The tenth and final film in my Halloween film posts is about Rob Zombie’s 2007 remake of Halloween. While the original will pretty much always be the fan favorite (including mine), this film is so mesmerizing. It is a great take on the Michael Myers story, and I enjoy watching it almost as much as John Carpenter’s. Let’s talk about why.
The 2007 version of Halloween follows essentially the same story line as the original film. Michael Myers kills his sister at a young age and grows up to escape Smith’s Grove mental heath facility to return to Haddonfield, Illinois to wreak havoc. However, this film goes into much more detail about young Michael’s home life and his mental state as a child (and it is set in a more modern era–possibly 1990s). We see that Michael’s mother (played by Sheri Moon Zombie) is a stripper with an abusive boyfriend. His older sister is a typical “mean older sibling” with a grungy boyfriend. He has a younger sister he calls “Boo” who is really the only one he truly loves in the household. The film begins with Michael (Daeg Faerch) killing his pet hamster in his bedroom, followed by an unsettling and dysfunctional family breakfast. In the next scene at school, Michael is in trouble because a teacher found a dead cat in his backpack. This is where we find out that Michael is also bullied at school (on top of everything else). Our young psycho has had just about enough of these bullies, so he follows one of them into the woods after school and beats him to death with a large tree branch, all while wearing a clown mask. (It is Halloween day–gotta be festive.) That night, after trick-or-treating by himself (because his mom was out stripping and his sister was having sex with her boyfriend), Michael goes on a killing spree within his own house, murdering first his mom’s boyfriend, then his sister’s boyfriend, then his sister. The only one left alive is little “Boo.”
Young Michael is then sentenced to treatment at Smith’s Grove, where he is under the care of Dr. Sam Loomis (Malcolm McDowell). At first, Dr. Loomis is able to talk to Michael and seemingly make progress, but over time, the boy becomes more and more withdrawn. He spends most of his time making masks in his room to literally and figuratively hide himself from the world, and eventually he refuses to ever take off his masks. His mother still visits him regularly until one fateful day. A nurse says the wrong thing to Michael at lunch time, and he takes a fork and stabs her in the throat with it. After seeing her child commit murder once again, Deborah Myers falls deeper into depression and takes her own life.
What happened to little “Boo” (aka Angel Myers) at this point though? It turns out that she is none other than Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton), the protagonist for the rest of the film. She was adopted shortly after her mother’s suicide, but she is unaware of this fact, not knowing that she even has an older brother, let alone that he is a serial killer. Michael (now played by the towering wrestler Tyler Mane) escapes from Smith’s Grove and makes it back to Haddonfield, Illinois on Halloween day, leaving a trail of bodies in his wake. He systematically murders teen after teen until he finally finds Laurie. It turns out he doesn’t want to kill her–he wants a family reunion. She, of course, doesn’t understand this, and she stabs this man who has so brutally murdered all of her friends. This enrages him, and he decides that he does need to kill his little sister after all. She ends up getting away from him with the help of Dr. Loomis, but Michael manages to get to her again. The film ends with Laurie shooting Michael in the face after having fallen out of a second story window during a fight with him. She is screaming and covered from head to toe in blood.
I thoroughly enjoyed this film because it took a deeper look at something that I really wanted to know about but wasn’t covered in the original film–the back story of young Michael. What was Michael Myers like as a child? What provoked him? Where did it begin? This Halloween answers that question plus so much more. Looking at his home life, one might wonder if he could have ever turned out “normal,” even if he didn’t have homicidal tendencies. The psychological impact of his upbringing did nothing to help his underlying violent urges.
Zombie’s Halloween is also so incredibly brutal. Everything is gritty and dirty, and the characters are raw and so deeply flawed (every one of them, including Laurie). Every murder is so violent and so “real,” it almost seems like you can feel what is happening on the screen within your own body. Not many horror films can do this, so this is a great accomplishment in the cinematography aspect of the film. It is very well crafted in that regard.
I know that this film is not everyone’s “cup of tea” so to speak, but I believe that it adds some great aspects to the Halloween story. I also enjoy Rob Zombie’s style of film, which, I am well aware, is not widely popular among general audiences because of the realism and harsh brutality. That is what makes this film special to me though–it gives you something that others cannot and will not deliver. So if you’re not squeamish or easily offended, watch the 2007 remake of Halloween this Halloween!
(Thank you for going with me on this journey of Halloween-themed films! I’ve loved writing about them!)