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Monday, July 28, 2014

EDITORIAL: Invasion of the Halloween Thieves - How One Editorial Got It Wrong About Rob Zombie's Opinion of John Carpenter's Halloween

As a fan of Rob Zombie's remake of Halloween and the sequel I take some heat from time to time from remake haters and folks who aren't exactly fans of Rob Zombie's body of work. I only tell you this because people are absolutely allowed to dislike movies and form their own opinions about them. This is the internet after all. Everyone has an opinion (and apparently assholes and keyboards). Of course then there's the matter at hand... not an opinion exactly, but a work of poetic larceny. Moviepilot published an editorial by Amy Martin that made some unbelievable and factually inaccurate statements most of which served as insults to Zombie and still others were out and out lies. I want to address this article because the response on the social network was to share it and provide a soap box for folks who don't like Zombie's Halloween rather than focus on the content of the article which was pure trash. The attention this article was undue and hopefully it has been pulled. We will not be linking to it, but the text in red is quoted form him with credit given. 

The title of this piece is misleading: “Rob Zombie Tells Us Why His 'Halloween' Is Superior To The Original”. Rob Zombie didn’t tell Moviepilot anything. The idea that Rob Zombie feels his work is superior to the original Carpenter film was the hypothesis created out of a self-serving desire to attack Rob Zombie’s Halloween. Rob Zombie has not claimed that his movie is superior. He does love the original. He has made a different version of that story (as the sequels have done each time the concept of Michael Myers is re-explored and recreated).

Let’s address some of the “key points” from Moviepilot and discuss the MTV article in question and also some excerpts from fan questions from Halloweenmovies.com.


From 2014 Moviepilot article:

 “Despite claiming to be a big fan of the original 1978 'Halloween' and its sequels, Rob Zombie has spoken out on the man‘y flaws in the original film, and how he improved upon it in his 2007 remake.
During an interview with 'are you going' in 2002, he stated "Go remake something that's a piece of shit, and make it good." In 2003 he then went on to say to the guys over at DVDtalk.com "Remaking films that were already great is kind of stupid. I don't really see the point"

Rob Zombie’s words from an interview at Halloweenmovies.com:

Q: Can you please clarify what you mean when you say you are “not making a sequel” and that your Halloween will be a “re-imagining” of the series? Isn’t that just another word for “remake”? (from Cole in Chicago)
RZ: Well, sort of. I am basically making a prequel and a semi-remake of the first film all in one. So really in theory there will be more original content than remake content. That’s why I don’t like the word “remake.”
From the MTV 2007 Robert Mancini interview:
That challenge came from Bob Weinstein, the co-head of the Weinstein Company who sat Zombie down for a meeting and simply said, " 'Halloween' ... what do you think?"

"My first reaction was I didn't see the point of any of this," Zombie admitted, adding that he was turned off by what a string of uninspired sequels had done to the legacy of the original. "Then I went away and thought about it for a couple months and started thinking that that was maybe a weird attitude to have." Inspired by David Cronenberg's 1986 take on "The Fly" and John Carpenter's 1982 version of "The Thing," Zombie started to see the possibilities in reinventing the franchise, and "started thinking of ways this could be done and done right.

From 2014 Moviepilot article:

So this leads us to believe that either A: He went back on his word, or changed his mind because he was offered the money - or B: He actually does think that the original 1978 Halloween is an awful film.

Rob Zombie’s words from an interview at Halloweenmovies.com:

Q: Halloween is the most influential horror movie ever made and I for one am not happy about a remake. All of the remakes to hit theaters – from Texas Chainsaw to The Omen – were total crap. Why touch a classic like Halloween? Why would you even risk this? (from Mike in New York)
RZ: Like I said in Question 1, I wouldn’t even go near this project if I didn’t feel like a had a fresh, worthwhile approach to the material. Besides, I’m not touching one single frame of Carpenter’s classic. That film will remain as it always has.

