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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, April 24, 2014 - Edition No 894 

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HALLOWEEN

SYNOPSIS:
Following the brutal night of murders in quiet old Haddonfield, Illinois, Michael Myers (Daeg Faerch) begins seventeen years of incarceration at the Smith's Grove Sanitarium maximum-security mental facility, where he is treated by noted child behaviorist Dr. Samuel Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) - the only person who can truly understand Michael's evil nature. Now, seventeen years later, Michael (Tyler Mane) escapes on Halloween day and begins a murderous trek back to Haddonfield to continue his killing spree and seek resolution to events from his past. In Haddonfield, Michael begins stalking a high school girl, Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton), and her friends, Annie (Danielle Harris) and Lynda Kristina Klebe). When Dr. Loomis, now a successful author for his book on Michael, hears of his escape, he enlists the help of Haddonfield's Sheriff Brackett (Brad Dourif) to find and put an end to Michael's reign of terror.

Review by Robert Newton:
As far as remakes of modern horror classics that did not need to be remade go, rocker-turned-director Rob Zombie's tribute to John Carpenter's 1978 original is not a bad one. The Massachusetts-born longtime horror fan pays a solid tribute to the genre-defining slasher film in all kinds of ways, from the casting of a who's who of fan favorites to the fidelity to the original loony-verse down to Carpenter's eerily effective and beautifully simple score.

Zombie solidly re-invents the legend of Michael Myers, an inherently evil 10-year-old boy (think Hitler meets Hanson) played by newcomer Daeg Faerch, compelled to kill, kill, kill. To the boy's credit, it is a pretty big part, painting this portrait of the artist (as a crazy young man) in bloody knife strokes, especially in the way that Zombie has written him. The lad and Zombie both humanise Myers, also known as "The Shape," before turning him into the monster that has terrorized naughty teenagers in seven previous films (1982's Halloween III: Season of the Witch was curiously Myers-free).

Carpenter's version featured a pretty scant introduction to Myers, a sequence in which he murdered his sister for no apparent reason and was then chased 15 years later by ranting shrink Dr. Loomis (then played by the late Donald Pleasance). Here, Zombie takes the entire first act setting up the why of it, which adds a lot of meat to what could have been a pale imitation masquerading as a tribute. It works, even if it is a little Tarantino-talky. The action is well paced and keenly cut, with the grown-up Myers (played by colossal X-Man Tyler Mane) a truly menacing and unstoppable figure (though shame on Zombie for not giving a nod to the origin of the infamous mask, which was a cheap rubber William Shatner mask painted white).

For the most part, it is a well-acted affair, a rarity among this sort of movie. Malcolm McDowell plays the tenacious Dr. Loomis with a self-awareness that stays just this side of parody, and he is a smart choice in that he played the thrill-killer in Stanley Kubrick's 1971 nad-slam of a dissertation on the ultra-violence, A Clockwork Orange. The novelty of seeing famous faces like Brad Dourif (the voice of Chucky in the Child's Play movies) and Dee Wallace (The Howling) passes quickly, as soon as we realize that they are good in their roles (though the appearance of Monkees front man Micky Dolenz as a gun shop owner is still a big head-scratcher).

Did Halloween need to be remade? Perhaps not. Zombie has already proven himself more than able with original fare like House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects. Is it nonetheless a good white-knuckle ride? Certainly, and if it raises the bar for remakes and prevents another bowel evacuation in the form of a clueless Texas Chainsaw Massacre or The Hills Have Eyes sequel, then the Shape's many victims in this dote-worthy Horror 101 lesson did not die in vein vain.



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

HALLOWEEN (R)
(US, 2007)

CAST: Malcolm McDowell, Brad Dourif, Tyler Mane, Daeg Faerch, Sheri Moon, William Forsythe, Richard Lynch, Udo Kier, Clint Howard, Danny Trejo, Lew Temple

PRODUCER: Malek Akkad, Andy Gould, Rob Zombie

DIRECTOR: Rob Zombie

SCRIPT: Rob Zombie (1978 screenplay by John Carpenter, Debra Hill)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Phil Parmet

EDITOR: Glenn Garland

MUSIC: Tyler Bates

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Anthony Tremblay

RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 22, 2007







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