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You're No Michael Myers
Rob Zombie has made a career of all things horror. From the musical group White Zombie to his own solo career, in comics with his monster fighting character El Superbeasto and into films. His first two forays, "House of 1000 Corpses" and "The Devil's Rejects" tied into one another nicely with the second film being a sequel to the first. But with his third film, "Halloween", Zombie falls short of offering not only scares but signs of a developmental director.
Everyone already knows the tale of Michael Myers, the psychopath from Haddonfield, IL, who murdered his sister only to be committed to an institution he would later escape from with the intent of more killings back home years later. While that is the basis for Zombie's film, it is not a remake but more of a retelling, a reinvention of the same character.
Here we are offered young Michael and the household he grows up in that forms his life. Michael's mother (Sheri Moon Zombie) is a stripper, saddled with a new husband (William Forsythe) who is disabled and a ne'er do well more interested in yelling at the kids than in offering any sort of role model. Michael's sister is a trashy sleep with anyone teen who dresses provocatively and does little else. All of this is not lost on Michael who spends his time killing his pets and taking photos of them. What we are being offered is a textbook glimpse as to why a youngster becomes a serial killer. The nice middle class family shown in the original is tossed aside for this new group. And in this first portion of the film, the problems Zombie has are apparent.
Zombie has filled three films now with the same characters. Sure, they may have different names and different small time characteristics, but the fact remains that he focuses on the dysfunctional family and their housecleaning inabilities. Yes, it seems that all families in Zombie's world can't clean to save themselves. Not only that but they all have the same dingy look to their living quarters as well as references to pop culture. The house Michael grows up in could be a home that the Firefly family would feel comfortable in. It all looks the same and that detracts greatly from the viewing experience, unless of course you'd never seen another Rob Zombie film.
Comparisons to the original film are inevitable and this will most likely be the downfall of the film in the long run. Michael goes overboard with his murderous rampage as a child in this film unlike the original. Where no blood was seen in that film, it flows freely now. Perhaps this is due to the changing times, but it adds nothing to the scares of the film or the character. It does make him a more brutal killer, leaving him one without a touch of sympathy. But the mindless killer from the original is replaced by someone we feel absolutely nothing for now.
Once finished with the whole back story of young Michael, his family and the kindly Dr. Loomis (Michael McDowell) who takes care of him at the institution, we move forward 15 years to when Michael escapes and heads back home. The body count increases once more as he kills everyone he comes into contact with their, including a worker who had befriended him. Once out, the story becomes more familiar, almost a duplicate of the original shot from different angles, with different actors and focusing less on the character of Laurie Strode, the central character in John Carpenter's version.
Laurie and her friends are nothing more than meat to be slaughtered by Michael in this one. There is no development of character, no reason for us to think of them as more than teens in peril that we have seen in hundreds of other slasher flicks. While we cared about the original teens, this time around they seem less human and placed in our way for two reasons: to be killed by Michael and to offer more exposed flesh than the first.
By the film's end we are offered the traditional sliced and diced teens, gratuitous nudity and enough blood to make a special effects company weep for joy at the size of their bill. But we have gained nothing in the iconography that is Michael Myers. While we are given more background on him, we care less about him than we ever did.
Worst of all is the fact that Rob Zombie, a director that showed such great potential before, seems to be telling us after only three films that this is all he has to offer. Stories told from the same world, a world that blasts apart the whole "Father Knows Best" world we would all like it to be. In his world, there is no caring parent. And when they are caring, they are twisted in some revolting way.
I haven't given up on Zombie yet though. Having recently signed a two picture deal with the Weinstein's, perhaps he will show us he has more tricks up his sleeve than he let on. But if he returns to the carny soiled world he's offered in three films to date, then it looks as though he's a one note director. Let's hope he offers us more. It's in there somewhere.