By any kind of objective measure, Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake – soon to be deposed by David Gordon Green’s upcoming return to the franchise – falls far short of John Carpenter’s iconic film. The spare precision of the ’78 original is abandoned in favour of ragged shaky cam. Michael Myers is rendered as a hulking, Wrestlemania supervillain; consistent with the sequels of the ‘80s and ‘90s, granted, but lacking the enigmatic humanity of Carpenter’s monster. Zombie feints at a ‘psychologically realistic’ portrait of Myers only to give Malcolm McDowell (as Dr Loomis) free rein to idly improvise.
Here’s the thing, though: I still … kinda … like it? The ’07 Halloween may lack the artistry and influence of Carpenter’s film, but it’s conceived with Zombie’s endearingly off-kilter brand of horror fandom that prioritises stupidity over sophistication. There are few slasher films on par with the original Halloween, but Zombie’s crude approach emphasises ‘badass’ brutality and gratuitous gore and nudity to capture the appeal of dumb ‘80s slashers. Zombie may not have much grasp on plausible psychology – and its feints in that direction are unambiguous failures – but he instinctively gets the sexualised, puberty-as-violence core of the best slashers. No classic, but surprisingly effective.