Friday, October 26, 2012

31 Days of Halloween - Day 26 - Movie 1

Back in 2007 I watched Halloween (1978) as part of my Halloween countdown and compared it with the, then, new Rob Zombie remake. You can read that here, and may want to do so before continuing with this post, since it covers a lot of what I would have to say here now.

Today, I rewatched Halloween (2007) which is the much maligned Rob Zombie remake. My opinion has not changed significantly in the five years since I last saw it, except that I probably liked it a little more. It's not quite apples and oranges when it comes to comparing it to the original, but in many significant ways these are very different movies. I honestly have to say that much of the vehemence towards Zombie's remake is simply that it is a remake of a movie many consider to be sacred.

Unlike the clean, polite world that Carpenter's Halloween was set in, Zombie's version is dirty, ugly and populated by a lot of mean and damaged people struggling to get through day to day life where the creation of a monster like Michael Myers is inevitable. And here, he is a monster. To me, the 1978 Michael Myers was never particularly scary, or intimidating. He looked like an auto mechanic wearing a mask. He was clumsy, not too big, and didn't know how to hold a knife. I could have beaten him in a fight if it came down to it. The 2007 Michael Myers is brutal even as a ten year old boy, and far worse as a massive sized adult. Against him, nobody stands a chance, and he doesn't even grant mercy on the people who have treated him kindly. By understanding him as a kid he becomes sympathetic, even when he's fear inducing, and I think that sympathy carries through a bit even when he's an adult. This was once a regular kid whose environment finally caused his mind to snap into something that dished out the hurt that he was forced to feel every day. The violence is certainly mean and nasty, and some of these scenes seem to go on just a bit too long in order to make the pain and suffering on screen seem all the more real and upsetting.

The filmmaking itself is also sophisticated, and Zombie wisely plays with the audience by having Myers drop in and out of frame so that we're not really clear on just where he is, or how close. I maintain that this is a good movie, and is more sophisticated in its approach to the subject matter than the original.

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