House of Horror: Halloween (2007)

Halloween2007

Title: Halloween (2007)

Director: Rob Zombie

Written by: Rob Zombie

Starring:
– Malcolm McDowell
– Sheri Moon Zombie
– Scout Taylor-Compton
– Danielle Harris

Plot: After being committed for 17 years, Michael Myers, now a grown man and still very dangerous, escapes from the mental institution (where he was committed as a 10 year old) and he immediately returns to Haddonfield, where he wants to find his baby sister, Laurie.

Review: Plenty of horror movies have gotten the remake treatment, and even though Halloween didn’t need to be remade, I guess someone had to do it. Enter Rob Zombie, who made a few bucks off his previous not very good horror movies, to not only direct but write the Halloween remake. Trust me when I tell you, there was no excitement from me when this project was announced. I knew it was going to be a train wreck, the only thing I didn’t know was how bad it was going to be.

halloween-2007_1
Well at least the girls are pretty this time around.

Recap from Wikipedia: On Halloween in Haddonfield, Illinois, having already shown signs of psychopathic tendencies, ten-year-old Michael Myers (Daeg Faerch) murders a school bully. Later that evening, he murders his older sister Judith (Hanna R. Hall), his mother’s abusive ex-boyfriend Ronnie (William Forsythe), and Judith’s boyfriend Steve (Adam Weisman). Only his baby sister, Angel Myers, is spared. After one of the longest trials in the state’s history, Michael is found guilty of first degree murder and sent to Smith’s Grove – Warren County Sanitarium under the care of child psychologist Dr. Samuel Loomis (Malcolm McDowell).

Michael initially cooperates with Dr. Loomis, claiming no memory of the killings; his mother, Deborah (Sheri Moon Zombie), visits him regularly. While incarcerated at Smith’s Grove, Michael becomes fixated on his paper-mâché masks, closing himself off from everyone, even his mother. When Michael kills a nurse as Deborah is leaving from one of her visits, she can no longer handle the situation and commits suicide. For the next fifteen years, Michael (Tyler Mane) continues making his masks and not speaking to anyone. Dr. Loomis, having continued to treat Michael over the years, attempts to move on with his life and closes Michael’s case. Later, while being prepared for transfer to maximum security, Michael escapes Smith’s Grove, killing the sanitarium employees and a truck driver for his overalls, and makes his way back to Haddonfield. On Halloween, Michael arrives at his old home, now abandoned, and recovers the kitchen knife and Halloween mask he stored under the floorboards the night he killed his sister.

fa3a3c407f82377f55c19c5d403335c7
Of course Michael would resemble Rob Zombie…makes perfect sense.

The story shifts to Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton), and her friends Annie Brackett (Danielle Harris) and Lynda Van Der Klok (Kristina Klebe) on Halloween. Throughout the day, Laurie witnesses Michael watching her from a distance. That night, she heads to the Doyle residence to watch their son Tommy (Skyler Gisondo). Meanwhile, Lynda meets with her boyfriend Bob (Nick Mennell) at Michael’s childhood home. Michael murders them, and then heads to the Strode home, where he murders Laurie’s parents, Mason (Pat Skipper) and Cynthia (Dee Wallace). Having been alerted to Michael’s escape, Dr. Loomis comes to Haddonfield looking for Michael. After obtaining a handgun, Loomis attempts to warn Sheriff Brackett (Brad Dourif) that Michael has returned to Haddonfield. Brackett and Dr. Loomis head to the Strode home, with Brackett explaining along the way that Laurie is actually Michael’s baby sister.

Meanwhile, Annie convinces Laurie to babysit Lindsey Wallace (Jenny Gregg Stewart), a girl Annie is supposed to be watching, so she can have sex with her boyfriend Paul (Max Van Ville). Annie and Paul return to the Wallace home and during sex, Michael kills Paul and attacks Annie. Bringing Lindsey home, Laurie finds Annie on the floor, bloodied but alive, and calls the police. She is attacked by Michael, who chases her back to the Doyle home. Sheriff Brackett and Loomis hear the call announced over the radio and head toward the Wallace residence. Meanwhile, Michael kidnaps Laurie and takes her back to his home. Michael approaches Laurie and tries to show her that she is his younger sister, presenting a photo of the siblings with their mother. Unable to understand, Laurie grabs Michael’s knife and stabs him before escaping the house; Michael chases her, but is repeatedly shot by Dr. Loomis. Laurie and Loomis are just about to leave when Michael grabs Laurie and heads back to the house. Loomis intervenes, but Michael attacks him by squeezing Loomis’s skull with his hands. Laurie takes Loomis’s gun and runs upstairs; she is chased by Michael, who, after cornering her on a balcony, charges her head-on, knocking both of them over the railing. Laurie finds herself on top of a bleeding Michael. Aiming Loomis’ gun at his face, she repeatedly pulls the trigger until the gun finally goes off just as Michael’s hand grips Laurie’s wrist.

600px-Halloween-357MagPoola
A worthy follow up to Donald Pleasance.

Halloween 2007 should have been an easy film to make. Take the elements of the original: killer in a mask, random girls, throw in Dr. Loomis and update it to fit with modern times and you’ve got your film. Updated the story wouldn’t be too hard, bring in cell phones, newer music, change up the kills a little bit and you can effectively tell the same story for a generation that could appreciate it. I understand that some generations just can’t connect with a film that doesn’t capture the spirit of their time, and there have been quite a few remakes that have updated the setting and kept the same story to great results like The Thing and Friday the 13th.

