Halloween II (2009)
Rated – R
Directed by Rob Zombie
Starring: Sheri Moon Zombie, Scout Taylor-Compton, Brad Dourif and Malcolm McDowell
In 1978, John Carpenter introduced the world to the ultimate nightmare. A man who walks among us, stalks us, and kills us in the one place we are suppose to feel safest – our home.
Rob Zombie missed this.
In Halloween II, Zombie once again brought us into this sadistic, white trash world that his previous movies have reveled in. Although that style worked well in his films The Devil’s Rejects and House of 1000 Corpses, when recreating the world of Haddonfield, Zombie simply looked beyond what this particular classic film called for and simply did what he wanted. Throughout the movie, Michael Myers manages to kill strip club owners, white trash hillbillies, a horny teenage werewolf, and a dog (not to mention several others). None of which fit with what Carpenter envisioned for Halloween.
Instead, throughout this movie, Myers follows around the ghost of his mother (played by Sheri Moon Zombie), just like Jason listens to his mother in Friday the 13th. Myers went from being a man in complete control to just a puppet monster like his horror movie counterpart. And what made Myers so terrifying in the original film was that he was a human being. He was a man in complete control of his murderous urges, who patiently waited a year before killing – a pure example of controlled carnage wrapped in human flesh.
In horror movie lore no icon terrifies me more than Myers. I have watched horror movies for years and I always find myself slipping in that 1978 classic every Halloween. Carpenter managed to combine the stealth movements of Nosferatu with the fear of Dr. Frankenstein’s monster. It is as simple as a horror movie can be, lacking the gore elements of splatter films and the overdone elements of ghost and possession movies. Halloween touches down on that very fear of what a human being can do to you in your own neighborhood. Not in your dreams or at a campground, but your own home.
So it upsets me to see Myers brought back to life in the recent two films by director Rob Zombie. Zombie has proven he has a new vision for the future of horror films with House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects, but tackling Halloween is merely a director’s suicide mission. Zombie has managed to turn Myers into a hulking behemoth that can break through walls, flip cars and lack any sort of human qualities.
That was not the point of Myers.
He is supposed to be like us. A man with a darkness inside of him that we can’t understand. He is supposed to represent the worst in a human being without the colossal strength of Jason and the powers of Freddy.
The 1970s proved to be the changing point of fear in films. From Hooper to Craven to Carpenter, these directors took on the real horrors of our world. Not just ancient vampires and hairy Wolfmen of the 30s and 40s. Not giant blobs and gila monsters of the 50s. And not the zombies and Vincent Price’s of the 60s. The 70s challenged the notion of safety in our own homes and neighborhoods. And the decade culminated in the detached, vacant eyes of Michael Myers.
Again, Zombie missed this.