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2016’s Halloween Looks and Sounds Different Than 1978’s Halloween, but is that Good or Bad?

Published by Carletta Sollis

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Directed by Rob Zombie

Written by Rob Zombie

Starring Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange), Scout Taylor-Compton (Wicked Little Things) and Tyler Mane (X-Men, Troy), 2016’s Halloween is a prequel, a sequel and a remake, all in one. If you think that this sounds intriguing, I would have to agree. Did writer / director, Rob Zombie pull this new style off with flying colors? You’ll have to find that out for yourselves.

What is Halloween about?

Much like the original John Carpenter classic, Halloween (1978), everything begins 17 years ago in a little Illinois town called, Haddonfield. Unlike the movie that put Jamie Lee Curtis on the map, this Halloween really gets to know the infamous, Michael Myers. We’re introduced to his family; a terribly warped and abusive stepfather, a snotty, punk older sister, a mother who strips just put food on the table, and an adorable baby sister. There are two members in the Myers family that Michael never resents or despises. If you want to know who they are, you’ll have to see the movie.

Despite the normal, cool and innocent outward appearance of 10-year-old, Michael Myers (played remarkably well by Daeg Faerch), we soon discover that Michael has been doing some very bad things to animals. The question is: Was these terrible and disgusting acts made out of spite or simple childhood curiosity? It seems to me, Michael didn’t start doing similar things to actual people until his debauchery toward the little critters was found out. Perhaps, the depraved Michael felt like he’s been caught so why not do everything he’s always thought about doing.

It remains a big mystery why he started taking out family members, one by one. Of course, Michael is caught, convicted of 1rst degree murder, and sentenced to the Smith’s Grove Sanitarium for psychiatric study. Dr. Loomis (McDowell) takes on the burden of studying the young “psychopath” and perhaps, even council him back to health. From the start, you never get the feeling that Dr. Loomis believes Michael will get any better. That’s a fine, narrow view for a psychiatrist, huh? Well, this may play a role in Michael’s eventual silent and downright terrifying breakdown. Before, the young, misunderstood kid just hated his family, now he just doesn’t care about right or wrong anymore.

His mother believes in Michael. She comes to see him every week – at least until he has one of scariest temper tantrum you’ve ever seen in your life. After witnessing this violent and deadly episode, Michael’s mom seems to have given up all hope. She ends up leaving the baby in the care of the state. This too could have been a part of Michael’s eventual downward spiral into complete insanity.

Finally, we come to the third act. Picture all of the dialogue of the first film coming out of the mouths of completely different people. “That was the boogeyman?” – Laurie Strode played by Jamie Lee Curtis and Laurie Strode played by Scout Taylor-Compton. This line had a completely impact this time around than it did say, back in 1978. It’s all due to the delivery. Taylor-Compton is no Jamie Lee Curtis. Malcolm McDowell despite an exceptional career all his own is no Donald Pleasance. This third act of 2016’s Halloween proves how great those original actors were in these roles. I did like how well ex-wrestler Tyler Mane played the role of the terrifying slasher killer, Michael Myers. He’s so tall, one wonders if anything can stop him. It’s like watching the Terminator in overalls and a white mask. Mane’s Michael Myers is intimidating to say the least.

My thoughts

It’s lacking many tones and atmospheres that made John Carpenter’s Halloween great. I miss the Alfred Hitchcock ‘less is more’ approach to these kind of films. Do we have to see every blood-gushing stab wound? Do they think that all of their audience lacks imagination of any kind? When the faceless, white mask of Michael Myers first crept out of the shadows ever so slowly, this shocked audiences so much that there was a collective fear of going out on Halloween night. But Rob Zombie gives us plenty to keep our minds occupied while everyone and everything in plain view is slashed, and gashed. I was really fascinated by the story of how Michael Myers came to be a terrifying killer. He was normal at times and driven to madness other times, until all that remained was a psychopath. But is it better to have more story and less substance or more substance and less story? You be the judge.

Final note

I liked Rob Zombie’s Halloween and I didn’t. The kid who plays the 10-year-old Michael Myers is wonderful to watch jump back and forth, from insane to sane. He really keeps you on your toes and keeps your eyes glued to the screen, wondering what he’s going to do next. Tyler Mane doesn’t need to say anything to be terrifying. It’s all in the man’s height. Unfortunately, I can’t really say it’s better than the original but Zombie accomplished what he set out to. This Halloween is a very unique way of looking at an already very well-known tale and a very well-known movie villain.

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