*Skip the premise to jump directly to the post if you’ve read it in my previous articles*
Premise – Horror movies have always been divisive towards the audience. From the 80s, the cult franchises have created a trend particularly appreciated by the viewers. The Nightmare movies, the Halloween franchise as well as the Hellraiser flicks have marked the path that walked us, the audience, to an overwhelming cinema market filled with non-original movies, remake, reboots, sequels and prequels.
The formula is basically this: a director makes a successful movie with a little budget and a big return at the box office. So that the Hollywood major labels exploit said success to make tons of sequels and prequels that hit the box office without telling anything new or original to the viewer (ehm ehm… Saw, Hostel… ehm ehm). Sometimes, even the first installment is disappointing by every means but the economical profit (ehm ehm… Paranormal Activity, Wrong Turn… ehm ehm).
All these franchises have something in common, i.e. poor writing, bland characters, jump scares, unoriginal villains, flawed cinematography. Why are they successful? Because the horror audience is now used to go to the movie expecting to have ‘a good time’ instead of being shocked and disturbed by an original, unsettling and brave script filled with good performances, relatable characters and true fear.
What are the consequences? Not just new masterpieces such as It Follows and The Babadook, among the others, are considered as boring movies. Not just the milestones of horror cinema are now considered worthless. But also quite good movies that came out in the last 20-25 years have been underestimated by both audience and reviewers. Here a list for you, hoping you guys can have some fun and meditation on something a bit more original and ‘out there’. Enjoy.
NOTE: some movie franchises are actually worth watching, please do not dismiss the first Saw movie as well as the well-directed Insidious movies. Both from the talent of James Wan. The guy brings it right home.
Halloween (2007) is the Rob Zombie’s remake – or I’d better call it a re-imagination – of the 1978’s movie directed by the mastermind of John Carpenter, who brought on screen for the first time the famous and unbeatable villain known as Michael freaking Myers.
I’ve talked about the controversy surrounding Rob Zombie in my previous post about The Lords of Salem. So, part of the mistrust towards this movie is due to people’s hatred to Zombie. At the same time, most of the viewers dislike this remake to be way to different from the original. First of all, I have to say that I don’t mind this different approach at all. Secondly, and I know a lot of people will disagree on that, I think the original Halloween is the weakest Carpenter’s product.
Let’s now drive into the movie itself. The plot, set in the fictional Midwestern town of Haddonfield in Illinois, is rather simple. On Halloween night in 1963, six-year-old Michael Myers inexplicably murders his sister and is committed to Smith’s Grove Sanitarium. Fifteen years later, he escapes and returns home to kill again, all the while eluding his psychiatrist, Dr. Sam Loomis, who suspects Michael’s intentions, following him back to Haddonfield.
However, the first twist Mr. Zombie executes for this movie consists of setting a long and detailed background for the reason why the young and creepy Michael became the cold-blooded psychopath mask-wearing Myers. Through this storytelling, the director is able to give depth to his main villain, something that Carpenter didn’t even try to do. Sheri Moon Zombie – who’s in this film as well, of course – plays Michael’s mother and she gave a performance less awful than the majority of people think. She’s not excellent either, but her ‘dislikeability’ is useful to explain why her son turned into a monster.
The rest of the movie is quite loyal to the original, even though the acting and the all look and feel are a little bit better for me. Furthermore, Zombie pays the due respect towards Carpenter’s Halloween by reproducing the same cult scenes and using the same dialogue’s expressions.
The movie still has flaws: Zombie didn’t intervene on the shaky-cam to make the action sequences better, some dialogues are very poorly written, the main characters are well portrayed – especially Dr. Loomis, played by the one and only Malcolm McDowell – but substantially dumb.
Still, the movie flows well throughout the 110 minutes runtime and there is a lot of entertainment too. This is especially due to the funny cameos – named Danielle Harris, Udo Kier, Brad Dourif, Danny Trejo and the duo Sid Haig-Bill Mosely coming directly from Zombie’s The house of 1000 corpses and The Devil’s rejects.
In conclusion, this movie isn’t flawless, but it’s still watchable, entertaining, with a good cinematography and a dreadful atmosphere. Above all, Zombie’s Halloween has refreshed the Halloween franchise, which to me needed an invigoration. Cheers.