Optional page text here. The Beast's Lair: Halloween

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


As you know, the original 1978 Halloween written and directed by John Carpenter is my favorite film. As you also probably know, writer and director Rob Zombie has made a "re-imaging" of the original film. I have posted on the Lair a few times about the project, but here, briefly, are my thoughts.

1. We all know that making a "better" Halloween film than the original is impossible. I would argue that Zombie, because I think he understands the overall genre and the greatness of the first film, also agrees with me here. That is also why I believe he wisely choose to shoot the film from a different perspective rather than a "scene by scene" reconstruction of the original. That methodology, scene by scene, was used in the remaking of Psycho in 1998. It remains one of the few films I have walked out on, and was just a pathetic movie. What idiot tries to film a scene by scene movie of Hitchcock? The same is true, I would argue, for Carpenter's Halloween. And Zombie knows this, so to his credit, he understands the only way he can pull off a successful movie and have some respect with die-hard fans is to throw a varying angle to the film.

2. I believe Zombie will approach the aggressiveness of the film differently than Carpenter. What "rookie" horror fans don't realize is that the original Halloween shows very little violence and blood. Because of the Friday the 13th series and subsequent Halloween movies, not to mention the decade of slasher films that owe their existence to Halloween, the original film is just lumped into the category of blood and guts from moviegoers who don't know better. The original Halloween is all about atmosphere. I have written this before, but my favorite scene in the movie has nothing to do with killing, stalking, or even Michael Myers. My favorite scene is when Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is sitting on the concrete railing outside her house waiting on "Annie" to pick her up. While sitting there holding a pumpkin, she looks up and down the streets of Haddonfield while the trick-or-treaters go door to door. The perfect music is playing, and the leaves are gently falling. The scene, only lasting a few seconds, is brilliant and I am moved every time I see it. I am predicting Zombie to approach his Halloween with a bit more brutality, not so much in blood and gore, but just in feel. I have kept myself from reading any review or even synopsis of the film, so this is just prediction on my part. I will let you know if I am correct on Friday.

3. I feel extraordinarily sorry for the actors who are playing these legendary roles, especially Malcolm McDowell who is playing Dr. Loomis. Even if Zombie "re-images" the film, the characters are still going to be judged by the standard set from the original, and in the case of Loomis, it is an impossible standard. The late, great Donald Pleasence portrayed the character Dr. Loomis in the original film and he has won the hearts of millions of fans, including this one. Just out of respect for Pleasence, here are some of my favorite Loomis quotes from the first film:
"He's gone from here, the evil is gone"
"If you don't, its your funeral."
Sheriff Bracket: "The kids think this place is haunted"
Loomis: "They may be right."
"This isn't a man."
"Blind, pale, emotionless face and the blackest eyes. . .the devil's eyes"
"He came home"
"not seeing the wall, looking past the wall to this night, inhumanly patient."
"As a matter of fact, it was."

I'm out for now, but will post more thoughts tomorrow.


Anonymous Paul, in Bethel Park said...


I LOVE the original Halloween. Please excuse me if I butcher the following, but my favorite Donald Pleasence line is:

"He's not even remotely human..."

I, also, will be in the theater opening night...

August 29, 2007 4:17 PM  

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