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Rob Zombie
Malcolm McDowell, Brad Dourif, Daeg Faerch, Scout Taylor-Compton
Writing Credits:
Rob Zombie

After being committed for 17 years, Michael Myers escapes from the mental institution where he was committed as a 10 year old and immediately returns to Haddonfield, where he wants to find his baby sister Laurie.

Box Office:
$15 million.
Opening Weekend
$30.591 million on 3472 screens.
Domestic Gross
$58.259 million.

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
English Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 121 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 10/21/2008

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Rob Zombie
• Alternate Ending with Optional Commentary
• Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
• Bloopers
• “The Many Masks of Michael Myers” Featurette
• “Re-Imagining Halloween” Featurette
• “Meet the Cast” Featurette
• Casting Sessions and Screen Test
• Trailer
• “Michael Lives: The Making of Halloween” Documentary


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Halloween [Blu-Ray] (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 7, 2016)

While it seems to me that it’s a mistake to remake legendary flicks, that doesn’t mean filmmakers don’t occasionally give it a try. The horror genre appears most open to reinventions of iconic efforts, and we can add 2007’s Halloween to the list. Rock musician turned director Rob Zombie takes the reins for this update of John Carpenter’s 1978 classic.

If you saw the original, you’ll know the plot of this one, though the 2007 version offers a new introduction. We go back to the mid-1970s to meet pre-teen Michael Myers (Daeg Faerch), a disturbed kid in a massively dysfunctional family.

Michael constantly gets in trouble at school and he displays troubling behaviors such as killing animals. Child psychologist Sam Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) wants to assess Michael, but the boy takes a turn for the worse before this happens. Michael goes on a killing spree and undergoes psychiatric incarceration.

While in a sanitarium, Michael undergoes work with Loomis but the boy’s mental status degenerates. Eventually Michael kills again when he goes after a nurse, an action that pretty much ensures his permanent residency at the sanitarium.

With that, the flick leaps ahead 15 years to find a hulking Michael (Tyler Mane) still in the sanitarium. Michael remained silent for that entire time. Loomis still works with him, though obviously to no avail, so the doctor finally quits the case.

When some drunken sanitarium guards taunt Michael one time too many, he slays them and escapes. This starts another killing spree, one that brings him home in an attempt to find his sister (Scout Taylor-Compton). The flick follows Michael’s violent path and the attempts to stop him.

If someone can tell me why this remake of Halloween exists, I’d love to hear it. I’d guess that two factors came into operation. First, these remakes of older horror flicks are cheap and they do pretty well. No, Halloween’s gross of $58 million didn’t set any worlds on fire, but it’s perfectly fine for a film in this genre, especially given the movie’s modest $15 million budget.

I suspect the other reason for the movie’s existence stems from a misguided desire to “improve on” the original. Though the John Carpenter Halloween did a lot to launch the “slasher” genre, it offered exceedingly little actual violence. Most of the mayhem was implied, not seen, and the film worked more like a thriller than the bloodfests we’d get a few years later.

Given the “tame” nature of the Carpenter version’s violence, I suppose Zombie and others figured it’d be much more entertaining if it amped up the gore. And boy does Zombie achieve that goal!

Actually, I don’t want to overstate the level of violence, as the 2007 Halloween isn’t absurdly bloody, but it definitely eliminates the subtlety found in the original. This one comes with a few fairly graphic scenes and plays more like a splatter flick.

I expect those who dislike the tame qualities of the 1978 edition will like the bloodiness of the new one, and they get more explicit elements in other ways. We get a ton more profanity, much of which seems gratuitous and unnecessary. We also find more nudity, which is fine with me; call that gratuitous as well – which it is – but I won’t complain.

The biggest changes come with the addition of Michael’s backstory. If you remake a film, you really need to do something different with your take, and I will give Zombie credit in that department. If nothing else, no one can claim that he simply rehashed the original – at least not for the flick’s first half.

The sections that take place in Haddonfield after Michael’s escape tend to more closely resemble the scenes from the Carpenter version. Zombie doesn’t literally replicate them, as he makes some changes, but they’re often quite close.

That leaves the parts with the young Michael to stand as the movie’s most original statement. The film’s extended introduction attempts to answer questions about Michael but it fails miserably.

First of all, the flick revels in its unpleasantness, as it presents the crudest, nastiest family on record. Obviously Zombie intends to show us how this environment created Michael, but he fails. If the setting screwed Michael up so badly, why don’t Laurie and the others turn psycho as well? Halloween provides a simple explanation for a complex problem.

