Thursday, October 31, 2013

31 Days of Horror 4: Originals vs. Remakes DAY 31

Halloween (1978) vs. Halloween (2007)
In this 1978 classic we are taken into the world of Michael Myers and introduced to one of the best independent movies ever made – John Carpenter’s Halloween.
As a young boy, Michael Myers stabbed his seventeen year old sister to death. After this event, he is locked away for years in the Smith’s Grove: Warren County Sanitarium. He is put under the care of Dr. Sam Loomis, who had worked with Michael for years, before deciding that Myers needs to be tried as an adult and locked up forever.
The night they planned to escort Myers, he manages to escape, steal a car and return home to Haddonfield, Ill., just in time for Halloween.
We are then introduced to Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis, in her first role) who has plans to stay in on Halloween night and watch one of the neighbors kid. Little does she know that Michael is coming home and is planning a killing spree.
The movie becomes a cat and mouse game between Strode and Myers, which would become the staple formula for slasher movies to come.
With out giving too much away, I want to say my favorite scene in this movie involves Strode, Myers, a closet and a wire hanger. If you seen the movie you know what I’m talking about and if you haven’t seen it, you’re in for a treat.
This movie is the standard in which all modern horror films are measured. Halloween deserves all the praise it can get, it’s because of this movie we have films such as Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street. Without this important film, I doubt slasher movies would have ever been proven to be a successful market.
In this film Rob Zombie brings us back to the way beginning and tells us the reasons Michael kills. This is the first misstep, because what made Michael scary in the original movie was the idea that this killer had no motive.
Now, Zombie gives him a motive and the reason he is driven to kill is because he comes from a broken home and he’s being picked on by bullies at school. Come on Mr. Zombie, I appreciate you trying to do something different with Michael, but bullies? Michael Myers became a killer because of bullies? What kind of crap is that?
SO, these bullies push and push Michael until he goes and kills the main bully. After this he brings his murderous rage home and when his mother is at work (oh, yeah his mother is a stripper) he kills his sister, his sister’s boyfriend and his mother’s boyfriend. He spares his baby sister, Laurie, and sits with her on the sidewalk and waits for his mother to get home.
Michael is then sent to Smith's Grove - Warren County Sanitarium and is put under the care of Dr. Sam Loomis, a child-psychiatrist. This is the films only good thing, the performance Malcolm McDowell gives is great and it’s a shame he didn’t have a better script to work with.
Eventually Michael escapes the Sanitarium and finds his way back to Haddonfield, Illinois, to find his sister, Laurie, who was adopted by another family, after Michael’s mother killed herself. This is where the movie becomes a remake of the original, but never reaches the heights the original did.
The biggest thing that brings this movie down is the characters and dialogue. The movie does show signs of trying to be a character driven film, but that becomes a problem if you don’t know how to write characters.
It seems that Zombie has a problem writing dialogue, because everything that comes out of characters mouths is about sex. Now, since the dialogue is bad these characters never were able to take off and evolve as the movie went on. They are stuck being two dimensional and when the movie begins to pour on one horror cliché after another, the characters become boring and dull.
This includes Michael. Michael does what Michael does best and kills everyone who gets in his way, but it’s not scary, it’s tiresome. Since all the characters are boring and never feel like real people, we never really care when they are killed off. Also, Michael does do a lot of pointless kills, which just make you say “Why?”
What I will say about the remake is that I appreciate how Zombie tried something different and new with the franchise, but seeing Myers’ childhood and back-story made the character less scary for me. The less I know about a psychotic killer the better.
So, which is better?
Is there even a question? The original Halloween is a classic and the remake is just not. This is really an unfair contest because the original Halloween succeeds on dialogue, atmosphere, performances, and story.
Original Wins

No comments: