Combustible Celluloid
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With: Malcolm McDowell, Tyler Mane, Daeg Faerch, Sheri Moon Zombie, Scout Taylor-Compton, Danielle Harris, Kristina Klebe, Brad Dourif, William Forsythe, Udo Kier, Lew Temple, Danny Trejo, Hanna Hall, Daniel Roebuck, Dee Wallace Stone, Pat Skipper, Skyler Gisondo, Jenny Gregg Stewart, Ken Foree, Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, Adrienne Barbeau, Leslie Easterbrook, Richmond Arquette, Clint Howard, Ezra Buzzington, Daryl Sabara, Courtney Gains, Max Van Ville, Adam Weisman, Sybil Danning, Micky Dolenz
Written by: Rob Zombie, based on a screenplay by John Carpenter, Debra Hill
Directed by: Rob Zombie
MPAA Rating: R for strong brutal bloody violence and terror throughout, sexual content, graphic nudity and language
Running Time: 109
Date: 08/31/2007

Halloween (2007)

1 Star (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Rob Zombie knows and loves horror films. Given that, it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect his new remake of Halloween to have some kind of expert enthusiasm, or at least some kind of subversive slant. How disappointing, then, to see a film as callous, noisy and stupid as any of the other horror remakes that have been cluttering up multiplexes as of late.

In John Carpenter's original Halloween (1978), the director spent about three minutes setting up the killer, Michael Myers (played by Daeg Faerch at ten and by Tyler Mane as an adult). Zombie's new film spends -- no joke -- at least 45 minutes doing the same, carefully going over every detail of his motivation, and in effect muddling it.

Even after wasting all that time, it's still not clear just what Michael is doing wreaking havoc in his hometown of Haddonfield, IL. Honestly, if any character in modern movies needs no motivation or explanation, it's Michael Myers, so why bother?

Likewise, the extra time spent setting up Michael leaves far less time for Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) and her teenage sex-kitten companions. The second half of the movie breezes through the killings with no emotional connection whatsoever. Zombie's movie is predictably quite a bit gorier than Carpenter's, but where Carpenter used creepy, gliding tracking shots and POV shots, Zombie goes with the usual jerky, hand-held stuff, all in close-up and much of it obscured.

All suspense is gone, and all that remains is Zombie's little tributes to his favorite actors, songs and movies. We get clips of The Thing from Another World (1951), White Zombie (1932) and House on Haunted Hill (1959) on television, and we hear snippets of Blue Oyster Cult's "(Don't Fear) The Reaper," which is also used in Carpenter's version.

The cast is a who's-who list of great "B" movie actors, but most of them are wasted on brief appearances with one or two lines. Only Malcolm McDowell brings something fresh to the role of Dr. Loomis, previously played by Donald Pleasence. An updated version of Carpenter's memorable score is used, so at least he got a paycheck out of it. Otherwise, it's a complete waste.

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