A Defense of Rob Zombie's Halloween (2007)
Before I begin, let me say that John Carpenter's Halloween is, to me, the most perfect horror film ever created. It set the bar for all that was to follow and defined a genre by creating a foolproof formula that would guide his contemporaries for years to come. It also introduced us to one of most memorable characters in the history of horror, Michael Myers. I watch it several times a year, and would have been fine with it never being remade. That being said, welcome to the Hollywood machine. Where everything, and I mean everything, is going to get remade. What you see as precious and untouchable means nothing to studios who see remakes as an easy way to capitalize on franchise fans while appealing to a new and younger generation. And I can't say I approve of this strategy, because in trying to appeal to too many people the films often become soulless and end up alienating both groups (case in point - A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010). But occasionally, a few slip by that are actually pretty damn good (Friday the 13th 2009 & Dawn of the Dead 2004). And in most cases the reasons these particular films succeed is by reinventing the material in some way, and not just producing a lazy shot for shot remake. So to quickly summarize: Everything is getting remade. Everything. We can only hope that they're done well.
Next let's examine where the Halloween franchise was as far as the mythology. Carpenter's first film had very little back story, and focused primarily on Laurie. Which served as the perfect introduction to Michael. In the second film, Michael goes from just a psychopath, to something a bit more superhuman - withstanding several bullets to the head and a massive gas explosion that burns most of his body. As we all know, Mikey checked out for the third film (which I find gets more flack than it deserves) before returning in the fourth installment. The fourth film fails to ever address Michael's superhuman ability to withstand bullets, and the film ends with him literarily shot, thrown into an abandoned well, and then blown up. So when the writers of the fifth movie, who started shooting without having finished the script (and it shows) attempted to explain the supernatural forces driving Michael, with interference from the studio, they began to muddy to mythology of the series, beginning a downward spiral of critical and financial success. In fact when writer Daniel Farrands wrote the sixth movie, he did his best to attempt to tie the confusing rune stone back story into the previous films. But with major studio changed to the film, it ended up being even more confusing than the fifth. Now at this point in the series, fans were so unhappy with the direction that the follow ups H20 and Resurrection made no reference whatsoever to the previous 4 films. And although they were mildly passable, they lacked the heart and chest tightening suspense of the original 2 films.
So here we are in a conundrum. We aren't happy with the direction the films have taken with their lame explanation of his supernatural past, add to that the fact that Michael (as of Resurrection) has now competed his lifelong goal, and aside from Jamie's son from The Curse of Michael Myers, everyone in his family is dead. At this point, I see why the decided to reboot the series. But now we have the daunting task of remaking something sacred. And I guess the basis of what I am saying overall, is that Rob Zombie's Halloween isn't some cookie cutter remake, it is a complete retelling of the original woven together with a sort of prequel. Think of it like this: In the Bible, Jesus is born and then from the time that he's a little kid until the time that he's thirty years old, he disappears completely. And Rob used this opportunity to add a new mythology to Michael's origin story that went in the opposite direction that the fifth film sent the franchise in.