Viewed – 04 October 2007  Cinema

The original 1978 stalk and slash horror is probably one of the most influential films in the genre after Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and equally as iconic. John Carpenter’s take on the man in a mask psychopath created many of the clichés that have now been done to death – the horny teens getting killed, the virginal baby sitter who becomes the reluctant hero, the nerve-shredding music, and oodles of suspense.

New-wave rocker-turned director Rob Zombie has stepped up to the sizeable task of remaking a classic, and it has to be said I was very dubious about one of my favourite films being ‘murdered’ by a wannabe. Yet really it seems we were in safe hands this time thanks to a director who really knows how to get the feel of the genre’s more nastier entries, and deliver a true ‘video nasty’ experience. Here he gives us more of an ‘origins’ take on the story of nut job Michael Myers, showing him as a child and what leads up to his eventual incarceration. I wasn’t entirely convinced that enough was shown to really explain why he was the way he was – yes his mother is a stripper, his step dad is a loud mouth oaf, and his big sister shags around…oooh, what a terrible influence!! Even the school bullies don’t seem bad enough – maybe young Michael was just born ‘tapped’.

Yet after this interesting introduction, we’re soon back to Haddonfield and it’s a straight remake, with a surprisingly poor Malcolm McDowell as Dr Loomis (originally played brilliantly by Donald Pleasance), and some pretty teen as Laurie Strode, delivering nothing to diminish the performance of Jamie Lee Curtis way back when. So the casting fails…but Rob Zombie does deliver in plenty of violence, gore and a much more ferocious Michael Myers…and a bit scarier he is too.

So to close this still works as a remake and gives us more of an insight, but answers nothing and even ruins some classic moments. A good ‘tribute’ then but it can’t touch the original.

Verdict: 3 /5

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