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DVD Review

DVD cover

Halloween II (2009)


Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Tyler Mane, Sheri Moon Zombie and Brad Dourif
Entertainment in Video
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 18
Available 01 February 2010

This film follows directly on from director Rob Zombie's modern interpretation of John Carpenter's original 1978 classic. Laurie Strode has killed Michael Myers, or so she and everybody else believes. She is suffering increasingly stressful nightmares, and begins to reason that he might be still alive after all. With good reason, it materialises. Meanwhile, Dr Sam Loomis has authored a book focusing on his years of study on the Myers case. However, his bid for fame and fortune are seldom taken seriously now that Michael is no longer around. But the masked killer is in fact still at large, and after a shocking revelation turns her world upside down, Laurie Strode finds fate driving her towards an inevitable confrontation.

My all time favourite film (or at least taking pride of place in the top three) is John Carpenter's Halloween. For too many reasons I just love it. I could bore people to death with my background knowledge of its construction. It's been referred to as the granddaddy of slasher movies, but it's so much more. Consequentially, it goes without saying that any remakes are going to be soundly condemned as a mere shadow of what went before. But I'm nothing if not open-minded. I looked on this as a sort of Halloween the Next Generation (although the central character names remain the same). As a result I noticed a number of differences.

The most significant (and for me, disappointing) difference is the violence. Yes, Michael Myers is a cold psychotic killer, but here we actually see him frenetically stab people at least a dozen times, and also see him manhandle individuals in a manner much more suited to Jason Voorhees of the Friday 13th films. Carpenter's original is much more stylish in that most of the violence is implied rather than closely seen. It is much more about building suspense, anxiety and tension with thoughtful camera work, lighting and incidental music. Carpenter's Myers remains stiffly upright and silent at all times, whereas Zombie's remake has him shuffling along like a delinquent, breathing loudly and even growling with rage. It doesn't have the same effect, because silent and faceless is much more creepy. There is a concession in that Carpenter's classic theme tune is emulated; however, even this is nonsensically beefed-up into a techno beat.

Malcolm McDowell and Brad Dourif play their parts well, as you would expect, but I have to ask the question why does Laurie emerge from the shack with Michael's mask on, when she was likely to be cut down in a hail of police bullets? And what on earth is all that nonsense with the mother and the white horse all about? It's quite pretentious to attempt a Freudian motive. I can appreciate Rob Zombie's attempt to introduce different elements into the balance, but we all know the best ideas are the simple ones. After all, Carpenter only introduced the fact that Laurie Strode is really Michael's sister in the original Halloween II because he had to come up with a scenario pretty quickly to justify the masked killer following Laurie to the hospital. Even now he doesn't like the idea, and admits he only wrote the sequel for the money.

All of this will lead you to conclude that I hate this movie. That's not true. Zombie's Halloween remake made $80 million, and there's no reason why this shouldn't be a success too. It's been made for a modern audience more used to content over style so, coming full circle, that's the main difference. Many young people will not be aware of the original (hopefully, I've changed that fact!). By all means add this to your DVD collection - it's not a bad film - but while you're out you might just pick up a little film from 1978 which started a trend.


Ty Power

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