"I take orders from the Octoboss."

Halloween Remake II

tn_halloweenremakeiiMTV: And you won’t be coming up with ideas for “Halloween” sequels on the tour bus?

Zombie: No. I have no plans on watching them or making them. [He laughs.] My movie has a beginning, a middle and an end — and then I am done. Anything that comes after that? It will not involve me.

Writer/director Robert Zombie returns with the sequel to his remake of HALLOWEEN from two years ago. Mr. Zombie showed some promise with his HOUSE OF THE ONE THOUSAND CORPSES/DEVIL’S REJECTS movies. Then they hired him to remake HALLOWEEN, which seemed to me like a better idea than hiring whoever else they were gonna hire. I liked some of what he was trying to do, but the movie was a mess and made me question whether he really knows what he’s doing.

But he had done his remake, time to go back to what he was good at, so he was working on some kind of biker or wrestler movie or something and then… dropped that because they gave him some money to do this. I know he previously said he wouldn’t even watch a sequel, but this is different, he figured out a way to make it work: he gave Michael Meyers a beard.

mp_halloweenremakeiiOkay, I was trying to make it sound like I hated this movie to set up the “Laurie is Michael’s sister” style plot twist: I actually kind of liked it. It works much better than the remake and it’s Zombie’s least flawed movie besides DEVIL’S REJECTS.

I’m not gonna pretend it’s something completely new for him. All of his fetishes are in here, but he keeps them in check more than usual. Okay, so he has teenage girls saying shit like “Whut up, dicklickers?” to each other, but not too often. He has dumb rednecks, but more of the standard horror movie variety played by Mark Boone Jr., and not some hipster rednecks calling each other skullfuckers. He does give Laurie a bunch of cheesy rock shirts and absurdly puts a Charles Manson poster on her wall. (Sure, Zombie, because YOU think killers are awesome the girl whose parents and friends were horribly murdered one year ago also must think they’re awesome. And her sheriff guardian has no problem with her hanging that in his house.) And I have to say that I’m not a fan of the shitty graffiti she has in her room.

But all the “Rob Zombie” shit is a small percentage of the movie and worked in more organically than in part 1. The rock/horror thing almost seems like a motif: Kiss and Alice Cooper posters on the wall, some retro horror rock band playing at the Halloween party, Laurie and her friends dressing up as Rocky Horror characters. Most of it actually works.

And that’s all I ask. Some people seem to hate directors having recognizable styles, which is stupid. But Zombie is no Tarantino, and can be more clumsy about his trademarks getting in the way of the story. For example in the HALLOWEEN remake it started to get distracting that old horror and TV icons kept popping up for cameos every 5 minutes: Tom Towles, Bill Moseley, Clint Howard, Udo Kier, Ken Foree, Sybil Danning, Micky Dolenz, Sid Haig, not to mention Brad Dourif and Dee Wallace in major roles. I like those guys but it felt like a gimmick in this movie. How are you supposed to be scared when you keep thinking “Oh yes, I remember HENRY PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER. Ah, TEXAS CHAINSAW 2. Oooh, DAWN OF THE DEAD. A ha, THE HOWLING.”

The biggest problem this sequel solves is that the remake crammed Laurie Strode’s story into only the second half of the movie, so you didn’t get to know her or her friends very well and it seemed like a crappy slasher sequel instead of pretty-much-the-best-ever which is what the original HALLOWEEN was. This one is Laurie’s movie so you get to know her and her friends much better. Laurie (Scout Taylor-Compton) lives with Annie (Danielle Harris, in her fourth HALLOWEEN movie) and her dad Sheriff Brackett (Dourif). All three are good in the movie and have a survivor’s bond and look out for each other. And have scars on their faces from part 1.

Early in the movie there’s a great sequence that shows the aftermath of part 1 in gruesome detail: the cops at the crime scene, the survivors being operated on, the dead being examined, Michael Meyers’s body being photographed and packed up.  The look of the movie is much more raw and real than the first one, and more than any other sequel that comes immediately to mind this makes it seem like the violence we’ve seen has serious consequences and repercussions. (Only a dumb scene where the guys in the morgue truck talk about necrophilia breaks the CSI feel.)

Like the DAWSON’S CREEK guy did in HALLOWEEN H20, Zombie wants to show that running from Michael Meyers has seriously fucked Laurie up. She’s always tired and headachey, she does alot of crying and yelling, she has murderous thoughts, she sees a therapist (Caroline Williams from TEXAS CHAINSAW 2, but I didn’t recognize her [UPDATE: That’s because it was Margot Kidder, you dumbass. But Stretch was in there somewhere]), later she gets real drunk. She’s less sympathetic than Jamie Lee Curtis, but Taylor-Compton is pretty believable and you feel bad for her. Annie has dealt with it much better (she still has a dad, at least) and her motherly/sisterly support of Laurie is kind of sweet.

Zombie also wants to get inside Michael’s head, but not in the way he did the first time. This time it’s much more efficient and ambiguous: he shows us Michael’s delusions, seeing himself as still a kid in a Halloween costume walking around with a ghostly vision of his mom. You see all three of them walking around like this ghostly procession. Adult Michael looks more like the help than the mastermind, which I guess is how he sees himself. (They got a different kid playing the young Michael. That’s how crazy Michael Meyers is, he thinks he’s still a little boy but not even the same one he used to be.)

As you may have heard, Zombie also partly ditched the usual Meyers iconography. For six of the original HALLOWEEN movies he was a guy in a jumpsuit and a mask, the same one although of varying quality. Here he still has the mask but he doesn’t always wear it, it’s torn in half by the end and he likes to wear a hood over it. Zombie of course wants all of his characters to look like him, so in part 1 he gave Meyers long rock star hair, in this one he gave him a silly hobo beard and in part 3 he’ll give him tattoos, a wallet chain and a Munsters t-shirt.

It’s definitely a weird approach to a HALLOWEEN sequel (some of the Sherri Moon Zombie stuff got laughs in my theater), but I’ll tell you why that’s allowed. The original HALLOWEEN II is okay, it has parts I like and parts that are typical of shitty slasher sequels. The third one doesn’t have Michael in it. 4, 5 and 6 are terrible. 7 I like, but most people don’t seem to, and they didn’t even get his mask right in that one. 8 is fucking inexcusable. So we know what a HALLOWEEN sequel was supposed to be like, and most of us agree that wasn’t working out. Zombie’s approach may have been deliberately trying to piss people off, but it worked out better than almost all of the previous tries. I mean, this is way better than that thorn cult bullshit.

It uses the original characters in different ways: Loomis is a scumbag celebrity now instead of the one guy who knows the danger. He mostly has a separate storyline about his book tour. I kept thinking fine, I don’t mind if you change it, but how is this more interesting than the original approach to Dr. Loomis? But I forgave it when he rejoined the main storyline at the end. This Annie Brackett survived to part 2, which she didn’t do before, and becomes a much stronger character. Sheriff Brackett becomes an important person in Laurie’s life instead of just the sheriff and her friend’s dad. And Laurie doesn’t have to babysit and gets to go out and be a teenager – I believe this is the first time she’s gotten to wear a Halloween costume.

It still keeps some HALLOWEEN elements: the that-same-night hospital terror of the original part 2, the countdown to October 31st of original part 1, the Michael Meyers slow travel to Haddonfield (although this time he looks like a hobo and you just keep seeing him walking across fields), a great onscreen reference to the offscreen dog-eating from the original, even a possible reference to the Silver Shamrock pumpkin mask from part 3.

Also, the original part 2 had the retroactive twist that Laurie is Michael’s sister – Zombie made that a huge part of his part 1 remake, but she finds out in this one. To avoid you having the same confusion I had you should know that in this movie Laurie does not realize that she’s Michael’s sister. I thought it became clear to her at the end of part 1 so when she is shocked to find out late in this movie it threw me for a loop.

After he tried to definitively kill Meyers in part 1 (so naive), Zombie wisely doesn’t bother to explain why our boy’s alive again. Anything he could make up would be stupid, so let’s just all agree to look the other way. I was a little confused about Dr. Loomis though, because not only did he seem to be possibly dead, but I could swear his fucking eyeballs were poked out. Looks like they grew back.

HALLOWEEN II has great cinematography. There are some gorgeous shots of Michael in the distance making his journey, his face covered in shadows. The hallucinatory scenes (especially a black and white one) look beautiful and more often remind me of some weird art film than a music video. More than most modern horror movies this one remembers the importance of atmosphere, and really reminds you what it feels like to be in different places at night: a dark field lit only by headlights, a suburban street, a security guard’s shack in the pouring rain, a hospital when everyone’s asleep (well, in this case, dead).

The violence is absolutely brutal, the one major misjudgment that I think holds the movie back. Zombie has said he hates it when people cheer for violence, he wants it to be horrible and ugly, and he succeeds at that. When Michael stomps somebody’s face in or stabs somebody two or three dozen times it feels more like the “I’m gonna puke” violence of HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER than the “good kills” of FRIDAY THE 13TH movies. But come on, he’s not making an anti-violence movie here. He’s making a movie about a guy who walks across a state killing most of the people he sees along the way. He wants us to be sickened by the violence but he also wants us to watch a whole fucking lot of it. Thanks for looking out for us, pal.

I think it’s an interesting movie, and mostly well executed, but toward the end I started to feel like maybe a little something was missing. And I think that may be Zombie’s willingness to follow part of the slasher movie formula (he even uses “I’ll be right back” two or three times) while purposely not wanting to give you the pleasure of watching a slasher movie. Or maybe his sequences just aren’t tense enough. In Carpenter’s version the scariest shit was Michael standing around watching people. It was the anticipation. There’s some of that here because you usually know when Michael is nearby, but then he just appears right there and starts quickly stabbing them. As a suspense thriller it could be better. On the other hand, some sequences got my heart rate up a little, like the one where poor Laurie tries to run down a hospital stairway with one leg in a cast.

I enjoyed most of it, but as it wrapped up I felt that it could lose me. It all depended on where this was leading to. Zombie doesn’t quite have a great punchline like I think he did in the director’s cut of part 1 (Laurie screaming after she shot Michael’s head off cuts to a home movie of young Michael calming crying baby Laurie, like in his death big brother is somehow looking out for baby sister), but it all comes together pretty good.

