Halloween: Original vs. Remake

We hope everyone had a happy and safe Halloween! Another holiday has come and gone, however we had so much fun and great conversations about this topic that we’ve decide to extend it another week. We also want to thank everyone for reading and discussing horror movies with us all month. It is my pleasure to review this one, and heads up, I could talk forever about this one!

Michael Myers 1978
Photo: http://halloweenmovie.wikia.com

Halloween – The Original

Possibly my favorite movie from this era and definitely in my top five in the genre, John Carpenter’s Halloween is a classic. This was one of the first – maybe even the first – slasher movie I saw as a kid. I don’t want to gush and seem like a fan girl because I do poke fun at a few things too. So, here are a few of my favorite things about the original Halloween.

False Sense of Security: From the opening scenes, the audience sees this is a quite little suburban town. The teenagers are decent kids who party, but most teenagers do. The younger kids are excited about Halloween, and there are lots of shots of trick-or-treaters, trees, streets and houses. As the movie unravels, you feel sympathy for these townspeople. They have encountered a tragedy and evil that may defeat them and destroy their little town. You wouldn’t expect an evil force, and the original takes you from all those wonderful Halloween memories you have to fearing Michael Myers. It takes you on a roller coaster of emotion and disrupts what should be a fun-filled holiday.

Pure Evil: Myers is pure evil. It’s that simple. Some people are just born with an evil that consumes them. Whether you believe in this theory or not, the original Halloween did. There was no backstory. You do not know why Myers was a killer, and I never cared to know. I just accepted the “pure evil” within him because it was believable. He never says a word. He just punishes and kills, and that’s what makes him more threatening to me. Evil motivates him, and if you aren’t scared of evil, then what does scare you? The evil serves as a supernatural force, which is much harder to control than a person. It’s unpredictable, reckless, and illogical. The idea that you can’t control it is more effective from a horror standpoint and leaves you uneasy throughout the movie.

Jaime Lee Curtis: My pick for the top final girl. Curtis set the bar for final girls. She’s played several strong female characters over the years, and Halloween helped her establish that career role. In Halloween, her character is smart, responsible, fun, and studious, however she also smokes pot and hangs out with her friends. She is a normal teenager who becomes tormented by Myers. Her character was developed very well, and you follow her through her ups and downs. She was strong and weak; she fought and cried. She was a woman survivor. Curtis is and always will be Laurie Strode.

Michael Myers 2007
Photo: filmedge.net

Halloween – The Remake

I don’t think I saw Rob Zombie’s Halloween in theaters, and if I did, I apologize to who I saw it with! We’ve talked a little about re-imagining movies – such as A Nightmare of Elm Street – and that’s what Zombie’s version is. He took the original and built on it. It wasn’t a true remake because he added and changed a lot, and Zombiefied it as only he can do.

I have a few issues with this version, but as a stand-alone horror movie, it’s pretty intense.

No security: As an audience, you never feel safe watching this movie. Zombie takes you from a highly dysfunctional lower-class family, to an asylum, then back to the dysfunctional family. There is nothing pretty in or about this movie. As an audience, it’s difficult to feel shocked about anything that happens because you almost expect it. It’s predictable. Whereas in the original, the murders are a tragedy because terror invades a small quiet town. You get to know the town as a whole, instead of Myers. I don’t agree with Zombie’s choice because Myers and his life are terrifying enough. He strips all innocence from the beginning. And if you take away the town’s innocence from the beginning, you take it away forever and leave no hope.

The backstory: I appreciate a little backstory, but I feel the first half of this movie is way too long. Zombie refuses the idea of “pure evil,” and make Myers a product of his environment. Coming from a dysfunctional and abusive household, Myers snaps. Then he is so consumed by loss and hatred, it turns into evil. Comparing the two, I prefer the original idea, however I accept that modern audiences need this backstory. They want to know why, and they have to see progression. If Zombie had shortened it 20 more minutes, I think most people would not complain about the length. Reviewers seem split down the middle about this – you either love or dislike the backstory – I side with the latter.

Laurie Strode: Once Myers escapes, Halloween 2007 turns into a respectful remake. Scout Taylor-Compton portrays Strode’s character well, and she stays true to the innocent good-girl type. Her character is modernized, and for the purposes of the remake, that’s okay. However, audiences don’t really know her. The emphasis on Myers is so heavy, Halloween 2007 lacks teen character development, which should be as important as Myers’ story. In the remake, Strode doesn’t stand out above her friends, and she is not the only final girl. It’s a disservice to the character, and I wonder if Annie (Danielle Harris) survives because the first franchise kind of screwed her over.

Final Thoughts

Zombie does keep a lot of the original details, which shows he wasn’t trying to outdo the original Halloween. Myers dresses up as a ghost with the glasses, Zombie uses the original score, the masks are the same, the girls resemble the original girls, etc. It is gruesome and bloody, which I can take or leave. I also expect that from Rob Zombie. I enjoy the movie much more once Myers escapes, but the violence and kill scenes feel too long. For that reason, I can’t watch this movie often because it borders torture instead of quick-slasher fashion.

The verdict: The original. I watch it every Halloween night, and it is perhaps a perfect slasher movie.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

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