And it also seems absurd, since it’s hard to imagine any clan being so insanely dysfunctional. Michael’s family makes the folks on Jerry Springer look like the Cleavers. The movie needs to leaven the material in some way but instead prefers to bask in the foul stench.

I might excuse the over-the-top look at the family if Zombie introduced any real psychological complexity. However, Zombie doesn’t really attempt to explain what happened to Michael. The film vaguely blames his messed up family but that only goes so far, and it doesn’t touch on the causes of Michael’s continued decline over the years.

Michael goes badly downhill as time passes but we learn no real reason this occurs. The result is completely devoid of psychological merit; Zombie puts on pretensions in that regard but creates more questions than answers.

The ridiculous lack of continuity or storytelling clarity doesn’t help. Frankly, the flick is a mess in most ways. It boasts no sense of pace and comes with lots of odd editing choices, such as the decision to linger on a bully forever as he leaves the school. That shot never ends but adds nothing, and it becomes perplexing.

We find an awful lot of confusing story issues, starting early in the film. What state puts 10-year-olds on trial for murder? I don’t think even Texas would do that.

Why does Loomis go from working at the school to serving at the sanitarium? Why is Michael’s baby sister still an infant when he’s been away for years? Why does Loomis remain the only psychologist on the case for 15 years when Michael just gets worse and worse?

The answer to all these questions and many more? Plot contrivances and sloppy filmmaking. Look, I’m willing to suspend disbelief when I get into a movie. I’ll allow all sorts of iffy choices and goofy logic if I find myself involved in a story.

Unfortunately, the 2007 version of Halloween doesn’t draw me into its world at all. A third of the flick provides a banal look at Michael Myers’ “origin story”, and the rest does little more than rehash the superior work from the original. There’s nothing worthwhile on display here.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus A

Halloween appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie featured a positive transfer.

For the most part, sharpness looked solid. Only a smidgen of softness appeared, so the image usually seemed crisp and detailed. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering materialized, and I noticed no edge haloes or print flaws.

In terms of colors, Halloween usually went with an autumnal palette. This meant the hues were subdued but warm within their constraints. I thought the tones appeared well-reproduced. Blacks were deep and tight, and shadows looked fine. They could’ve been a bit clearer, but they caused no issues. Overall, this was a more than acceptable presentation.

Similar thoughts greeted the pretty good Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of Halloween. Most of the time, the soundfield emphasized ambience. The movie didn’t boast a lot of scenes that made great use of the various channels, but it managed to create a good sense of place and atmosphere.

A few scenes broadened matters to a satisfying degree, and music always worked well. The score actually spread to the various speakers in a satisfying manner that made the music the most compelling aspect of the mix.

Audio quality was perfectly acceptable. A little edginess occasionally crept into some speech, but the lines normally seemed natural and distinctive. Music was lively and bright, while effects sounded clear and accurate. Bass response was pretty solid as well. Nothing here really excelled, but the soundtrack was a positive one.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the 2008 “Collector’s Edition” DVD? Audio appeared warmer and fuller, while visuals looked cleaner and more precise. The Blu-ray offered a nice step up in quality.

The Blu-ray duplicates the CE’s extras, and we launch with an audio commentary from writer/director Rob Zombie. He provides a running, screen-specific chat that looks at cast, characters and performances, story and adaptation issues, editing and changes made for the director’s cut, sets and locations, stunts, effects, music and a few other production topics.

I may not like his movie, but I like Zombie’s commentary quite a lot. He presents a consistently engaging and honest personality as he digs in his work. Zombie tends to be very screen-specific, meaning that he rarely deviates from subjects related directly to the action we see, but this never becomes a problem. He offers lots of great stories from the shoot and never simply narrates the movie. Zombie gives us a very good commentary.

Next we find 17 Deleted Scenes plus an Alternate Ending. The Deleted Scenes fill a total of 22 minutes, 19 seconds, while the “Alternate Ending” goes for three minutes, 45 seconds.

None of these are particularly interesting, though some do flesh out plot holes. “Parole Hearing” proves particularly useful in that regard. “Adoption Agency” isn’t very memorable for its content, but at least it gives us a cameo from Adrienne Barbeau.

As for the “Alternate Ending”, it seems decidedly less satisfying than the one in the released flick. It puts Michael’s death in the hands of the cops, which doesn’t make a ton of sense; he essentially surrenders but they unload scads of gunshots on him anyway. It also doesn’t work to leave the other leads as so passive. It’s not a good scene.

We can watch all of these with or without commentary from Zombie. He throws out some decent details, but after his interesting chat for the main movie, these remarks disappoint. Zombie gives us the basics and lets us know why he axed the shots, but he doesn’t tell us much else. The comments are decent but not particularly involving.