This is not a criticism of HALLOWEEN II, but an observation: I think Zombie is selfish about the way he ends it. He fucking knows they’re gonna make sequels with or without him, but he tries to make it as hard as possible by (THE PART WHERE I SAID “THE WAY HE ENDS IT” WOULD BE YOUR CUE THAT THIS IS HUGE SPOILERS COMING UP) killing the shit out of both Meyers and Loomis and putting Laurie in an asylum. I mean obviously they’ll bring Michael back to life but you gotta go extra silly to bring back Loomis, who has not yet had much of a chance to be the Van Helsing in this version of the story. And if Laurie goes around killing people that would just be a dumb movie. But as an ending it’s pretty good. (As long as we’re in the spoiler zone I might as well mention that I wish they would’ve cut to the credits as soon as she walked out with the mask on.)

By the way, there’s a cover of “Love Hurts” on the end credits. It actually works really well, unlike the laugh-out-loud use of the original song in part 1. I guess this means he stands by that choice and wants to rub it in our faces.

I’ve found myself defending Robert Zombie alot, but after HALLOWEEN REMAKE  and his weak GRINDHOUSE trailer and some of the stupid shit he says in interviews I was kind of losing faith. I joked with a buddy of mine that this movie would decide if I was on Zombie’s side or not. The remake had no chance to get a rhythm going, because it shot off in so many directions and so many of the ideas didn’t work that if it had you for a minute it would lose you for the next. This one didn’t have that problem. It pulled me into its trance, the big psycho lumbering single-mindedly toward his target, me on the other end waiting with Laurie, hoping she doesn’t get killed.

Yeah, it’s good enough, I’m back on the Zombie train. If he gives The Blob long hair and a beard though I’m fucking out of here.

This entry was posted on Friday, September 4th, 2009 at 2:01 pm and is filed under Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

114 Responses to “Halloween Remake II”

  1. Want proof of Vern’s greatness?? He’s the only one who could have possibly convinced me to see Halloween II this weekend.

  2. It’s good to know you liked it Vern. I think the endings you mention (one I know and this one I didn’t read but can assume) might come from anger because these movies are probably the last things he wants to make right now. His T-Rex movie seems to be the carrot on a stick somewhat forcing him to do 3 remakes in a row now counting the Blob. The sad part may be when he can finally make T-Rex he won’t have a studio anymore.

  3. About the Manson poster: Don’t you think it’s possible that she is obessed with serial killers, BECAUSE everybody aroud her got slaughtered by one? Yes, it’s still movie psychology (Kinda like “I’m scared of bats, so I dress as one and make you scared of them too”), but i think it’s an obvious explaination. And I didn’t even see the movie! (I wait for the DVD. Love Zombie’s work, but hate slasher movies.)

  4. Glad to hear Zombie’s back on form. I enjoyed his first two movies (although, unlike most people I prefer Corpses to Rejects) but the remake just kinda lost me. I think I got distracted half way through and never really felt the need to go back to it. I didn’t hate it by any means, it just didn’t grab me.

  5. Completely agree about Laurie and her bedroom decor. No way, no matter how messed up in the head, would she have a giant poster of Manson above her bed a year after the first movie. More importantly, I don’t think the Sheriff would allow that at all. He seems like a decent guy and I think him and Annie are the most genuine and the realest people in the movie. I think one of my more favorite scenes of the entire movie was the pizza dinner between the three characters. Unfortunately, every other character besides the Sheriff and Annie seem to have entire conversations of “Shitfuckbitchfuck!!!” in varying orders.

    Loomis was far more different than he was in the first. I sort of liked that, but he wasn’t that bad of a guy in the first remake. Also, if he can return after his eyes were gauged out, then he can after being stabbed.

    There were some tense moments (most of the hospital sequence), but I wasn’t truely scared by anything in the movie. It was aggressively violent (also repetitivy violent), but it wasn’t scary so much.

    I liked the look and feel of the party, but I sort of doubt a nice neighborhood in Illinois would have naked dancers and shit. Also, I thought the movie took place in the 80’s for the first half hour, but then I saw a car from the 90’s and I think that was the most recent prop of the movie.

    Overall, it still felt like Zombie indulging himself than anything, but it’s twice as good as his first one, but that one was so bad that this new one is still pretty shitty, but it’s at least an interestingly bad turd. I’d watch it on tv maybe.

    Loved the use of the classic theme at the very end, but come on, that was the ONLY use of it and it’s some scary sounding shit. Way better than the constant droning or whatever Tyler Bates did for the score. Sounds like the T-1000’s theme only not as unstoppable and awesome.

    There’s my thoughts. HALLOWEEN 3-D??? Don’t think the tone of the first two matches a 3-D movie, but who knows how different it will be. I’m betting it’s probably not going to be Zombie or anyone else that is really known.

  6. “If he gives The Blob long hair and a beard though I’m fucking out of here.”


  7. Zombie just seems bored in all the interviews he’s given about this movie, like he’s bored with horror movies and rednecks and all that kind of stuff, but can’t think to do anything else. I guess I’ll watch this DVD, but now that he’s doing ANOTHER remake I think I’m giving up on Zombie as an interesting filmmaker to pay attention to.

  8. -I’m just going to copy and paste my review I sent to vern and post it here:

    First up I didn’t hate his first-go but I can’t say I liked it either because of it’s many, many… many problems. Yet it’s another movie I seem to watch (and maybe even enjoy without admitting) because of what it tried to do rather than what it actually achieved. I liked his notion of approaching the Carpenter film as the ‘urban legend’ version of the tale while he told what it would have been like if it were real (yes I am aware that’s the excuse Bay & friends used on their Texas Chainsaw picture). Then he proceeds to drop the ball by using kitchen-sink junk psychology to explain how Michael became a killer (his mom’s boyfriend is an asshole hillbilly… that’s it…). Then Zombie apparently said ‘fuck it’ and made Michael pure-evil anyway in the down-right awful ‘original movie on speed’ 2nd half.

    So of coarse I fell for it all over again here. I was intrigued by what Zombie had planned for his sequel: what’s it like living after experiencing such an event?

    Well he’s far more successful this time around but there’s still shit holding it back from being great, and well… good. Zombie took a page from Ang Lee’s Hulk and decided to fill the movie with weird as shit imagery and dream sequences. On one hand I kind like these odd vintages because they are so unusual and unexpected. On the other hand I feel he uses them too much and when Lauri starts seeing the same exact visions/dreams half-way through it becomes stupid (I guess Zombie was doing that whole ‘Michael and Lori are mentally-connected because they are siblings bullshit).

    Anywho the story is that it’s a year later and Annie (?) & her father Sheriff Lee help raise Lauri who is hasn’t exactly moved on. To find out being shot in the face isn’t as fatal as once thought because Michael escapes his transport vehicle thanks to a serendipitous event involving a cow. So then it’s Halloween again and he comes back… again. He also kills some people so the gore-hounds don’t get bored with all this silly character development and bitch that it wasn’t violent enough.

    Another thing I liked where he was going was the Dr. Loomis character arc: an asshole cashing in on everybody else’s misery. But his character arc does not serve the story. Like bloody-disgusting said, he could be completely cut from the movie and not a thing would be lost (though a lot could be cut from the movie and not be lost honestly…). It’s a shame because I loved the idea of what he was going for but Zombie never does anything with it and it’s conclusion sure as hell isn’t satisfying. But that said Malcolm McDowell is always a good thing and McDowell and “Weird Al’ sharing a scene together is a great thing. So I guess I’ll allow it.

    One thing I liked, on a meta-level, was the response this has been getting from the gore-hounds. They are complaining that the kills ‘aren’t inventive’ even though Zombie said from day one he was going for a more realistic tone. The movie is very violent and Zombie doesn’t glorify the murders. So I’ve been having fun reading all these comments from douche-bag gore hounds bitching that they ‘didn’t have fun’ and were ‘very unnerved’ by the murder scenes (and an implied rape scene). To find out people being brutally murdered isn’t ‘fun’. Go figure?

    Overal I liked it way more than the awful Friday the 13th reboot. Like the original (remake) I really want to like this one. Well I like it this one. But I think I want to love this one and tell you that Zombie knocked it out the fucking park but I can’t. There are too many things holding it back to make it great but I can say I still enjoyed the film warts and all. (if this was followed by an AICN talkback I guess I’d be called a plant…)

    -It wouldn’t be a horror movie unless some mom brought their kid to see it. This time it was a 9-12 year old girl who was scared of everything and laughed at all the murder sequences.

  9. Let me be the voice of dissent by saying Halloween II is a giant piece of shit. None of it makes a lick of sense. It’s rediculous with the imagery of his mother. I really don’t have any good explanation for why he’s decided that he wants to kill Laurie. If you’re going to set up the first movie as an “explanation” for Michael Myers you gotta at least follow through with that explanation.

    The writing in this sequel was just so awful. None of it rang as real. For example, the discussion about “starvin’ Marvin” was just Zombie making shit up. I like the scene in the sense that they do a good job setting up that family dynamic but it’s written poorly.

    Also, the geography of this film is all sorts of fucked up. It took him, what, 3 days to get to Haddonfield but only an hour to get back to the farm? So Michael Myers has been a neighbor of Laurie this entire time? And not a single cop in the past year has run into him? Not to mention how he takes time to go to the party where Laurie is at and knows that the girl is a friend of hers and kills her and then backtracks to the house. I would think he would just go to the house to see if she’s there. Just horribly done. Vern is giving this movie way too much credit.

  10. You know, his HALLOWEEN movies have problems but goddamit: They’re certainly more interesting and put out a much more concrete effort in making an impact with the slasher formula, than the bullshit Platinum Dunes put out.

    I mean seriously, his H2 has a cameo of SPOILER SPOILER SPOI-OH FUCK THIS….Weird Al Yankovic. And yet, it works.

    So yes, I howled at the McDowell scenes of being a total celebrity whore of an asshole. “If I want a suggestion, I’ll beat it out of ya.”

    That’s awesome.

