please deliver to:
Spooky old Meyers house
Haddonfield, IL 61764
Dear Michael Meyers,
Vern here. Big fan. Going way back. I watch HALLOWEEN once or twice a year. Part 2 once every couple years. Part 3 every once in a while, even though it’s lame that they wouldn’t pay you enough to come back for that one. 4 and 5 I watch once every 3 or 4 blue moons. Part 6 I watched once in a theater and once on producer’s cut video and that’s quite enough of that shit, thank you very much. Part 7 I actually like, mainly because of Laurie getting away, deciding she can’t run for her whole life, going back, chasing you down and lopping your god damn head off. No offense. And then part 8 I saw on DVD and if I could I would become a child, dress up as a clown and sneak into that movie’s bedroom with a knife. Not that I would get off on that or anything, it would just be the right thing to do. You would hate that one too because they burn down your house.
But since HALLOWEEN RESURRECTION is a movie and there just isn’t a feasible way of stabbing it I was almost glad that Rob Zombie was remaking HALLOWEEN. It’s wrong, it’s a bad idea, but at least it would prevent another scene where Busta Rhymes yells at you because he thinks it’s his friend playing a joke and you get scared and leave.
But now that I’ve seen Zombie’s take on the story I got some questions and comments. First of all, which one were you? I always thought you were the mysterious dead-eyed kid “sitting in a room, staring at a wall, not seeing the wall, looking past the wall… waiting for some secret, silent alarm to trigger him off.” But is it actually more like this remake? There was no silent alarm, you just tortured animals as a child and got abused alot and you were evil and escaped and killed more people?
I liked you better as the unexplainable killing machine. The walking puzzle with knives in place of answers. To be fair, Zombie does not explain you. He shows your cartoonishly troubled home life as a child, your being bullied about your mom being a smokin hot stripper, your childhood experiments with animals, the details of your first murders, your obsession with masks, your selective memory while in the asylum (“Is everybody at home okay?”) and then after an hour of that Zombie seems to say “Beats me, can’t explain evil. Let’s just run through the story of part 1 and the twist of part 2. Make it quick though, we only got about 45 minutes.”
In this one you’re more of a rampaging monster. They got this guy Tyler Mane, he’s 6’8″ and used to be a wrestler but he’s slimmed down, he doesn’t look like a muscleman thank God. But they got this whole cornball part in the asylum where he’s got stringy hair over a paper mache mask, there’s some guitars going and there is no way anybody can watch that part without thinking of WWE. They probaly shoulda thrown zebra pants on him and shot some sparks around, got it over with. Don’t watch that part, you’ll get so mad you’ll eat a dog.
I like Tyler Mane though. He played Tiger X-Man in the first X-MEN picture, I also thought he was real likable in the okay made for cable version of HOW TO MAKE A MONSTER. I’m not so sure about Zombie’s 1980s “if the gun is bigger it’s even more totally awesome” type philosophy here but it’s not Tyler Mane’s fault he’s a giant. He does a good job once they finally get the ol’ Shape mask on him and although the original, I suspect closer to the truth depiction was better it was a nice twist to have this guy going on a god damn speed rampage smashing people through bathroom stalls, stabbing through ceilings with 2 x 4s, in one part bashing through a door but not a Jason Voorhees style balsa wood door, he does it like a cop or a home invader. All bets are off, locks are powerless against this Shape. You might wanna try that trick out if you haven’t already. Seems to work.
Hey Michael did you ever see Zombie’s last movie THE DEVIL’S REJECTS? It’s pretty fucked up, you probaly have the DVD. I think this movie ate that one though because pretty much the entire cast is here. I’m not exaggerating. Sid Haig, Sherri Moon Zombie, Bill Moseley, Ken Foree, Tyler Mane, Danny Trejo, Leslie Easterbrook, Tom Towles, William Forsythe, Lew Temple, Daniel Roebuck. That’s pretty much everybody but Brian Posehn and a couple extras!
I don’t know, do you watch horror movies? If so you might find the cameos distracting. There’s also Udo Kier, Clint Howard, Dee Wallace, Sybil Danning, Adrienne Barbeau. Not to mention Mickey fucking Dolenz and one of the SPY KIDS. It’s like the Rob Zombie Variety Hour. Kind of fun but makes it harder to get sucked in.