A collection of Bloopers fills 10 minutes, 18 seconds. Although these offer the usual goofs and giggles, they entertain more than most gag reels. That’s primarily due to Malcolm McDowell, as he offers lots of fun improv lines and other amusing bits. His moments with Brad Dourif prove especially entertaining.

Next comes a featurette called The Many Masks of Michael Myers. This six-minute, 26-second piece presents movie clips, shots from the set and interviews with Zombie, FX makeup artist Wayne Toth, editor Glenn Garland, costume designer Mary McLeod, production designer Anthony Tremblay, and actors Tyler Mane and Daeg Faerch.

We learn a little about the performances as Michael and more about the different masks he wears in the film. Though somewhat insubstantial, the show includes a few good details such as the origin of young Michael’s clown mask. It’s a short but decent piece.

For the 19-minute, 11-second Re-Imagining Halloween, we hear from Zombie, Garland, Tremblay, Toth, McLeod, director of photography Phil Parmet, producer Andy Gould, and prop master John Brunot. The program examines the adaptation of the original film and Zombie’s take on the material, cinematographic styles and visual elements, set design, props, costumes and makeup effects.

“Re-Imagining” doesn’t provide much of a general “making of” program, but it helps flesh out some areas. The discussion of production design proves particularly intriguing. Along with some good glimpses of the shoot, this show becomes satisfying.

Meet the Cast lasts 18 minutes, 16 seconds and includes Zombie, Gould, Faerch, Mane, and actors Malcolm McDowell, Sheri Moon Zombie, Scout Taylor-Compton, Danielle Harris, Brad Dourif, Kristina Klebe, Dee Wallace, Lew Temple, Sid Haig, and Danny Trejo.

We learn why Zombie chose the various actors and also get some insights into their performances. Along with this, we inevitably hear a moderate amount of happy talk, but enough substance comes along for the ride to make the program worthwhile.

Next we go to Casting Sessions. The 29-minute, 52-second collection offers test readings from Faerch, Taylor-Compton, Harris, Klebe, Hanna Hall, Adam Weisman, Skyler Gisondo, Jenny Stewart, Daryl Sabara, Pat Skipper, Clint Howard, Nick Mennell, Max Van Ville, Mel Fair and Courtney Gains.

The most interesting segments come from a few that include scenes not found in the final flick. We also see some actors try out for roles they didn’t get, and it’s fun to view they’re takes on the parts. We find a lot of good material here.

In a separate area, we find a Scout Taylor-Compton Screen Test for the role of “Laurie Strode”. The seven-minute, 47-second clip may sound like it’ll be redundant since we already see Taylor-Compton’s audition in the prior section, but this one appears to come from a callback session. It shows Taylor-Compton in a more elaborate setting as she works through a few scenes with ger teen friends. It’s another good addition to the package.

Disc One finishes with the film’s theatrical trailer, and then we head to Disc Two’s Michael Lives: The Making of Halloween. In this four-hour, 19-minute and 44-second documentary, we follow the flick from pre-production through all 42 days of its shoot.

That means an examination of all aspects of the movie, with an emphasis on “fly on the wall” footage from the set. We hear from Zombie, Faerch, Wallace, Moon Zombie, McLeod, Mane, McDowell, Toth, Hall, Dourif, Parmet, Mennell, Klebe, Taylor-Compton, Gould, Fair, Harris, Gisondo, Van Ville, Skipper, Sabara, Howard, Haig, art director TK Kirkpatrick, set decorator Lori Mazuer, second 2nd AD Korey Scott Pollard, key rigging grip Scott Parent, stunt coordinator Rawn Hutchinson, stuntman Chris Nielsen, composer Tyler Bates, and actors Adrienne Barbeau, Richard Lynch, Daniel Roebuck, Courtney Gains and William Forsythe.

When it comes to extended documentaries, it’s hard to top the length of “Lives”. That doesn’t necessarily make the piece good, however, as it could’ve been a long, dull program.

Happily, “Lives” works pretty well. It offers scads of footage from the set, and it throws in enough interview material to add perspective. I suppose the show’s length might be a negative for some folks, as you gotta really like Halloween to want to sit through nearly four and a half hours of info about it, but if you want to know more about the flick, this is a great program.

Because I’ve enjoyed other remakes of horror classics, I thought the 2007 Halloween could’ve been good. However, the movie totally discards everything that made the original so enjoyable and just becomes a tedious mess. The Blu-ray provides solid picture and audio along with a terrific set of supplements. While this becomes a good release, the movie itself seems flawed and pointless.

To rate this film, visit the Unrated Director's Cut review of HALLOWEEN (2007)

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main