Most long time horror fans are intimately familiar with the world famous horror franchise Halloween. This set of absolutely iconic horror films showcases masked psychopath Michael Meyers, chasing after Jamie Lee Curtis and stabbing most everyone else who he chances upon. The genius of John Carpenter was applied to the original movies back in the 1970s, but now there are new re-makes directed by Rob Zombie, the artist that most people are familiar with thanks to White Zombie, the band he formerly fronted.
This is where things get tricky. We’re going to gloss over the “plot” because it’s pretty simple, Meyers goes on another killing rampage and continues to try to get a hold of Laurie Strode, the object of his obsession. Now, Zombie’s interpretation of the story was not supposed to stick to anything that John Carpenter had come up with in the original except the very bare bones of the series. As a result, the first Halloween remake and this sequel are far more violent than those in the past. In fact, it’s not even the gore that seems to bother viewers, but the sheer animalistic brutality of the Meyers slayings themselves. This makes the 2009 Halloween 2 a much “uglier” movie than the original H2 simply due to the differences in filming style between Carpenter and Zombie. Tastes are going to diverge, but this is a core squabble between fans.
The next aspect that separates the two films is the fact that Zombie is undoubtedly more surreal than his predecessor. Due to this, some people find that they get lost in the story line or will complain that it gets corny. There’s a dream series in this H2 that shows Meyer’s mother and a white horse. The symbolic elements and deeper psychological elements that Zombie goes after definitely differ from the way the original series handled things. When it gets right down to it, fans of any original movie are going to be remarkably stubborn about any remake, particularly if the director is given any artistic leeway whatsoever. As a result of this, 2009’s Halloween II has gotten absolutely hammered in the press and by fans alike due to daring to remake a monumental horror movie.
Which really is too bad and also begs the question of why people are reacting so harshly. It’s said that genuine art is a creation that generates an emotional response, good or bad. This Halloween II certainly manages to generate uproar. It’s too brutal, it’s too surreal, it’s too wacky, it’s the wrong setting, it’s got the wrong music, it’s showing Michael Meyers the wrong way, it’s not directed by John Carpenter. Really, it boils down to variations of saying it’s not the original sequel of the beloved series. This is too bad because there’s plenty of room within the horror genre to more than welcome any new horror film. It’s already one of the smaller genres out there and we definitely do not get enough movies every year compared to what fans of romance, comedy or action movies regularly get to watch.
Criticizing a “remake” that was fully explained as a total reworking of the original seems both fruitless and counterproductive. It might be uncomfortable to admit, but someone is going to have to say it eventually so it might as well be this reviewer: a century from now, when people go back and compare the original Halloween films with Rob Zombie’s versions, there won’t be any squabbling over which was better – Zombie’s versions will be favored unanimously because they are far superior movies in terms of artistry and cinematic prowess.