And Now, the End is Nigh
When I started watching the Halloween series I was prepared for some surprises, the biggest of which has got to be how good Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers is. Outside of Season of the Witch, it is easily my favorite of the sequels and I lament the fact that the Thorn storyline wasn’t continued in future sequels. After Halloween: Reserection ended the original series with a laughable thud, I can understand why the studio wanted to restart the series fresh. Which brings us to Rob Zombie.
I’m going to level with you; there isn’t a current horror film director I loathe more than Rob Zombie. I count House of 1000 Corpses as the worst movie I have ever sat through in a theater and The Devil’s Rejects ruined any amount of credibility it had going for it by turning the villains of the film into heroes. Rob Zombie wants to believe so badly that he is making deep, visceral horror movies and he fails on all accounts. The only thing that he has going for him is a decent look to his films, which is probably just a side effect of hiring good collaborators. He needs to save his money and hire a writer because his dialogue might be the worst I’ve ever heard outside of porno movies and DTV schlock.
So to say that I had high hopes for the Halloween remake he was directing is a bit of an overstatement. Although not necessarily angry that someone was remaking Halloween I really felt like they were hiring someone thoroughly unsuited to the task, although in Rob Zombie’s defense he had already tried to remake The Texas Chain Saw Massacre with House of 1000 Corpses, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 with The Devil’s Rejects. The fact that both of these movies were horrible doesn’t matter to a coked out film producer; it just means they won’t have to spend too much money to get him.
Rob Zombie’s Halloween surprised me in my initial watch in 2007. I didn’t like it at all but I found it to be incredibly boring, which is something I didn’t expect. By making Michael Myers a by the books serial killer, Rob Zombie managed to take any amount of fun out of the character. The first hour is a lame back-story of a dough-faced, ten-year old Michael Myers killing his family and being put in an institution; the last hour is a weak retelling of John Carpenter’s Halloween. I watched it once online and never thought much else about it.
Rob Zombie’s Halloween is so much worse the second time around than it is the first that it boggles my mind. The dialogue is some of the worst I’ve ever heard (“I’ll skull-fuck the shit out of you!”), the performances are across the board terrible (with Malcolm McDowell just barely beating out Sheri Moon Zombie for the worst), and it has zero scares. There is not a moment of this movie that is the least bit frightening, because it puts a real world serial killer into a world that is neither fantastical or realistic enough to matter.
The thing Rob Zombie does, in this and all his other movies, is create his fantasy world. It’s a world where all the women are strippers, all the men have long hair, all the teenage girls talk like they are in a terrible Cinemax after hours soft-core, and everyone is into b-movie schlock. To say that his style is an acquired taste is putting it mildly and it just doesn’t work in the context of the Halloween series. My girlfriend asked me about ten minutes in if “this movie is for real?” Unfortunately for everyone, it is, and thanks to Satan, Rob Zombie got a chance to do a remake of a sequel just a couple of years later. Which brings us head long into Halloween 2.
Halloween 2 (2009)
The burning question in everyone’s mind after the first Rob Zombie Halloween was of course, “how is he going to cast his wife in the sequel? She died in the first one.” Well fear not fellow readers, in all his non-cleverness Rob Zombie found a way to bring her back…and it might be the dumbest single idea in any of his movies, and that’s saying a lot.
If Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake is chlamydia, then his remake of a sequel (Halloween 2) is all the STD’s rolled into one. This movie is so bad that it almost rolls back around to good. It is so bad, Uwe Boll has thanked Rob Zombie for the inspiration. It is so bad it makes me long for Halloween: Reserection and all of Busta Rhyme’s kung-fu fighting.
Halloween 2, or H2 as the super-chodes call it, is a movie that Rob Zombie probably thinks is deep. He apparently, or at least in the press running up to the release, claims that the movie is about how violence affects everyone it touches. Don’t let that shit fool you; it isn’t about that at all. As best I can tell, it’s about somebody giving a bad filmmaker who used to play in a moderately listenable band (White Zombie) carte blanche and a blank check, to do whatever he wanted to a successful horror franchise. And it fails on every conceivable level.
It’s two years later and Laurie Strode (played again by Scout Taylor Compton) is still “affected” by the violence of two years previously. Michael Myers (Tyler Mane) is inexplicably still alive, roaming around looking like Rob Zombie, occasionally brutally killing people while his mom (Sheri Moon Zombie) comes to him in visions standing beside a white horse. Dr. Loomis (Malcolm McDowell), also inexplicably still alive, has apparently turned into a quasi-celebrity true-crime author who goes on talk shows hosted by Chris Hardwick and bitches about tea. Oh yeah, and it’s Halloween of course so Michael Myers is going to come back and blah, blah, blah, who really cares anymore?
Halloween 2 is easily the worst of the series, and it is truly one of the stupidest movies I have ever watched. What makes it so bad you ask? Well, here’s just a few things to start with; the performances (outside of Brad Dourif and Danielle Harris) are laughable; there is no reason for Dr. Loomis to be in the movie besides to pad out the run time; there are no scares to be had; Michael teleports throughout the movie like Jason Voorhees; Rob Zombie’s dialogue is even worse in this one than in the first (watch any of the scenes with Laurie and her friends and try not to laugh); the ending is beyond ludicrous; it is incredibly brutal but none of the brutality resonates because you don’t care about the characters, and most of the people he kills are only on screen to up the body count; Laurie as played by Scout Taylor Compton and written by Rob Zombie is insufferable and probably the worst conceived character in the whole series.
By the end of Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2, I was ready for another reboot. A reboot of a reboot! Is Halloween 2 worse than House of 1000 Corpses? Although I still dislike House of 1000 Corpses more, for anyone else this one is probably worse. I would not recommend either of the Rob Zombie Halloweens to anyone. They are the worst of the series and make me look forward to the next Halloween that is currently in the works, if for no other reason than the fact that Rob Zombie will be nowhere near it.
Yeah, So Season of the Witch Is Still the Best Sequel
So what would I tell somebody about the Halloween franchise?
I would tell them that John Carpenter’s Halloween is the best horror film ever made. I would tell them that Halloween III: Season of the Witch is great no matter what they’ve heard. I would tell them Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers is good and laid the groundwork for what could have been a great new direction for the series. I would tell them that the other sequels are mostly bad but have their charms (particularly the original Halloween II). And I would tell them to avoid the Rob Zombie remakes at all costs; just pretend like they don’t exist and maybe one day they will go away.
As for me, I’m going to go watch some good horror movies to wash that terrible Zombie taste out my mouth.
Until next time…