Saturday, October 20, 2007


Who's Afraid of Michael Myers?

I had not watched the original Halloween, so sadly I can't do a comparison of Rob Zombie's reimagination of the horror classic by John Carpenter, about a psychotic killer hell bent on a mindless rampage when he escapes from the mental institution, with his doctor hot on his heels. Michael Myers ranks up there with Freddy Krueger (of the Nightmare series on Elm Street), Jason (of Friday the 13th) and LeatherFace (of Texas Chainsaw Massacre), and of late, these characters have been on the recycling mill, with the latter having a prequel made, and the former two combining forces in a movie.

Wrestler Tyler Mane takes over the mantle of Myers, and Zombie's movie goes quite far back into the time when Myers was a kid, and how he got institutionalized. But it's more of an formality and an exercise in routine, as we've seen enough demonic kids (Omen, Joshua and also in Whisper, now showing in theatres) these days and nothing of similar nature would excite. But credit to Zombie, he goes for the jugular (pardon the pun) from the get go, and you get what you're looking for early in the movie (and there was one lady who deemed it too much, and walked out at this point).

However, the reimagination didn't steer clear of tried, tested and tired cliches, such as getting the same old blondes being targets (somehow, everyone here is spotting long hair, mostly blonde), plenty of gratuitous nudity where almost every actress here had their clothes shed, and you guessed it, everyone had sex on their minds, though we know what that means in the horror genre. But what was a tad interesting though, was that Zombie made you abhor the characters who die early in the film, thus providing you an avenue to cheer(!) Myers on as he dispenses his own brand of justice from a mean looking kitchen knife.

Classic characters from the original return, with Dr Samuel Loomis now played by Malcolm McDowell, and Brad Dourif having a bit role as Sheriff Lee Brackett. But the gem in the Halloween movie is who gets to play the role made memorable and propelled Jamie Lee Curtis as the Ultimate Scream Queen, and here, the part of Laurie Strode went to Scout Taylor-Compton, whom I thought didn't scream enough. Anyways, fans of the franchise would be pleased with Danielle Harris taking on a role in the movie, having appeared in two other movies in the franchise.

Some might say this is yet another mindless remake, giving opportunity for Rob Zombie to make yet another blood lust slasher movie. Definite must watch for fans though, as Zombie elevates Myers to almost god like invulnerability here, but almost(?) closes the door on possible sequels. Then again, no one can stop from being imaginative enough to yank Myers from Hell and back again, if the box office clamours for it. What is indeed a classic instead, is that unforgettable signature tune of the Halloween theme composed by John Carpenter himself, while not at all frightening, does give you a sense of impending doom.

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