Even a new knife can go blunt rather quickly and unfortunately Rob Zombie’s remake/prequel/reimaging of the classic Halloween is sharp for only about an hour before it starts to ware.
That doesn’t mean such in instrument can’t still do the trick though… And this one still ‘cuts it’.
None of us wanted it – not when the original holds up so darn well – but thankfully rocker turned filmmaker Zombie (House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects) didn’t just ‘Van Sant’ John Carpenter’s classic slasher film – he extended it, deepened it, shook it up. For the first hour anyway.
You see, Part One of the film is a prequel (the back-story we were never shown in the original, or any of the umpteen sequels, strangely enough) of movie icon Myer’s pre-asylum years.
We watch as the blonde haired-moppet goes from slaughtering rats in his bedroom to ultimately taking out the whole family – sans baby Laurie and his mother (Sheri Moon Zombie) and earning himself a spot in the local mental hospital, under the watchful eye of local psychologist, Dr Samuel Loomis (Malcolm McDowell).
The second half of the film – which kicks in once the now grown-up Myers escapes the slammer – is the original film revisited/redone/reworked.
That’s when things become a little tired.
If only Zombie had kept his film in the past he literally would’ve been giving us something we hadn’t seen before. Or maybe the first part of the film is just so stylish, intriguing and well performed that anything else was going to see proceedings dip?
Whatever the case the second half doesn’t grab as much as the first. Its almost as if it were forced onto the filmmaker by the studio – keen to include at least an hour of what we know as Halloween – because it seems very much tacked-on and redundant.
Having said that, this Halloween semi-redo could’ve been much, much worse and for the most part, it’s a success.
It’s visually stunning, audibly – they’ve reused Carpenter’s classic theme, thank god! – perfect.
It is well performed with Zombie’s casting choices inspired.
McDowell makes a good Loomis; Scout Taylor-Compton makes for a nice little plucky heroine; and Daeg Faerch is terrific as young Michael; plus its great to see genre veterans like Brad Dourif, Danny Trejo, Danielle Harris and Dee Wallace used effectively in supporting roles) and aside from the bits that seem “all too familiar”, mostly engaging. Its quite simply a remake that’s a cut above the rest. Just a pity it got lazy in the third act.
Less there said about the sequel Halloween II – an ugly, motionless (funny that..),and rather befuddling follow-up that essentially swaps out the creativity and intrigue of the first with an excessively gory but stupid exercise in wasting corn syrup- the better. It’s here too though. Actually, two versions – the theatrical and the unrated version.
You’re not picking up this set for the movies though, right? You’re picking up this set because it’s a beaut collector’s edition that crams a whole lot of cool, film-buff friendly extras into a fat set. Aside from uncut versions of both films, there’s commentaries, alternate endings, deleted scenes, bloopers, featurettes, auditions, music videos and so much more. Further, there’s a 4 1/2 Hour-documentary here that could’ve been sold on it’s own it’s so good. That alone is worth the price tag.