Where The Halloween Franchise Reboot Failed

A familiar scene in the Halloween remake

A familiar scene in the Halloween remake

When the talk about a follow up movie to Rob Zombie’s Halloween II started shortly after the release of the movie most people were somewhat surprised. Since the follow up is still being talked about for a 2011 release, there is a question that pops up. Why?

Yes, the remake of the original had its flaws. Then again, it is a pretty competent retelling of the horror movie that ended up pretty much defining the American slasher flick. It was far better than Rob Zombie’s other works of cinema by having a well-defined story, mostly likable characters and a defined atmosphere. It was different enough to be something new while retaining the feel of the original. Sure, there were changes to certain things that were in the original, but ultimately they were changes to things weren’t necessary to the plot. For example, the age that Michael killed his older sister and the fact that his father and her boyfriend was added into the mix.

Does it matter if he did it while he was 10 instead of six? No. Does it matter that the older sister’s boyfriend was beaten to death with a bat when he got to leave in the original? No. Does it matter that the father got butchered? No, in fact the way the father was built up in the remake, it’s actually preferable that he got butchered.

Rob Zombie’s Halloween didn’t really warrant a sequel, but it was harmless news when talk about Halloween II started up. It was  still pretty harmless up until the opening hospital scene ends. Actually, before the hospital scene ended, there was room for hope.

Ah. The memories.

It seemed like Rob Zombie wanted to contradict everything that worked in his version of Halloween. This means that, where his version of Halloween had a pretty well-developed story and made the majority of the characters likeable, Halloween II seemed like it was written by at least four people who all had different feelings about the characters at different points.

It shows because there were only two characters who were actually human and likable. One of them was assumed to be dead after a skull crushing in Halloween. It sounds strange, but it’s true. Doctor Loomis was one of the few human and likeable Halloween II characters and he was one of the most despicable characters in the movie. But he was likable because he was one of the more realistic characters in the movie. The other one was Sheriff Brackett and he was likable because he was the only other character with any realism.

Aside from the fact that the vast majority of characters just not being likable, Rob Zombie contradicted himself. The story in place for Halloween was that the homicidal tendencies of Michael’s were nurtured by the people around him. His father was an abusive alcoholic. His older sister was both abusive and a slut. His mother, even though she was good to him, wasn’t around all that much and was a stripper. He was bullied in school. He was turned inspired by hate of the environment around him to kill. It’s a good and pretty plausible assessment of what might drive someone to kill.

The whole premise of Halloween II is that Laurie Strode/Angela (aka Angel) Myers is nearing the tipping point of becoming a serial killer herself and closes on the fact that she reached the point and dove over the edge. Save for her mother committing suicide when she was months old and her biological brother slaughtering almost everyone she knows forcing her to shoot him in the head, there really was not much in her history that would nurture any murderous impulse that she had. She missed the murder of her father. She was adopted by a very loving family and when they got killed she was adopted by another loving family, both of which helped her or tried to help her in every way possible. Now, if the story existed to show the nature side of the story, more of her family would’ve had histories that played with murder and/or insanity since some mental disorders are thought to be genetic. Then again, it never really went down that road. It was still the whole “nurture” side of the argument being presented.

There’s also the problem of the fact that in the Director’s Cut, Michael speaks when he never uttered a word in the original franchise. OK. That’s the change that’s a deal breaker.

Now, if a Halloween 3 succeeds in being made, it would be best if the people involved in making the movie suffered from film enthusiast amnesia. Approach the movie as though Rob Zombie’s Halloween II never existed because that movie is a weaker link than anything else released in the franchise. Even better, approach Halloween III as though the entirety of Rob Zombie’s Halloween II was just a horrible nightmare. At least then, Halloween II would make sense and “Halloween III” would actually be good or, at the very least, tolerable.