From the MTV 2007 Robert Mancini interview:

“Horror-movie remakes for the most part don't work," Zombie said, taking a break from audio mixes in his recording studio to unleash his inner fanboy (which is never that far from the surface anyway). "They just imitate the original. They don't try to do something new and different, they just follow it. And if you're going to follow the original, then there's no point because that movie already exists." 
"My first memory of the film is of feeling swept up in the excitement of this new thing that was sort of changing the rules for horror movies," Zombie recalled. "It's just a great movie as a movie. Before it spawned this whole generation of imitators, the closest thing you could relate it to was maybe 'Psycho' — it seemed like this simple, suspenseful, Hitchcock-style movie. But of course, when something hits, it gets imitated, and the parts that get imitated are usually the most basic parts. 'Well, if they enjoyed four teenagers getting killed, then they're really gonna like 13 teenagers getting killed.' That's what gets exploited. I always feel bad that 'Halloween' gets lumped in with [the imitators] ... it sits alone as a classic film on its own, much better than any of the films it ever spawned."

And taking on such a classic is no small feat (undoubtedly, expectations would be somewhat lower if Zombie were revisiting, say, "Dr. Giggles"). Zombie said he's seen "Halloween" hundreds of times, and admitted that he recently had to cut himself off after repeated viewings left him feeling handcuffed as he tried to tackle the script for his own vision. He's certainly not alone, though. Generations continue to discover John Carpenter's original, and its hallmarks — that expressionless mask and that relentless score — can instantly chill anyone who's ever taken the cinematic trip to Haddonfield, Illinois.

"I think the music and the imagery and everything involved with 'Halloween' is still effective because it was simple, and simple things are always classic and they last," Zombie opined. "I relate it to the Ramones. When they were doing it first, nothing sounded like that, and it's hard to believe that nothing sounded like that because everything sounds like that now. It's hard to believe there was a time that was never done." 

Does this sound like someone who thinks Carpenter’s Halloween is an awful film? No. Does he feel his movie is a remake? Not really. He thinks of it an alternate universe. A different story. You know how Mary Shelley wrote a book called Frankenstein and then a whole bunch of filmmakers made it their own? That’s what Zombie was trying to do. Take a concept and put his spin on it. When we talk about a filmmaker trying to reimagine a movie this would be the genuine article. Too often the term reimaging is used as a marketing tool to skirt the word remake. This is not one of those times.

From 2014 Moviepilot article:

Zombie said that he felt the character of Loomis was more of a 'dramatic tool' than a character, and would simply "pop in when they needed something dramatic to say." He also commented that in the sequels especially, Loomis seemed like he was crazy, and acted as if he was always drunk!
Oh I'm sorry if he acted a little crazy and drunk in the sequels Rob, I guess the pressure of having to deal with Michael and his murders year after year just took its toll on him? At least he didn't turn into an arrogant asshole like YOUR Loomis did in the sequel!

From the MTV 2007 Robert Mancini interview:

"I felt the character of Dr. Loomis just popped in and out when they needed somebody to say something dramatic," Zombie observed. "I wanted his story to feel more intertwined with Michael in a way that means something, which they did in the original, but sometimes it feels like he disappears for a long period and then just pops up to go, 'He's evil!,' and then he disappears again for a while."

Zombie's eyes light up as he talks about casting his Loomis, and names ranging from Jeff Bridges to Ben Kingsley turn up on his very, very loose "what if?" list. "There is no shortage of late-50s, early-60s male actors that are amazing and would like to work more, probably much like Donald Pleasence at the time [he was cast as the original Loomis]," Zombie said
. 

When you think about Zombie’s statement here, he’s not saying that Donald Pleasence did a bad job, but he really is involved for a limited amount of time in the theatrical cut of the movie. He’s the doctor who is sent to pick up Myers. He tracks him down. He finds the sheriff in Haddonfield and attempts to track Myers down. Visits Judith Myers’ grave. Camps out at the Myers house. He discovers Lindsey and Tommy running down the street and kills the bad guy. Every time he speaks he talks about Evil. He hardly seems like a real person, and for Zombie’s idea, an idea that was supposed to be more centered in reality rather than a world of good and evil in the supernatural sense of the word, this character is important to be developed. So he does just that and in his sequel Zombie’s Loomis tries to capitalize on his adventures. We see that all the time.

