Rob Zombie's Halloween Is Actually Good (Until It Becomes a Remake)
As divisive as it can be, Rob Zombie's version of Halloween is actually pretty good, that is until it starts to remake scenes from the original. When it comes to the question of most hated entry in the long Halloween franchise, the answers tend to be fairly standard. Some hate 1995's Halloween 6 for making Michael Myers the puppet of a cult, and killing off Jamie Lloyd. Others hate 2002's Halloween: Resurrection for having rapper Busta Rhymes beat up Michael. Still more hate 1982's Halloween 3: Season of the Witch for not including Michael in the plot at all.
While those films tend to be Halloween's most hated, the pick for Halloween's most divisive film is almost universally 2007's Halloween remake, directed by Rob Zombie. John Carpenter's original Halloween is one of those films that's so perfect it seems also blasphemous to try and remake it, with another example being Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. While Zombie had gained a loyal following with his first two films, House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects, even most Zombie supporters weren't big on the idea of him remaking someone else's film.
Rob Zombie's Halloween was ravaged by critics, but actually did well at the box office, a fact that sometimes gets forgotten more than a decade later. Made for $15 million, the remake earned $80 million worldwide, a tidy profit for distributors Dimension Films. While many would argue that Zombie's Halloween is downright bad, it actually isn't, at least until it stops doing its own thing and starts copying Carpenter.
It's clear from watching his Halloween that Rob Zombie has a lot of love for John Carpenter's original classic, and the character of Michael Myers in particular. However, clocking in at 110 minutes in length, Zombie's Halloween is much longer than the original, and for the most part, it's time well spent. Whereas Michael was basically a blank slate emotionally in Carpenter's film, Zombie spent nearly half of his remake focusing in on what makes Michael tick, and slowly following his evolution from a troubled child to a remorseless serial killer. It's extremely compelling stuff, and offers an insight into Michael Myers never before seen in the franchise.
One could even argue if that Zombie's film weren't called Halloween, the half of the movie focusing on young Michael could function as most of a really good standalone character study about what makes serial killers who they are. Unfortunately, once a grownup Michael heads back to Haddonfield and Laurie Strode is introduced into the plot, Zombie's movie becomes a tired retread of Carpenter's work, hitting basically all the same beats. Considering how much Zombie has professed to hate the experience of making Halloween, one wonders how much of this material the Weinsteins insisted be included in the film. As it is, there are already very noticeable differences between its theatrical cut and Zombie's home video director's cut.
It should be noted that Zombie is said to have actually pitched Dimension the idea of making two Halloween films, one about Michael's childhood and devolution into a serial killer, and the other a more conventional remake of Carpenter's classic. Instead, those two competing ideas were stuffed into one movie, to its ultimate creative detriment. One wonders what might've happened if Zombie got his way.