Thursday, September 23, 2010

#87 Halloween - 2007

The 3rd movie I decided to watch this week was the 2007 remake version of Halloween. Now I say remake however this was in a sense a whole different movie than the original. This version directed by Rob Zombie was a whole new bold and fresh look at Michael Myers and gave us a more detailed account of Michael when he was younger. I remember being so excited to see this movie that I went to a midnight showing by myself to see if and took the next day off at work. That's what happens when Halloween is your favorite horror movie of all time and you loved Rob Zombies previous films.

This film included a great cast which was perfectly ensemble together for this film. Malcolm McDowell played the role of Dr. Sam Loomis and was easily the lead character besides Michael Myers. Speaking of Michael Myers this role went to Tyler Mane as the adult Michael. Mane was so incredibly large and his stature and presence made for a great Michael Myers. He was perfect. The young Michael was performed by Daeg Faerch. Since this movie focused a lot of the early Michael Myers it was important for this character to be really really good and he was exceptional! Rounding out the cast was Scout Taylor Compton as Laurie Strode, Dannielle Harris (from Halloween 4 & 5) as Annie, Kristina Klebe as Lynda, Sheri Moon Zombie as Deborah Myers, William Forsythe as Ronnie White, Hanna Hall as Judith Myers, and Danny Trejo as Ismael Cruz. There are other notable actors throughout in cameo's and small parts and all the casting for this film was excellent as noted above.

Right from the start of this film you could tell it was a Rob Zombie flick. In his previous two movies "House of 1000 Corpses" and "The Devils Rejects" they were heavy on the language and this was noticeable right from the start. Forsythe was a perfect actor for the role of the foul mouthed boyfriend of Deborah Myers. The cussing back and fourth at the beginning of the film was true Zombie dialogue for his films and although very different from the original it fit well within the realms of this film. You have to know going in this is a Rob Zombie version of Halloween so even though there will be moments that mirror the original in all reality it is Rob's vision for this film and that is going to include a lot of new elements to the film. Language being the first and most noticeable.

There are three things I will focus on in this review. The kill scenes. The settings and backgrounds for this movie. The music. All of these elements made this film in my mind because the mystique of Michael Myers in general and the Halloween franchise in itself is a classic and favorite among many horror fans around the world. I think what so many people were looking forward to with Rob's version was that it would be a more modern, horrific tale of the classic. In this day and age with over usage of CGI special effects and dramatic unrealistic kill scenes in horror movie after horror movie it is refreshing when you have a director who can come with something fresh and new yet not over the top. Yes I admit House of 1000 Corpses was a bit over the top but this one was not, this one was excellent and much much more realistic.

This is a horror movie so lets start with the kill scenes. There was a body count of 17 in this film but lets highlight the main ones. The first one was the bully at Michael's school. This was just plain old fashioned brutal and it really gave the audience a sample of what was to come and showed how truly messed up Michael was from an early age. His rage was on full affect during this scene and yes anyone would have wanted to beat the crap out of that kid but what he got was much worse. A brutal first kill for young Michael. The next to go were Ronnie, Michael's sister Judith, and her boyfriend. Having a fear of knives and being stabbed is not ideal when you are a horror fan however I'm starting to wonder if my dilemma and fear has come from watching horror movies from a young age? Hmmmm? Lets move on.

Ronnie's death was difficult to watch for me. Sliced at the throat would be a brutal way to die. Just thinking of it creeps me out. As bad as that was it got worse. Judith's boyfriends death was malicious beyond words. A total beat down with a baseball bat with a shot of the wet bloody bashed in scalp at the end. Ouch! Very graphic! The killing of his sister Judith was not quite as brutal but it was eerie in the sense that we see the young Michael put on the mask that would become to be known as pretty much the most famous Horror mask of all time. Watching a young child wear that adult mask while stabbing his sister to death with the new updated Halloween track blasting was brilliant! My cat Topanga even jumped at a couple of these scenes poor thing. The final kill scene that we see from "young" Michael is when he is at the mental hospital and he kills a nurse. The scene itself with the blasting music, sirens going off, and slow motion picture frame was a scene of chaos and pure pandemonium. It was wonderfully done and a great last kill scene for the young Michael.

As the older Michael we obviously see more killings and it starts with the prison guards. The first 2 deserved what they got but I was surprised to see that he killed Ismael Cruz (Trejo) was had become like a friend to Michael. I later found out that originally this was not to be the case but they ended up keeping the scene to show Michael's pure brutality and danger. He goes on to kill a truck driver in a bathroom stall at a truck stop in one of the more less exciting kill scenes. They pick up after this. I thought the kill scene of Lynda and her boyfriend was decent but the one I thought was really good was Laurie's foster parents. The scene where he comes out of nowhere and grabs her Dad and pulls him in the house gave me quite a jump when seeing it in the theaters. His brutal force was on full display in this killing scene. Next up was Annie and her boyfriend on the couch. Typical kill scene for her boyfriend here but somehow she lived which wouldn't really have happened, right? Her failed escape attempt at the front door was pretty cool when Michael grabbed her and swung her back in. This was actually the final kill scene in the film.

The settings and backgrounds for this film were great as well. I thought they were fit into the story and gave the same type of atmosphere as the original. That was important. I thought the scene in his jail cell with all the masks was amazing. One of the masks looked like a Captain Spaulding mask to me but who knows. All of the masks were so incredibly creepy and eerie and the jail cell was a perfect environment for a killer like Michael Myers. The scenes that take place in the neighborhood are also good and I love films where people try to run and hide in residential homes to get away from killers. Its a perfect cat and mouse type scenario and in this film I thought the residential neighborhood including the Myers house was done extremely well in and in accordance with the original atmosphere.

The music was good throughout as well and I especially loved the new Tyler Bates version of the main title song, Halloween. In classic Zombie style there was some old rocker songs and an oldie or two as well. The Love Hurts song on Halloween night was interesting as clips of young Michael sat in front of his house while shots of his Mom at the strip club came in and out. I had to laugh when I heard a Christmas tune while Michael's Mom walked across a snow filled lot on her way to visit him in the winter. Odd 10 seconds of this film if you ask me. Mr. Sandman is played when Michael's Mom is watching old family films at her house before she killed herself. I had forgotten this song was played in the original Halloween II as well. Overall the music was what I would have expected for a Rob Zombie film and again it all corresponded well with the original yet had that classic Zombie style to it.

Overall I thought this remake of the original Halloween was very good. The option to go with a story that focused more on the young Michael than the older Michael was excellent in my mind. One thing I thought was pretty cool was how Zombie made the young Michael actually more vicious and brutal than the old Michael. If you look back and look at the kill scenes and compare them the younger Michael did way more damage in a deviant evil way than the older Michael. Don't worry though in the sequel the older Michael makes up for it. All in all a good movie! I would give this a firm A!

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