Film Review: Rob Zombie’s Halloween

I thought Rob Zombie might have overplayed his hand. Halloween hit theaters today and I was excited and intrigued by getting the chance to learn about Michael Myers back-story. Was the decision to delve into this killers past too risky? Would giving away too much of his early life make him less scary? At first, I thought it might have taken away from the big question mark that was Michael Myers. After all, Myer’s largely undefined past helps make him the ominous character he is. In this film it’s the realism of the character that makes him terrifying.

As I watched the plot develop it made so much sense when I understood where director Rob Zombie decided to go with the character. You may be a little bewildered by the mannerisms and unmanly behavior on the young Myers because he’s a character we know to be such a monster. All I can say is…have some patience. Early in the film we get to see so much striking footage of a young and messed up Michael Myers. I don’t want to give too much away, but he does some deranged things as a child and winds up in the mental institution where he’s cared for by Dr. Loomis (Malcolm McDowell). Loomis starts out long haired and youthful and as the film progresses we see Loomis in a more modern sense. (On a side note I left the theater and hopped in my car, only to have a white van with the company name of LOOMIS slapped right on the side of it!) The film advances periodically by one year and 10 year increments and then to the present. I enjoyed the jumps as it added not only to the sense of the plot but also the pacing.

Zombie used his “starting lineup.” You’ll see everyone from Sid Haig to Police Academy’s Sgt. Debbie Callahan! Bill Moseley turns up again and there’s even a cameo from The Monkee’s Micky Dolenz! Zombie’s wife Sherri Moon, who’s not playing Baby Firefly this time, turns in a potent performance as Michael Myers mother. For the past few months I’ve also been anticipating seeing Danielle Harris since she played Jamie in Halloween 4 & 5. Harris plays Laurie’s friend Annie. Annie’s a hot little number who has the honor of uttering one of the best lines an actress can ever say…“Ya wanna fuck me?” Harris’ delivery of that line will be ingrained in my head forever now. What is it with Zombie’s stuff that sticks in my head? I always have Baby’s line from House of 1,000 Corpses in my head: “You know we like to get fucked up?” And in White Zombie’s Thunderkiss ‘65 “I never try anything, I just do it. Want to try me?” Don’t be surprised if Harris’ “Ya wanna fuck me” sound byte turns up in one of Zombie’s songs. Hell I’d purposely write a song just as an excuse to use that sound byte. Ahh, Harris was such an innocent little girl. Now she’s topless and skanking it up for the majority of her performance. I love it. My one gripe is that all of the rumors lead me to believe that Sheri Moon was going to get naked but it didn’t happen. She does a stripping scene so I’m assuming there’s going to be an unrated DVD coming out with that scene extended for horn dogs like me. I had to settle for all the rest of the girls getting naked. It wasn’t so bad.

One of my favorite scenes that I think you should look out for is when Laurie and her friends are discussing the babysitting plan in order for Annie to be able to see her boyfriend. At that point Laurie sees Michael Myers standing by a tree staring at them for a moment. This scene is very reminiscent of a scene in the original film. Very creepy. Not to sound cliché but the finale is pretty damn pulse pounding. I was genuinely on the edge of my seat. Zombie did a fantastic job at reinventing Myers as a scary dude again.
If you didn’t enjoy House of 1,000 Corpses or The Devil’s Rejects and you’re worried about Zombie slashing the Halloween franchise to pieces don’t be scared! Zombie superbly captures the essence of the Halloween series while making it relevant again. The only thing I dread more than hiding from Michael Myers in an abandoned house is the thought of what producers are going to do with the franchise next. Zombie claims that he will not be part of any sequel or continuation, so this is a one time thing for him. Other horror films like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Omen have been “re-imagined” but there’s no comparison. This version of Halloween is freakin’ phenomenal.