Halloween (2007) - Unrated Director's Cut
|Dimension || Unrated - 121 minutes - $29.95 || December 18, 2007|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2007-12-10|
Writer(s): Rob Zombie (screenplay); John Carpenter and Debra Hill (1978 screenplay)
Cast: Malcolm McDowell, Sheri Moon Zombie, Tyler Mane, Scout Taylor-Compton, Brad Dourif, Danielle Harris, William Forsythe, Daeg Faerch, Hanna Hall, Kristina Klebe, Danny Trejo, Skyler Gisondo, Dee Wallace
Theatrical Release Date: August 31, 2007
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“These eyes will deceive you, they will destroy you. They will take from you, your innocents, your pride, and eventually your soul. These eyes do not see what you and I see. Behind these eyes one finds only blackness, the absence of light, these are of a psychopath.”
Halloween is a classic that spawned 7 sequels spanning 25 years, the last being Halloween: Resurrection in 2002. I actually find the character of Michael Myers more interesting than Jason or Freddy Kruger. I don’t know why, however. He doesn’t talk. He just goes from place to place and slashes people but for some reason the mystique fascinated me. Now the series gets a reset with Rob Zombie, whom some consider the new horror master, at the helm.
Unlike some remakes, I applaud Zombie for trying something different. He gives Michael Myers an origin, shows his relationship with Dr. Loomis, his escape and eventual return home to Haddonfield, Illinois. At the same time I applaud the change, the final product didn’t do anything for the character and what remains on the screen are some great scenes, but the overall story felt unnecessary.
MINOR SPOILERS – If you’ve seen the original, read on, otherwise RENT THE DAMN thing before watching this one!
The story starts (of course) on Halloween inside the Myers household. Mother (Moon Zombie) is making breakfast while her a-hole boyfriend (Forsythe) sits and berates her. Sexy sister Judith (Hall) also gets some crap from the a-hole while young Michael Myers (Faerch) wears a clown mask we all know and love from the original (and also receives his abuse). At school, Myers gets bullied around and made fun of because his mom is a stripper. Later, a dead cat is discovered in his backpack along with pictures of the mutilation. So, the kid likes to hurt small animals, has anger problems and lives in a chaotic house. You think these are the ingredients for a growing psychopath?
I won’t bore you with the details any fan already knows. Little Myers kills the a-hole, his sister and her boyfriend before becoming incarcerated in a sanitarium. There he meets Dr. Loomis (McDowell) where, over the course of 15 years, Michael descends into madness...
In present day Haddonfield we meet Laurie Strode (Taylor-Compton), Annie (Harris, who was also in Halloween 4 and 5 playing Laurie’s daughter), and Lynda (Klebe). The best friend trio has plans for Halloween night... well, two of them do at least. From here, the remake doesn’t deviate much from the original until the climax, an element I’m not going to spoil here, only to say I was impressed with the change Zombie did.
Again, Rob Zombie does a great job in reinventing the Michael Myers character but the additional material with Myers in the institution or his sessions with Loomis just weren’t that interesting to watch. For 45-minutes, the movie seems to drag on and doesn’t add anything to the character. Except for one scene in which the young Myers lashes out at his mother, overlaid with the sounds of a siren, is the only scene worth anything. After that, the movie follows the basic blueprint of the original with little tweaks like modernizing Laurie, changing locations, revealing a plot point not shown until Halloween II and a climactic scene that certainly caused a ruckus amongst fans.
The cast is good with young Scout Taylor-Compton doing a good job, Tyler Bates has that Michael death stare down, Brad Dourif plays the town sheriff, Danielle Harris and Kristina Klebe as Laurie’s best friends and finally Malcolm McDowell as Dr. Loomis. Focusing on McDowell, the guy certainly has something else going on behind those eyes, but his Dr. Loomis just didn’t do it for me. He plays the role very well but like the additional story behind Myers rising as a killer, it just didn’t seem needed.
