For now, I’m skipping the 7th and 8th installment of the original Halloween series and moving directly into remake territory. Reason being, my wife wants to watch the 7th film with me, given its her favorite – so until I see it, I’m starting with Rob Zombie’s films…and coincidentally, movies that a ton of true fans hate with a passion. Watching the movie for the first time, I’m at a loss as to why anyone would really hate it. It’s basically the same exact movie as the original, just better. By better, I mean they added what I considered missing all along. So let’s get into it.
Since the plot is remarkably the same, I’m just going to copy-paste my original plot analysis from the original film:
“Halloween is about Michael Myers, a man that many years ago, murdered his own sister as a child. Locked away for years, he finally escapes and wreaks havoc on a random set of teenage friends, but not before stalking them first.” – Review of Halloween (1978)
Oh sorry, that’s not exactly accurate – this time, his victims aren’t as random as the original movie. This time, you more or less discover as the film moves along what you discover in the 1981 sequel – that (spoiler alert), Laurie is Michael’s younger sister. So his murderous rage is all about killing his family – that much you know about in the original series, but it’s more than that now, because you now understand on a deeper level how truly horrible his childhood was before he became the monster. In the original film, Loomis briefly explains how he intimately knows the extent of Michael’s evil ways – in this film, we see it. We see his abusive and repulsive family, his budding interest in death beginning with animals, his fascination with masks and self-loathing, and his untamable hatred towards the mental hospital but surprising respect towards Dr. Loomis. We see all of this because it takes its sweet time introducing us to his history that we needed the first time around!
More than that, it introduces us to more than just an idea that this man is evil, but also a physical representation of one heck of an intimidating beast of a man. Seriously, this guy is huge. He’s a hulk. The original film had a typical guy in a mask. Why was he wearing a mask? Because it’s Halloween, I guess…this movie explains everything. It took away all of my complaints about the first movie and then some. The best way I could describe this film is as if they took the script for the original movie, got a better director, got a better writer to rewrite certain scenes and introduce integral elements, got better actors, invested in better equipment and technology, and hired a different director of photography – because it actually shows us what we needed to see that the first film left out. In my honest opinion, this movie improved on just about every level.
However, where it didn’t improve – was partially in casting. I do believe this is the best guy to ever play Michael. It made the most sense, but the rest of the cast was either just fine, or a bad choice. Now, I like Malcom McDowell as much as the next guy, I think he’s a wonderful actor, but Dr. Loomis wasn’t the right choice for him. Loomis needs to be Michael’s opposite, someone caring and understanding but ultimately hurt when he can’t get through to Michael’s inner child. Donald Pleasence did a pretty good job in the first film, but McDowell looks and sounds too evil to play this type of role. It almost went to John Hurt, which would have been perfectly fine. I would have also accepted someone like Liam Neeson in that type of role. Not McDowell. The rest of the cast did a fine job at acting, but not so much at creating something memorable…and the original did when it came to Jamie Lee Curtis.
In my honest opinion Halloween was better than the original – but only on a technical level. It didn’t change anything about the series that was already good to begin with. It just improved on the parts that the original lacked. If you watched the rest of the classic series, you’ll notice that they’re always struggling to explain plot holes in order to make another movie – this movie mostly got that out of the way from the beginning as to not run around aimlessly trying to find direction. As far as horror goes, it’s a solid slasher film. The series has never really been a favorite of mine, but I definitely respect the film went with this remake. Check it out!