Halloween (2007 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Rob Zombie|
|Screenplay by||Rob Zombie|
by John Carpenter
and Debra Hill
John Carpenter (themes)
|Edited by||Glenn Garland|
The Weinstein Company
|Box office||$80.2 million|
Halloween is a 2007 American slasher film written, directed, and produced by Rob Zombie. The film is a remake/reimagining of the 1978 horror film of the same name; the first in the rebooted Halloween film series and the ninth installment of the Halloween franchise. The film stars Tyler Mane as the adult Michael Myers, Malcolm McDowell as Dr. Sam Loomis, Scout Taylor-Compton as Laurie Strode, and Daeg Faerch as the ten year old Michael Myers. Rob Zombie's "reimagining" follows the premise of John Carpenter's original, with Michael Myers stalking Laurie Strode and her friends on Halloween night. Zombie's film goes deeper into the character's psyche, trying to answer the question of what drove him to kill people, whereas in Carpenter's original film Michael did not have an explicit reason for killing.
Working from Carpenter's advice to "make [the film] his own", Zombie chose to develop the film as both a prequel and a remake, allowing for more original content than simply re-filming the same scenes. Despite mostly negative reviews, the film, which cost $15 million to make, went on to gross $80,208,039 worldwide, making it the highest-grossing film in the Halloween series, in unadjusted U.S. dollars. Zombie followed the film with a sequel, Halloween II, in 2009.
On Halloween in Haddonfield, Illinois, having already exhibited signs of psychopathic tendencies, ten-year-old Michael Myers (Daeg Faerch) murders a school bully (Daryl Sabara), his older sister Judith (Hanna R. Hall), her boyfriend Steve (Adam Weisman), and his mother's boyfriend Ronnie (William Forsythe). Only his baby sister, Angel Myers, is spared. After one of the longest trials in the state's history, Michael is found guilty of first-degree murder and sent to Smith's Grove Sanitarium under the care of child psychologist Dr. Samuel Loomis (Malcolm McDowell).
Michael initially cooperates with Loomis, claiming no memory of the killings; his mother Deborah (Sheri Moon Zombie), visits him regularly. Over the following year, Michael becomes fixated on papier-mâché masks and withdraws from everyone around him, even his mother. When Michael kills a nurse as Deborah is leaving from one of her visits, she is unable to handle the situation and commits suicide.
For the next fifteen years, Michael (Tyler Mane) continues making masks and not speaking to anyone. Loomis, having continued to treat Michael over the years, decides to move on and closes Michael's case. Later, Michael escapes from Smith's Grove, killing the sanitarium employees in the process. He kills a truck driver for his clothes, and makes his way back to Haddonfield. On Halloween, Michael arrives at his now-abandoned childhood home, where he recovers the kitchen knife and Halloween mask he stored under the floorboards the night he killed his sister.
Meanwhile, Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) and her friends Annie Brackett (Danielle Harris) and Lynda Van Der Klok (Kristina Klebe) prepare for Halloween. Throughout the day, Laurie witnesses Michael watching her from a distance. Later that night, Laurie goes over to babysit Tommy Doyle (Skyler Gisondo). Meanwhile, Lynda meets up with her boyfriend Bob Simms (Nick Mennell) at Michael's abandoned home. Michael appears, murders them, and then heads to the Strode home, where he murders Laurie's parents, Mason (Pat Skipper) and Cynthia (Dee Wallace). Dr. Loomis, having been alerted of Michael's escape, arrives in Haddonfield looking for Michael. After obtaining a handgun, Loomis attempts to warn Sheriff Leigh Brackett (Brad Dourif) that Michael has returned to Haddonfield. Loomis and Brackett head to the Strode home, with Brackett explaining along the way that Laurie is really Michael's baby sister, having been adopted by the Strodes following their mother's suicide.
Meanwhile, Annie convinces Laurie to babysit Lindsey Wallace (Jenny Gregg Stewart) so that she can meet with her boyfriend Paul (Max Van Ville). Annie and Paul return to the Wallace home and have sex; Michael kills Paul and attacks Annie. Bringing Lindsey home, Laurie finds Annie on the floor, badly hurt but still alive, and calls the police. Michael attacks Laurie and chases her back to the Doyle home. Loomis and Brackett hear the 911 call over the radio and head toward the Wallace residence.
Michael kidnaps Laurie and takes her back to their old home. He tries to show Laurie that she is his sister, presenting a picture of them with their mother. Unable to understand, Laurie stabs Michael before escaping the house; Michael chases her, but Loomis arrives and shoots him. Recovering, Michael recaptures Laurie before she can leave and heads back to the house. Loomis again intervenes, but Michael subdues him. Laurie takes Loomis' gun and runs upstairs, but Michael corners her on a balcony and charges her head-on, knocking both of them over the railing. Laurie finds herself on top of an unconscious Michael. Aiming Loomis' gun at his face, she fires just as Michael awakens.
