Reviewed by: Dr. "Doc" McPhearson
Directed by Rob Zombie
TRICK OR SUCK!
Yes, I know. The title to this article is a terrible attempt, neither funny nor effective, devoid of any effort both in terms of logistics and creativity. In other words, it is exactly like the film I am reviewing today: Rob Zombie's butchered remake of the horror classic "Halloween".
John Carpenter's original was called a "tour de force", "an absolutely merciless thriller", and "a completely immersive, visceral dynamo of stylistic belly-jiggling and spine-shivering." And while I do try extremely hard to avoid comparing films to the originals or the books from which they are adapted, with this particular one, such assessments are unavoidable.
The trailer for this film proclaimed quite proudly the statement "Rob Zombie unleashes an extreme vision of terror and reinvents a legend", and to be quite honest, I got a little excited. Honestly, I watched the promos, and a little bit of pee came out. I say that not to get graphic, but to explain to you that my expectations were actually quite good; I was looking forward to being scared out of my mind. I'm not even that big of a horror fan, but I like to be petrified as much as the next. And yet, having seen the picture now, I realize that, by saying that Rob Zombie "reinvents a legend", they actually meant that he just rewrote the first half of the film.
The movie opens with a younger Michael Myers (little Daeg Faerch), ten years old. He wears a freaky-looking clown mask (he apparently has a fetish for covering up his face... therapy, anyone?). In one hand, he holds his pet rat; in the other, a small knife. The next time we see him, he is washing blood off of his hands, and the rat is nowhere to be seen. "What's the matter, baby?" his mom asks. "[Rat's name] died," Michael replies. "I had to flush him."
For the first thirty to forty-five minutes, Rob Zombie takes his time trying to explain why Michael is the way he is; and to be quite honest, the explanations don't satisfy. He wears masks because he thinks he's ugly, he kills things because it makes him feel superior, and he goes wild one night and kills three people for... uh... well, we never really know why. Oh yeah! I remember now: because they are 'meanie faces'. Michael is then arrested, and thrown into a psych ward, where a Dr. Samuel Loomis (Malcolm McDowell of "A Clockwork Orange") continuously visits him, trying to look into the mind of this demented child, but eventually decides to step off for a while and write a book about him instead.
17 years later, however, Myers gets fed up with incarceration, goes on a rampage, and kills several of the prison wardens before breaking out and fleeing back to his hometown of Haddenfield, with only one thing in mind: finding his little sister. Why? Who knows? Does he want to kill her, the last of his bloodline? Does he want to run away with her to make sanctuary? Does he just want to check up on her and make sure she uses protection when out with the boys? I don't know, and I don't think Rob Zombie does either.
And that's only the first half of the film; the second is made up of nothing more than mindless killing after mindless killing after mindless killing after... you get the picture. And not even the murders are satisfying. After being stabbed, almost every victim gets their own little 'crawl away from the killer in desperation' moment, only to have Michael come up behind them and finish the job.
Oh, and speaking of Michael... from the time he escapes from the mental facility to his final scene in the film, the masked monster doesn't say a word. Not a darned thing. It's as if Zombie humanized him in the movie's first act, only to later transform him back into the faceless death-dealer from the other eight "Halloween" movies that we are all familiar with. So much for giving him a back-story we could almost sympathize with, Rob; way to waste your time with that one, bub.
To say the acting is bad is an understatement... actually, describing it as such is almost a blessing, because it undermines the fact that almost no one in the cast actually acts, instead just reading their lines off glibly (and no, I don't mean that in a good way). In fact, one character's death (the psych ward janitor Ismael Cruz, played by Danny Trejo) almost brought tears to my eyes... not only because he was the only character I could actually begin to sympathize for, but also because he was the only actor in the entire cast who actually seem to know what he was doing. And when he was bumped off, well, the rest of the 'acting' brought a different kind of tear to my eye.
Last year, I gave the title of Worst Movie of the Year to another little horror remake named "Black Christmas". This year, I think that title goes to Rob Zombie's 'reinvention' of the legendary horror blockbuster of the 70's. Here, the director attempted to put method behind the madness... but in doing so, he only made the pay-off, the string of murders in the second half, that much more unintentionally hilarious.
I could easily make some trick-or-treat analogies right now, saying something like, I expected a nice terrifying bag of candy corn that ended up sucking as badly as a razor blade in a caramel apple, or some clever little thing like that. But instead, I will suffice, and simply state: This is the most terrible piece of shlopp (censored for the children) I have seen this year, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.
1 out of 10
leg·end - [lej-uhnd] -n
(1) a nonhistorical or unverifiable story handed down by tradition from earlier times and popularly accepted as historical.
clas·sic - [klas-ik] -a
(1)of the first or highest quality, class, or rank
In layman's terms, "no touchie" and "no remakie"... you only end up making a fool of yourself. Rob Zombie can concur with that.
copyright (c) 2007, Dr. "Doc" McPhearson