    I just don’t think Zombie cares about the violence, which is kinda weird and nicely different compare to his contemporaries within the genre. Maybe thats why the climax of DEVIL’S REJECTS works perhaps? I mean besides the “Freebird.”

    So yeah, his H2 is decent. I was actually behind it, but never cared about the murder and mayhem. Strange to like everything else (acting, the McDowell shit, cow!) in a slasher, isn’t it?

  11. Lawrence – Oh, let me help ya out kid.

    “None of it makes a lick of sense.

    Neither did the (original) HALLOWEEN sequels. How did Myers burn to a crisp in #2, but survive with mere facial bandages in #4?

    “I really don’t have any good explanation for why he’s decided that he wants to kill Laurie.”

    H2 makes more sense in that regard: Because Myers in his fucked up head, wants to “reunite” his family. Chris Benoit style. Google that name. It’ll make sense.

    “None of it rang as real. ”

    Outside of PSYCHO really, how many slashers are? Or was the original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE a documentary?

    “For example, the discussion about “starvin’ Marvin” was just Zombie making shit up.”

    No there was a Starvin Marvin. I just guess you never saw SOUTH PARK. :)

    “I like the scene in the sense that they do a good job setting up that family dynamic but it’s written poorly.”

    Which scene? And why is it written poorly?

    “It took him, what, 3 days to get to Haddonfield but only an hour to get back to the farm?”

    That’s a good point. Reminds me of that psychic shark in JAWS: THE REVENGE. Or that car drive in BAD BOYS 2 from Havana to Guantanamo is only 10 minutes.

    “Vern is giving this movie way too much credit.”

    Vern gave it a fair and rational assessment. And I agree with it basically. Unlike the Nerd Internet of CHUD and AICN, I didn’t cry rape or Hiroshima over Zombie’s first HALLOWEEN. Yes the 2nd half doesn’t work, but goddammit the first half was good, fascinating psychology like PSYCHO IV.

    Vern abides to no fucking Nerd Cinema Theology. He’s Martin Luther badass in that sort of way. Except without the rampant antisemitism that protestant had.

  12. None of the AICN or Chud guys cried rape (well, OK, Devin). Quint and Moriarty both said the exact same things in their reviews that Vern did, they just weren’t willing to forgive the movies many, many lapses into shit creek because of some of the interesting ideas like Vern was. In fact, Devin wrote a very thoughtful, constructive review of this one, which surprises me because if you are at all familiar with Devin Farici’s writings, the dude has one of the most cynical, humorless and joyless approaches to films out there, and he ended his review of Zombie’s first Halloween with a score of “Fuck you out of 10.” I think we as a group should move on from bashing the talkbackers on those sites. Yes, they are annoying and infantile and overly hostile, but we aren’t. So let’s focus on the writers and articles themselves and get some real conversations going. Thanks.

  13. Good to know the man actually had his car impounded this time.

    I was surprised how much I enjoyed this as well. I’m not sure if it’s Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull syndrome, where my expectations where so low the fact that it wasn’t two hours of a monkey farting made it at the very least a qualified success.

  14. Brendan – They’re the church…or at least one of the major…churches of that so-called Geek Internet. They have much sway, and for better or for worse, they help dictate the dialogue. That you can’t disagree with. It’s almost like the Vatican. Yes you can ignore it, but can’t deny their powerful sway (for good or ill) for that wide congregation. Those followers aren’t sheep, but its awfully hard to break through that wall once the cement has been set.

    As for Quint, wasn’t he the one who reviewed that HALLOWEEN script and rang the alarm bell in the first place? That attitude of “It sucks, but I hope it turns out okay” is kinda like saying “Sorry about forgetting the rubber, hope I didn’t knock ya up.”

    As I said earlier, why does Zombie get the shit kicked out of him, but Platinum Dunes is kinda allowed to slide as if: “Eh, they can’t help making shitty movies.” Which kinda is a statement on one’s expectations of that genre they supposedly love and geek over, right?

    Vern strives for Excellence. I strive for consistency.

    Also, unlike those sites Vern isn’t so….what’s that term….knee jerk?

  15. I’m not sure what it is you’re trying to say. Yes, Quint read Rob Zombie’s script, didn’t like it, said so. The he saw the movie, didn’t like it, said so. Then he saw the sequel, didn’t like it, said so. And every single time he wrote about it, he explained and re-explained and re-re-explained his history with Halloween movies, Rob Zombie, horror in general and whatnot. And to keep it with Quint, he gave the Friday the 13th movie a very mixed review, and spent half of it detailing his history with Jason movies and what things he did and didn’t like about the franchise as a whole, and how the new one played into that.

    I don’t have any problem discussing articles and reviews posted on other websites here. I think that’s essential to the giant conversation that websites like Vern’s and Harry’s provokes. My only thing was that whenever people bring up Ain’t it Cool or Chud, they do so to mock the talkback sections those places have, which is fair enough, those places are hellholes. BUT, it’s been a while since Vern gave us a comments section and I feel we all have more then proven it was a good move, that it’s worked out. So why keep dredging up places where it hasn’t? Let the talkbacks eat themselves inside out, and we’ll keep this place, and let the good vibes keep rolling. Thanks RRA, you’re always good for a discussion.

  16. I wasn’t talking about the Talkbacks. I don’t blame the pews. They are what they are, and thank God I found this church. It’s almost like going from a local East Tennessee evangelical church, and going to one of those leftist-inspired, less antagonistic sects. Its quite a startling contrast.

    I had a film professor in college, and well one class he was on an rant on the “goddamn blogs” of film criticism for this and that. Alot of his bitchings I sorta agreed with….except I brought up Vern as the exception. He didn’t believe, so I (ballsy arrogant bastard I am) dared him to read my copy of SEAGALOGY.

    Week later, gave me the book back, and he admitted that Vern and his approach is what the “stupid Internet” desperately needs more of. No he doesn’t care for Seagal or most action movies in general (“loud noise”), but shit he liked how Vern took an easily dismissable “arcane niche” (his words) and found gold, using it to broadly say something considerable and thoughtful about cinema in general.

    Also, it made him laugh quite good a few times.

    Point is mate, I see AICN and CHUD as reactionary, theological-bound stale guys who say and go, nobody cares 5 years later. Even on shit I basically agree with them on. Devin definately fits that model of mine. Shit Vern entertained me with his analysis of the “Bad” music video, and I’m not the sort of guy who really cares about Michael Jackson, alive or dead.

    They’re Vanilla Ice, Vern is PAUL’S BOUTIQUE. Or would it be they Marky Mark, and Vern be “Fight the Power”? They 50 Cent versus “Juiicy”?

  17. caruso_stalker217

    September 5th, 2009 at 1:33 am

    Does Mrs. Zombie show her ass in this one? That’s the question.

  18. One thing I remember about Quint’s script review, was that he took the line about the “gotta take a shit mask” too verbatim, as if he didn’t get that there never was a mask like that and it was just a figure of speech. And that single line became pretty much the prime example for the internet nerds, why the fim will suck. It was like they were expecting a scene, where Michael puts up a different mask and then takes a shit.

  19. Lawrence, fair enough. I thought the starvin’ like Marvin discussion was a little awkward too. The crosscutting with the dog eating was a highlight though.

    I think I SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER interpreted the ending differently though. I don’t think he *was* trying to kill Laurie. He just stood there while she imagined she was being held down. I think maybe he was actually trying to lure Loomis in to kill him, although that might’ve just been a bonus kill. His goal was to reunite the family. And something about a white horse.

    RRA – I think Zombie gets the shit kicked out of him because he’s a rock star director, literally and figuratively. There aren’t too many directors who are celebrities on the level of Tarantino or Woody Allen or somebody. People familiar with Rob Zombie’s movies also know what he looks like and what he puts in his movies. The ads say some shit like “Rob Zombie completes his vision of savage terror” because “Rob Zombie” is as much a name brand as “Halloween” is. So he puts himself out there and it helps to promote his movies, but it also makes him a target. For most people if they hated the movie it’s easier to get mad at a dude in sunglasses and a rhinestone cowboy hat who’s obsessed with Famous Monsters of Filmland than it is some production company.

    Plus, his movies are more distinctive. They have more recognizable elements than just sweat and pretty sunsets. For some reason people hate directors with recognizable styles – think of all the hatred towards Wes Anderson, Tim Burton, Tarantino, etc.

    Not that I approve of these attitudes but I think that’s why. Also, Zombie is overly bitter about nerds on the internet hating him and always gripes about it, says condescending things that give them better reason to hate him, so it’s a vicious cycle.

  20. Vern,

    I think you touched upon something very interesting there: why do people direct so much hatred towards directors with distinct personal styles? I guess it´s like you say, it´s easier to direct your hatred towards Zombie because everyone knows who he is. But for me, that´s the trademark of a great director: one with a personal style, both visually and thematically and I think that Zombie would fall into that category, just like Wes Anderson and Tim Burton. It´s interesting why people gets so upset with directors that tries to put their personal stamp on a movie. What is it exactly that makes Sam Peckinpah an auteur and Rob Zombie a hack, according to most people?

  21. Thomas,

    I’m guessing most people would say it’s because Peckinpah usually made good movies and Zombie usually makes shitty ones. Yeah it’s easier to hate a director for being distinct, but you still don’t hear too many people ripping Kubrick a new one. I think fair is fair, probably the reason more people dislike Zombie is because he sucks.

    And I’m sorry, but I have to disagree with you that having a personal style makes Zombie a great director in the same category as Wes Anderson and Tim Burton. C’mon man, let’s not be ridiculous. Andy Sidaris has a personal style too, but he’s not in the same category as Tim Burton. Those guys know how to tell a story using the language of cinema to its utmost effectiveness. They’re good with camera *and* with actors. And they’ve each turned out at least one universally acclaimed/beloved movie, which Zombie has yet to do.

  22. Rob Zombie doesn’t have an original vision. He’s a guy who copied the first two TEXAS CHAINSAW movies and then has gone on to make remakes. Hell, Vern and RRA both seem to be giving him credit because he didn’t make the worst remakes ever. As if being better than Platinum Dunes is a badge of honor. This guy isn’t an original filmmaker, and clearly doesn’t understand what makes a horror movie effective, yet you’re willing to give him the benefit of the doubt because he’s not Michael Bay. Who cares? Support Lucky McKee or some motherfucker that has actually made a great horror movie.

