New on DVD: Halloween

Rob Zombie first took the director’s chair in 2003 with House of a 1000 Corpses. He followed it up with cult hit The Devil’s Rejects in 2005. Having cut his teeth, Zombie decided to take on a staple of horror cinema: John Carpenter’s Halloween became Rob Zombie’s Halloween.

At 10-years-old, Michael Myers (Daeg Faerch) was not like other kids. He accentuated this fact when he went on a killing spree in his own home, sparing only his baby sister. Dr. Samuel Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) tries to rehabilitate Michael but comes to the conclusion there is no conscience, only evil. He declares Michael is a psychopath. Fifteen years later, Michael (Tyler Mane) escapes from the mental institution that imprisoned him and returns to his hometown to find his now grown sister Laurie (Scout Taylor-Compton), leaving a bloody trail of bodies in his wake.

Zombie unquestionably reinvents Carpenter’s film more than he remakes it; the only identical elements are the characters’ names. Rather than the evil lurking behind the doors of nice suburban homes, Zombie has Michael growing up in a home reminiscent of Mallory’s in Natural Born Killers. Occupying nearly the first half of the movie, Zombie also places a lot of attention on Michael as a child. Furthermore, Laurie is not the prudish teen of the original, which is a necessary update to enhance the believability of her character.

Nonetheless, Zombie does replay variations of some of the key scenes from the 1978 version, including Bob’s pinning to the wall, ghost-Michael, and Laurie running from one house to the other. Had these moments been discarded, the movie would be just as pointless. On the other hand, the showdown between Michael and Laurie does not play as well as it did the first time around.

The unrated release of the film is about 10 minutes longer than the theatrical release. On the commentary track, Zombie speaks mostly about the shooting process and production details. He also points out which scenes were recovered from the cutting room floor and why they were formerly cut. The second disc is solely special features, including deleted scenes; an alternate ending that plays less dramatically; a blooper reel that shows an unexpected funny side of McDowell; and other in-depth looks at production. The third disc is a four-and-a-half hour documentary chronicling pre-production, shooting and post-production – an interesting look at Zombie’s meticulous process.

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