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Feature: Halloween (9)

Re-writing Halloween History

Myers is back

Join us as we mark the forthcoming return of Michael Myers in Halloween with director Rob Zombie. Read on...!

In May of 1978, director John Carpenter and a rag-tag group of film-making friends gathered together in Pasadena, California for 20 days to shoot a Horror film with the deceptively simple premise of a psychopath who returns to his home town to slaughter a group of babysitters. Halloween ended up transcending the Horror genre, establishing Carpenter as a master of suspense, and Jamie Lee Curtis as a star. Amongst fans, film critics and historians, no other Horror film from the past 30 years is held in such high regard as Halloween. Halloween, much like Psycho, has become an immortal classic.

Now it’s March 2007, and the evil has returned to the streets of Pasadena, representing the fictional Midwestern setting of Haddonfield, Illinois, the home town of malevolent psychopath Michael Myers. Leaves are scattered all over the streets. The Myers house, which is surrounded by a rusted fence and a ‘For Sale’ sign from Strode Realty, is as decrepit-looking and creepy as ever. There’s a rotted swimming pool in back, and all of the kids in town think the place is haunted. Laurie Strode’s house is just down the street, and it’s covered with Halloween decorations. A man with a long beard and a Goth appearance surveys the scene as a grown-up Michael Myers chases a modernized version of Laurie Strode along the edges of the Myers house. The characters are the same as the 1978 film but this is different. The faces have all changed, the houses are new. This is Rob Zombie’s Halloween.

When it was announced that Halloween was going to be remade, the reaction of fans was one of total disgust and outrage. Why even touch such a perfect film? For writer-director Rob Zombie, who has expressed his own hatred for remakes in the past, the idea wasn’t to remake Halloween, but to rather expand upon the legend of Michael Myers. “When I first met with the producers about doing a Halloween movie, they wanted me to do a Halloween 9 film, something like that, and I was the one who suggested the idea of a remake,” says Zombie. “I love the 1978 film, and I watch it every year, so there’s no point in remaking such a great film shot for shot. My idea was to do a prequel, sort of, a remake that focused on the back-story of the characters. My previous films have been campy and funny, and I wanted to make this a serious and intense film. I wanted to ask the question: Was Michael Myers born evil or did he become evil because of his family?”

The legend of Michael Myers, and his family history, plays a large part in Zombie’s film. While not wanting to say there were mistakes in Carpenter’s film, Zombie feels there were a lot of story points that could be expanded upon and strengthened. “There were a few annoying things in the first film, like how Michael got his mask and how he escaped from the mental institution,” Zombie says. “In the original, he steals the car from Loomis and drives back to Haddonfield and Loomis speculates that someone taught him how to drive. In our film, he doesn’t know how to drive, and his escape back to Haddonfield is much more creative and believable. Think of Cape Fear. We also have a much different, and better, explanation for how Michael gets his mask. In the original, he broke into the hardware store, and took that creepy William Shatner mask, which was kind of silly because what if they only had Three Stooges masks? Elmo masks? Would he have worn one of those? In this film, he makes the mask when he was a kid and then he buries it and then when he comes back, he digs it up and it’s rotted and creepy. He creates masks that mirror his personality.”

by David Grove

Read the full interview, plus interviews with the movie's stars Scout Taylor-Compton and Malcolm McDowell in
Shivers #133

Photo © Dimension Films
Feature © Visual Imagination 2007. Not for reproduction

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July 2007
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