It’s been ten years since Rob Zombie’s Halloween has been released. Holy crap, can you believe it? Ten years. Christ, that’s a lifetime.
Songs like Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab”, Pink’s “U + UR Hand”, and Plain White T’s “Hey There Delilah” topped music charts. Movies like Transformers, I Am Legend, and Live Free or Die Hard made the 2007 Blockbuster list. The iPhone was debuted and Britney Spears shaved her head indicating the beginning of her breakdown. It was a crazy year of ups and downs.
In the world of horror, remakes were the trend at this time. Remakes have always been a subject of contention among horror fans. Rarely do fans feel they are necessary, and even more so they are rarely enjoyed by the masses. What many of these people don’t realize is that many of their horror gods they bow down to today were once portrayed on screen in the black and white silent era. Even if their horror deity isn’t specifically from one of these classic movie monsters, many of their attributes have roots originating in these days; but I digress.
Regardless if fans are aware of their horror history or not, remakes were on trend. Titles such as; The Amityville Horror, House of Wax, The Fog, The Hills Have Eyes, Black Christmas and The Omen were all released in 2005 and 2006 to mixed reviews. While most of the criticism was unfavorable, it took fans by complete surprise when they learned not even John Carpenter’s 1978 classic was off limits. There are three horror movies you do not touch, and those include A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, and of course Halloween. However, according to Rob Zombie’s bold choice this was no longer the case.
Unlike Gus Van Sant’s shot for shot 1998 remake of Psycho, Rob Zombie felt he had something new to say about Michael Myers and the world of Haddonfield. It is popular belief that one of the most frightening aspects about 1978’s Halloween is you have no idea why Michael killed his sister as a child, nor what fueled his future killings. However, that wasn’t good enough for Zombie. The new director took it upon himself to create the explanation for Michael’s rage, and it all rooted in a dysfunctional family and untreated sociopath and psychopath behaviors.
The fans were outraged, to them Myers didn’t need a reason to be evil. In fact, the lack of reason and logic made him even scarier! However, Zombie dedicated the first half of the movie to explain why Michael’s psyche was so fractured, and what made him tick behind the blackest eyes… the devil’s eyes.
As a fan of the original I agree, the explanation of Michael’s motives wasn’t necessary. Yet I thoroughly enjoyed the second half of the film. If Halloween was going to be remade, I applaud Zombie’s choice of cast, especially Scout Taylor-Compton who undertook Scream Queen Jamie Lee Curtis’ role of Laurie Strode.
Eighteen year old Compton was relatively unknown to the horror scene at the time besides for her role in Wicked Little Things the year prior. Her innocent and naive appearance and timid demeanor fit in the modern world thirty years later, and didn’t feel forced as she replicated the more modest and demure ways many girls presented themselves in the 1970s.
However, being the 2000’s her friends had to bring reality back into the scene. The reality of cursing, premarital sex, underage drinking, and smoking. You know, everything that makes for a good victim. Cue “bad girls” Lynda (Kristina Klebe) and Annie (Danielle Harris.)
Zombie’s casting choice of Danielle Harris, an established veteran of not just the horror scene but also two time star of the Halloween franchise, was an unexpected surprise among fans. Hariss’ return to the world of Haddonfield was more than just a gimmick to get butts in seats, as her acting style fit perfectly in the updated movie.
It’s well known Zombie employs the same actors in his movies again and again, such as; William Forsythe, Sid Haig, Bill Mosely, Leslie Easterbrook, Ken Foree, Danny Trejo, and of course Sheri Moon Zombie. Damn, did I just list the entire cast of The Devil’s Rejects? Déjà vu!
However, for Halloween he also brought on some amazing horror veterans as well, including; Malcolm McDowell as Dr. Sam Loomis, Brad Dourif as Sheriff Lee Brackett, Udo Kier as Morgan Walker, Clint Howard as Dr. Koplenson, and Dee Wallace and Laurie’s mother Cynthia Strode. Even if you hated the movie, with such a powerhouse cast of horror veterans it is hard not to find this film at least amusing, a horror Breakfast Club of sorts. To be a fly on the set among all of this talent must have been magical!
The second half of the movie played out very much like the original, just with more cursing, sex and blood. While I am not personally a fan of re-doing a movie unless you have some new life to breathe into it, particularly when it comes to special effects, I don’t understand why it needs to be touched. Alas, it was, and without it we would not have had Zombie’s Halloween 2, a movie I hold near and dear to my heart. No, seriously. I wrote it about here.
Perhaps when other directors saw Zombie emerge unscathed from re-making a beloved horror movie, physically anyways, they decided to follow suit. More likely they just saw dollar signs and followed the money. Whatever the reason, on the heels of Halloween’s release other classics followed, including; Prom Night, Last House on the Left, My Bloody Valentine, The Crazies, I Spit on Your Grave, and inevitably Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street. Even now, ten years later, we are still seeing remakes being pumped out of the movie factory. How much time needs to pass before it comes around again to be re-told by the vision of another director?
Let us know what some of your favorite and least favorite remakes are in the comments bellow!