  23. The thing about directors now is they are expected to be great from the first movie they make and it’s not exactly fair. In some cases older directors toiled away making okay movies before anyone even thought about them so critictly and they improved and then made great movies. Also I think lumping people on the Chud boards in with talkbackers is shortsighted. Aside from trashing everything Zombie does the conversations are much better than most other boards.

  24. I also think that it’s easier to hate directors with a distinct , personal style , but more in a “hate it or love it” kind of way. I know some guys completely unable to watch a Lynch or Jarmusch movie , they will get up and walk away every time we try to watch one of their movies . Then there’s the very passionate director , like Tarantino , always talking about his favorite movies and movie directors, virtually unable to keep his mouth closed , it’s very easy to call him a “hack”. And what about this new “visionary” director , Zack Snyder ? Isn’t a visionary closely linked to a personal view , a distinct way of doing things ? If this is the case , well , Snyder is a capable director , but not even close to having a personal style like Tarantino. And yet , visionary this , visionary that . There’s a certain degree of hate directed at Snyder ,even the “hack” word pops up from time to time (understandably given the fact that his most famous movies are comic books adaptations ) , but not with the same intensity as Tarantino or Zombie.

  25. Vern – You’re right. I never thought it in those terms, but you’re right. Thanks man.

    ” you that having a personal style makes Zombie a great director in the same category as Wes Anderson and Tim Burton.”

    Daniel Strange – I don’t think Vern said that. Read his post again. Besides….Burton a “great” director? Pfft. Alright I’m kidding, they’re all good in their own different ways for varying reasons. Either great though, in the league of PTA or Fincher? I would say no, but thats not dissing the others.

    CJ Holden – That’s the nerd for ya.

    CallMeKermiT – Snyder has a vision. When I find it, I’ll call you all.

    Andy C. – Remember Spielberg having that 1941 bomb inbetween CLOSE ENCOUNTERS and RAIDERS? If 1979 was now 2009, the nerds would write off the Beard. So what if he did JAWS and CE? He should get his dick exploded for 1941. He’s shit because he struck out on his 4th try!

  26. Yeah I think interesting failures from great directors could almost be they’re own sub-genre. I’m not saying I think Zombie is great but I think Devils’ Rejects is. In any event his work is much more worthy of discussion than a Platnum Dunes potpourri of boring ideas.

  27. Okay, I’ll go see it Vern. But if it sucks, you owe me an Arby’s sandwich.

  28. I think what happens a lot of times is that the distinctive style that makes a director interesting can easily turn into self-parody after a while. For instance, I loved all of Wes Anderson’s movies until I saw The Darjeeling Limited, at which point my reaction was “This again?” Of course, that reaction had been building ever since The Royal Tenenbaums, a movie I really enjoy, but already his repertoire was becoming codified. Familiarity breeds contempt. Once you recognize a director’s standard tropes, they become the chinks in his armor. It doesn’t usually happen like this for me (for instance, I can watch De Palma reach into the same bag of tricks again and again) but when you’re dealing with the cutthroat, reactionary community of the Internet, showing any weakness is like blood in the water. It’s easy to say “That’s all he does,” as if melding various influences and stylistic ticks into a recognizable oeuvre is a simple thing to do. If it’s so easy, why doesn’t everybody do it?

  29. “cutthroat, reactionary community ”

    Mr. MAjestyk – That’s a great term. Can I use sometime? Call it a loan: I use that phrase, you can use my own invention “Predequel*.”

    *=My way of describing movies that come before sequels in a franchise, and no “prequels” don’t count since they were produced with intent of happening before the original, i.e. TEMPLE OF DOOM. For example, ALIEN is the predequel to ALIENS and the other (shitty) ALIEN sequels.

  30. Is it pronounced PRED-uh-quel? Because that makes sense. I hate when people call the first in a series the prequel for the sequel. A prequel is a later film that takes place earlier in the timeline, not the movie that started the series in the first place.

  31. RRA : Yeah ,I’m looking very hard , too , but I can’t seem to find this vision . Not that I hate the guy , but he is a solid , capable director at best. But probably this “visionary” stuff is the work of the marketing department , not one of his ideas.

    It’s funny , I was thinking about Spielberg ( and Lucas ) , too. Indiana Jones is full of references to the old Republic Serials ( my favorite is King of the Rocket Men , “GLI UOMINI MISSILE DEL PIANETA PERDUTO” here in Italy , translated :Missile Men from the Lost Planet ) , and to Secret of the Incas with a Charlton Heston dressed exactly like Indy , playing an adventurer ,searching inside tombs and figuring out a puzzle involving light and reflections! If that movie was a 2009 release , I cannot imagine the nerd hatred for that old hack Spielberg!

  32. While backpacking through Vietnam I often came across a curious chant. I heard it in markets, I heard it on streets. Always from the hawkers, barkers, urchins; the assorted, motley and altogether fascinating sellers of all things under the table. They’d approach with a hat and ask for $10. I’d laugh and wave them off, and then another one would come up five yards later, same hat, and ask for $15. When I told them the last guy was selling it for $10 they’d say “Ah! Same, same—but different!”

    I think all directors with a signature style wrestle with “Same, same—but different.” We like them for their key ingredients, and get angry when those ingredients are missing. At the same time we don’t want them to throw in too much of one thing—say sugar, or an entire bucket on entrails (unless it’s Romero)—in order to create a rehash of the last hit. Mr. M is dead-on with the dangers of self-parody, something I think Zombie is teetering on the brink of, if he hasn’t fallen in already. Leonard Cohen once said that the key to achieving a state of grace is balance, and Zombie really needs to practice surfing the genre’s pitfalls if he wants to gain grace—in Zombie’s case a gory, ghastly grace.

  33. Yeah you pronounced it right, and your point is why I invented the term. I got tired of writing “previous film”, “earlier movie,” etc.

    Maybe two more new terms: Highquel and Lowquel. I think you’ll get their meanings.

  34. Bad Seed – Tell me, has Zombie made a good movie before?

  35. That’s funny, Bad Seed. I have a T-shirt from Thailand that says SAME SAME on the front and BUT DIFFERENT on the back.

  36. RRA: Yes, exactly one: The Devils Rejects. Would you agree? If not, that’s cool.

    Here’s what I said in the Highwaymen thread:

    “The Devil’s Rejects” is Zombie’s home run. It’s the one film he’s made that really meets his ambition—because it’s about something, namely, the hypocrisy of others, and how that hypocrisy causes them to relate to the monster. The Rejects, for all their viciousness, for all their cruelty and wanton acts of violence, know exactly what they are, and how their very nature places them out of step in the world. And they embrace it, without apology. Other characters wear masks—from the sheriff, whose piety disguises a bloodlust all as savage as those he hunts—to the victims, who pretend fidelity only to jump at the first chance of random sex (the husband), and the other family members, all of whom pretend to hold the high moral ground to get through life.

    These themes are in all his movies, but “Rejects” really brings it front and center, and redeems tropes that have since become creative crutches; the constant redneck stereotypes, the monster being the sole redeeming character in films where characters are their to be victims, too callous in their own self-interest to see the horror coming their way. Why do I accept it in Rejects, but tire of it in his other movies? I go back to balance; I think he gives us just enough of each to make an effective whole. That’s my take on it.

    Mr. M: Ha! I might need to look that one up.

  37. Shit, that’s “there,” not “their.” Apologies gang.

  38. Bad Seed – I would agree, though must say I sorta have likings in different things of all his movies. Or at least none of them are terrible, though the first HALLOWEEN is fucked to average oblivion by that infamous 2nd act.

    The point of my question was rather simple: Zombie is a capable filmmaker. That’s why I won’t write him off.

    Of course, the same could be argued for Robert Zemeckis, and shit I’m tempted to do that with him. What was his last good one anyway?

  39. Zemeckis? Fucked if I know—wait, on second thought I’d go with Beowolf. They got away with bloody murder (both literally and figuratively) in that one. I laughed my ass off over every strategically placed candle, and the gore was so over the top that I knew everyone involved was having a hell of a time. Over all I’m not a big fan of this motion capture trend, and don’t expect much from the Christmas Carol (and didn’t bother to see Polar Express). But with Beowolf, they really pushed some boundaries. At times it almost felt like a Raimi movie.

    As for the rest of Zemeckis’ work, let’s check IMDB. Shit, I’d have to say Back to the Future III. Maybe, if I’m generous, Death Becomes Her. Either way, his last decent live-action movie was in 1992. From what I’ve heard from Comic Con he won’t be going back, and judging from his upcoming slate we can’t expect too much. Beowolf was an aberration that benefitted from having both Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary on the screenplay. Those guys know how to be subvert while entertaining the fuck out of people. Polar Express and the Christmas Carol? Not so much.

  40. The most random of his motion-capture slate was YELLOW SUBMARINE. It’s such a wonderful bad idea.

  41. It’s not the directing of Zombie I dislike, it’s his really awful writing. None more evident in the terrible dialogue and inconsistent geography of where everybody is that we get in Halloween II. Sure often times it looks good but it’s just a hollow shell on the inside.

    I just wanted to touch on something mentioned earlier. This movie is actually too violent. It’s one thing if you’re trying to make a true life film like Henry but it’s completely another if you’re making a slasher film and then go overboard in it’s “meanness.” People don’t get stabbed a few times, it’s a 20 times. Somebodies head doesn’t just get bashed in, it gets bashed in 20 times. It’s not interesting, it’s just oft putting. And not in the good kind either but in the “I need to take a shower” kind.

  42. The point about directors with their own prominent style can lead to angry dislike is interesting, i do find they often lead to polarising opinion of either it’s great or it’s shit. And i think Bad Seed’s point is spot on. It’s a very fine line to walk if you’re a director with a prominent style (key word being prominent, i’d differentiate between directors such as Wes Anderson and Christopher Nolan – i think they’re both auteurs but Anderson’s is far more obvious, both visually and thematically. Whilst Nolan’s is more subtle, similar thematic issues of memory and noir tone but the films feel more individual rather than as if they’re all going on in the same world)

    I really dislike Tim Burton for that reason, his faux goth style has become annoying due to it almost being self-parody. It doesn’t feel like it’s his vision any more but just that he’s playing to the same 12-16 year old girl crowd that eat his shit up. What was faux goth has become high camp. His only step out of this style was the rubbish Planet of the Apes and that seems to still haunt him so much he’s never stepped out of his comfort zone again.

