'Halloween': Once more, with flaying

Give Rob Zombie some credit. Asked to do the unthinkable — remake one of the most influential horror films in history, one of the few that has stood the test of time — and he has done so, in a way that is mostly unique and still shocking.

John Carpenter, director of the original “Halloween,” may have raised the bar to daunting heights, yet Zombie offers a broader but compelling take on the mythology that has made Michael Myers one of the creepiest villains in cinematic history.

How? Well, he’s given Myers (Tyler Mane) a back story. Until now, the man behind the mask was simply a stalker who killed without reason, silently hunting his victims with random precision. Zombie does his best to explore the motivations that drive Myers to killing — the broken home, a drunken, abusive stepfather (William Forsythe) and a mother (Sheri Moon) whose occupation as a stripper at the local bar exposes her son to ridicule.

Neither is prepared for the fateful Halloween evening when Michael embarks upon a murderous rampage — but then, that’sthe point.

After a lengthy but intriguing exposition, Zombie settles into a familiar groove, returning to the night when Myers escapes the confines of his sanitarium to retrace the footsteps of his long-lost sister, Laurie (Scout Taylor-Compton). At that point, the film becomes less of a reinvention than a dutiful remake.

Nearly 30 years later, Myers is still consumed by the same demons, and his drive to kill, in gorier fashion than Carpenter ever committed to film, remains undiminished.

Still, it is compulsively watchable. Zombie’s “Halloween” may prove too verbose and literal-minded to satisfy fans of Carpenter’s original — a model of minimalist but brutally efficient horror — but it is a harsh, disquieting experience.

Sometimes, less is more; in this case, not a lot more.

artsentertainmentOther Arts

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Cyclists have flocked to Market Street since private vehicles were largely banned from a long stretch of it in January. (Amanda Peterson/Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Plans for sidewalk-level bikeway on Market Street dropped due to costs, increased cyclist volume

Advocates say revisions to Better Market Street fail to meet safety goals of project

Anti-eviction demonstrators rally outside San Francisco Superior Court. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Report: Unpaid rent due to COVID-19 could be up to $32.7M per month

A new city report that attempts to quantify how much rent has… Continue reading

Music venues around The City have largely been unable to reopen due to ongoing pandemic health orders. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF to cut $2.5M in fees to help 300 nightlife venues

San Francisco will cut $2.5 million in fees for hundreds of entertainment… Continue reading

Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett departs the U.S. Capitol on October 21, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump nominated Barrett to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after Ginsburg’s death. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)
GOP senators confirm Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court in partisan vote

By Jennifer Haberkorn Los Angeles Times The Senate on Monday confirmed Judge… Continue reading

Curator Tim Burgard looks over a section of the galleries comprising “The de Young Open,” a huge, varied collection of work by Bay Area artists. (Photo courtesy Gary Sexton/Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)
Bay Area artists jam-pack vivid ‘de Young Open’

Huge exhibition — with works for sale — showcases diversity, supports community

Most Read