Remember When Rob Zombie Rebooted Halloween

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Halloween Ends hits theatres this spooky season, and with it, the story of the evil Michael Myers and Laurie Strode (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) looks to conclude finally. In the decades since John Carpenter released his now-revered classic in 1978, the franchise has seen its fair share of changes. From removing the iconic killer from a movie altogether to ending Laurie’s story within the first few minutes of Halloween Resurrection, the slasher series has been reworked and revamped several times. The most notable is when Rob Zombie rebooted the horror anthology.

Flashback to the aughts. Halloween as a franchise was essentially dormant following the lack-lustre release of Halloween Resurrection in 2002. Directed by Rick Rosenthal with the screenplay handled by Larry Brand Sean Hood, the film reached number four domestically in its opening weekend, making approximately $12,292,121, according to Box Office Mojo. The movie was received poorly by both critics and fans alike, with most criticism stemming from a lack of plot, poor characters, and so much cheese it will clog your arteries. As of this writing, the movie sits with an overwhelmingly negative rating of 19 on Metacritic.

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Yet, while Carpenter’s baby was falling out of relevancy, the film career of Rob Zombie was on the rise. The former frontman of the popular metal group White Zombie — named after the 1932 horror flick starring Dracula himself, Bella Legosi — who later found wild success as a solo act, always had an insatiable love for the dead. From his appearance to the aesthetic of his music videos, it was clear Rob Zombie grew up on a healthy diet of horror. In his eyes, Michael Myers belongs in the upper echelon of horror icons alongside the likes of Jason Voorhees of Friday the 13th, and Freddie Kruger of A Nightmare on Elm Street. That love translated into a successful directorial debut with 2003’s House of 1000 Corpses, followed by 2005’s The Devil’s Rejects. Both films are considered solid movies, especially for someone with almost no experience in filmmaking.

“Rob Zombie’s approach was to give Myers a backstory.”

Still, when in June 2006, it was announced that the rock star would helm a Halloween movie of his own, audiences were ready to riot. No amount of love for the source material could make fans comfortable with the idea of completely restarting the franchise. He wanted to do right by the franchise and even made sure to reach out to Carpenter to get his blessing beforehand. The advice he got was simple — “make it your own”. Sure, at that point, Carpenter wasn’t nearly as invested in the character as he once was, but the blessing from the creator allowed for a different take on the Boogie Man.

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Then on Aug. 31, 2007 — not exactly “spooky season” — the world was treated to a new take on Halloween. Rob Zombie’s approach was to give Myers a backstory. In the past, Michael Myers’ history was mentioned but not explored, shrouding the character in mystery. The decision to change that may be one of the more controversial moves in the franchise’s history. We begin 15 years before the (then) present day. On Halloween night, Michael Myers (played by Daeg Faerch) murders his family, sparing his infant sister. He’s put on trial and sentenced to life in Smith Grove Sanatarium while being treated by Dr. Loomis (played by Malcolm McDowell).

Audiences see Myers slowly fade into darkness. He begins to speak less and develops an obsession with masks. This culminates with an adult Myers (now played by Tyler Mane) breaking out of Smith Grove with his sights set on killing his only remaining family member — Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton).

As far as slashers go, Halloween (2007) is a fun ride, though audiences were very much split on the handling of Myers’ backstory. On one hand, long-time fans of the series were upset that the immortal monster who terrorized promiscuous teenagers for decades was humanized and, as a result, sanitized. In many ways, it did feel as though his mystique was lost. On the other side of things, some fans didn’t mind seeing the “lost years” of Myers’ life that were left pretty much undocumented. On top of that, showing the relationship between the psycho killer and Dr. Loomis revealed just how well the doctor knew his patient.

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While audiences and critics weren’t in love with the movie, the film performed commercially On top of being one of the most successful movies in the franchise, and it also set a record for the most successful Labour Day Weekend in history. That record would be held until the release of Shung-Chi and The Legend of The 10 Rings in 2021.

Despite this, it always felt as though the movie would have to fight to be universally praised. Audiences went into this defensive of the franchise’s history, but critics loved the movie’s production value, with many fawning over the special effects used. While we don’t have an official review of this film in our history, we did our ranking of the Halloween movies. Here, we placed this one at number seven out of 11, saying it’s an incredibly fun movie made by a true fan, but the look back at Myers’ backstory left the whole movie feeling disjointed.

“Unlike the other films, Halloween (2007) and its sequel sit in a strange place in history.”

Halloween (2007) was successful enough to warrant a sequel in 2009, but we won’t talk about that today. However, following Rob Zombie’s foray into this universe, the franchise laid dormant until John Carpenter revived the series with a soft reboot/sequel to the original 1978 film, which removed both Rob Zombie movies and a good chunk of everything else over the years from the franchise’s official canon.

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Unlike the other films, Halloween (2007) and its sequel sit in a strange place in history. While many of the older movies aren’t part of the official timeline, they once were, and as a result, they feel more connected. Rob Zombie’s movies were designed to stand on their own separate from the franchise’s continuity and a byproduct, and sometimes they feel overlooked in the grand scheme of things.

Despite this, Halloween (2007) is extremely easy to find through video-on-demand services. If you’re looking for something fun to watch this October, this isn’t a bad place to start. There’s no history to think about, and as a self-contained experience, it’s pretty fun even if it doesn’t live up to the legacy of the original title from 1978.

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