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July 21, 2010

Movie Reviews: Halloween (2007) and Halloween II (2009)

by Hollis Jay

A wise man (namely David Hayes) once stated that a back story is irrelevant when it comes to developing evil. I agree wholeheartedly with this approach, which brings me to my review of the new Halloween movies. The original Halloween movie was the first movie that I ever saw, and at the age of five I remember being not only interested in the characters but also scared by the idea of Michael Myers. I didn't need to know where he came from or how he developed as a human being in order to understand that he was bad and/or evil. I knew that he was evil by the actions that he committed on screen. When, the new movies came out I found myself excited. How was Rob Zombie going to approach this iconoclastic and legendary story?

Buy Halloween on DVD or Blu-ray

Well, first he cut out all the intrigue and suspense. To that he added a predictable story of a child who was bullied and tormented to the point where revenge almost seemed appropriate. So, instead of fearing and/or idolizing this character we pity his upbringing and find ourselves understanding his actions which takes the evil out of the piece entirely. Instead, Michael Myers is seen as being misunderstood and as being disturbed. Then, he eliminated the functions of shadows and light in order to replace them with gore and more gore.

In Halloween Two, he goes so far as to produce an entire scene where Michael Myers eats a dog. The reason for this scene is gore enhanced only. It does not improve any of the films qualities nor does it make Michael scarier for his new audience. When Zombie began to introduce the white horse and the ghost of his mother to the picture, I thought that it was a joke. Here is one of the first slasher films being stripped and raped of everything that made it whole. He even took out the most powerful piece of Halloween Two, which involved the entire movie in the original, the hospital scene. In Zombie's movie, it becomes a dream sequence. In fact, dream sequences become the new black in almost all of Zombie's Halloween Two.

Buy Halloween II on DVD or Blu-ray 

He should have allowed the reality of the piece to be scary instead of feeling as if he has to take us into a dream to make us fear Michael Myers or to be able to allow us to interpret his story. Even though Zombie uses some of the same music throughout the film, it just doesn't mesh with the new phase of his interpretation and one finds themselves comparing the old movie to the new movie continually. This is due to the fact that the new movies don't allow the audience to sit back and fall into another world. They jump from character to character, trying to explain the plot in any way that they can but in doing so they are destroying the original concept of the movies. Zombie relies too much on his traditional setting, the 1970's, and on the gritty world that worked well in his other movies, but doesn't click here. That's because Halloween isn't supposed to be about degenerates lost in society. Its major theme is the power of unmitigated evil and the destruction that it creates. But, Zombie relegates only in his traditional world and never changes his tried and true mold even though it's failing him completely.

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