The original Halloween series of movies are so iconic and part of horror movie history that it was surprising to see them being remade while still so popular. Rob Zombie took parts of John Carpenter's the original series and created something that was fresh, modern and exciting. The basic story is still the same but Rob Zombie's version of Halloween gives more insight into Michael Myers as a young boy.
In the first Halloween movie made in 1978 and directed by John Carpenter, Michael is only briefly seen as a child. The parents that are barely shown give a feel of a normal family life. Michael Myers is six-years-old when he kills his older sister. We aren't provided much of a look at his home life. From that point on in the movie, Michael is an adult and a shadowy character that makes him more like the boogeyman. The blank expression on the William Shatner mask that Michael steals is even scarier than if the mask had a scary expression.
Rob Zombie's version shows Michael in grade school as a loner and a child who has a problematic home life; complete with an older sister who picks at him, mother who is more interested in the dysfunctional relationship with her boyfriend who is abusive, lazy and drunk. Michael Myers is 10-years-old in this version of Halloween. What is shown is more realistic to what a serial killer's home life might be like as a child.
Michael exhibits all the signs of a serial killer in Rob Zombie's version and they are shown rather than explained to the viewer so that the viewer can see where Michael is headed in life. He's bullied at school because his sister is easy and his mother is featured in the advertisements for the club where she is an exotic dancer. From the outside looking in, it's not surprising that he kills.
Michael as an adult in both movies stays to the shadows quite a bit which increases the fear of the unknown. Tyler Mane did a great job as Michael Myers in Rob Zombie's version of the movie because he has the ability to project with stance and the way he carries himself a menacing presence without saying a word and without overblown actions. Mane just quietly portrays evil.
Tony Moran, who played Michael at age 23 in the original, plays the character well and does a good job of being the single-minded, can't be stopped killer who just won't stay down. His labored breathing sends chills up your spine and makes you want to look behind you, just in case.
The main character difference between the two movies is the character of Dr. Sam Loomis. In the original, Dr. Loomis, played by Donald Pleasance, explains a little of Michael's time in the sanitarium to the nurse as he is driving her to the sanitarium. Only in the extended version of the movie do we find out that Michael carved 'sister' on the back of his cell door before escaping. Dr. Loomis is a more likeable character in the original movie.
Malcolm McDowell does a wonderful job in Rob Zombie's version of the movies playing a psychiatrist paid by the state to deal with this murderous child but his approach to the roll is a more uninvolved attitude than the original. The Dr. Loomis character in this Halloween is not the 'hero' of the movie in the same style as the original.
It was a nice twist to find Danielle Harris playing Annie Brackett in Rob Zombie's version of Halloween after portraying Laurie Strode's daughter Jamie Lloyd in Halloween 4 and 5 of the original series. The character names remained the same for Laurie's friends in the new version of the movie, as do their untimely deaths.
Rob Zombie's version of Halloween has enough merit to be a popular horror movie in its own right and while people will continue to compare it to the original and that's really not a fair comparison. They are two different movies based on the same evil fictional character. One was made in 1978 with a great cast, crew, vision and no money. The other was made in 2007 with a great cast, crew, vision and more money along with nearly 30 years of technological advances. Remake is not the correct term because it looks at the subject from a new viewpoint. Either or both would be a good choice for someone who would like to watch a horror movie this Halloween.