The Movie Waffler Waffleween: Halloween (2007) | The Movie Waffler

Waffleween: Halloween (2007)

Directed by: Rob Zombie
Starring: Scout Taylor-Compton, Malcolm McDowell, Tyler Mane, Daeg Faerch, Sheri Moon Zombie, William Forsythe, Danielle Harris, Kristina Klebe, Danny Trejo, Bill Moseley, Tom Towles

Rob Zombie reimagines Carpenter's classic.
By 2007, a host of classic horror movies had been given the remake treatment. A small few were worthwhile ("Dawn of the Dead", "The Hills Have Eyes"), many were pointless ("The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", "Psycho"), but most were just plain awful ("The Fog", "The Amityville Horror"). Fans of John Carpenter braced themselves for the inevitable remake of his 1978 classic and when it was announced that Rob Zombie would write and direct, the prospects looked bleak. With his previous films, "House of a Thousand Corpses" and "The Devil's Rejects", the rock-star turned director had shown no evidence that he could come remotely close to making anything resembling a watchable motion picture. Few were surprised when his "Halloween" turned out to be a cinematic travesty.

Zombie is no more a film-maker than Spielberg is a rock-star. His take on Carpenter's masterpiece isn't so much a film as the back page of a teenage sociopath's maths book brought to life. Not content with delivering a terrifying slasher movie, (as if he'd be capable), the cretin decided he'd delve into what turns a young boy into a psychopath. The first half of the movie, yes, the entire first half, is devoted to Myer's childhood. Seems it wasn't the supernatural forces of ancient Ireland that influenced young Michael, no, it was the fact that his Daddy was an alcoholic redneck and his mother a stripper. If a film-maker wants to make a treatise on nature versus nurture that's fine but don't hijack a much loved franchise to deliver your half-baked psychology lesson.

If one word can describe Zombie's style, it's "ugly". Every character, even Dr. Loomis (McDowell), looks like a guest on Jerry Springer. Like Michael Haneke and Lars Von Trier, Zombie seems intent on making us feel bad for enjoying horror movies by giving us a story completely devoid of what's generally considered a good time. What those film-makers fail to get through their judgmental heads is that we don't get off on the violence, we get off on the fear. The ascent of the rollercoaster is far scarier than the descent, it's the fear of what's around the next corner, what's making those noises behind that door. The real terror isn't on the screen, it's in the thick fog of our psyches. The dentist's chair is never as terrifying as the dental appointment.

Unlike those other two directors, Zombie is incapable of making a good film in any genre, and certainly not horror. Because it relies so much on lighting, framing and camera movement, horror is the most cinematic of all genres and requires real talent to make it work. Here the lighting is abominable, the framing nonsensical, and movement consists solely of shakey-cam. For some bizarre reason we are constantly treated to the backs of character's heads rather than their faces. The director doesn't seem to understand that acting is in the eyes, not the ears. Zombie, arrogant in the way only musicians can be, possesses zero talent as a film-maker. Somehow he got to make a sequel to this mockery of cinema.

Eric Hillis