I put off watching it for almost 4 years.

Admittedly I am not a huge fan of remakes in general, and horror remakes specifically. I am a horror movie fan, though I mostly like older films; I can count on one hand the number of newer horror movies that I have any use for. I am a fan of the original Halloween, and of several of its sequels. When I heard that Rob Zombie was remaking this movie I could not help but be apprehensive, and not in a good way. I had already seen House of a Thousand Corpses, and The Devil’s Rejects, and was not impressed. The former was much-anticipated, even by me, and so it was perhaps destined to be disappointing. The later attempted to cast a family of psychopaths as the protagonists (a concept which I still cannot wrap my head around), and was overlong. The entire tone and atmosphere of these films, coupled with extreme sadism and violence presented as commonplace, were to me somewhat nauseating, and I could not but conclude that Zombie’s grim, dirty, vicious, over-sexed worldview was not for me. And so I did not watch the Halloween remake; I didn’t watch it, and didn’t watch it, and then I did.

I think it was because I noticed that they had made a sequel to it. I remember thinking, “hum, I wonder if that’ll be better than the first one?”, and then I remembered that I hadn’t actually watched the first one and started feeling somewhat guilty for being presumptuously negative. And so I watched it. I had already read synopses of it and so I knew that Zombie had delved into the private life of Michael Myers to reveal the dysfunction and abuse that created the monster. And indeed he did.

The movie is only about 2 hours long (though it feels much longer) and the first half is this explanation of the horror that created the psychopath Michael Myers. In my opinion the entire first half is (aside from being uberviolent and sickeningly twisted) totally unnecessary. Practically the whole world knows that childhood abuse can cause people to become violent, mentally damaged adults – it happens, and the details of countless cases of this are unfortunately nothing new. The concepts of nature versus nurture are quite well explored. Another famous movie psycho, Jason Voorhees, is a good example. A disfigured little boy who is tormented by his peers, is presumed dead, but is actually alive and after the added trauma of seeing his mother killed, seeks revenge.

For me, part of what made Michael Myers so scary was the idea that he was just evil, just crazy. One day he was just a normal little kid, and the next thing you know he snapped and killed his sister. Unpredictable, unexplainable, and totally terrifying. Zombie’s Michael is practically the opposite. While he is scary because of his propensity for violence, he is predictable and explainable. And that ruins a lot of the premise for me.

I think that Rob Zombie (who directed and wrote this film) probably thought he was adding something to the plot of this story by giving us insight into Myer’s childhood, and by creating a subplot involving his baby sister who he comes back to town looking for. But I really don’t think so. Again, part of what was scary about the events in the original was that Michael could have picked anyone to latch onto and stalk. Jamie Lee Curtis wasn’t his sister or his old babysitter or anyone to him – just an unfortunate who caught his eye. She could have been anyone (even you or me!).

I think that adding to the plot of a horror film like this is wasted energy, since the plot is not, and has never been, the draw of horror films. And in most cases (including this one, and the recent Friday the Thirteenth remake) I think it ultimately takes away from the action and the fear factor.

Aside from the aforementioned plot trouble, this movie again suffers from the same afflicted tone, atmosphere and worldview as Zombie’s other movies. Indeed I would argue that the psychopathic killer and his exploits are not even the scariest or most disturbing elements of the film, so overshadowed are they by the rest of the sick, twisted world of Rob Zombie.

Not to seem overly critical I feel that I should point out that there are several good points to this movie. Here they are: the effects are great-looking [little to no CGI here], Malcolm McDowell is right on point as Dr. Loomis, Dee Wallace is always a great addition to a horror film, I just plain like to watch Danny Trejo, and the soundtrack is pretty great [which is true also of Zombie’s other movies].

And there you have it. I think this movie sucks. I wish that I had never seen it (I had to re-watch Hot Tub Time Machine just to scrub the memory of it off my psyche). I would suggest that Rob Zombie stop making movies, but that would be awfully selfish of me. I’ll just stop watching them.

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