There are a few very good reasons why John Carpenter’s Halloween has made such an impact even three and a half decades later: The music, the mask, and the mute. No other film’s soundtrack is as recognizable or sets the mood as much as the one Carpenter himself composed for his swan song, Halloween. The subtleness of Michael Myer’s plain mask helps create a spook factor that has been replicated over and over since. Mix in a merciless, homicidal madman who never utters a word sporting said mask, and you get this emotionless enigma that can’t be reasoned with. If you’re in his line of sight, you’re dead. Plain and simple. No matter how fast you run, Michael can walk faster.
Rob Zombie took that enigmatic nature of Michael Myers that we all know and very much love and pinched a big steaming loaf on it. I tolerated his remake of the original Halloween. I was curious, and I’ll admit there was an interesting back story. But I never saw any reason for him to do a second, and after witnessing the pile of garbage that is Zombie’s Halloween 2, I understand it even less now. After sitting through it I felt like I needed to watch Carpenter’s Halloween 1 and 2 back to back while taking a long shower with a toothbrush planted firmly in mouth. It left a bad taste and ruined an image I’ve had since I was 12.
Where I come from, Michael Myers was a 6-foot tall human Godzilla that destroyed anything in his way—doors, windows, glass, and of course… humans.
Rob Zombie tried adding a more humanistic side to Michael Myers with grunting, being maskless half the movie (and looking suspiciously like Zombie himself), and even giving us a single word in English at the end. Part of what brings people back to watching the Halloween franchise is wondering if we’ll ever seen Michael’s face (excluding the very dark glimpse of him in the original Halloween) or witness some type of emotion. We’re waiting for it, but we never really want it. Like the sexual tension between two characters in a TV series. You want Jim and Pam to hook up, but when it happens the excitement is gone. It was a mistake.
Zombie also destroyed the image of Dr. Loomis—the lovable doctor that did everything he could to help Michael and everyone around him, dedicating his entire life to the monitoring and treatment of Michael, all the while reminding us time and time again that Michael Myers was pure evil. In Zombie’s Halloween 2 remake, Dr. Loomis is nothing but a greedy-eyed, selfish monster himself with no real regard for anything but a bigger paycheck and a girl in his bed.
In my opinion, Zombie isn’t a horrible filmmaker, though I think he misses the mark several times with all but maybe The Devil’s Rejects. You can tell the man has a great artistic eye, but he also likes to trash up his movies to where even the hardcore audiences wonder where he’s coming from. I believe he feels he’s bringing some unique element to something that doesn’t need it and instead distracts the audience from a potentially decent film.
I think one day Zombie may just get a homerun with one of his films. But I’d really like to see him stay clear of tainting any other franchise that so many hold dear.