  43. Lawrence — about the violence, I kind of agree (and I think Vern does too — look at the end of his review). Its all well and good to talk about Peckinpah and not like that audiences cheer for fun, gruesome kills, etc, but then why make a slasher at all? I mean, it’s not like his movies really have anything much to say about media violence or violence in general. They just want it to not be fun. But then, since they’re not about anything anyway, its just sort of a long, grim slog. He doesn’t seem to care about suspense much, or scares, really, and he doesn’t like violence, and the psychology is minimal and cartoonish so… why make this kind of movie at all?

    It seems like he’s just hellbent on making movies which portray the world as an ugly, stupid, violent, and hopeless place. I mean, thats fine for WITHNAIL AND I but Zombie’s movies can’t ever seem to make any kind of point about why he thinks that or what it means (exception: DEVIL’S REJECTS, his one legitimate success). If it’s not going to be fun, it should at least be something, which nether of the two HALOWEEN REMAKES really seem to be (judging from the reactions here, anyway. I haven’t seen the new one yet).

  44. Mr. S, I think you have a good point. While I like Zombie’s movies, I tend to agree that there’s no real point of view happening except for empty nihilism. It’s weird, he seems like such a down-to-earth guy (for someone named Zombie, I mean) but he can’t bring himself for one second to show even a slight glimmer of hope for the human race. It’s just 100% degradation and filth, with only the fleeting pleasures of trash culture to make life, brutish and short as it is, worth holding onto.

    In a weird way, though, the fact that I can’t get a handle on what he’s trying to accomplish are what make his movies interesting. There’s something going on there, which is more than can be said for most horror movies.

  45. Y’know, I don’t see anything wrong in making a slasher movie (or horror in general), but the violence unenjoyable. Surprisingly enough it was Uwe Boll who said something pretty smart about this topic, when someone complained after a screening of “Seed”, that the violence in it was so harsh and dark, that he couldn’t enjoy the movie. Boll just replied: “It’s a horror movie! It shouldn’t make you feel you good.”
    I know, that kinda conflicts with the idea of the modern slasher movie, in which the killer is the (anti-)hero and all the kills are played for a cheap laugh, with one part of disgust, but I think I understand what Rob Zombie is up to.

  46. I also would like to add that the conrast between fun horror and grisly horror is very prominently featured in “1000 Corpses”, where the first half pretty much plays by the book of silly popcorn horror for teens (including an opening scene that could be right out of “From Dusk Till Dawn”), but then the second half gets way nastier and dives into the realm of serious terror movies! (I got no idea if this was planned that way or is just a result of an uneven script from a first time filmmaker.)

  47. CJ, I think most of the modern horror movies don’t play the violence for a laugh. The SAW movies, the HOSTEL movies, MARTYRS, LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT remake (except for the ending, which didn’t fit the movie at all), the CHAIN SAW remakes, the HALLOWEEN remakes… these aren’t movies that play the violence for fun or laughs. They’re more “look how fucked up this is” and sometimes almost seem to think that realistic violence is in some way profound.

    I like some of these movies alot and if any of them genuinely care about not glamourizing violence then give them a patch for their boy scout uniforms I guess. Obviously I like those type of movies but I think horror right now is a little light on the more fun approach. I think that’s why people loved DRAG ME TO HELL so much, they miss having a good time at a horror movie. I guess maybe the FINAL DESTINATION movies count too although I don’t think they’re as good.

    Incidentally I think the HILLS HAVE EYES remake does both, it kind of kicks you in the balls but also gives you some laughs.

  48. That’s why the Hills remake is awesome. It’s industrial strength horror, but it doesn’t push you to the point where you wonder why you ever wanted to watch this shit in the first place.

  49. Well, with “for laughs” I don’t really mean that they are really gags. They are still violent and maybe not THAT funny for the squeamish, but you gotta admit that most of the “Saw” kills after part 1 have the feel that they were more designed to make the popcorn audience cheer for them, instead of making them feel bad. Since your brought up “Final Destination”, this problem is VERY obvious in the sequel. Part 1 tried to be a serious thriller, with some dark humor. The deaths were very constructed (on purpose), but it tried to built some serious suspense around them. But in the sequel it’s just “let’s figure out the most bizarre way to kill someone”. (But to be honest: I LOVE the scene at the dentist and its punchline in part 2.)
    Sure, especially in the last 5 years or so, when the so-called “torture porn” became big, the horror movies became grisslier and more serious. But you can’t deny that “the target audience” still watches these movies for “creative kills”, which are of course designed for the pure popcorn effect. Shit, they are even making slasher movies in 3D again, where the guts and pointy objects are flying “at you”.
    I’m not playing Mr. Moral here. I don’t critizise anybody for making or watching popcorn horror with creative fun kills. I even watched “1000 Corpses” just because it had “The Hardrock Horror Picture Show” written on the German DVD cover! But I also appreciate it when someone tries to make you feel uncomfortable with his horror movie. That’s the good thing about the horror genre! It can be serious AND fun! Sometimes at the same time!

    What did I want to say again? It’s 1:20 am here. I go to bed. Good night.

  50. C.J. — Again, I understand the concept that some directors would rather you be turned off by the violence than laugh at it; I mean, as I said above, Sam Peckinpah and all that.

    But what the heck is a Slasher movie except a gore-fest? Why make that kind of movie if you don’t think violence is cool and don’t want people to enjoy it?

    It might be OK if I thought Zombie was interested in creating a psychological or atmospheric or suspenseful horror flick. But as far as I can tell, he’s not, and even if he was the slasher genre seems like absolutely the worst possible vehicle for that sort of thing.

    Beyond that, Zombie’s films just don’t seem to make a point about violence, or anything really. They’re just sort of ugly and cruel. Vern points out that it seems like modern horror guys seem to think that realistic, ugly violence is somehow more profound, and I think I agree that I see this trend a lot. Its a kind of intellectual laziness, as far as I’m concerned. It’s not like HALLOWEEN is some kind of comment on violence, or a comment on anything, really. It has nothing much to say, so if its purpose is not to entertain, then why make it? And the idea that this is a more “realistic” violence is stupid when you put it in such a silly fantasy situation. Nothing remotely like this has ever really happened, or could ever happen, so who cares if the violence is unflinchingly realistic? It offers no perspective whatsoever on anything.

    Look, I’m not a child who has to be constantly entertained with funny kills and cheap laughs. But if you’re dead set against entertaining me, you better at least offer me SOME reason why you made the movie you did. HALLOWEEN just doesn’t seem to (again, maybe part II does; I haven’t seen it yet). Uwe Boll can say “it’s not supposed to make you feel good” all he wants, but then what AM I supposed to feel? Is the only point just to make the world feel a little uglier and dirtier? If that’s what Uwe and Robby want, fine, but then make a movie which at least has something to do with reality, rather than a franchise horror knockoff.

    That said, as Mr. M points out Zombie DOES do dirty pathetic and hopeless like nobody’s business. Right now, his lack of imagination and direction are holding him back from greatness, but I’d love to see what he could do with a script that knew how to put his talent for cultivating a wretched, nihilistic universe to good use.

  51. And I should clarify, I even love ugly, grim horror movies. HILLS HAVE EYES REMAKE being a great example of a movie which pulls absolutely no punches. Difference is, it remembers to at least try and scare you, horrify you, ratchet up the intensity, and engage our primal revenge instincts. It IS trying to entertain you, and its gross and realistic because they want to make it seem more visceral and threatening.

    See, that’s a good reason for making a movie that way. Mr. Zombie seems to want to pull the always questionable “its violent to make a statement about how violence is bad” argument, which is just ludicrous in a movie which has no substance other than violence. Read Vern’s CHAOS review for a better argument than I can make about how grim horror violence can perfectly fit into a well told story or can just be excessive and unnecessary in a poorly told or pointless story.


  53. Mr. Subtlety, I do think Zombie’s work does accomplish Haneke’s goal for him. There are plenty of harsh horror movies where I wonder “why am I watching this shit” in ways that affect me deeper than having a character talk to me and point out exactly what they mean.

    But I agree with you. There’s nothing going on in Zombie’s films except violence (or bad humor) so it’s hard to take the violence seriously in his films, because that’s all he’s got. When everything is vulgar, ugly, and violent, it does become hard to care about any of it.

  54. I find it interesting when people talk about horror movies – or more specifically, slasher movies – in terms of the “best” kills. Maybe what we’re admiring is the technical or creative ingenuity of the deaths (I mean, the FINAL DESTINATION films push this tension to the very forefront of their appeal) or maybe it’s because we hate the vapid pseudo-protagonists (the FRIDAY 13TH sequels, HOUSE OF WAX et al)…

    I really liked WOLF CREEK, but there was nothing in there to have you cheering for the deaths, quite the opposite. You liked the main characters and were really rooting for them to get away from a repulsive bad guy, something few horrors can share. Maybe that was Ebert’s problem with it… that he got into the characters in the first half and was appalled by what happened to them in the second (I mean, jesus SPOILER SPOILER, the spunky brunette gets paralysed from the waist-down and her fingers cut-off, and everything leads you to believe that she’s going to spend the next few months of her life getting raped and tortured?).

    A buddy of mine is going to a few press screenings this week, and one of them is SORORITY ROW. I may tag along, though from what I’ve seen from the trailer, this seems to fall into that HOUSE OF WAX model, where I’m rooting for the scissor-jack wielding hoodie to slaughter the MEAN GIRLS. I’m think he’s going to modify the scissor jacks so they have a different weapon on each end, which might be funny. In the trailer he spins it around like he’s in KRULL so…

    … so you see what I’m getting at here? My expectation for going to see SORORITY ROW would be for seeing unlikeable characters getting snuffed out, in a variety of hilariously gory ways. The violence will probably be slick and fast, and no-one in the audience will feel an iota of empathy for the victims. Maybe they’ll be picked off in a variety of ironic sorority-related ways, but seeing as I (still) don’t really know or care much about sororities, it’ll probably go right over my head.

