Original vs. Remake: Rob Zombie’s Halloween

This topic is presented for entertainment purposes. It is not intended as scholarly research or as a final authority on the topic.

And then there was one. Yep, I’m the one running late this on this month’s Original vs. Remake series. Tiffany A. White has already posted her thoughts on the original 1978 version of Halloween. Jess Witkins, who joined us this month, has already posted her write-up on Halloween H20. 

Dude, I really have a good excuse for running behind. I went on vacation week before last. I’ve got a short story in the final round of a short story contest. I released Black Opal (#1.5 in the Peri Jean Mace series). I’m getting ready for NaNoWriMo, which is obviously the only way I’m going to get #2 in the Peri Jean Mace series written.

I specifically asked to cover Rob Zombie’s Halloween. I enjoy Mr. Zombie’s style. His work’s signature is a hallucinogenic homage to old school horror starring the idealized underbelly of humanity and set to a pungent haze of classic rock. I just, you know, like him.

Y’all ready to talk about Rob Zombie’s Halloween (2007)? Let’s go.

Halloween2007

 The Trailer:

The Film

I love Rob Zombie’s casting. He’s like the Quentin Tarantino of horror, hiring actors and actresses I haven’t seen for years and making me glad to see them again. Here’s a few of the gems he picked for his Halloween:

(I was surprised to see many of the same faces from The Devil’s Rejects but pleased see them again.)

  • Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange)
  • William Forsythe (Once Upon a Time in America)
  • Ken Foree (From Beyond, Dawn of the Dead)
  • Dee Wallace (CujoPopcornThe House of the Devil)
  • Daniel Roebuck (River’s EdgeDudes)
  • Sid Haig (The Big Bird Cage, Fantasy Island, The Fall Guy, Jackie Brown)
  • Clint Howard (Ice Cream Man, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me)
  • Richard Lynch (Bad Dreams)
  • Mickey Dolenz (The Monkees TV show and band)
  • Leslie Easterbrook (Police Academy 1, 3, 4, 5, & 6)
  • Brad Dourif (One Flew Over the Cuckoos NestBlue Velvet)
  • Bill Moseley (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2Night of the Living Dead 1990)
  • Danny Trejo (From Dusk Til Dawn, Once Upon a Time in Mexico)
  • Tyler Mane (Former professional wrestler, The Devil’s Rejects)

Rob Zombie’s wife, Sheri Moon Zombie usually appears in her husband’s productions. So, of course, she had a role in the movie as Michael Myers’s mother. We saw Rob Zombie in concert several years ago, and Sheri was a fun and fantastic part of the show.

On its opening day, Halloween grossed 10,896,610. It had the widest release of any of the previous Halloween films.

Michael Myers Recreated

John Carpenter, creator of the original Halloween, advised Rob Zombie to put his unique stamp on the film instead of just rehashing the original.

Rob Zombie chose to delve deeper into the character of Michael Myers and make his backstory a more active part of the film.

Zombie’s Michael Myers is 10-year-old animal torturer and killer who enjoys a grim home life full of trademark Zombie white trash characters. He is teased for being a weirdo and freak both at home and in school. One day, Michael has all he can take and unleashes a fury more vicious and violent than anybody expected.

Zombie uses the same mask from the original Halloween, but there’s a backstory surrounding the mask.

The Music

Seeing as his background is in music, it would be remiss of me to talk about a Rob Zombie movie without mentioning the music he chose for the soundtrack.

Zombie chose to re-use the famous Halloween theme. He also re-used “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult and “Mr. Sandman” by NanVerson.

Other than that, he relied on a combination of classic rock and horror punk to set the stage for the movie. Click here to see a complete listing of the songs he used. I mostly enjoyed Zombie’s choices and the points at which he used them, especially “Love Hurts” and “Tom Sawyer.”

Do You Need To See It?

First, let me say what I didn’t like about Zombie’s Halloween. I was disappointed Zombie chose to leave Michael’s motivation for returning to Haddonfield ambiguous. And I thought the final showdown went on too long.

Despite that, I really liked this movie.

Don’t expect scary because Zombie’s Halloween ain’t that. It’s part tribute, part music video, and part meditation on the mind of a psychopath.

The characterizations were eerie and interesting. Michael Myers is the most well developed character. In many ways, it is his movie. But I also enjoyed Malcolm McDowell’s Dr. Loomis, Sheri Moon Zombie’s Deborah Myers, Danny Trejo’s Ismael Cruz, and Ken Foree’s Big Joe Grizzly.

(Granted, Mr. Foree was on the screen less than five minutes. Even so, I was laughing so hard I was screaming. What a great, gruesome death.)

If you like horror, and if you liked Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects, you might like this movie. I recommend it.

I picked up my copy for $5 at Walmart. However, the movie is available to stream for $2.99-3.99 both on Amazon.com and iTunes. There is also a BluRay 2 disc version that has a bunch of extras, including a “making of” documentary available for $11.99 at Amazon.com.

On a related note, if you ever wondered why getting scared is fun, check out this post by former psychotherapist Kassandra Lamb.

 

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