Ok Freaks, I just finished watching Halloween back to back. I watched the Carpenter original first and just ended the Zombie remake. What will follow is a review and comparison based purely on my own thoughts and opinions. So grab a beer and some popcorn, and your favorite kitchen knife and let’s get started.
First I want to give a short review on each movie on it’s own, and I will end with a comparison.
John Carpenter’s Halloween: 1978
I have a confession to make. I was never a fan of the Halloween franchise. I didn’t dislike it, but Micheal Myers never really interested me and I tended to dismiss the movie. This was only my third watch. I am a huge fan of Carpenter’s work and in really digging deep and watching this film I have gained a new appreciation for it.
The theme is brilliant, and certainly iconic. So much so that I would even venture to say people who had never seen the movie would still recognize it. The lighting and camera work in the film are astounding. Carpenter’s visual work is almost perfect in creating iconic scenes and tension.
There are a few scenes that I think encapsulate this. One of them is Bob’s death. As The Shape studies his kill, the camera angle and light coming through the doors is perfect. Another is when we glimpse The Shape standing near the bushes on the sidewalk. The final one I’d like to mention is when Laurie stares out the window and we see The Shape standing in the sheets hung on the clothesline. There are others of course but those stood out the most for me.
I think for the low budget he had to work with the film is amazing. In watching it today it hasn’t aged much at all. I also enjoy how it achieves it’s goal of being tense and evil without the use of a lot of special effects or gore.
The film is very simple and straightforward and keeps a good pace. I never felt bored or overwhelmed and thought the film was very balanced. If I had any criticism’s it would be that the acting was sub-par at times and there was a lack of some parts of the story. Something felt missing or untold. I actually felt like it could have been a longer film. Had John had the budget, maybe it would have been. Overall I would give it four out of five stars.
Rob Zombie’s Halloween: 2007
I remember seeing this movie when it came out and being unimpressed. Then again as I said, I wasn’t really a Halloween fan in general. i most recently saw it on AMC’s Fearfest and again wasn’t very impressed.
Ifelt that maybe it was because I was watching a “TV cut”. So I sat down to watch the “uncut” version. I am a huge Rob Zombie fan as far as his music is concerned but his films are usually hit and miss for me personally. I digress. In Rob’s movie there are a few things I feel were good ideas but poorly executed.
The Shape is truly a massive hulk of a killer thanks to Tyler Mane’s size and it made for a very menacing character. Treating this movie as if it were it’s own standalone vision is hard but I think the gore level was good, the effects were spectacular and the story flowed well. The movie was paced a little slowly in the beginning origin story it created but picks up speed in time to be enjoyable.I didn’t like some of the writing.
I suppose due to horror movie tropes over the years the film felt “cheesy” to me at times and some of the lines and dialog made it feel like they were trying too hard to create this mythos and build up the idea of what pure evil would be. I did enjoy the way The Shape found his iconic gear.
Overall though, the film came off as a bit boring, maybe to no fault of it’s director but only because at the end of the day it’s a remake and those tend to get stale anyway. It’s hardly a “bad” film and I would give it three and a half out of five stars.
John Carpenter VS Rob Zombie: A comparison
By now we all have heard John’s opinion on the Halloween remake which he called in no lesser terms “shit”. They have since sat down and made up. I don’t share his opinion but I think I understand where it came from. Comparing the two films Carpenter’s classic remains on top.
It is subtle, yet unnerving without being gory or relying on jump scares or SFX or CGI. The story is short and to the point, without much expansion on several plot points. I feel that Rob was probably a huge fan and tried to expand upon and fill those parts of the story. He succeeds in doing so for the most part. His nod to The Rabbit In Red Lounge was well done.
The parent’s backstories were filled in nicely. I think The Shape is more physically menacing in the Zombie film There’s more violent and gory kills. I think that the scenes he directly takes from Carpenter however were poorly replicated. The camera work and lighting compared to Carpenter is severely lacking.
Annie survives in the Zombie film which to me was a shame because I thought her death in Carpenter’s film was iconic and brutal. The horn of the car beeping as The Shape suffocates her. Bob’s death in Zombie’s film, while the same as Carpenter’s doesn’t seem to have the same effect as it did in the original. A lot of these things are not Rob’s fault.
Carpenter’s Halloween is a classic for a reason and it will remain so for years to come. It’s not that Rob’s film is bad it’s just that it is a remake that like most remakes will never live up to it’s predecessor.
It’s funny that until I decided to do this review, I had largely ignored The Boogeyman, The Shape, Micheal Myers, and the Halloween franchise as a whole. In digging into the films, and the history of them I can definitely say I am a fan today.
I’ve always been a Carpenter fan but I now realize this was absolutely one of his masterpieces and I understand why so many horror fans are so passionate about it. If you haven’t already I strongly encourage you to look into the history of the film and watch the original and remake back to back. I certainly had a great time doing it.
I would like to thank both John Carpenter and Rob Zombie for the films they put out. Both men are great directors and musicians in their own right. I would also like to thank Scott Lake for encouraging me to do this.
Well that’s it Freaks. Hope you enjoyed my review. I welcome any opinions or discussion on it and I will answer any questions you have. I’ve got knives to sharpen and bodies to dispose of so I’ll catch y’all later.