Over the years, I’ve had the misfortune to like a lot of things that were just bad for me. Various elixirs, pharmaceuticals, tobacco products, McRib sandwiches, etc. Most of these bad things, I’ve managed to overcome.
However, I still enjoy really bad horror movies from time to time. My 2012 film reviews have been a little quality intensive, so I figured I’d take my back meds, fix a bowl of popcorn, and watch a bad movie.
Truth is, I really wanted to hate Rob Zombie’s reworking of the classic “Halloween.” There are a number of things worth hating, too.
Strangely enough, the best performances in “Halloween” are little kids.
Rob Zombie includes a backstory, explaining how the silicone chip inside little Michael Myers’ head got switched to overload. His stripper mom is hardly June Cleaver (har!). Mom (Sheri Moon Zombie) is shacked up with a worthless, sadistic, drunken, half-crippled loser (William Forsythe), who taunts young Michael (Daeg Faerch), and openly discusses the hotassedness of mom’s teenaged daughter (Hanna Hall). Michael gets taunted by mom’s loser boyfriend, tormented at school by central casting bullies, then loses his shit and kills a bunch of people.
He ends up committed to an asylum, where Malcolm McDowell is his shrink. The character’s name is Dr Loomis, but for cryin’ out loud, it’s Caligula and Alex the bad droog guy from “A Clockwork Orange.”
This one orderly named Manny Trillo treats Michael with respect. Damn. Wait. Manny Trillo was an All-Star second baseman for the Cubs and Phillies. The orderly’s name is Ismael, played nicely by Danny Trejo.
Pass 15 years, then murder, escape, murder, mask recovery, boobies, stalking, boobies, murder, boobies, murder, blah, blah, blah.
If I seem a bit less than thorough in describing and naming characters, it’s because it doesn’t matter. Nobody really lives long enough for their names to matter.
A few highlights: Daeg Faerch is creepy and brilliant as 10 year old Michael Myers. He has the toughest role in the film, really, and he aces it.
William Forsythe plays Michael’s mom’s cretinous boyfriend with gleeful scumbaggery. Some of the things he says are just so godawful that they become hilarious (think “Jerry Springer Show”).
I thought the kids playing the babysitter’s young charges, Tommy and Lindsey (Skyler Gisondo and Jenny Gregg Stewart) were really good as well. Honestly, they were the only two people in Halloween who seemed to be in synch with each other. You know. Like professional actors are supposed to do.
Brad Dourif is one of the most underrated actors in America today. He has given some amazing performances (Exorcist 3, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and one creepy-ass X-Files episode). Sadly, he’s wasted in this film. Not in a good way, like “He drank a lot of bay breezes and was acting while buzzed.” Wasted, like “he has 2 minutes of screen time.”
Malcom McDowell…I don’t see him as a shrink. He’s played too many loonies to pull off a psychiatrist.
Scout Taylor-Compton plays the shrieky, plucky babysitter. She shrieks a lot, and she’s plucky. She seemed pretty natural to me, and played nicely off of her young charges. Holy Bogart, though, once the shit started hitting the f*n, she went way too shrieky, like she held up the beta capsule, and became UltraMan, only a giant screaming girl instead of a taciturn superhero. I was yelling at my screen, “Michael, you idiot. Move to your LEFT! She’s behind that wall. Take Malcolm McDowell’s gun, and shoot her!”
Didn’t happen, though.
Mr Zombie wrote the screenplay, and there are some patches of less than awesome dialogue, but most of the lines could have worked with better acting. His direction was fine, too. Part of the scariness of John Carpenter’s “Halloween” was that we didn’t know what was happening. Now, we’ve been Jasoned and Halloweened and Freddy Kruegered to death. I liked the backstory on Michael Myers. Ultimately, though, I would rather have seen the ten year-old Michael keep killing people. (Seriously, that kid was scary good)
In reading about this film, I found a pretty crass comment somebody left following the A.V. Club review. “The only good thing about this is that we finally see that chick from The Virgin Suicides’ (breasts).”
I found more to like than just that. Or them, as it were. A suspense classic this ain’t.
However, for a Friday night on back meds, this Halloween entertained me well-enough. John Carpenter’s original has nothing to worry about, though.