From 2014 Moviepilot article:

“Next Zombie said that he was upset that Michael was seen wearing a clean jumpsuit. "Another one of the things about the original Halloween and Michael Myers that bothered me, was that he found the only mechanic who wore a pristine uniform to kill"

Seriously? What makes you think that Michael Myers had to be a dirty character anyway? Who knows - the mechanic could have brought that jumpsuit brand new the day before. Or maybe he was just careful about his work.”

From the MTV 2007 Robert Mancini interview

"There are even things about the original Michael Myers that bothered me," he admitted. "Like, he killed the only mechanic that wears a pristine mechanic's uniform. It's just things like that that bothered me." 

I don’t believe Rob Zombie thinks that the jumpsuit is an inherit flaw in the character of Michael Myers or that Myers is dirty or should be dirty. It was just curious that the jumpsuit was clean. Having been around my fair share of mechanics, they usually have some oil smudges or other general road wear on their suit. Just happens. Says nothing about the quality of the mechanic, but to Rob it didn’t feel real. We realize at this point that the writer of the Moviepilot article is fishing for things to complain about.

From 2014 Moviepilot article:

“Zombie complains next that he finds it hard to believe that Michael would always find a similar mask to wear. "What if he stole a Jimmy Carter mask, or, you know, an Elmo mask, if that was the only one available at the hardware store" and - "when did he rob the hardware store? In broad daylight? When the alarm's still ringing? Like, where is everybody?" He then went on to say a bit more about how much things like that bother him in movies.

Hmm okay, so I can see where he's coming from with this one. The masks however were possibly quite popular at the time, because in both Halloween 2 and 5 we see different teenagers wearing them, so they may have been widely available - and on top of that, the same mask was never used twice. I'd personally much rather have him miraculously finding the same mask then walking around for the entire movie without wearing one (like in RZ's Halloween 2), because that TOTALLY ruined the eeriness of 'the shape.'”

This makes me think of the exceptionally popular Tor Johnson mask. It had variations over the years and I also like the fact that the mask changed over the years, developed, much like the Tor Johnson mask, but that damn Tor Johnson mask was very popular and still difficult to find. In fact aside from some Don Post masks I think it’s safe to say that Halloween masks rollover over the course of several years. He’s not damning the series. He’s simply observing that it’s awfully curious that Michael Myers gets out of an ambulance wreck to return to Haddonfield and immediately has to go find the same ghostly mask rather than the object of his desire (his niece). Yes, you could find the same mask… over and over and over and over…Myers gets lucky quite often. Sure Ben Tramer wears a similar mask in Part 2 and in Part 4 a group of kids gathers in a circle around the sheriff and Loomis, but considering I’ve never seen anything quite like this in reality, I understand Zombie’s point. That’s movie magic. Zombie wanted the whole thing to feel a little more every day. What might happen everyday. A killer might be just as happy with a Shatner mask as a Tor Johnson reissue.

From 2014 Moviepilot article:

“Another thing that Zombie had a bee in his bonnet about is that Michael was able to drive. "Michael Myers does not drive in this movie, because that always bothered me. They played it out like 'someone must have given him lessons', but you know, no one gave him lessons, he's in maximum security prison"
Well did you consider this Rob - Michael wasn't called 'the shape' for no reason, he was supposedly pure evil, and of course carried 'the curse of thorn'. Perhaps that had something to do with it. Perhaps that makes him that much more frightening.”