Halloween isn’t a typical remake on one hand, but on the other the new ground it breaks isn’t really worth it. Compared with the 1978 original, which I recently watched only a couple of weeks ago, it’s a good horror movie but nothing great. What makes the original so great is that mystery on who Myers is and how he became a psychopath. You let your imagination do the work rather than let it be told to you.
Now, Zombie’s take on Halloween has merits but if you haven’t seen the 1978 classic, please do so before trying this one out. I don’t feel it bastardized John Carpenter’s vision as some fans like to suggest but taking a step back, anything new seems to be meandering and what works is just a rehash of the original.
Director’s Commentary – Rob Zombie sits down for an informative commentary, though at times he seems a bit bored. Having never listened before, this could be his normal demeanor. His comments vary from set locations (using two houses for the Meyer’s residence) or the different supporting characters who have worked with him before. He also points out scenes he added back in from the theatrical version. Just as good as deleted scene markers, I guess.
Deleted Scenes (21:57) – 17 scenes are offered up with an optional commentary with Zombie. Nothing outstanding in any of these and Zombie doesn’t have a lot to say except that they weren’t needed in the final release, in fact a couple of them he knew wouldn’t make it.
Alternate Ending (3:46) – Again available with optional commentary, this ending was simply dumb. The reason for the new ending the original release, as Zombie explained, was to give Laurie more to do as he felt her presence wasn’t as much as he wanted.
Bloopers (10:16) – This lengthy blooper reel features your usual line flubs but unique is the craziness Dowell brought onto the set, especially a long rambling between him and Dourif. Not funny ha-ha, but funny wow, he’s kind of crazy funny.
The Many Masks of Michael Myers (6:27) – This is a look at the collection of masks used in the movie from his clown mask in the beginning to the hundreds that filled his cell at the nut house. It culminates to his famous one.
Re-Imagining Halloween (19:04) – This 3-part making-of featurette is good and gives a look at how the movie was made from the origins, the production design, makeup FX, props and wardrobe.
Meet the Cast (18:16) – Takes the viewer through just about every character with various cast and crew members talking about one another. Zombie explains his process of casting the actors, sometimes wanting to cast against type.
Casting Sessions (29:52) – 15 sessions are included with each actor reading a scene or two as they read for their parts. Interestingly, some of them read for other roles before being cast as someone else. For instance, Skylar Gisondo, who played Tommy Doyal, read for Young Mike Myers or Clint Howard read for the principal. Others include Scout Taylor-Compton, Danielle Harris, Kristine Klebe and Hanna Hall.
Scout Taylor-Compton Screen Test (7:47) – Not entirely interesting but it’s nice that it was included as it gives a look to us outsiders on how the casting process works.
Finally the theatrical trailer is also included.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
The movie is presented in its OAR, 2.35, anamorphic widescreen. This is a darker film (obviously) so there’s not much to judge here. Any colors look muted in some scenes and the darker one’s look perfect. When a film is this dark, one can usually spot grainy images, but nothing jumped out. Some standout moments include Michael returning home and finding his old mask. He holds it out against some outside light. This shot is very iconic (great for the trailers) and also looked nice on the small screen.
The only audio option is a Dolby Digital 5.1 track. Since this is a horror movie filled primarily with blood-curdling screams, there’s not much here. It does boom nicely with John Carpenter’s classic main theme met with a little bass behind it.
This version of Michael Myers and Halloween as a whole will not please some. Personally, I have no emotional connection with either. I really liked the original for its simplicity as we didn’t get to see why/how Myers became the way he was, and that made his presence ever so scary and a true boogeyman. What Rob Zombie does is good and bad. He did not merely do a shot for shot remake and instead slapped his own style to it. While it didn’t work very well, I think it was an interesting direction to go in. After the origins, it does get too much into the remake territory, however, and combined with a dull origin and a “been there, done that” middle, there was little that could save this one.
This “Two-Disc Special Edition” is filled with some good features. Nice to see that Dimension didn’t release a bare-bones version first only to follow it up in a few months with this unrated director’s cut.