Thursday, October 6, 2011

Halloween (2007)

The next three films we’ll be looking at, Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street comprise the big three series I grew up watching as a child, and honestly, even though the quality on virtually every one of the series based on these films dropped per movie (except for the Elm Street films, which moved back and forth in terms of quality from creepy to forgettable), I still view these three original films as a major part of what got me into horror films in the first place.

Halloween (1979) is pretty much, in my opinion, one of the best horror films ever made. Until this film came out, horror was something that happened in past times, far off castles or (in the case of Night of the Living Dead) at least a remote farm house. Horror was something that happened somewhere else, but Halloween changed everything. The film takes place in Haddonfield, IL, a small suburban town that looked a heck of a lot like my hometown, and the main character Laurie was a regular looking kid. The killer appears in the background of the film at first and no one believes that anything as horrible as this man could possibly reach them in the safety of their own homes. The acting is great, the story is chilling, and honestly, for the squeamish, the violence is not that gory (that does changes in the sequel however).

Also the theme song is just about the creepiest tune I’ve ever come across.

Anyway, in 2007 it was reimagined by musician/filmmaker Rob Zombie and at the time I basically thought – why on earth would you ruin such a great film with an MTV-style treatment. The original is great, just leave it alone.

But for you, my dear readers, I decided to check out these recent reimaginings earlier this year and here is how the film stacks up.

The key to the reimagining of Halloween is that the film focuses on the killer (Michael) rather than the victim (Laurie). We are given an extremely detailed back story for our killer, including his time in an insane asylum, and the film is almost halfway over before we even meet our leading lady. Although it is an interesting way to focus the story, by making Michael more sympathetic and barely developing the characters of Laurie and her friends, the killings seem less about the terror the kids feel and more about the killer himself.

I will say, however, that I quite liked the acting on the part of Scout Taylor-Compton (Lauire), and Malcolm McDowell (Dr. Loomis), although the filmmaker made a bizarre choice by removing Dr. Loomis as a sympathetic character an making him more focused on what fame Michael can bring him.

Also, and hopefully this will carry through to the sequel (I’m waiting to watch it later this week), the film very clearly shows the affection that Rob Zombie has for the source material. Even though some of the choices he made in the film were strange to me, there is no question throughout the film that he really loved the original and did his best to do it justice.

Although I didn’t like it as much as I did the Dawn of the Dead remake, it was worth the watch (for fans of the original), and creates a consistently creepy feel throughout the entire film.

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