Saturday, October 22, 2016
Of the many bad decisions writer/director Zombie makes, the most egregious is creating a backstory for Michael Myers. Instead of a little boy who inexplicably stabs his sister to death and is sent away to a mental hospital, from which he escapes and begins a killing spree, Zombie’s Michael Myers (played as a boy by Daeg Faerch) is the product of a white trash family with a stripper mother (Sheri Moon Zombie), an abusive stepfather (William Forsythe), and a disrespectful sexpot sister (Hanna Hall). What Zombie doesn’t understand is that the unknown is always more frightening than the known. By changing Michael from a bogeyman — a supernatural personification of evil — to a bullied kid from a lower-class family, Zombie has missed the point.
After an interminable first half, in which Zombie goes so far as to explain why Michael Myers wears a mask, Michael finally escapes custody and heads back to Haddonfield, where he (6’9” Tyler Mane) stalks Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) and her friends Lynda (Kristina Klebe) and Annie (Danielle Harris, the star of HALLOWEEN 4 and 5), the daughter of local sheriff Brackett (Brad Dourif). Dr. Sam Loomis (Malcolm McDowell), Michael’s shrink, follows. Strangely, much of this section plays as a shot-by-shot remake of the Carpenter film.
As a director, Zombie has few saving graces. One is an arresting visual style, which manifests in some scary shots of Michael in background stalking his prey. Another is a love of old character actors, which results in welcome cameos by Sid Haig (SPIDER BABY) and Dee Wallace (THE HOWLING) and Sybil Danning (BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS) and Clint Howard (APOLLO 13) and Micky Dolenz (HEAD) and juicy supporting roles for McDowell (A CLOCKWORK ORANGE) and Dourif (ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST). They don’t prevent HALLOWEEN from tasting unpleasant, but they help make it easier to swallow.