    Now, from what I’m hearing about HALLOWEEN 2 seems to be a clash of styles. I admire that Zombie is saying that he dislikes violence and dislikes hearing audiences rooting for the killer, but if this was the case, is HALLOWEEN really the best vehicle for his talents? If the director of WOLF CREEK said that he loved violence, that he reveled in cinematic slaughter, you’d probably cross the road to avoid him. But the chances are, he wants you to feel each and every slash and stab and burn, and wants you to know that that shit HURTS.

    Perhaps Rob Zombie should be doing his own version of INGRACIOUS BATARDS, focusing on the horror of war and so on, stripping out the cinema in-jokes and doing two hours of Nazi-scalping. Or some vigilante movie, where he could legitimately stick a serial killer as the lead, and the audience’s increasing discomfort as his methods became more and more brutal would have some legitimacy…

    Jesus, that was a long post. Sorry for that, guys.


  55. I hated the first remake and won’t be paying to see this, but I will watch it with an open mind. I also hate the fact that he’s been tapped to do the Blob remake. Especially after his comments about not using an actual blob.

  56. What I dislike about Zombie is his writing as someone above put it. It’s terrible and he acts like he’s a genius during interviews when he throws together scenes around one or two “hip” dialogue lines.

    I don’t understand how Zombie has become the “gold standard” for horror. On the internet they constantly discuss/banter about him remaking pretty much every horror film and try to drive it down our throats he’s this talented visionary who knows horror. I like his music though.

  57. RRA-

    Zombie gets the shit kicked out of him because almost everyone saw a pretty unique director with a distinctive vision progress from Ho1kC to Devil’s Rejects. When I originally heard that he was remaking Halloween, I was semi-excited. Sadly, everyone except the most myopic fanboys was expecting better than that piece of shit he gave us with Halloween. He let us down. Bigtime. So who gives a fuck about the other Platinum Dunes remakes?

    And saying, “Hey, at least it’s better than Halloween 4-8,” is not only a fucking copout, it has shit to do with shit.

  58. Chopper — yeah, I guess the thing is that Zombie does get how to make violence repugnant, it’s just that he seems to think that doing this is in itself some kind of point. I disagree. It’s unpleasant, but pretty devoid of any actual meaning. There’s no meta-level criticism of media or much enjoyment to have on the ground, since there’s little character developement or suspense or any of the other things that would lead one to think he’s using his violence to enhance one or another dimension of his story.

    And, its worth noting that I don’t really buy the whole “I make violent films to teach people that violence is not cool” argument anyway. Back when Peckinpah was doing it, it was at least relevant because he was using violence differently than anyone who came before him, and actually shaking people up. By the time Tarantino is talking about the Mr. Blonde torture scene suggesting audience being complicit in the act, we’d been through the song and dance plenty of times before. By the Haneke’s being completely explicit about this point in FUNNY GAMES, we’ve been hearing the same song and dance for thirty years, and yet if anything people’s tolerance of explicit violence and enjoyment of it has gone up, and violent movies are huge money-makers.

    So by the time Zack Snyder and Rob Zombie start claiming that they’re movies are valuable lessons about the true cost of violence, I tend to think that they’ve either not thought about it very much or are simply opportunists who want to claim a higher purpose. It is possible to make a movie which really IS about the awful real-world consequences of violence… IRREVERSIBLE comes to mind. But In a major blockbuster slasher franchise with toys and merchandise and shit, I think it pretty hypocritical to claim that you don’t think people should enjoy the gore.

  59. I remember after seeing FUNNY GAMES many years ago, I had a dream where the two main characters wandered into the universe of BAD BOYS 2 and just stood, open-mouthed and aghast at the incidental violence that was erupting around them. I think one of them threw up.

    (In hindsight, it seemed a little too on-the-money for a dream, but don’t read too much into it. I had one last week where I was walking out of a cinema that was showing INDEPENDENCE DAY, and I stopped to pick up a pair of orange woolen gloves and Anna Wintour told me I was gay…)

  60. There is no movie in history that I hate more than Funny Games. So you spent millions of dollars and years of your life making a movie about evil, narcissistic thrill killers, but I’m the sicko for watching it? That’s like Ron Jeremy calling me a pervert. This is what happens when arthouse dudes show up late to the horror party and think they know everything. All serious horror fans wrestle with our own demons about why we like this kind of stuff. We don’t need our noses rubbed in it by some smug hypocrite who thinks he’s above it all.

  61. Mr Majestyk: I will guarantee that Haneke is overjoyed to hear about your hatred. He gets off on people hating his movies,

  62. Wow. What an amazing artist. This is exactly the kind of guy I want teaching me lessons about the human condition.

  63. Can anybody give me the exact quote where Zombie said that he makes grissly horror movies, to teach the viewer a lesson? All he said was that he wanna make “ugly” violence and not the cheerful one. He is not like who made “Chaos”. I can’t remember saying Zombie anythng about his movies being “cautionary tales” or shit like that. And about the question why he even makes a slasher when he thinks that way: Well, let’s say that the audience never was supposed to cheer for Myers in Carpenter’s “Halloween” either, so you can’t hold it against Zombie, when he tries to make the villain out of the killer again.

  64. I liked Zombie’s first Halloween movie more, but I still enjoyed this one. I liked how the first one was so ambitious to be a Michael Myers biopic and so I prefer it to Carpenter’s original. I’m just not that in to slasher features, so to make a movie about the life story of a slasher was a great idea in my opinion.

    I also have to say, holy fuck, Weird Al fits in perfectly in this movie. The part with he and Dr. Loomis was perfect. I never thought I’d see Weird Al help somebody reach a life changing epiphany on screen, but it totally works. Weird Al also hasn’t really physically aged. He looks the same as when I was a kid and he’d dance around dressed like an obese Michael Jackson or whatever.

  65. In fairness, M. Majestyk, I would be dubious that all horror fans (even all serious horror fans) are as fond as self-analysis as your good self. In the spirit of further fairness, I would argue that there’s room for at least one film that aggressively addresses the viewer’s cathartic need for violence amidst the thousands that do not.

  66. It’s not the addressing that’s the problem. It’s the smugness. He’s not saying, “Isn’t it fucked up how us people feel this way?” He’s saying, “You’re a sick fuck and I’m going to lord it over you.” The movie wasn’t that great to begin with, but the second he broke the fourth wall, I realized that I’d been had. This wasn’t a movie; it was an essay entitled “What’s Wrong With The Kind Of People Who Would Watch This Kind Of Shit.” I actually cared about his stupid characters, but he didn’t. He just wanted to use their pain to make some very tired points. So who’s the sadist here?

  67. Well, it’s been a while since I saw it (and I only ever saw the Austrian one, not the American remake, so I can’t speak for that) but I remember thinking that it wasn’t so much that Haneke was having a go at a particular type of audience, but at the endemic use of casual violence. And not in horror movies, but in dramas and thrillers (as well as comedies and a dozen other genres) where violence was becoming, often as not, used incidentally and for the sake of itself rather than to propel plot or character… And (to further belabor the point) how this violence became something that audiences became more and more acclimatised to, or worse still, anaesthetised to.

    A friend of mine who had interviewed Haneke some years ago told me he found him stubborn and combative in a passive aggressive way. When CACHE came out, my friend rounded on me: “You know who’s taking the video of the family?! It’s Michel Haneke himself, that’s the joke, that’s the joke he does in every fucking film!” I can totally understand the accusations of smugness, but I gotta’ say, I have to admire someone who can enrage that particular slice of an audience who might otherwise pride themselves on not being enraged!

    Out of curiosity, have you seen another Haneke film called BENNY’S VIDEO?

  68. I haven’t seen the American remake or Benny’s Video, because once I caught on to Haneke’s game, I vowed never to sit through one of his movies ever again. Maybe you’re right, maybe some people need to have their bloodlust rubbed in their face, but I don’t.

    The fucked up thing is, if he just trusted his story, I might not feel this way. Obviously, the audience is going to be waiting for the mother to get her revenge. When she didn’t, our expectations would be subverted, and the more critical among us would ponder the issues about retribution, etc. The less critical would simply think it fucking sucked, and the ensuing discussions would create some interesting debate. Instead, schoolteacher Haneke had to slap our wrists for daring to want what he dangled in front of us.

  69. C.J. — see, I respect and understand wanting to make violence (and killers) scary and threatening again, examples like WOLF CREEK or HILLS HAVE EYES REMAKE or LAST HOUSE REMAKE are pretty numerous and listed above. Unfortunately, I found his original HALOWEEN REMAKE to be lacking in all other aspects of motion-pictury too. So not only is it not supposed to be fun, but it’s also not suspenseful, or scary, or imaginative, or interesting, nor does it tell an engaging story. Ugly violence by itself isn’t enough; you got to be using it either to heighten the story or to make a point, and HALOWEEN REMAKE doesn’t seem to do either (although, as I said above, DEVIL’S REJECTS does.)

    As for a quote, how bout this one:

    “Rob Zombie: Well, I like when violence seems real and I like when it seems ugly. I like when the act doesn’t seem fun. I was never a fan of ‘80s slasher movies. I think they are cartoony and silly. I was more into the violence in movies like Taxi Driver, The Wild Bunch, and Bonnie and Clyde. The violence in those films makes a statement in some way. You know what I mean? It’s saying something. And it’s either brutal, or depressing, or it’s real. But it’s never fun.”


    Again, I get the impression that he thinks that the portrayal of violence in itself makes some kind of statement. I disagree. The violence by itself doesn’t “say something,” only the context in which it is used gives it meaning.

  70. There is an interesting four part YouTube video showing through interview clips from Rob Zombie that he’s a sell out who does things for money. It’s unnecessary but really well done.


    There is a bit where he talks about all the “flaws” in the original Halloween (Myers driving, stealing the mask, etc) yet he made an entire movie where not a fucking thing makes any sense. Like how it took him 3 days to get to Haddonfield but twenty minutes to get back or how Loomis got to the standoff in record time. Do I really need to keep pointing out how awful this movie is?

