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DVD Review

Halloween (2007)


Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Sheri Moon Zombie, Tyler Mane, Scout Taylor-Compton and Daeg Faerch
Paramount Home Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 18
Available 28 April 2008

After brutally killing his older sister and her boyfriend, as well as his step-father on Halloween, the young Michael Myers is institutionalised. Assigned to his case is Doctor Loomis, who patiently studies the boy but, after years of sessions, sees Myers ultimately regress into himself, and finally admits there is nothing more he can do. After writing a book on the subject, he retires. However, when the institution informs Loomis that the now adult Myers has escaped, the doctor feels obliged to become involved once again - for he instinctively knows where the masked Michael Myers has gone. It's Halloween and Michael Myers has returned to Haddonfield to find the baby sister he left behind. Teenage babysitter Laurie Strode is about to experience a Halloween she'll never forget...

I'm an avid follower of writer/director John Carpenter's work, and his original version of Halloween from 1978 is among my favourite films of all time. So you can probably guess that my feelings about this modern remake are less than complimentary. It really tries to work, but packs none of the spark or style when viewed in comparison.

Ex-White Zombie musician turned director Rob Zombie, has dirtied-up this concept for a contemporary audience, but does that audience really want more blood and vigorous violence instead of mood and suspense? There has been an attempt to flesh-out the established story, with the first thirty minutes of the plot covering young Michael's slump into 'evil' compassionless oblivion. The idea of Myers making and wearing a multitude of various masks so that his face is nearly always covered is a fascinating obsession to incorporate into the lore, and goes some way to explaining why he dons the now famous white mask when he returns to his home town.

However, seeing his cruelness to others and his torture of animals - which is a notable early sign of psychosis - somehow makes the figure more human, rather than less so. By this I mean Myers becomes one of many Psychotics with the same tendencies, instead of the cold, faceless, relentless monster he was in the classic original, upon which this is based. The fact that the maskless adult Michael wears his long hair down over the front of his face Sadako-style only marginally dehumanises him towards 'the shape' of the first film.

Zombie goes with the storyline premise introduced in Halloween 2, that Laurie Strode is Michael's younger sister, whom he has returned to kill. This idea was made even more ridiculous in the sixth Halloween film, but was completely absent from the first. Carpenter simply had Myers returning to his home town, watching and killing the promiscuous youths. This randomness makes more sense, otherwise Michael might logically appear in Haddonfield, kill Laurie and disappear again.

Although Carpenter's famous music themes are heavily utilised by Zombie in this film, they fail to lift a remake which is devoid of suspense. The lighting was instrumental in the original, with the faintest outline of the white mask showing in the darkness behind a victim, and long-shots used to great effect, for example, when the seemingly dead Myers sits slowly bolt-upright in the background. In this one even little nuances copied from the 1978 film are inexplicably rushed.

So, in conclusion a new, younger viewing audience might be intrigued by this movie, but for me it loses much by its inattention to important details. Even such dignitaries as Malcolm McDowell, Brad Dourif and Dee Wallace fail to lift it.

Extras consist of a commentary by Rob Zombie; deleted scenes and an alternate ending (it's interesting to note that a deleted scene features Adrienne Barbeau, one time wife of John Carpenter) The Many Masks of Michael Myers featurette; and a trailer.


Ty Power

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