Rob Zombie haunts John Carpenter's horror classic

Halloween

on August 31, 2007 by Annlee Ellingson
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Reinventing the franchise nearly 30 years after its debut, writer/director/producer Rob Zombie ( House of 1000 Corpses , The Devil's Rejects ) in broad terms has stuck to John Carpenter's original plot: After committing gruesome murders of members of his own family, disturbed 10-year-old Michael Myers (Daeg Faerch) is committed to an insane asylum. Seventeen years later (and now played by former pro wrestler Tyler Mane), he escapes and returns to his childhood home, where he terrorizes teenager Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) and her friends.

Where Zombie departs from its predecessor is also where he enhances it, providing the back story and psychological texture that contemporary audiences demand. Here, half of the movie explores what previously had just served as prelude—Michael's white-trash upbringing with a loving mom (Sheri Moon Zombie) who strips to pay the rent; drunk, crippled stepfather who heckles the boy mercilessly; slutty older sister; and a baby sibling he calls Boo. Also examined is Michael time spent in treatment with Dr. Loomis (Malcolm McDowell), where he grows into a silent giant who's developed a hobby making papier-mache masks. Collapsing the events of the first Halloween into the second half of his version, Zombie hits the highlights while adding just enough variation to still offer fans an element of surprise.

Adeptly packaged in all facets of production, Halloween is nicely cast with a combination of Zombie regulars, familiar faces and compelling newcomers and satisfyingly constructed with camerawork that heightens the suspense on the page. Significantly, in a year in which critical ink has flowed freely on the topic of torture porn, the violence here isn't gratuitous. Michael certainly leaves a mess in his wake, but the acts themselves—the stabbing, the gouging, the exploding—are, like the perpetrator, masked. The choice shows a restraint that may garner Zombie a well-deserved invitation into more mainstream filmmaking.
Distributor: Weinstein
Cast: Tyler Mane, Sheri Moon Zombie, Malcolm McDowell, William Forsythe, Hanna Hall, Daeg Faerch and Scout Taylor-Compton
Director/Screenwriter: Rob Zombie
Producers: Rob Zombie, Malek Akkad, Andy Gould and Andy La Marca
Genre: Horror
Rating: R for strong brutal bloody violence and terror throughout, sexual content, graphic nudity and language
Running time: 97 min.
Release date: August 31, 2007
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