Instead, Zombie decided to focus on Michael as a child for the majority of the film, and while on one hand I like that he tried to shed light on Michael’s past, it’s once again a question we didn’t need answered. Michael is a killer, plain and simple, we don’t need to see that he was abused as a child and had a horrible life. The problem with this approach is that it makes Michael look like the victim, and it also says that if you grow up in a house with a stripper for a mom with an asshole boyfriend, chances are you’re gonna kill animals and then people, Basically, you’re gonna go batshit insane.

There are numerous other problems with the film. Like Michael’s mom blowing her brains out over Michael, yet leaving her youngest baby daughter sitting there alone. I understand that having your kid do what Michael did would affect you greatly, but I have a hard time, a very hard time, believing a mom would kill herself and leave her baby behind. Another problem with Deborah is her boyfriend – why is she keeping this clown around? He provides no money, yet sits there and cusses the kids out, cusses her out, and sexually harasses her oldest daughter. I know women and men that stay with abusers, but most of the time there’s another reason, like they’re paying for everything or something. Here, there’s none of that. In fact, you could say Michael killing people is Deborah’s fault for not kicking the scumbag out and creating a better life for her kids.

Halloween
Can’t count on the cops for anything.

The other characters run the typical Zombie gauntlet of being overly crude and sexual, more so then normal people would be, making it very hard to connect with any of them. I didn’t feel bad for anyone that was killed, unlike in the original where no one deserved to die. This is another problem with a film, you’re supposed to care about who dies, here, you don’t and why the hell would you want that for your film? The only character I actually liked was Dr. Loomis, who seemed to be the only person who wanted to help Michael and then stop him. Zombie even turned Sheriff Brackett into a douche bag who didn’t lift a finger until the second film.

The movie as a whole technically is fine. It moves at a good pace, with the gore being gross and everything looking fine. So to that end, Zombie knows what he’s doing. The problem lies in his writing, he injected his love for 70’s music and horrible dialogue writing to a plot that just didn’t need it. He did infuse some of the original Halloween score into the film, but it comes in odd moments, like he didn’t know when he would use it, so he just tossed it in. This is my only complaint for his directing style, otherwise the film looks great and runs smoothly.

Acting: Malcom McDowell was a shining light during this storm of horrible characters and bad acting. Dr. Loomis as a character deserves to be treated with respect, and McDowell did a great job here. When he’s on the screen, all is right. I actually felt his pain when he had to shoot Michael, that’s how good he was.

Sheri Moon Zombie is a terrible actress, and only gets work on her husbands films, there’s a reason for this. Watching her “act” makes me cringe and she shouldn’t be allowed in front of a camera.

Scout Taylor-Compton did okay as Laurie. I don’t care for her dialogue at all, as she wasn’t sweet and innocent like she should have been. This is the one character we should care about, but we don’t.

It’s nice to see Danielle Harris back even though she’s playing a new character.

Gore Factor: There’s plenty of red stuff here. Stabbings, cut throats, death by beatdown, fork to the neck….you get the idea.

Nudity Factor: Danielle Harris shows her girls off and we get a butt shot as well.

Fun Facts:
– At one point Dimension Studios considered making a crossover film featuring Pinhead from the Hellraiser (1987) series, following in the footsteps of Newline Cinema’s horror crossover Freddy vs. Jason (2003). A poll was held on the official site, but response from fans was negative and the studio dropped the concept.
– Before deciding to go with Rob Zombie’s version, the studio was about to green light “Halloween: The Missing Years”, which would have been a prequel, set within Michael Myers’ early days at the Asylum.
– Of all the female leads (all the girls are supposed to be in high school including Judith Myers), only the actress playing Laurie, Scout Taylor-Compton, was actually a teenager at the time of filming, much like how Jamie Lee Curtis, who played Laurie in the original Halloween, was the only girl who was a teenager.
– The movie’s production was delayed due to the death of Moustapha Akkad, the producer of all 8 previous movies. Akkad died of severe injuries as a result from the terrorist attacks in Jordan in 2005.
– The film was mostly shot in South Pasadena, California, the same area where John Carpenter’s original film was filmed. When Laurie notices Michael watching her and the girls at the library, Michael is actually standing in front of Laurie’s house from the original film. Also, Laurie’s house is located on the same street that Jamie Lee Curtis, Nancy Loomis and P.J. Soles walk down in the original film when Michael Myers drives past them in the station wagon.
– The film underwent re-shoots as a result of poor test screenings. These included a new escape for Micheal from the hospital as well as an alternate ending.
– Danielle Harris was 29 years old when she was cast as the teenage Annie Brackett. The movie was released nearly three months after her 30th birthday.

Overall: I almost wish Rob Zombie had no hand in writing the film, and just directed. When he settles down and drops the whole “white trash” vibe, he can actually cut a good movie. However his writing is just terrible. The characters are unlikeable, the dialogue is groan inducing, and his music cues are terrible. Is this the worst Halloween film? No, because at least Rob Zombie didn’t have Michael Myers fighting a fucking rap star.

Rating: 2/5

Author: Jeremy Nichols

Jeremy Nichols is regular writer for the Place to be Nation, a father of two and a full time gamer. He hosts a video game podcast at VGCE.podomatic.com and loves Super Mario Bros. Sweep the leg! Send Jeremy an email