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A SIERRA NEVADA
(MICHAEL MADSEN & JOHN SAVAGE).
Wow! Where to begin? There have been a lot of HALLOWEEN movies but this has to be the absolute worst of them all.
So let's set the stage for folks who have never visited here before. Unlike a vocal number of Horror fans, I've got no problem with a director tackling an old Horror classic for a remake. And when it happens, the last thing I want to see is someone who just copies the old one (PSYCHO ? Ugh!). The best remakes are the ones that re-imagine the whole story like INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS , John Carpenter's THE THING, and DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004).
So when Rob Zombie said he was going to do a different kind of HALLOWEEN, I put my thoughts of Tim Burton's PLANET OF THE APES disaster in the back of my head and prepared to give Rob a chance. After all, I liked HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES, and I really liked THE DEVIL'S REJECTS. I own the DVDs in fact.
Captain Spaulding: Knock Knock!
HA! Great stuff!
What awful freaking writing!
What awful freaking directing!
What awful freaking acting!
I know for a fact that William Forsythe (THE DEVIL'S REJECTS) is a damn good actor, and I've got no problem with an actor going over the top and chewing up the scenery. But Forsythe, in the role of abusive boyfriend Ronnie White, just drops a turd in this flick.
The only thing that Sherri Moon (HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES, THE DEVIL'S REJECTS, GRINDHOUSE), as Michael Meyers Mom, Deborah, is supposed to do the entire time is bitch, scream, and cry. The hell? Ronnie Blakely in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (which gets a visual reference here) was given more range than that (she couldn't act, but she was given the opportunity).
Big Sister Judith (Hannah Hall: THE VIRGIN SUICIDES), is the typical cheap script snarky sister and that's as far as she goes.
Then there is Michael-the-child himself, played with amazing subtlety by Daeg Faerch (FREAKSHOW). Of course, half the time Daeg is supposed to wear a mask. Michael is already torturing and killing small animals when we meet him, so he's not a sympathetic character to latch onto. Actually, no one in this movie is.
True, Michael gets picked on by bullies, but he's a bully himself, picking on those weaker than him, so who cares about his hurt feelings? Michael does his inevitable killing spree which contains a laughably memorable scene that everyone - even the people who profess to like this puke - admit was pretty bad. When the song "Love Hurts" plays, the audience either chuckles or groans derisively - we weren't supposed to do either.
I know where Rob was trying to go with act one, and if he was Quentin Tarantino he might have pulled it off. Had I not seen this movie and only heard that Rob was going to do this, I would've expected him to make it work.
No such luck.
Act one is so bad that if this was the Jerry Springer Show, at the mid-point Jerry would try to give it a kick by bringing out the flamboyant transvestite.
In act 2, Michael is sent away to an insane asylum to be cared for by Dr. Loomis (Malcolm McDowell: CAT PEOPLE, FIRESTARTER 2: REKINDLED) who proceeds to crash and burn where Michael is concerned. From the start of the film, a big deal was made of how Michael is always wearing a mask. In the first and second acts his Mom Deborah, begs Michael to take off the mask. Michael even says that he wears the mask to "hide my ugliness."
Michael is IN the hospital for murdering a mess o' people and they still let him wear the mask!
So what does Dr. Loomis do when he takes the case?
He lets Michael continue wearing his masks.
What's more, Michael, when confined to his room - which is often - does nothing but obsessively make more masks to the point that these things festoon his room (another unintended derisive chuckle and groan from the audience). Yet none of this gets through Dr. Loomis' thick skull, that one of the first things he should do, is not FEED Michael's psychosis: don't let Michael wear masks. So Michael gets worse. Isn't Michael there to get psychiatric treatment?
When I was going to college, as a required course, I took entry level psychology. At just the entry-level stage I learned that no doctor at any hospital works in isolation with their patients. Doctors are constantly checking each other's work, evaluating, determining progress of the patient(s), determining the progress of the assigned doctor WITH the patient.
But you know what?
If I never went to college, if I only watched movies like One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, THE EXORCIST, I Never Promised You A Rose Garden, or any number of the various hospital television shows then, despite all of the Hollywood missteps and wrong-headed approaches about how hospitals work, I would still have come away with the over-riding knowledge that, whatever else, the hospital and doctors check each other's work. Even the manipulative head Doctor Chilton at the maximum security loony bin in THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, where the patients are put away for life, had people he had to answer to and it made sense that he would! But not Dr. Loomis. The other doctors only engage in conversation long enough to make their cameo appearance.
Then Michael slaughters a nurse, and STILL no one at the hospital OR AT THE STATE LEVEL does anything!
Is there an investigation?
Does one of his state appointed peers say, "Hey Doc, let's take a look at your files there."
No! Michael kills an employee and all that happens is he gets sent back to his UN-locked room to make more masks or just wander about among the staff as he likes.
Then Dr. Loomis, who has tried nothing, abandons all hope for Michael, writes a book about his experiences with him, and goes off on a book signing tour. Does the state assign another Doctor to take over?
NO, he's left to the sympathies of one of the janitors who doubles as a hospital orderly, Ismael (Danny Trejo: FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, ANACONDA, FROM DUSK TILL DAWN 2, THE DEVIL'S REJECTS, HOOD OF HORROR, GRINDHOUSE).
So it's act three and fifteen years later.
Like Loomis, I've abandoned all hope. In this last 40 minutes of the film, everyone who has seen the original HALLOWEEN will remember this condensed version. Nobody gets enough depth of character to matter at all, though Dee Wallace (CRITTERS, THE FRIGHTENERS, VOODOO MOON, ABOMINABLE), as Cynthia Strode manages to make us feel for her character by sheer strength of acting alone. I hope Zombie appreciated her effort. Tyler Mane (THE X-MEN) does a superb job as the unstoppable killing machine, grown Michael, but he might as well be playing Hamlet in a sewer by this time.
Oh, and in one part of the movie, Michael Meyers drives around in an 18 wheeler (Lorry to some of you). Now it was a stretch to figure out how Michael Meyers in the original HALLOWEEN learned how to drive a car, but we can imagine that, just maybe, he watched enough TV to figure out how to drive an automatic. You put it in "D" and away you go. But I don't care if you are nuts for Smokey and the Bandit movies and B.J. and the Bear, there is no freaking way that Michael could have learned how to drive a twelve shift 18 wheeler semi-truck. That involves way more than watching TV or even reading a book. That involves learned motor skills.
Normally cameos in a movie are fun, when it's a good movie. In this one they are a cheap gimmick to up the dismal appeal. Ugh. So now for a quick rundown of the trivial pursuit, Name That Cameo game, which permeates this film like a bad odor. If the rest of the movie is a car wreck, this last bit is someone setting the wreck on fire - then shitting on it.
Syball Danning (HOWLING II, GRINDHOUSE) plays Nurse Wynn.
!!!UNFAIR RACIAL CLICHÉ ALERT!!!:
Big Joe comes onto the scene bee-boppin', shuckin' & jivin' with his groovy Huggy Bear street lingo all the way to the rest room and even while he's taking a crap.
Continued at UNFAIR RACIAL CLICHE ALERT/Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN. But beware! Spoilers live there.
Scout Taylor Thompson plays Laurie Strode, but that's a throw-away role in this movie, especially after she uttered the third unintentional laugh in the picture.
Good luck finding a diamond in this crap.
One Shriek Girl. KILL IT BEFORE IT BREEDS!
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