea that a killer's persona could be lurking beneath the guise of a seemingly ordinary kid is waaay scarier than the inevitable slide into serial killer because of a crappy white trash upbringing in the remake.

MikeN:
The idea that a killer's persona could be lurking beneath the guise of a seemingly ordinary kid is waaay scarier than the inevitable slide into serial killer because of a crappy white trash upbringing in the remake.

Except Zombie didn't establish that Myer's redneck home was the cause. He was already set down his dark path before the movie started. One of the first scenes was of him killing his pet, and not for the first time. And Loomis had stated that Michael's descent was due to (and I'm paraphrasing because its been awhile since I've watched it) a perfect storm of genetic and environmental factors. So that killer persona was probably inside Myers the entire time. His crappy upbringing merely sped along the inevitable.

A bit of a leap? Fine. I'll break my own rule and reference the crappy sequel. Laurie descended into the same madness as her brother, suggesting that genetic factors were indeed at play. Laurie's sane upbringing merely delayed the effects until Michael came along and effed-up everything she took for granted. And that makes a strong case so long as nobody points out how bad the rest of the writing was in... D'oh!

Don't want to nitpick, but the original Halloween was a 70's film, not 80's

 

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