Nope, Zombie is right on this one. It is a bit on the extreme side that someone would have given Myers lessons in an institution. One of the things that Zombie points out is that he wants it to feel like Myers is less supernatural. So the issues he has are with that concept. He wants Myers to be more real. He is not insisting that Myers being more realistic in the original picture would have made it better, but that’s not the story he wants to tell in his movie. In Carpenter’s world, Myers is a bit on the supernatural side. Six shots won’t take him down in the end of the movie. He walks and moves silently and in the sequels (not all of them penned by Carpenter) that supernatural myth evolves. Considering the Curse of Thorn is just about as prominent in the series as robotic henchman created by an Irish toymaker, I think it’s safe to rule that out… especially in 1978 when the curse of thorn wasn’t a cum stain on the other side of the mattress.    

From 2014 Moviepilot article:

"Bothered me, bothered me, bothered me" Ugh, just stop it already Zombie, you're making a fool of yourself. Well what bothered me the most about the remake was that there was excessive gore, excessive swearing, excessive sexual content - heck it's not a movie I'd be watching with my parents! You had ten year old's talking about...well what they were talking about in the scene pictured above.

If the excess in Zombie’s Halloween bothers you then it is clearly different from the original… that didn’t have Linda (PJ Soles) ta ta’s on display or didn’t open with a boobie shot with Myers staring down his sister exposed tits and then killing her with a badass POV shot. Plenty of boobs. Plenty of violence (not gore, but killing is killing whether done for duty profit or fun, right?). Zombie’s version does swear more. Different time. Different writing style. You can't say that Rob copies Carpenter which most likely would have been your next complaint. 

From 2014 Moviepilot article:

Despite all that's been said, I do appreciate the remake for what it is, and I was actually very impressed by it. As I said before, it would have been better had they toned down the profanity and nudity - not as worried about the violence, as it is a horror film after all, but the way he's been slating the original is not on, considering how much he claims to like it. I don't want to jump to conclusions, but I would say that Zombie is totally lying when he says that he likes and respects the original Halloween, but is just saying that for fear of losing fans if he said otherwise.

This is a poor conclusion by a bad writer. That Zombie would take on this project at all shows his respect for the original movie. He consulted Carpenter on it. He loves horror which is an absolute. 

Rob Zombie’s words from an interview at Halloweenmovies.com

Q: How does John Carpenter feel about your involvement in the new Halloween? (from Zack in Georgia)
RZ: I talked to John about it and he was very supportive. He basically said, “That’s great Rob, go for it and make it your own.” What more do I need?

And of course then there's the Facebook posts from ROB ZOMBIE: 

"Who ever wrote this (Amy Martin) is a trouble making cunt. I love John Carpenter's Halloween and John knows that. Why? Because I told him. In fact he was the first person I called and told about my film. He said he was cool with it. I actually said to him "if this is a problem, I won't do it". Simple as that.

I have never compared the two films and never will. Taking a bunch of things I said years before I even made the film to try and start trouble is typical internet nonsense. I never pointed out flaws in the original. I pointed out things that weren't in the original that I could put in mine. Not because I thought my way was better, but because I thought it would be different. Since I figured trying to make the exact same film was sort of silly.

Here is cute quote from this bullshit article "I don't want to jump to conclusions, but I would say that Zombie is totally lying when he says that he likes and respects the original Halloween, but is just saying that for fear of losing fans if he said otherwise."

Here's a direct quote for you Amy Martin... "FUCK YOU MOTHERFUCKING PIECE OF USELESS SHIT!" Don't misquote that.

BTW your article reads like it was written by a fourth grader." 

AND THEN LATER...

Well the bullshit HALLOWEEN article has now been mysteriously removed. Pretty funny. I guess she doesn't believe her own opinions. Easy to spew fucking lies, but harder to stand behind them.

Thus ends another day on the internet.

3 comments:

  1. Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn! She got knocked the FUCK OUT!

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  2. She ain't gonna be in Rush Hour 3!

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  3. I don't like Rob Zombie's Halloween, mainly because I feel he didn't make a new, different story, just added the average psycho in the making childhood and later carbon copy the original, and I like the sequel because it really is his own story; but because you don't like something its no excuse just to write a shitty article like this Moviepilot thing you just expose. Zombie's reaction is understandable, I guess you get to a point when you're just tired of listen to this bullshit.

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