The Hang Fire Books Blog

The rantings of a bookdealer in Brooklyn, New York.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Movie Break: Rob Zombie's Halloween

I just came back from seeing Rob Zombie's Halloween. It was packed with in-joke cameos and visual references to classic horror films of the 70s and 80s. Definite comfort food for a lad who meticulously applied fake blood to his hockey mask for three Halloweens running.

The first 30-minutes of the film are devoted to mapping out Michael Myers' psychosis; his stripper mom and sexually precocious older sister (for his homicidal sexual repression), his lazy abusive step-dad, his cruelty to animals, and his dependence on masks. All in all, a neatly worked-out background for a character who was never more than a "Shape".

The autumn setting is nice too. Lots of blood is spilled over crackly golden maple leaves. And the shout-out to Suspiria--with the main girl crawling though a claustrophobic maze of irrational interior spaces--is a lot of fun.

The innovation of the original Halloween though was that it was one of the first horror films to show bottomless evil rising from the suburbs (Myers was a direct descendant of The Bad Seed). Unfortunately Rob Zombie can't do tract housing, only trailer parks. All the teen-age characters swear like sailors, the head cheerleader and her clique are dating implausible scruffy hair-bags, and the family dialog was cribbed from the Jerry Springer Show. So the suburban milieu is kind of wasted.


Erin said...

I know this won't make sense, but it didn't really feel like a 'Halloween' film to me. Zombies no Carpenter, but I had fun with the movie.

William Smith said...

Yeah agreed. Though when I saw the original Halloween as an adult (after it scared the crap out of me as a 10-year-old) my first thought was that Carpenter is no Argento (at least in the slasher arena anyway).