Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Halloween II (2009)

It makes me truly sad to type these words. Rob Zombie, you have betrayed my complete and unwavering obsession with you. Halloween II was one of the worst horror movies I've ever seen.

I loved House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects. I worshipped RZ's "reimagining" of Halloween. I've constantly glorified his gritty vibe, odes to the grindhouse genre, and use of the same actors in his movies.

I stalked this movie on the internet from the moment I heard it was being made. I tried to understand the reason to recast Daeg Faerch. (growth spurt -- that makes sense, right?) I defended Rob's decision to include Sheri in this movie, although she had died so clearly in the first one. I rejoiced in the fact that we might see a glimpse of Michael's face! My sister and I watched the remake yet again in order to be fully prepared for Halloween II's upcoming release.

As a true and dedicated fan of both Rob Zombie, and the horror genre, I really tried to like this movie. I bit my tongue against the rude comments that I wanted to blurt out in the theater. I attempted to contain my giggles as fellow movie-goers laughed openly at scenes that were supposed to be scary.

Let's start from the beginning. Young Michael is in the asylum with his mother. He explains that he dreamed of her, dressed as a ghost and walking with a white horse. Of course, this is a setup for the godawful ghost storyline to follow. The recast of child Michael is painfully obvious and I wonder if Daeg just didn't want to do the sequel.

Cut to poor Laurie stumbling down the street covered in blood and gripping a gun for dear life. The sheriff's car pulls up, and she's transported to the hospital. She screams and writhes in the stretcher to migraine-inducing effect. The doctors perform vomit-inducing surgery which makes it clear that Zombie has been taking ill-advised cues from Saw sequels.

Back to sleepy Haddonfield, and they're packing up Michael's corpse. It takes six guys to put him in the truck, and we get it, he's big. Two goons joking about necrophilia transport the body down a deserted highway, yet their mission is thwarted by a wayward cow (of all things) Michael predictably escapes and kills the drivers.

Laurie wakes up in a hospital room and wanders around. You would think there would be someone working there to stop her, but there's just the cliched chatty nurses who are dispensed with quickly. Michael is here (of course) and chases Lori outside into the pouring rain. She stumbles around and hides in some sort of security post. She encounters a bumbling security guard who is predictably no help. She then wakes up screaming from the first of many dream sequences. Yep, it was all a dream.

It's a year after the initial incident, and Laurie is now living with the sheriff and her friend Annie (his daughter) and keeping the whole house up at night with her screaming. In this flick, Zombie has taken the trailer-trash aspect way overboard. Sure, graffiti and Charles Manson posters made sense for the Fireflys, but for two high school students living with the county sheriff? We're supposed to believe that Laurie has turned into an angst ridden teen post-Michael attack and death of her parents, but she just appears to be a cookie-cutter goth wannabe wearing ripped tights and working at a failing independent coffee shop. It may be failing as the girls working there seem only to be interested in partying and being emo, and not actually serving any sort of beverages.

Laurie is getting psychological treatment, but it doesn't seem to be working. She assures the shrink that she knows Michael will not come back just because of a holiday. But of course, with Halloween quickly approaching, Michael has different plans. The year has been tough on him, and now he's just a wandering hobo who looks sort of like an overgrown Rob Zombie. Our only clue to how he's been able to live through this year is some rednecks who inform us that he has been hanging out on their property. He's also apparently eating animals...raw. Including dogs. Way to up the vomit factor, Mr. Zombie.

As Michael wanders around Illinois slashing everything in sight, he is visited constantly by a child version of himself and a ghost version of his mother leading a large white horse. A la Mrs. Voorhees, Michael's mother instructs him to kill kill kill and find his sister in time for Halloween. Let me just interject by saying that I'm a huge fan of Sheri Moon Zombie. I think she's a good actress and I have no problem with Rob putting her in all of his movies. However, I think jamming a role that obviously doesn't fit in this movie, just so that she can be in it is ridiculous. The ghost storyline was stupid and annoying and made no sense with the re-cast young Michael. He was not creepy and looked like a kid I would babysit or something. Meanwhile, Michael's murder scenes are just over the top. The stabbing and beating noises are unnaturally loud and the grunting that accompanies it just sounds weird and awkward.
The transformation of Dr. Loomis in this movie was another sad point. Zombie turned Loomis from a caring professional looking to protect the world from Michael, into a greedy money-hungry douchebag who tells the whole world who Laurie is without warning her first. We suffer through scenes of him screaming at assistants, freaking out at book signings, and going on a talk show with Weird Al. None of this made sense to the overall movie and I was embarassed for him being stuck in this role.
The only redeeming actors in this movie are Danielle Harris (Annie) and Sheriff Brackett (Brad Dourif). And I'm sure you can guess what happens to them. We're left watching Laurie run around in a torn Magenta costume sobbing, squealing, and swearing excessively. The much-awaited joining of Michael and Laurie occurs in the final scene of the movie and is just about as anti-climatic and nonsensical as you would expect at this point. Zombie was looking for the shock value in the final two shots, but all I heard in the theater was laughter. It becomes obvious that he replaced Daeg Faerch not because of a growth spurt, but so the new actor would look more like Laurie for the ridiculous Psycho rip-off shot at the end.
Halloween 2 was basically two hours of excessive and farfetched gore, terribly misguided visits from ghosts, unnecessary and constant use of the f-word, and Scout Taylor-Compton whining and screaming through Haddonfield.
Rob Zombie, you have fans like me who typically love your work. Go home and watch House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects. Get inspired and realize what made you love horror in the first place. Please stop being a Hollywood sell-out and doing crappy remakes. Give the job of remaking The Blob to someone else. I'm not going to be able to stomach seeing Sheri and Scout as a mother-daughter stripper team running from some green goo. Come on, get it together, buddy.


Jeremy Sambuca said...

Well said Scream Queen! The Devil's Reject became an instant classic and he should continue making his own movies, not remakes.