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Rob Zombie's White Trash Family Reunion
I'm a sucker for horror films. Especially if they have the right ingredients. My favourite? Take a few nubile college students, give them beer and weed, let them have unprotected sex, and then get slaughtered by an angry man in a hockey mask. Or a William Shatner mask. Whatever. Which brings us quite nicely to Halloween: The Rob Zombie edition.
I caught the movie on the big screen. Was actually excited for it. (Kind of excited for the sequel, i sense a bad trend.) So what happened? Well the movie didn't bowl me over on the first viewing. In fact, I rather hated it. I couldn't understand why Rob Zombie felt the need to turn Michael Myers into himself. Was this supposed to be an autobiography? I didn't think so, i thought it was a remake of an acknowledged horror classic. Instead we get the story of an anti-social freak of a boy who has suffered through a white trash life and a terrible haircut.
For this version of the film, Rob Zombie has decided to devote half the running time to the backstory of Micheal Myers. Not a bad idea, seeing as how we don't really need a shot-by-shot remake of the brilliant John Carpentar original. We're introduced to Michael's family, which includes an abusive booze soaked father, his stripper mom, and whoring sister, during a profanity laden breakfast scene. The only sympathetic character to any degree was Sherri Moon Zombie as little Mikey's mom. Sure she swears like a sailor, and doffs clothes for a living, but we get a sense that she loves her children. I should add by the way, that this has nothing to do with the original which hinted that Michael Myers had an average childhood in a middle income family. And a normal haircut, as well.
Not surprisingly, the boy begins to act out. The first to feel his wrath is a school bully who gets more than he bargained for. This is probably the most effective scene of the movie. A brutal killing that we actually don't want to watch. The boy is beaten to death and we feel every bone crunch.
Michael then moves on to make short work of the rest of his family, except Stripper Mom, who finds him after the massacre standing on the front porch, holding a dripping knife.
The movie then turns to a psycho-drama and focuses on the mental institution years when Dr. Loomis tries to reach the boy. Dr. Loomis is played by that effective character actor Malcolm Mcdowell. It's as good a performance as the script will allow. (What is up with Rob Zombie's obsession with long hair? Even Dr. Loomis has lofty locks. Not every character has to resemble you, man!) Then finally, over halfway through the movie, do we get the material made famous in the original movie. All done in imitable Rob Zombie style. (Yes, I mean imitable.) My main problem with this section of the movie, is that there is no obvious change in style from the first half. Again we're introduced to a bunch of foul-mouthed, unsympathetic characters. Even Laurie Strode, supposedly the pure 'heroine', seemed rather unlikeable and white trash. Just because you're White trash, Rob Zombie, doesn't mean your characters have to be! So where am I going with this? Actually I don't know. He is a stylish director, and the last block moves pretty quickly through it's gruesome set pieces. There's a lot I admired about the film. But the bottom line is - it's not a halloween movie. It's Rob Zombie re-imagining his childhood as a horror movie. That might be cool, but it's an insult to the previous film and what it was trying to do. What was scary about Halloween was that there was no explanation for the madness, it just happened. Michael just decided to kill his sister one dark and unholy night...With all this backstory you get the feeling the whole nasty murder business could have been avoided if someone had just called the children's aid society and gotten that kid to a good barber.
So this was my first attempt at a movie review. I know it's badly written, and I didn't make all the points I wanted to, but you have to start somewhere.