by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

The Rob Zombie nasty, in-your-face remake of Halloween is not one of those Gus-does-Psycho-frame-by-frame recreations. It is a re-imaging of the story with a stronger focus on Michael's childhood, and as such it invites us to have some compassion or at least understanding for the killer who was just an aloof masked icon, almost a ghost, in the original film. Yes, he's still a vicious killing machine in the remake, but now we get some handle on why that is true.

Childhood life in Michael's white trash home consists of nothing but incessant screaming and arguing. School life isn't any better, since Michael gets bullied regularly and taunted about his promiscuous sister and his stripper mom. The cumulative effect of bullying from schoolmates and his lowlife stepfather finally causes Michael to snap one Halloween when he bludgeons a bully to death, then slaughters his stepfather. While he's settling his scores, he also kills his slutty sister and her boyfriend, for no other reason than that they are teens having sex in a slasher film. If you ever wake up and find yourself cast as a teenager in a horror film, make sure you're the one who wants to study for the priesthood.

Although Michael takes no responsibility for his crimes and even denies that he committed them, institutionalization seems to go along peacefully until Michael kills a member of the hospital staff, whereupon his mother realizes her sweet little boy will be in the loony bin for life, and kills herself. The loss of his beloved mother causes Michael to snap into yet another state of consciousness and he spends the next fifteen years as a virtual vegetable, working quietly in his room painting and gluing mask after mask.

That changes one night when two redneck warders rape a new female inmate in Michael's bed as he glues his masks together. Something about the violence of the incident rouses Michael from his virtual coma, and he goes on a killing spree inside the institution, then escapes and heads back to his childhood home, in search of the baby sister he can barely remember. She's now living as Laurie Strode, the original Jamie Lee Curtis character.

Once Michael arrives in his home town, the film assumes more or less the same direction as the original Halloween, with the madman killing promiscuous teenagers by the busload, coming ever closer to Laurie while the local sheriff and the psychiatrist try to figure out his next move.

One of Rob Zombie's most interesting casting choices was to use Danielle Harris as one of the horny teenagers who gets attacked. This provides some continuity with the earlier Halloween films, because Danielle played a pre-pubescent kid in Halloween 4 and 5. "Wait a minute," you might be thinking, "How could she have been 12 years old in 1989, and be playing a teenager in 2007?" Fair enough question. She did play a high school senior in Zombie's film, but she's actually 30 years old. She has an unlined face, she's very tiny, and she handled the lines right, so she pulled it off. To tell you the truth, I never gave her age any thought while I was watching the film. I completely bought in to her performance as a high school girl. It was only afterward, when I was preparing to write my comments that I looked at the math and realized that something was amiss.

Danielle's casting was one sign among many that Zombie is a real horror fanboy who knows his screen history. The background cast includes just about everyone who has ever made a B movie and is still alive: Leslie Easterbrook, Danny Trejo, Udo Kier, Clint Howard, Malcolm MacDowell, Dee Wallace, William Forsythe, Brad Dourif, Sybil Danning, Sid Haig, Ezra Buzzington, Mickey Dolenz ... the list goes on. I read somewhere that Adrienne Barbeau was also in this at one time, but appears to have been left on the cutting room floor.

Zombie has delivered all the genre requirements and followed the genre traditions meticulously to make Halloween an old school horror film in the 70s-80s style. For example, is is de rigueur for teenagers who have sex to get killed, but not before we see them naked. Unfortunately, although Halloween offers guilty pleasures to enjoy, you will need to ignore some of the details along the way, because the script is not punctilious. For example, Michael has attained almost superhuman strength despite having sat in the same chair like a vegetable for 15 years. For another example, Michael is somehow able to determine instantly that the adopted child Laurie Strode is his long-lost sister, even though virtually nobody knows that, including the psychiatrist who wrote a book about Michael.

Those penny-ante plot points didn't really bother me, but something else about the film did. The biggest change from the original film is that the new script's re-allocation of screen time refocuses the story significantly. The original film had a very short back-story and focused on the Halloween night murders. The new film is about 1/3 childhood, 1/3 escape night, and 1/3 home-town Halloween. The cumulative effect of that is to make Michael the main character while pushing Laurie Strode into the background, which in turn reduces audience involvement and identification with the characters. There is nothing to like about Michael, Michael's family, or the psychiatrist. The characters in the escape night sequence are all strangers to us, and we don't much like what we do know of them. And we don't meet the teenage version of Laurie until the film is past the halfway mark, so we do not establish a strong empathy for her either. That leaves the film with a void where its core should be - in establishing some kind of bond with the audience.


* Widescreen anamprphic 2.35:1

Extras include a Zombie audio commentary on the first DVD

Disc 2 has the trailer, bloopers, casting sessions, "meet the cast" piece, deleted scenes with optional commentary, alternate ending and two other featurettes. 


2 James Berardinelli (of 4 stars)
3 BBC (of 5 stars)
26 Rotten Tomatoes  (% positive)
47 Metacritic.com (of 100)




6.0 IMDB summary (of 10)
B- Yahoo Movies





Box Office Mojo. It shattered all box office records for the Labor Day weekend, but dropped off fast and finished with "only" $58 million.




  • Three young couples have sex in Halloween, then get attacked. Those characters supply virtually 100% of the film's nudity, and Kristina Klebe goes the extra mile, offering full frontal and rear views as well as plenty of naughty dialogue.
  • Hanna Hall, as Michael's sister, shows her breasts
  • Danielle Harris, as Laurie's friend,  shows her breasts in ends up topless and covered in blood.
  • Sherri Moon Zombie is seen from the rear in a stripper's thong.
  • An unknown woman shows the top of her bum and a flash of one breast as the rape victim.

Web www.scoopy.com

Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


A solid genre film. It's not a bad film so much as an unnecessary one.