Rob Zombie’s enthusiastic but terminally misguided remake scores yet another DVD release. This one is identical to the previous unrated edition, apart from the fact that there’s an extra disc. More on that later. But in the meantime, as everything else is the same, that will also be true for this review. What follows is what I said about the last version.
“The trailer trash Myers family (inexplicably living in a pretty big house) is a powder keg waiting to go off, what with the rampaging abuse and a young Michael (the admittedly creepy Daeg Faerch) butchering small animals and looking like he’s mad as hell and soon not going to take it anymore. Snap he does, going on a killing spree, before he is captured and locked up for years, while eccetric shrink Dr. Loomis (a shameless Malcolm McDowell) making a career out of trying to learn what makes him tick. Growing to Godzilla proportions, Michael makes his escape, and proceeds to pick up his spree where he left off in his home town of Haddonfield.
I trashed this fiasco in a Brain Blasters column back in September, and the unrated version of the film does nothing to change my opinion. Zombie misses the fact that restraint of the original film was a large part of its success, stupidly gives Michael a backstory and thus nixes his fearsome aspect as supernatural boogeyman, distractingly fills small roles with Look Who It Is cameos (Udo Kier, Richard Lynch, William Forsythe, Brad Dourif), and, after expanding the original movie’s single shot prologue to an entire act, compresses the actual rampage to the point that there is no time for character development, and so we care not a whit for the victims. An idiotic, crashing bore.
Some kinda snazzy doom-laden musical cues mark each intertitle of the film, and the score at those moments shakes the rafters. Talk about enveloping. The rest of the time, the audio track is pretty average. It’s perfectly crisp and clear (but the contrary for a recent wide release would be highly surprising), but feels a little bit thin.
Everything clicks along here. Much of the film takes place at night (natch) and the contrasts are excellent – there is no bleaching, and though the dark is very, very dark, the picture isn’t murky. The colours are strong and as lurid as one could wish for. There is no grain or visible edge enhancement. The reproduction of the theatrical viewing experience is damn near perfect.
Disc 1 has Rob Zombie’s commentary track, and he’s such an articulate, enthusiastic host, who so clearly loves the medium, that I really wish I liked his movie better. Disc 2 has more thoughts from Zombie as optional commentary on the 18 (!) deleted scenes and the alternate commentary. Sheer volume shows up again with a whopping 15 casting sessions (as if this were a Robert Altman ensemble piece) along with the screen test for Scout Taylor-Compton’s Laurie Strode. The making-of featurettes break down into three areas: “The Many Masks of Michael Myers” is exactly what its title says, “Meet the Cast” (ditto) and “Re-Imagning Halloween” is a more substantial three-parter (“From Camera to Screen”, “The Production Design” and “Makeup FX, Props and Wardrobe”). Zombie’s engaging presence and the specific focus of the featurettes raise them somewhat above the usual promotional efforts. The usual filler is here too: bloopers, the theatrical trailer, and four trailers for other releases.”
Let me now interject with some new material: the extra disc consists of Michael Lives: The Making of Halloween. Zombie himself directed this four-and-a-half-hour documentary. I guess he must be pretty pleased with this film. This, obviously, an exhaustive piece. But four-and-a-half hours?!?!?!?! Does anyone else really care that much? And it is, in many ways, not that different from a typical promotional featurette (everybody thinks everyone us just great), simply much, much longer.
As I said before: “Zombie is such a fan of horror that not only do I wish his movie were better, I wish he’d had the sense not to go near it in the first place. He’s much better off with his own material. Here’s hoping he gets back to that for next time.”
And for those of you who already have this film, unless you’re as obsessed with it as Zombie clearly is, I can’t imagine you really need the extra disc.