A Halloween remake (ugh: “re-imagining”) directed by Rob Zombie could not POSSIBLY be bad, could it? No, but it could be average/unnecessary, and that’s unfortunately what it turned out to be. Zombie doesn’t bring his super-gritty foul drive-in approach down here, just serves up a pretty straightforward horror/slasher with maybe a good cast and some good violence, but with no strong artistic stamp or reason to exist.
Malcolm McDowell is at least better than the awful Donald Pleasence as Myers’ psychiatrist, Tyler “Sabretooth” Mane is a fine Michael and regular TV guest-star Scout Taylor-Compton does no harm as Laurie Strode. All the fun is with the side characters: Danny Trejo as the asylum’s janitor, Sheri Moon Zombie as Mrs. Myers. I missed a ton of cameos (Ken Foree, Mickey Dolenz, Udo Kier, Clint Howard, Sid Haig – what was I looking at??) but at least I recognized Dee Wallace (of The Frighteners and The Howling) even if I didn’t know from where. I’ve gotta pay more attention to Sheriff Brad Dourif – he’s been in a buncha movies I’ve enjoyed.
Tons of added back-story about Michael as a troubled young man does not help. I’m sure Zombie has seen plenty of horror sequels along with the originals, and so he oughtta know that eventually every monster gets a humanizing back story (Hellraiser 3&4, Elm Street 6, Phantasm 4, etc) and it never helps – it’s just an excuse to make another movie, a lure to fans that dilutes the mystery of the original concept. Not that the back story segments here are bad exactly, or that the Halloween series could be hurt by them. I’ve considered it to be one of the very worst horror series from part 4 onward, so this movie only helps the series as a whole. It’s just a shame to see the filmmaker behind “The Devil’s Rejects” doing uninspired junk like this in the first place, throwing down with the ceaseless-remake crowd with a dull entry like this one, not even hitting as high or as hard as “The Hills Have Eyes”, or making the Halloween franchise fun and interesting and inventive again like “Bride of Chucky” and “Freddy vs. Jason” and “Alien Resurrection” did. I thought the best, most thrilling part of Halloween was the use of the original theme music written by John Carpenter. Let’s hope that “The Haunted World of El Superbeasto” fares better.