  71. Mr M and Jam — yeah, although I at least kind of respect Haneke’s explicitly post-modern interest in media, I think he does a disservice to his point by making such a gripping movie. I think in a way its compassion that gets us to root for the mom – she’s only trying to save herself and her family, and its pretty clear at this point that the only way she’s gonna be able to do that is by killing the two psychopaths before they kill her. There’s a murderous-vengeance aspect, but its kind of on the back burner to survival and the end of suffering for the people we care about.

    I think his point might be made a little better through a story like DEATH SENTENCE; you know, where the revenge really is morally ambiguous, and yet they’re trying to amp up our bloodlust. Or even a FRIDAY THE 13th or SAW kind of horror movie where we’re hoping people get horrifically punished for their bad behavior (which is sometimes more counter-cultural than outright immoral).

  72. Aye, that quote sort of undercuts his supposed intentions, the flute.

  73. Um, this was the quote I meant:

    “Rob Zombie: Well, I like when violence seems real and I like when it seems ugly. I like when the act doesn’t seem fun. I was never a fan of ‘80s slasher movies. I think they are cartoony and silly. I was more into the violence in movies like Taxi Driver, The Wild Bunch, and Bonnie and Clyde. The violence in those films makes a statement in some way. You know what I mean? It’s saying something. And it’s either brutal, or depressing, or it’s real. But it’s never fun.”

    He still sounds like a flute though (Irish colloq. for fool, not the musical instrument)

  74. I can see why people don’t dig Haneke, but as a filmmaker the dude runs circles around, say, a Rob Zombie. Zombie makes all the Halloween violence nasty and brutal and removes all the supposed fun from it as a means to show his distaste for the folks who made him a millionaire. It has a shocking downer ending that is pretty much exactly like every other shocking downer ending in every modern horror movie. I will also forget all this next week. Funny Games shows next to nothing and it’s still creeps me out while I think about it to write this post. Yeah it slaps you with a point, but there’s so much skill and balls involved that I have to admire it. If you dislike it, you at least have such a reaction as to write a well thought out and reasoned response. Even if you’re pissed, you’re thinking about why. At least it feels like you’re invited into things. You can only passively participate in a film and at least Haneke has the courtesy to recognize that you’re there. I guess it’s just that I would rather be fucked with and challenged by a well made film by a smart asshole than preached at by a guy who makes a better concert that a movie. I can also understand why people wouldn’t like either one.
    Ok, to be fair to Rob Zombie, it didn’t really seem like his heart was in this at all. The guy needs to be turned loose on whatever Big Daddy Roth acid nightmare he wanted to make when he was 16.

  75. Marlow, I’m not going to say that Haneke sucks, because you’re right, any movie that elicits this much hate and causes this much discussion has something going for it. But I don’t like movies that piss me off, and he seems dead set on doing so. He might get results, but I don’t care for his methods.

  76. Yeah, I think Haneke at least knows what he’s trying to say and says it quite effectively. I even think he has something worthwhile to add to the discussion. Still, FUNNY GAMES especially feels like it doesn’t quite make the point he thinks it does, although I still find it a film I was glad to have watched (though didn’t at all enjoy watching)

  77. Or as the man himself puts it:

    “My films are intended as polemical statements against the American ‘barrel down’ cinema and its dis-empowerment of the spectator. They are an appeal for a cinema of insistent questions instead of false (because too quick) answers, for clarifying distance in place of violating closeness, for provocation and dialogue instead of consumption and consensus.”

    Oh no wait, that was Rob Zombie… Where did I put that Haneke quote?

  78. Not sure if it’s already been said here, but I’m convinced a lot of the animosity directed towards Rob Zombie is because he’s a heavy metal/rock guy. Sounds stupid, but it seems to me that a lot film geeks hate that element. Imagine if Aja (or someone similar) made DEVILS REJECTS… the fans would’ve ate it up. People think horror film and metal fans are the same audience, and they’re definitely not. Just my two-cents.

  79. Lawrence: I bet I already ranted about this in my original HALLOWEEN REMAKE review, but man I hated that Zombie thought the driving was a “mistake.” That’s the whole point, that you don’t know how the fuck he knows how to drive when he grew up in an asylum. I like watching the movie with people who haven’t seen it or haven’t seen it in a long time and they ask that question and then I get to smile at them when the movie addresses it. “Well he was doing very well last night!”

  80. It seems to be getting panned by all and sundry but I though The Final Destination was an absolute blast. I don’t think I’ve laughed that much in a theatre in years. And, no that’s not an insult to the film, there’s no way this shit wasn’t meant to be funny. David R. Ellis let us down with the surprisingly dull Snakes on a Plane, but this film is precisely the kind of inventive, campy fun we hoped for from that.

  81. I also liked The Final Destination. I laughed many times and had what used to be referred to as “fun.”

  82. Wes, you brought up a good point in reference to people perhaps not liking Zombie because he was a heavy metal/ rock guy before taking the leap into film. For me, I don’t have that issue because some artists are capable, and successful, at multi-tasking and are talented to pull it off. My problem with the heavy metal/rock background is a bit more shallow in terms of listening to Zombie during interviews on film and fielding questions on film making. He, not only acts like he’s got it all figured out, but what I resent, is his own perception that he’s a risk taker and that he’s giving advice to future directors on how to be a film maker. The truth is he was wealthy and a “name” due to his music background. If no one bought his first film for distribution or no fan saw it, he’d easily weather it and at the end of the day still be a millionaire. I don’t have a problem with that or branching out until he’s dispensing advice to starving artists like he’s this talented visionary who came from no where when my thoughts are there was zero risk for him and it was an expensive hobby that somehow propelled him (probably due to his catchy last name) to one of the biggest names in horror cinema.

    There I said it.

  83. Vern –

    “I don’t think he *was* trying to kill Laurie. He just stood there while she imagined she was being held down. I think maybe he was actually trying to lure Loomis in to kill him, although that might’ve just been a bonus kill. His goal was to reunite the family. And something about a white horse.”

    What was Michael’s plan? At the end, when they were sitting in the shed, Sherri Moon tells Michael it was time to “reunite” the family. Assuming that all of the visions of Sherri Moon and the white horse were Michael’s subconscious, what was he planning to do? It doesn’t seem like he was planning to kill her but – what? Were they all going to die together?

  84. Nickmerill,

    I get what you’re saying, Zombie’s not risking personal bankruptcy, but does lots of things in his films that are bound to piss people off, such as remaking Halloween. I’ve watched a number of interviews with him and I’m not really bothered by his confidence. He has definate ideas about what he wants to achieve and I like that. He also rolls with it. He prettymuch re-shot the second half of his first Halloween movie because he felt the way he originally did it was a mistake.

    I never liked his music, but enjoy his films.

  85. I like Zombie. Are there better filmmakers around? Well duh yeah, but whatever flaws that might suffice in his films, there is just an auteur confidence, with very good details of his that the horror genre….especially the American Horror cinema of this decade….don’t exactly provide us like it has at varying times at different decades.

    Besides, how many good guy roles does Brad Dourif get recently? Shit not even LOTR wasn’t beyond giving the dude his usual bad guy/weirdo parts. So thats another cool reason for why I back Zombie.

    I’m sorry he remade a movie.

  86. RRA, did you ever watch Deadwood? Brad Douriff played the most decent, compassionate person on the show. And he was good at it!

    It is my dream to write a movie in which Douriff, my favorite B-movie actor since I was 11, is the full-fledged hero. I already have an idea in mind. The dude is so intense that it would totally work when he gives the big Braveheart speech at the end.

  87. I’m funny with Rob Zombie. I’m actually pulling for the guy with each film. Why, I have no idea. I think it’s because I know where he’s coming from, and that he truly loves what he’s doing. I want him to succeed.

    I love Rejects and H1, but there is “something” missing that makes them just below excellent films.

    I’ll be checking out this one for sure.


    I actually really hope Zombie does H3 with no Michael Meyers and Laurie as the killer the whole time. Maybe she can have Michael’s ghost there along with Sheri Moon’s ghost and they can parade around like the fellowship of the whatever.

    I would love to see Brad Dourif as Bracket having to hunt down Laurie as the killer. That could be one great confrontation. I mean, he’s seen her grow up and also understands why she’s so messed up and partly blames himself. So seeing him go up against her would be a pretty interesting dynamic.

  89. Except she wouldn’t be able to smash through doors like Michael, or grow much of a beard.

  90. No beard, but she good get some good armpit scruff going. And I think she could build up some physical strength doing mental institution chin ups like Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

  91. I don’t know, Majestyk, didn’t Doc Cochran have to remove himself from the running for health commissioner because of a history of graverobbing?

  92. He was just experimenting on cadavers for the good of mankind, but those cocksuckers just wouldn’t understand.

  93. Mr. Majestyk – I was thinking more movie parts…but I guess I’ll have to take anything at this rate. Thanks for the reminder.

  94. Just saw the movie and it pretty much confirmed what I figured out when I was watching The Devil’s Rejects. While Zombie is a more than capable director he’s a shitty writer. His scripts are embarrassingly bad. The dialogue and characterization in H2 is terrible but(as Vern pointed out before) Zombie is able to create some genuine tension and atmosphere in most of the movie. I was really taken aback at some of the cinematography in the film. Some of the shots are so beautiful and surreal. Whoever is producing The Blob remake should definitely get someone else to write the script and just let Rob direct.

  95. So you’re saying that Rob is basically the white metal/rock version of Robert Rodriguez?

  96. yeah but Rodriguez gets more mileage out of his trademark scruff than Zombie will ever get even with his wacky homeless guy beard.

  97. At what point in the movie was there actual tension? Maybe when she’s running through the rain not knowing when Michael was going to show up? That’s about it. The rest was boring as shit.

  98. Really, was I the only one who loved the McDowell scenes of him being a total asshole? What a pity.

  99. RE: Michael Haneke

    I saw Funny Games when it first came out in the U.S., and despised it. I have no problem saying it’s one of my least favorite films of all time. Cold, of course, and arrogant and hateful and really sophomoric in the points it was trying to make. But I ended up seeing Time of the Wolf at a film festival and I thought it was fantastic, and Cache was pretty good, too, and those films are also kind of hostile toward their audience, but at the same time, they have a lot more thematic depth to them and are not as heavy-handed as FG. Haven’t seen the remake, but it appears to be a step backwards.

