Plot: As a child, Michael Myers grew up in a dysfunctional household, to put things mildly. His mother (Sheri Moon Zombie) loves him, but doesn’t have much time to spend with her son. She works nights as an exotic dancer, a profession which causes Michael pain when his classmates discover what she does. Michael’s stepfather is harsh and violent toward him, while his older sister puts on a nice facade, but wants little to do with him. As time passes, Michael pulls more and more into himself, a progression which reaches a climax when he kills his sister, her boyfriend, and his stepfather in one night. He was then turned over to Dr. Sam Loomis (Malcolm McDowell), who spent over a decade with him, trying to find a way inside his mind. Now Michael has grown up and hasn’t even spoken in years, but the evil still burns inside him. When he escapes the mental hospital he called home since childhood, what will he unleash upon the world outside?
Entertainment Value: To remake Halloween was a bold prospect, given that John Carpenter’s original is one of the most popular and acclaimed horror movies ever made, but Rob Zombie decided to roll the dice and unleash his vision of Michael Myers, which is a much different ride to take. This remake explores what turned Myers into a killer and as such, doesn’t have the eerie, mysterious aura around the character, presenting him as a more flesh and blood maniac. The background on Myers is about what you’d expect from someone who grows up to butcher people, so no real surprises there, with Zombie’s usual white trash, over the top style applied to Michael’s childhood to warp his mind to the right degrees. I don’t mind trying to decode the unknown around Myers, but I feel like this is just a run of the mill, typical serial killer approach, the kind of stuff we have seen time and again. Perhaps that is what Zombie sees Michael as, just another killer, but I think a more creative approach could have yielded an interesting origin, while keeping a little of the mystique as well. Halloween winds up as a decent slasher, but not in the same league as the original, though fans of Zombie will likely appreciate his take on the material, since he soaks the narrative in his usual aesthetic and favored performers.
The original Halloween was light on sleaze and bloodshed, but Rob Zombie isn’t shy about either element in his vision of the narrative. The movie has several sex scenes and while not graphic, they do include bare breasts and asses in most cases. These shots aren’t brief by any means, while one scene includes some slight full frontal, as a camera scans low enough on occasion to pick up a peek. Again none of the nudity is graphic or over the top, but there is some solid light sleaze to be had here. There is a lot of violence on showcase, but it takes a more believable, visceral approach, rather than the creative, wild kills in most slasher movies. So the kills are nasty and some have a good amount of blood, but they’re not memorable or inventive. A throat slash splashes out some crimson, Myers smashes people around often, squeezes one dude’s melon, stabs some folks, takes gun shot wounds, and other violent moments, but most of the brutal stuff happens off screen and we just see the aftermath. I’m not sure why Zombie chose not to show the kinetic gore, but at least there’s some hard hitting violence and times. There’s also a rape scene, which is intense, but not graphic. The dialogue has a lot of family drama and dysfunction, with some colorful characters and wild exchanges, though these are sparse after Myers’ rampage kicks off. On the craziness front, the early movie has the trashy characters and family dysfunction, but beyond that, this feels like a typical slasher movie, just with a darker tone than most.
Overall Insanity: 2/10