On June 4, 2006, Dimension announced that Rob Zombie, director of House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects, would be creating the next installment in the Halloween film series. The plan was for Zombie to hold many positions in the production; he would write, direct, produce, and serve as music supervisor. Bob Weinstein approached him about making the film. Zombie, who was a fan of the original Halloween and a friend of John Carpenter, jumped at the chance to make a Halloween film for Dimension Studios. Before Dimension went public with the news, Zombie felt obligated to inform Carpenter, out of respect, of the plans to remake his film. Carpenter's request was for Zombie to "make it his own". During a June 16, 2006 interview, Zombie announced that his film would combine the elements of prequel and remake with the original concept, and insisted that there would be considerable original content in the new film as opposed to mere rehashed material. The BBC reported that the new film would disregard the numerous sequels that followed Halloween.
Zombie's intention was to reinvent Michael Myers because, in his opinion, the character, along with Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, and Pinhead, had become more familiar to audiences, and as a result, less scary. The idea behind the new film was to delve deeper into Michael's backstory and add "new life" to the character. Michael's mask will be given its own story, to provide an explanation as to why he wears it, instead of having the character simply steal a random mask from a hardware store, as in the original film. Zombie explained that he wanted Michael to be true to what a psychopath really is, and wanted the mask to be a way for Michael to hide. He also wanted the young Michael to have charisma, which would be projected onto the adult Michael. In addition, he decided that Michael's motives for returning to Haddonfield would be more ambiguous, explaining, "[W]as he trying to kill Laurie, or just find her because he loves her?"
Moreover, Michael would not be able to drive in the new film, unlike his 1978 counterpart who stole Loomis' car so that he could drive back to Haddonfield. The Dr. Loomis character was also to be more intertwined with that of Michael; Zombie reasoned that the character's role in the original was "showing up merely to say something dramatic". Although Zombie added more history to the Michael Myers character, hence creating more original content for the film, he chose to keep the character's trademark mask and Carpenter's theme song intact for his version (despite an apparent misinterpretation in an interview suggesting the theme would be ditched). Production officially began on January 29, 2007. Shortly before production began, Zombie reported that he had seen the first production of Michael's signature mask and commented, "It looks perfect, exactly like the original. Not since 1978 has The Shape looked so good". Filming occurred in the same neighborhood that Carpenter used for the original Halloween.
On December 19, 2006, Zombie announced to Bloody-Disgusting that Daeg Faerch would play the part of ten-year-old Michael Myers. On December 22, 2006, Malcolm McDowell was officially announced to be playing Dr. Loomis. McDowell stated that he wanted a tremendous ego in Loomis, who is out to get a new book from the ordeal. On December 24, 2006, Zombie announced that Tyler Mane, who had previously worked with Zombie on The Devil's Rejects, would portray the adult Michael Myers. Mane stated that it was very difficult to act only with his eyes. Scout Taylor-Compton endured a long audition process, but as director Zombie explains, "Scout was my first choice. There was just something about her; she had a genuine quality. She didn't seem actor-y." She was one of the final people to be cast for a lead role after Faerch, Mane, McDowell, Forsythe, and Harris. A contest was held for a walk-on role in the film, at the time called Halloween 9; it was won by Heather Bowen. She played a news reporter who covered Michael's arrest, but her scene was cut from the film and does not appear in the deleted scenes.
Approximately four days before the theatrical release of the film, a workprint version of Halloween appeared online and was circulated around various BitTorrent sites. Upon hearing of the leaked copy, Zombie stated that whatever version had been leaked was an older version of the film, unlike what was about to be released in theaters. The leak of Zombie's workprint led to speculation that the film's box office success could be damaged, as director Eli Roth attributed the financial failure of his film, Hostel: Part II, to the leaking of a workprint version. Dark Horizons webmaster Garth Franklin noted that watching the workprint allows a viewer to see what was changed after test screenings of the film in June 2007. For example, one particular scene—the rape of one of the Smith's Grove female inmates—was replaced in the final version. Halloween was officially released on August 31, 2007, to 3,472 theaters in North America, giving it the widest release of any of the previous Halloween films.
