Dir: Rob Zombie
Star: Scout Taylor-Compton, Malcolm McDowell, Tyler Mane, Sheri Moon Zombie
The key difference is that much more focus here is put on Michael Myers. We get his backstory, including his hellishly dysfunctional family, and Myers’ fondness for torturing animals. After he has killed his mother, father and elder sister [rather than just the last-named], there are scenes in the asylum as Loomis (McDowell) tries to pry open his mind, and the suicide of his mother after he kills a nurse. This all combines to round out his character; the original started with his first murder, and little or no explanation for why he is “purely and simply evil”. Here, he is almost sympathetically-portrayed, and that is something of a double-edged sword. While it does give Zombie the chance to develop the remake into its most interesting areas, they make it harder to agree when Laurie says, “It was the boogeyman,” since Myers is depicted more as a textbook psychopath than a semi-supernatural entity.
Credit to Zombie for keeping a lot of the original dialogue and, I’m pleased to say, the music, which works every bit as well here as in the original. I was also impressed by the beautifully self-referential choice of a Michael Myers mask as the one of choice by… Michael Myers [though I was hoping he’d pick up and try on a hockey-mask, before throwing it away in disgust]. However, for all his attributes, McDowell is no Pleasence, and Taylor-Compton definitely no Curtis: as a result, the extended stalk-and-slash into which the film heads is significantly less effective – as in Zombie’s previous films, he goes on longer than needed for best effect. I’m curious about the appearance of Udo Kier in what only amounts to a brief cameo, and imagine there were additional scenes featuring him that ended up cut out, perhaps for reasons of pacing, and that aspect is generally better here. All told, it’s definitely a cut above the average horror remake, and would stand well enough on its own. Watched immediately after the original, however, it would take a brave man to claim it was as good. I am not that man.