As many people know, John Carpenter's Halloween is one of the most famous horror movies out there. Rob Zombie, a musician and film director, decided to remake this horror classic. From the standpoint of a regular Halloween fan, Rob Zombie's rendition of this classic can be seen as somewhat obscene and terrifying. But in order to understand why Zombie chose this direction for his remakes of Halloween and Halloween II, one must understand his background.
Rob Zombie was first a musician in White Zombie, later making another band named after himself. His music is very devious, with obscene lyrics and many refrences to sadistic rituals. With that being said, one can already see that he has a very unique taste in his music. As a film director, his musical talents began to cross over in his films. His first film, House of 1000 Corpses, followed the story of a sadistic family and their murderous ways. Similar to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, this film depicts young adults driving in the middle of nowhere and suddenly get stranded when a strange family offers to fix their "flat tire". It is only then that they are introduced to the Firefly family's horrors. After this film was released, he released a sequel to it, The Devil's Rejects, which follows the same family as a deputy seeks revenge on them for killing his brother. Already, one can see that Zombie likes to create very sadistic horror films.
When the first remake of Halloween came out, I was surprised. Thinking that it was going to be virtually the same as the original, I was shocked. For the most part, it did follow the same storyline, but the beginning was of a much different interpretation. There was a more in-depth back story to the movie that made the plotline easier to understand, in my opinion. In John Carpenter's version, Michael Myers, a seemingly innocent young boy, murders his sister, and his well-to-do parents come home to find him carrying a bloody knife outside of the house. The parents seemed to not even understand why he would do something like that, and then it immediately begins years later in Haddonfield. By contrast, Rob Zombie portrays Michael Myers as a disturbed young boy who kills his pets for fun, taking freakish pictures after he kills them. We also get a more realistic backstory about his family. His family is poor, and the mother has three children by their father who has passed away. The oldest sibling is a teenage girl who is very sexually active, Michael Myers as the middle child, and a young infant, who is referred to as "Boo" by Michael. The father of children is dead, and Ronnie, the mother's new perverted boyfriend, lives with them. Michael Myer's mother is a stripper who works all night at the Red Boot. This depiction makes the explanation for Michael's devious murders more believable. When Michael kills his first human, he is seen as almost sadistic, having no mercy on his victim as he continually blows the young mans head with a blunt object until he dies. While John Carpenter's short intro into Michael Myers adds an element of mystery to the film, Rob Zombie's rendition makes it more believable to his audience.
After this intro to the movie, the storyline of Zombie's film follows Carpenter's film almost exactly. The only element that is more pronounced and interesting is that Zombie adds more insight into the mind of Myers and also shows Dr. Loomis' insights into Myers throughout the years. The scenes in the asylum, while very disturbing, such as the rape scene, add a sense of grotesque reality to the film that is sure to chill any horror fans to the bone. Zombie seems to put a more grotesque and chilling reality to death and murder that makes you feel like you are right there in the action of the film.
Halloween II, Zombie's second remake, follows a completely different storyline and explanation than Carpenter's that delves into the insanity of the Myers family. In this film, we find out that the main character, Laurie, has been having many pyschological problems since the first film, and as a result has become mildly schizophrenic and depressed. The constant parallels between Laurie and Michael Myers' mental illnesses hint that maybe the two are related, which we later find out. When Laurie finds out that she is "Angel Myers", Michael Myers' sister, her mental illness seems to become worse. In this version, she is accepting that her insanity can only be explained by her heredity. She falls into this darkness and is forever imprisoned in her mind, hallucinating a white horse and Mrs. Myers in a flowing white dress. The white horse and Myers' mother in a white dress become symbolic representations of her past, her family and the reality of her mental illness.
In contrast to Carpenter's Halloween II, this film is completely different. In Carpenter's film, the reason behind Michael Myer's killings remains a mystery, and is never fully explained by the end of this movie. In a sense, Carpenter's leaves you to make up your own mind about the insanity that is Michael Myers, while Zombie continues to explain the madness and represent it in the most grotesque ways. Whether you are a fan of John Carpenter's films or Rob Zombie's, watching both is trully a unique experience.