On its opening day, Halloween grossed $10,896,610, and immediately surpassed the opening weekend grosses for Halloween II (1981) at $7,446,508, Season of the Witch (1982) at $6,333,259, The Return of Michael Myers (1988) at $6,831,250, The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) at $5,093,428, and The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) at $7,308,529. From September 1–2, Halloween earned $8,554,661 and $6,911,096, respectively, for a 3-day opening weekend total of $26,362,367. The film would earn an additional $4,229,392 on Labor Day for a 4-day holiday weekend gross of $30,591,759, making it the highest ever for that holiday. As a result, the 2007 film would immediately surpass the total box office gross for Halloween II (1981) at $25,533,818, Halloween III (1982) at $14,400,000, Halloween 4 (1988) at $17,768,757, Halloween 5 (1989) at $11,642,254, The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) at $15,116,634, and Halloween: Resurrection (2002) with $30,354,442.
Following its first Friday after its opening weekend, Halloween saw a 71.6% drop in attendance, earning $3,093,679. The film, which earned the #1 spot at the box office in its opening weekend, earned only $9,513,770 in its second weekend—a 63.9% decrease—but still claimed the #2 spot at the box office just behind 3:10 to Yuma. The film continued to appear in the weekend top ten going into its third weekend, when it earned $4,867,522 to take sixth place. It was not until the film's fourth weekend that it fell out of the top ten and into twelfth place with $2,189,266. Halloween would fail to regain a top ten spot at the box office for the remainder of its theatrical run.
Thanks to its opening weekend of $30.5 million, the film broke the box-office record for the Labor Day weekend, surpassing the record set in 2005 by Transporter 2 with $20.1 million. It still currently resides as the top Labor Day weekend grosser. Halloween was also the 8th highest-grossing R-rated film of 2007, and finished out the year in 44th place for domestic box office gross. With its $58 million box office gross, Halloween was the second highest-grossing film among the recent slasher remakes, taken over by A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) with $63 million. However, it is third in the list which consists of When a Stranger Calls (2006) at $47.8 million, Black Christmas (2006) at $16.3 million, Prom Night (2008) at $43.8 million, My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009) with $51.4 million, and Friday the 13th (2009) leading the group with $60 million. Halloween is also ranked eleventh overall when comparing it to all of the horror remakes, as well as eighth place for all slasher films in general, in unadjusted dollars.
In addition to the film's North American box office, it opened alongside Michael Clayton and Mr. Woodcock in foreign markets on the weekend of September 29, 2007. Halloween led the trio with a total of $1.3 million in 372 theaters – Michael Clayton and Mr. Woodcock took in $1.2 million from 295 screens and $1 million from 238 screens, respectively. By November 1, 2007, Halloween had taken in an additional $7 million in foreign markets. Ultimately, the film would earn approximately $21,981,879 overseas. By the end of the film's theatrical run, the film had taken a worldwide total of $80,253,908. Comparing this film to the rest of the films in the Halloween film series, Zombie's remake is the highest-grossing film in unadjusted US dollars. When adjusting for the 2009 inflation, Zombie's Halloween—which adjusts to $60.4 million domestically—is fourth, behind Carpenter's Halloween at $166.9 million, Halloween H20: 20 Years Later at $73.8 million, and Halloween II at $66.7 million.
Based on 109 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, Halloween received an average 25% overall approval rating based on 110 reviews, with the consensus "Rob Zombie doesn't bring many new ideas to the table in Halloween, making it another bloody disappointment for fans of the franchise." By comparison, Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, calculated a 47 out of 100 from the 18 reviews, indicating " mixed or average reviews". CinemaScore polls reported that the average grade cinemagoers gave the film was "B-" on an A+ to F scale; it also reported that 62% of the audience was male, with 57% being 25 years or older.
Peter Hartlaub, of the San Francisco Chronicle, felt Zombie was successful in both "[putting] his own spin on Halloween, while at the same time paying tribute to Carpenter's film"; he thought Zombie managed to make Michael Myers almost "sympathetic" as a child, but that the last third of the film felt more like a montage of scenes with Halloween slipping into "slasher-film logic". Nathan Lee of The Village Voice disagreed in part with Harlaub, feeling that Halloween may have placed too much emphasis on providing sympathy for Michael Myers, but that it succeeded in "[deepening] Carpenter's vision without rooting out its fear". The film critic Matthew Turner believed the first half of the film, which featured the prequel elements of Michael as a child, were better played than the remake elements of the second half. In short, Turner stated that performances from the cast were "superb", with Malcolm McDowell being perfectly cast as Dr. Loomis, but that the film lacked the scare value of Carpenter’s original. Jamie Russell from the BBC agreed that the first half of the film worked better than the last half; she stated that Zombie’s expanded backstory on Michael was "surprisingly effective"—also agreeing that McDowell was perfectly cast as Loomis—but that Zombie failed to deliver the "supernatural dread" that Carpenter created for Michael in his 1978 original.