Zombie’s not as comfortable or as consistent as on DEVIL’S REJECTS, but he’s got some good sequences here and there. Biggest surprise: he must be really good with kids. Doug Faerch who plays you as a kid starts out kind of corny (he gives you long hair and a Kiss t-shirt! I don’t buy it) but when he’s in the asylum he’s really good. Those are my favorite scenes, when Loomis is asking you about what happened on Halloween and you think he’s asking what kind of candy you got. What an adorable little Shape. You’re not being a smartass, you seem like you really don’t know, like there really is an innocent little boy in there talking but there’s something else taking over. You, I guess. And the little boy doesn’t have a clue.
This is gonna sound weird but – are you tragic? In this movie you might be a little. Because you know there’s a little bit of that little boy there but he can’t help but massacre everybody, even the cool ex-con janitor who was nice to him in the asylum (Danny Trejo). That was a pretty good part where he found you standing in the middle of a bloodbath and tried to convince you to let him take you back to your room. That was fucked up man if you really did that you should be ashamed of yourself. Not to be preachy.
But the little boy in you wants to see your baby sister who you call Boo. I always thought that Laurie-was-your-sister thing was just some bullshit they made up for part 2 but in this remake it seems like the only thing you care about. You find her and we think you’re gonna kill her but you just show her a picture of you holding her as a baby and she doesn’t know what the fuck you mean. I remember when Quint reviewed an early script for this thing he said you talked in it and I was mad. But then I read that you only said one word. So now I know that word must’ve been “Boo.” And I kind of wish they left that in there.
Just for dramatic purposes though, I know you don’t talk, please don’t take it the wrong way. We’re buddies, right?
So I don’t think they quite nailed the tragic part, but I like what they were going for. We’re supposed to be a little sad for you, not like you’re a victim or anything but just because damn, whatever the fuck happened to that guy, too bad it happened.
Hey well at least you’re not fixated on your mom like Jason, Norman, Ed Gein, etc. I don’t know how you feel about your mom but I was disappointed that Zombie didn’t quite make her work. He got part way there. His wife Sherri Moon plays her and does a good job, much better than her giggly psychopath in DEVIL’S REJECTS. I really like when you’re in the asylum and she’s visiting you and trying to be a good mother. We tend to forget that you had a family and it’s an interesting angle to think of how much it would suck to be your mom. No offense. But because it’s Rob Zombie he also has to make her a stripper and have her live with William Forsythe who doesn’t have a single line that’s not calling somebody a bitch or a faggot or threatening to skullfuck somebody (or both, or all three).
If it was less of a cartoon, if there was a little more time making mom seem like a real woman worrying about what to do about her son (think of THE EXORCIST), I think it would’ve been pretty devastating when she (SPOILER ALERT) kills herself. Oh wait, I don’t have to spoiler alert that, you already knew that. Unless it was made up. Not sure. well, sorry if I gave it away. Don’t knife me into a wall, please.
By the way, maybe you could settle something here. Do you know how to drive? I say you do, Rob Zombie says you don’t. I like when I watch HALLOWEEN with a friend and it gets to the part where you steal the car. Somebody will usually say “What!? He’s been locked up since he was a kid, he doesn’t know how to drive!” And I just smile because I know that later the sheriff will make the same point and Loomis will say “Well he was doing very well last night!” I always liked that, but I can see why Zombie might assume that modern movie watchers do not have imagination and can’t handle that type of enigma without serious brain trauma.
But the thing is, he then re-enacts the scenes where in the original you were driving a car. Laurie, Annie and Lynda see a car following them around, they assume it’s somebody from school and anyway the car is distancing, they can’t see you inside. So they have the courage to yell shit at you.
In this there is no car, you’re a pedestrian, so they look directly across the street to a 6’8″ giant wearing a Halloween mask in broad daylight and they still talk shit and then giggle! It doesn’t make sense, Zombie must be wrong. I’m right, aren’t I? You’re a driver. Not licensed, but you have the skill, and have never gotten a ticket. I just know it.
By the way, what is your opinion of the rock balled “Love Hurts”? Because I couldn’t believe Zombie used that for the most crucial montage in the movie. I hope I wasn’t supposed to be laughing, but I was. Also did you really eat a dog because in this one you didn’t eat a dog but I liked before when you ate a dog.
HOLD UP! (hilarious sound of needles scratching across record)
I’m so sorry, everybody. This “letter to Michael Meyers” business isn’t cutting it. The “love letter to Mystique” gimmick worked good for X-MEN 2 I thought, but that was then. This one’s a dud but I’m already too far into it to go back. Like Rob Zombie after he took the job of remaking HALLOWEEN.
