Halloween

To celebrate passing the bar exam, I went to see Rob Zombie’s adaptation of Halloween last night.  It was a helluva ride.  I liked the film a lot, but before I get into why, I must confess that my opinion is probably only 50% based on the movie itself.  The other factor that made the viewing one of the best theater experiences I’ve had in years was the show going on all around me.  Folks, there is only one way to watch a horror movie on the big screen, and that’s in an audience chock-full of black folks.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, there’s no way to adequately describe the glory of this experience and I pity you for never having had it. 

On to the movie: I give it an A-. 

Strengths:

1.  I think Zombie’s Michael Myers is more frightening than the original.  It comes down to a matter of taste because Zombie’s version is very, very different than John Carpenter’s.   Some prefer the Carpenter’s robotic killer–the purist’s incarnation of a killer the original script referred to as “The Shape”–who is presented as utterly inhuman: a void, a black hole, a non-character.  Don’t get me wrong, that version of Myers scared the crap out of me.  But personally, I’m more frightened by monsters that are (or could be) real, and Zombie very effectively put flesh on Michael Myers by giving him a face and a history.  Zombie even gives Myers a soul, and the moment when you finally see the last shred of it evaporate is terrifying (no spoilers here!).  Then there’s the sheer physicality of Zombie’s Myers: he’s far more aggressive, merciless, and physically intimidating than Carpenter’s.  The first time the hulking adult Myers was revealed onscreen, the entire audience gasped.   Dude is BIG.

2.  The kill scenes are MUCH more frightening because they are jarringly realistic.  Zombie has a feel for depicting murder that is completely unnerving.  The attacks are difficult to watch, and not because of the blood.   They are emotionally upsetting.

3.  Scout Taylor-Compton does a solid job of playing Laurie.  Jamie Lee Curtis is a tough act to follow, but I always thought her Laurie looked and acted a little old, and was a little too joyless, too morose.  Taylor-Compton is giggly, silly, and bubbly; in other words, she acts like a happy, wholesome teenager, which is exactly what Laurie Strode  is supposed to be.  

4.  There are certain key changes in setting that I can’t give away, but I thought they worked well with the story. 

5.  As usual, Zombie’s song choices are fantastic: Rush, Nazareth, Kiss, and other 70’s greats.  Major props to him for keeping “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult, and deploying it at just the right time.  And of course, he kept the original score.   

Weaknesses:

1.  Rob Zombie is really good at dark and campy humor, but he maybe should’ve resisted the urge to inject it into this story.  He shows Michael Myers growing up in a hyper-dysfunctional white trash family: a good plot embellishment, but maybe one that should’ve been explored more seriously.  The scene where you’re introduced to the Myers family is a hoot, but it just doesn’t belong in this particular film.  Thankfully, there are only one or two of those scenes.

2.  The final chase goes on too long. 

Those are really my only beefs.  I disagree very much with the reviews of this movie: I like the fact that Rob Zombie rocked the boat and changed the story in some ways.  We’ve had umpteen-bazillion Halloween sequels with the same old Michael Myers lurching through each one, and it’s high time someone took a fresh look. 

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~ by lewdandlascivious on September 1, 2007.

5 Responses to “Halloween”

  1. “Folks, there is only one way to watch a horror movie on the big screen, and that’s in an audience chock-full of black folks.”

    I wanna hear about what the black folks said!

    BTW swing by my alternative blog, I think you will enjoy my newest post. 😉

    http://jjkaiser.blogspot.com

  2. You passed the bar? Very cool. Congratulations!

    My 14 yr. old really wants to see this, but we’re going to make her wait.

  3. Not responding to us anymore oh illustrious queen? Figures. You pass the bar and get a job and forget us little folks.

  4. Haha, sorry!!! This weekend has been a blur.
    Neil, I would probably make my 14 year old wait a few years–good decision. A lot of horror movies out there have a bunch of blood flying around, but somehow are not scary—the death scenes in this movie are disturbing, even to me.
    TT, I can’t do the experience justice. Basically, there’s a running commentary going on throughout the movie. It’s HILARIOUS, and contrary to what you might think, adds to rather than detracts from the experience of watching. There’s a whole bunch of jumping out of chairs and screaming whenever anything surprising or violent happens. Most importantly, everyone is trying to outperform everyone else and is completely un-selfconscious. Trust me, it’s a hoot. I feel all warm inside just remembering Friday night.

  5. Congrats on passing the bar!! Sorry I am late telling you that but no one told me!!

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