New York Daily News critic Jack Matthews believed the film lacked tension, and went more for cheap shocks—focusing more on enhancing the "imagery of violence"—than real attempts to scare the audience; he gave the film one and a half stars out of five. Dennis Harvey, from Variety magazine, echoed Matthew's opinion that the film failed to deliver on the suspense; he also felt that you could not tell one teenage character from the next, whereas in Carpenter's original each teenager had real personalities. In contrast, Rossiter Drake of The Examiner applauded Michael's backstory, feeling that it was a "compelling take on the mythology" that managed to be "unique" and "shocking" at the same time. In agreement with other critics, Empire magazine's Kim Newman felt that, because Zombie seemed less focused on the teenagers being stalked and killed by Michael, the film "[fell] flat" when it came to delivering suspense or anything "remotely scary"; Newman did praise McDowell for his portrayal of the "dogged psychiatrist". Ben Walter, of Time Out London, felt Zombie added "surprising realism" to the development of Michael Myers’ psychopathic actions, but agreed with Newman that the director replaced the original film’s "suspense and playfulness" with a convincing display of "black-blooded brutality".
Frank Scheck, of The Hollywood Reporter, believed that even though Zombie's remake of Carpenter's Halloween was better than getting another sequel in the long running franchise it still was not comparable to the 1978 original. For Scheck, Zombie replaced Carpenter's building suspense, which made it so "brilliant", with graphic violence and extended scenes of nudity; he also criticized McDowell for lacking the intensity that Donald Pleasence brought to the Loomis character. By contrast, TV Guide's Ken Fox felt that Zombie did deliver a "scary horror movie", not by copying Carpenter, but by making the film his own. Fox noted that Zombie seemed to follow more in the footsteps of Wes Craven and Tobe Hooper's "savage, greasy-haired '70s" films, which allowed him to bring Michael back to his roots and successfully terrify an audience which has grown accustomed to the recent "torture porn" horror films. Bill Gibron, of PopMatters, believes that audiences and critics cannot compare Carpenter's film to Zombie's remake; where Carpenter focused more on the citizens of Haddonfield—with Michael acting as a true "boogeyman"—Zombie focuses more on Michael himself, successfully forcing the audience to experience all of the elements that Michael went through that would result in his "desire for death".
Halloween won the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Award for Best Film of 2007, drawing in 550 votes, the most ever in the history of the award. The film also won the 'Best Remake Award' at the 2008 Spike TV Scream Awards. Dan Mathews, vice president of PETA, sent Rob Zombie a thank-you letter for what he perceived as Zombie sending a message to audiences when he depicted the young Michael Myers torturing animals, something he felt demonstrated that people who commit acts of cruelty to animals are likely to move on to humans. Mathews went on to say, "Hopefully, with the attention focused by your movie on the link between cruelty to animals and human violence, more people will recognize the warning signs among people they know and deal with them more forcefully. We wish you continued success!"
Carpenter himself was ambivalent about the film; during an audience Q&A in 2016, Carpenter stated that he took issue with Zombie's comments that he was "cold" when they discussed the project and noted that it will color his perception of the film, and lamented that giving Myers a backstory took away from the mystique. He later clarified that he is on good terms with Zombie.
The film's soundtrack was released on August 21, 2007; it includes 24 tracks, consisting of 12 dialogue tracks and 12 instrumentals. The album contained both new tracks, as well as ones recycled from the original Halloween and its sequel. Tyler Bates' interpretation of John Carpenter's original Halloween theme is the first musical track, with "(Don't Fear) The Reaper," which appeared in the original Halloween, and "Mr. Sandman", which appeared in Halloween II and Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, performed by Nan Vernon. Writing about its selection from the 1981 film, one reviewer for the BBC commented that it worked well to "mimic Laurie’s situation (sleeping a lot)", making "the once innocent sounding lyrics seem threatening in a horror film". The album also includes Kiss's "God of Thunder", Rush's "Tom Sawyer", Alice Cooper's "Only Women Bleed", Peter Frampton's "Baby, I Love Your Way", Nazareth's "Love Hurts", Bachman–Turner Overdrive's "Let It Ride", Misfits' "Halloween II", and an Iggy Pop live version of The Stooges' "1969" among others.
On December 18, 2007, the film was released on DVD in the United States; both the theatrical (110 minutes) and an unrated director's cut (121 minutes) were released as two-disc special editions containing identical bonus features. The film was released on DVD in the UK on April 28, 2008, known as the "Uncut" edition. On October 7, 2008, a three-disc set was released. This Collector's Edition of Halloween features the same bonus features as the previous unrated edition, but includes Zombie's four-and-a-half-hour "making-of" documentary similar to the "30 Days in Hell" documentary for Zombie's The Devil's Rejects.
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