When you work in a movie theater—as I currently do— you get to see a lot of stuff. Some of it you want to see, like free movies. Other things. well not so much. Take for example how the popcorn is made or what exactly happens in a dark theater when customers think no one is around.
It’s this ugly side that that we will be focusing on today.
Now before you go sending the kids to bed, don’t worry. This isn’t going to have anything to do with the very creepy and incredibly filthy things people do in movie theaters.
No, I try and keep things PG-13 here.
What I really want to focus on is the garbage that people are putting INTO theaters these days.
Don’t you worry Michael Bay, you’re off the hook this time as my target today is none other then rocker-turned director- turned desecrator: Robert Zombie.
The other day while toiling away in the projection booth, were I spend entirely too many of my hours, I happened upon the trailer for Zombie’s latest film, “Halloween II.”
Now, the sequel to a remake thing has always confused me. Especially when the original film had a sequel of its own. Do you remake THAT sequel? One of the countless others? Or, as usually is the case, do you simply blaze your own, albeit slightly unoriginal trail?
Judging by the trailer for “H2,” that last one is the route Zombie seems to have taken.
The original “Halloween 2” took place almost entirely in a clinic immediately following the events from part 1 as Michael Myers continues his quest to put an end to innocent little Laurie Strode once and for all.
Only now he had a motive. That’s right, in “Halloween 2” it was revealed that— spoiler alert to all of my readers out there in 1981— Laurie was actually Michael’s younger sister, he having already killed the older one. Suddenly his mindless massacre from the first film had a. mind? Mind-plus? I dunno, I’m confused.
Back to my point, this sequel is the “Empire Strikes Back” of the horror genre. This changed EVERYTHING. To horror fans, it doesn’t get much bigger then that.
John Carpenter, the man behind the original “Halloween” and writer of part 2 didn’t see it that way.
To him it was a forced, last-ditch effort to squeeze every solitary drop of story out of a sequel he had no interest in making. That’s why “Halloween III,” the last one that he had any creative involvement with, was made sans Michael Myers.
Zombie established these family ties in his first film, which was basically a god-awful mess if you ask me.
Never mind that Zombie casts the same people in everything he does just because he can. Never mind that he remade a movie that didn’t need to be remade to begin with.
No, where Zombie’s film flew off the rails was early on in the creative process when he decided to “humanize” Myers by giving him a back story. Zombie felt we needed to know WHY Myers turned out to be a killer.
By giving him a cookie-cutter, standard serial killer background— abusive, barely there father, sexually promiscuous mother, an overall sub par home life— Zombie lost sight of the scariest part of the original film: the fact that Myers HAD no motivation.
He was a normal kid, in a normal home, in a normal town, who— for some reason— snapped.
In Carpenter’s hands, Michael Myers could have been your next door neighbor, but that’s not true of Zombie’s creation.
Unless your next door neighbor happens to be an 8 foot tall hulking Swede, who can flip a car with his bare hands and hates being called “(expletive deleted) pants.”
In Zombie’s film, Michael Myers was a stereotype. A serial killer who fit easily into a profile and could be studied.
In Carpenter’s original, Myers was an enigma, exactly the reason that his psychiatrist Dr. Loomis became obsessed with him.
No one understood him.
And now here comes Zombie’s sequel, promising to reveal the truth behind Michael Myers’ evil once and for all. As if the original remake didn’t already do enough of that.
Zombie missed the point of the original “Halloween” about as completely as anybody could miss anything.
By resurrecting the human monster that he appeared to have thoroughly killed at the end of his first film, now Zombie seems to have missed his own point as well.
Hopefully, horror film makers will one day return to the mantra of “less is more.” Alfred Hitchcock understood this, as did Carpenter.
In recent years, films like “The Blair Witch Project” have embraced this idea. Even M. Night Shyamalan understands it, though he can’t write a story around it anymore. Still, he gets it.
I’ll borrow a line from “Batman Begins” to better explain myself. At one point Tom Wilkinson’s character says to a young Bruce Wayne: “This is a world you’ll never understand, kid. And you always fear what you don’t understand.”
Now could you tell that to the horror genre?