The Gift of Re-Imagination – Halloween (Scott’s Horror Corner)
You ever look in the mirror and think to yourself, “I wonder what would’ve happened if I had asked Shelly out back in High School?”, or “What if I had horribly murdered my parents, but also had let my hair grow out long and luxuriously?”. Well apparently somebody did. OVER AND OVER. As you are probably well aware, every single thing you have ever loved is being re-imagined (a term that Rob Zombie used liberally while building up his new Halloween remake). My intentions were not to be a cranky old man writing about this, but then I thought it may not be as much fun. So prepare for some crankyness as I take a look at your favourite horror movies, ran through the minds of some of the greatest luminaries of our day!
If you’ve read my earlier stuff here at Splatter Pictures you’ve seen me talk about my Dr. Loomis man-crush as well as my thoughts on why Halloween was such a great film. The original Halloween. I followed everything on the re-make with great interest. I read a lot of comments on websites to the effect of “best horror movie ever! 11/10” and so I was definitely interested. Zombie did The Devil’s Rejects shortly before taking on Halloween and a lot of people touted that as the re-birth of horror, or something to that effect.
So, how did Halloween turn out? I know some people love it. And the number one thing I see when reading the positive reviews on this movie are that people liked Michael Myers back story. I did not. The original Halloween backstory – kid in clown costume kills sister. That’s it. That’s the set up. Michael Myers was evil. He wasn’t troubled. I don’t want to go “Awww, poor guy! Why don’t we go get some ice cream champ and cheer you up?”. It’s a horror movie. I want to be scared. In Zombie’s movie, the scares come from the graphic nature of everything. We’re supposed to be scared at how brutal this chubby kid is because his dad was a jerk. In Carpenter’s movie, we’re scared because we don’t know what Myers is. All we know is that this old guy from the psych ward is saying that he’s been looking at walls for a decade or two, and is ready to kill.
Speaking of the old guy from the psych ward, Malcolm McDowell plays Samuel Loomis in the re-make. I want to stress that I think McDowell is great. It’s obvious that he’s the best part of the movie, and he hams up the heavy-handed monologues that come with the character. He is the best possible replacement for Donald Pleasance, and I don’t think he at all fell short in the role. With that said, I definitely feel the role fell short of him. Loomis is no longer Ahab chasing the whale, or at least not exactly. Maybe if Ahab’s last words were “From hell’s heart I hug at thee, Michael!”. In this iteration, they happen to be best buds, almost. Loomis is portrayed as a father-figure to Michael, up to when he starts killing everybody. At that point, he sort of does a Donald Pleasance impersonation until he reveals
that he feels bad that he couldn’t fix Michael. I don’t think this is particularly bad in and of itself, it is an interesting twist on the story and adds a new dynamic. I do feel it undercuts what Michael Myers is though. You know. Pure evil.
You know what would make this a better movie? Calling him Jacob Dyers and the movie could be Dalloween. Halloween was a very good movie. Rob Zombie could totally make a new franchise with a gigantic bearded slasher who once knew how to love, but now only knows how to kill. I’d maybe even think it was ok. If you decide to take on a movie that, to some, is beloved it’s going to draw comparisons and the comparisons are absolutely fair. This movie made Michael Myers not scary. This movie made Dr. Loomis seem like a sentimental fool. This movie made Laurie Strode into a police siren. I’ve had people tell me to like it (and other remakes) for what it is, and I can’t do that because it says that it’s Halloween, but it plays like something completely different. There are stories out there to be told. I just wish some people would try and tell them.