  100. Which FUNNY GAMES is the better version?

  101. According to IMDB today, Zombie will not helm Halloween 3. They are bringing in some other guy and making it using that 3D gimmick while Zombie goes off to do The Blob. I’m not sure if Scout will return as Laurie if Zombie is not directing. I know she was in Obsessed, so I know she does movies without parental supervision, but who knows if she’ll come back to a series after dad’s left.

    He’ll probably find a role for her in The Blob.

  102. Looks like they’re talking to Patrick Lussier. He used to be an editor for Wes Craven before he started directing mediocre to bad movies like DRACULA 2000. MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3-D was a pretty enjoyable theatrical 3-D experience though, so I wouldn’t entirely write it off. But since they already let Rob Zombie go crazy I was hoping they’d hire some other weirdo who could continue the tradition but maybe do a better job. Or hire Aja when he’s done with PIRANHA 3-D.

    The real issue here is that if Lussier does it that keeps him away from his more awesome sounding DRIVE CRAZY which was recently announced. It’s supposed to be a 3-D movie starring the 3-D overacting of Nic Cage as a guy who chases after some dudes who killed his daughter and kidnapped her baby.

  103. correction: DRIVE ANGRY I think was the actual title of that one.

  104. I guess if they’re not getting Zombie back, I too would want somebody who could take what Zombie created to a new level and not just some guy who can deliver a decent formula slasher picture plus a 3D gimmick. Since Zombie started to really focus on dreams in the second installment it would be awesome if they got Tarsem to helm the third one and have a lot of it take place in Laurie’s mind. His first movie The Cell had lots of good stuff in it and his followup, The Fall, also dealt with dreams and was awesome. And since he’s not hugely successful he would be a realistic choice that would also get me excited.

    I was looking forward to who Zombie would cast as Laurie’s psychiatrist. I was hoping for David Bowie, but would be happy with Lance Henrikson or F. Murray Abraham.

  105. Vern… wow buddy. first a positive review of Fighting and now this? I’ve seen both. i’m starting to wonder what’s up with you man. i really hated this movie, and not for the same nerdy reasons the rest of the internet complains about. i’m off to see what you think of Crank 2 (which i really enjoyed) to see if we’re still on the same page.

  106. OK, this thread’s been quiet for a little while so I hope I won’t anger anyone by sticking this up…

    its the complete “important horror movies of the 2000s” list culled from the one on Wikipedia but also including a few movies I could think of that inexplicably aren’t on the wikipedia list. Note that your milage may vary; for instance, I never cared one iota for the “Saw” movies but I stuck em on here because I feel like they had some cultural impact.

    30 days of night
    28 days later
    28 weeks later
    The Burrowers
    Cabin Fever
    The Card Player
    Dark Water (2002)
    Dawn of the Dead 2004
    Deaths of Ian Stone
    Dek Hor (My School)
    The Descent
    Devil’s Backbone
    Devil’s Rejects
    Diary of the Dead
    Dog Soldiers
    Drag Me to Hell
    Dreamcatacher (1st half)
    Excorcism of Emily Rose
    The Eye (2002)
    Fears of the Dark (2008)
    Final Destination 1-3
    Flight of the Living Dead
    Freddy vs Jason
    Ginger Snaps
    The Grudge 1 & 2
    Halloween (remake)
    Haunting in Connecticut
    Haute Tension
    The Hills Have Eyes
    The Host
    Hostel I and II
    House of 1000 Corpses
    I am Legend
    (hopefully) I sell the Dead
    Ichi the Killer
    Jason X
    Jeepers Creepers (maybe 2)
    (maybe?)Jennifer’s Body
    Joy Ride
    Ju-On 2
    Kairo (Pulse)
    Land of the Dead
    Last House on the Left (Remake)
    The Last Winter
    Let the Right One In
    Loft (Rufuto)
    The Machinist
    Midnight Meat Train
    The Mist
    Mother of Tears
    One Missed Call (2004)
    The Orphanage
    The Others
    Planet Terror
    Resident Evil
    Retribution (Sakebi)
    Return to Sleepaway Camp
    The Ring
    The Ring Two
    The Ruins
    Saw (how many? dunno.)
    Session 9
    Shaun of the Dead
    The Signal
    Silent Hill
    Snakes on a Plane
    The Strangers
    Sweeny Todd
    A Tale of Two Sisters
    Them (ils)
    Trick r Treat
    The Unborn
    Wicker Man
    Wolf Creek
    The Woods
    Zombie Honeymoon

  107. Wow, Lussier’s got like three movies under active development and they all seem to be aiming for 3-d. Sweet.

  108. YYYAAAYYY!!! Rob Zombie isn’t directing the Blob anymore, he’s directing original matireal! It’s called LORDS OS SALEM! FFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUCCCCCKKKKKKKKKK

  109. Lords of Salem, Eh?

    Vern, why didn’t you like his Grindhouse trailer?

  110. I saw bits of this before but finally sat down with the unrated version (then went ahead and got the theatrical version and watched chunks for comparison). Since I really watched the unrated and only skimmed select parts of the theatrical (notably, the end)

    The hospital sequence alone is worth the price of admission. Brilliantly stage and shot–really haunting, tense, and atmospheric. Like, genuinely taught, scary business.

    I know a lot of people don’t like the hulking Michael Myers and think it’s too Jason-y, but I disagree. I think Zombie and Mane (my cop show title of the day) bring a cool, fresh take on the character in that Michael is this odd juxtaposition of patience, precision and utterly explosive rage. He’s not looking for creative kills or trying to be cute, and he’s not in any hurry; but when he catches up to you–and he will catch up to you–he’s going to get right in there real close-like and just completely mangle your ass. I really think Tyler Mane brings something to this role.

    Also, the cinematography, night shots and dusky shots, wide shots of Michael lumbering through the fields–just beautiful. It’s genuinely cinematic. The creepy hallucination sequences are inspired.

    Danielle Harris and Brad Dourif are the heart and soul of this film, and their chemistry grounds what is otherwise an extremely surreal film.

    Finally, Michael’s delusional quest to reunite his family and the weird psychic connection between him and Laurie offer another example of how this film brings a truly fresh take that justifies its existence and sets it apart from all the other remakes out there. Zombie really makes the Michael-Laurie mythology his own and uses it to tell a different kind of story. I disagree that he over-identifies with Michael or his perspective: I think he gives us a good balance of Michael’s and Laurie’s perspectives and does a good job of humanizing all of the victims. He brings some real panache to the whole thing, making for a truly unique, hypnotic experience. The whole white trash fetish thing is pretty muted here (only the strip club scene, really).

    This is by no means a great film, and I couldn’t ambiguously call it a good film. Scout Taylor-Compton’s Laurie is underdeveloped and overracted. She’s supposed to be the emotional center of the film, but she is just completely outclassed by Harris and Dourif (Harris would have been a far more affecting Laurie). The Loomis subplot serves no purpose but to provide further scenery-chewing opportunities for Malcolm McDowell, which has its charms, but really doesn’t benefit the film. The time spent on him could have been spent better developing the Laurie character. Margot Kidder is way out of her depth here, and her presence is frankly distracting. A scene that has to be carried by her and Taylor-Compton is a scene wasted.

    In the end, Taylor-Compton and the script never sufficiently develop Laurie’s character, and that severely undermines Zombie’s project here. But the film is fresh, visually arresting, genuinely creepy, and often legitimately scary, with a truly menacing Michael and a genuinely interesting new spin on the Michael-Laurie saga. I can’t call it an unqualified success, but it held my attention throughout, and I know I’ll watch it again.

  111. Sorry, meant to say:

    ” Since I really watched the unrated and only skimmed select parts of the theatrical (notably, the end), ***my comments are based on the unrated version.***”

  112. Another point on the negative side is that it is pretty much impossible for me to take Sheri Moon Zombie seriously in this role. She just looks so silly. But then I thought she was one of the better aspects of part 1 (which was not a good film), so I don’t know what to make of it. Is she unintentionally goofy, or is her rendering in this film just suppose to underscore that this is how a psychotic, homicidal man-child has idealized his mother?

  113. I actually really enjoyed this one – it’s got some huge flaws and questionable decisions, but it seems confident and assured in a way the last one wasn’t, and at least I wasn’t quite sure where the story was going this time (the ending was sorta spoiled in the almost 10 years since this came out, but I like how the movie is subtle (yes, subtle!) in its ambiguity. We have zero idea of what actually happened – sure, the hospital scene is a dream, but it’s never made clear if Michael’s escape was also a dream. Hell, for all we know the entire movie is a dream and Loomis really did get his skull crushed, Michael actually did get his face blown off, and Laurie’s in the sanitarium right after the events of the first one. My wife interepreted the ending with Laurie walking out w/ the mask to mean she was the one killing everyone the whole movie (which it actually seemed like that’s what Zombie was going for) – you’d have to do alot of logic leaps to have that make sense but no more than say, High Tension.

    One weird thing – I think the movie (theatrical) looked absolutely terrible on Showtime. Like, I like Zombie’s compositions and framing and stuff, but even though this was apparently shot on film, it has a weird digital glaze and flatness to it like a straight to dvd Seagal movie (I think there’s even an avid fart at one point, right?). I don’t know if the Blu Ray looks better or what but I was totally disappointed. Oh, speaking of TV – this may be the only feature film I can remember that has an “Executive Produced by….” credit BEFORE the “Directed By….” credit at the end. That feels like such a TV show way to end things, especially when combined with the total Lifetime movie “evil sneer in a sanitarium” ending. It’s made even doubly weird that a few credits after Zombie’s director credit, it says “Executive Produced by…” again! Like we needed to know the Weinsteins were involved in this thing twice!

  114. It sounds like Showtime might be showing it wrong, because the Blu-Ray looks stunning. I think it’s shot on 16 mm, it has lots of nice grain to it and there are especially great night scenes with rain and lights and reflections.

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