Zombie has his fetishes, the things that make him Rob Zombie but that he’s gonna wear out if he’s not careful. For example: cartoon redneck characters with long hair and ’70s band t-shirts. Casts full of under-recognized actors from horror classics. Paper mache masks. Self-conscsiously vulgar dialogue. Lurid logos and names for businesses. These are all things that made his other movies fun and unique but when he peppers them into the very different story of HALLOWEEN they stick out like Ron Jeremy with his fly open.
For me one of those trademarks is that I get a little too worked up about some of this shit, a little too obsessive about it, particularly when it comes to the horror remakes. This makes for some passionate reviews when I hated them (TEXAS CHAIN SAW REMAKE) but when I don’t it can be an ugly sight. In my review of the HILLS HAVE EYES remake I went so overboard that I divided the review into the normal review part and the “not for amateurs” obsessive comparison between original and remake section. And still, even I can’t read that whole review. I got a problem, friends.
So I’m gonna try to skip over my usual obsessive-compulsive-detail that’s tempting me and get to the meat. This remake to me is a failure, it doesn’t work. The more cartoonish touches prevent it from being the serious movie it sometimes seems like he’s trying to make. Supposedly Zombie was gonna follow Michael Meyers the whole time, make him the main character, and that would make it a totally different movie from the original. But that’s not really what he did. What he did was more like this review: first half trying to do something different, with mixed results, second half just doing a normal remake. The second half has Laurie as the main character, Michael is across the street and in the attic until he attacks, just like in the original. In this Cliff’s Notes version there are plenty of good moments but because you have less of a chance to attach to the characters it feels more like the bad slasher sequels where it’s just a string of murders of teens having sex without the connective tissue between them that gives them their power.
Still, I don’t agree with the consensus that this movie is a disaster. And I don’t feel offended by it, really. With TEXAS CHAIN SAW REMAKE I felt like they tried to rehash the original but just didn’t understand what makes it great, and that pissed me off. Here I feel like they probaly did understand the original but intentionally tried to approach everything different. So they even leave out famous scenes like the closet/hanger scene, Michael sitting back up, Michael’s body disappearing. Even when they do have a redo of one of the old scenes there is usually some major twist or the dialogue is completely different. Sometimes it works (Laurie finding Annie bloody, topless but still alive is pretty horrifying) other times it doesn’t (if you gotta get rid of the great story the cemetery watchman tells why replace it with more talk about Michael Meyers?) But I at least respect alot of what they’re going for. It beats the hell out of the thorn cult in part 5, the asshole shockjock that you root for Michael to kill in part 6, the entire running time and existence of part 8.
They say they don’t plan a part 2, but come on. You know they will make these forever as a tribute to Moustapha Akaad. That’s why I’m a little pissed at Zombie for SPOILER seemingly killing off Loomis. I don’t think Zombie likes Loomis as much as I do, because he gave him the beard and the trenchcoat but he forgot to give him the Loomis. First he undermined him a little by having him cash-in on Michael with a sleazy book. Then he doesn’t give him enough of the dramatic Loomis tone. The character we love may be corny but he is a big part of the building drama, the way he’s always trying to poetically describe just how fucking doomed everybody is and nobody really believes him. The remake only has two or three lines as a nod to that.
It’s too bad – just because Zombie didn’t know how to make him cool doesn’t mean the sequel directors wouldn’t have. Of course, they could bring him back but make him blind. He’d be like Zatoichi. And he’d be able to sense where Michael is in the dark, an advantage over average joe victims.
What I would like to see them do is follow the mold of the ALIEN series. Each sequel should have a different director who is allowed to rework the series to follow his or her own vision. Only serious, smart directors who will try to elevate the series, not your usual horror sequel cash-in guys. And it’s lower budget so give them the creative freedom that Fincher didn’t get on ALIEN 3. I’m not sure who these directors would be. Even the Weinsteins probaly could not get Tarantino to come back to HALLOWEEN (at one point he was connected to part 6). So the talent pool might be small. But they should try.
The funny thing is, I don’t think Zombie means for Meyers to be supernatural at all. He’s supposed to be a normal guy who snapped and was evil and at the end he really is supposed to be dead. The problem is he’s Michael Meyers, we as citizens of the world already think of him as unkillable, so it didn’t really occur to me until later that that’s what was going on. And I guarantee you they will make a sequel where he is unkillable and everybody will forget that he’s not, and Zombie’s version of Michael Meyers will retroactively become supernatural, just like Carpenter’s became Laurie’s brother.
What a shame. What a sad, ugly shame.
No, just kidding. That’s how Moriarty ended his HALLOWEEN review (which I thought was a pretty good take, even though I think he’s being way too hard on it). I couldn’t think of any way to end my review that would be as dramatic, and that’s a shame. A sad, ugly shame.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.