Pumpkin carving works best with a couple of horror TV shows playing in the background as you scoop the guts out:
Tales from the Crypt: "Strung Along" (1992) directed by Kevin Yagher
Zach Galligan of Gremlins and Waxwork fame is seeing a woman married to an old, rich puppeteer with a heart condition. Logically, he concocts an elaborate scheme to give the old man a heart attack involving building an animatronic duplicate of the old man's favorite puppet in order to make the puppet look like it's knifing the girl to death. One wonders what plan B was going to be if the sight of this killer puppet made the old man laugh rather than making his heart stop? (7/10)
The Munsters: "Mummy Munster" (1965) directed by Ezra Stone
Herman falls asleep inside of a sarcophagus at a museum -- don't ask -- and gets mistaken for a mummy. Hijinks ensue. Most hilarious is when Lilly comes to the museum to claim him, looking to the museum workers as a completely insane woman convinced a 4000-year-old mummy is her husband. (7/10)
Halloween (2007) directed by Rob Zombie
When it isn't The Thing, the original Halloween is my favorite horror movie of all time. Needless to say, the announcement of a remake had me less than thrilled. Going into this, though, I was determined to give it a fair shake. I like Rob Zombie and I knew he is also a huge fan of the original. Out of anyone in Hollywood, I knew he'd at least be respectful.
Zombie tried really hard to get me to accept this. Look at this list of awesome character actors he has in the movie:
I never imagined I'd been watching Clint Howard and Udo Kier in a scene together. I thought my head was going to explode.
- Malcolm McDowell as Dr. Loomis
- William Forsythe as Michael's stepdad
- Danny Trejo as a janitor at Smith's Grove
- Brad Dourif as Sheriff Brackett
- Clint Howard as a doctor at Smith's Grove
- Udo Kier as the head of Smith's Grove
- Dee Wallace as Laurie's stepmom
- Ken Foree as the source of Michael's coveralls
- Richard Lynch as Michael's principal
- Sid Haig as the graveyard caretaker
- Danielle Harris as Annie, returning to the series
The "Michael's origin story" part at the beginning of the movie wasn't as bad as I'd feared. Carpenter already did the mythic, force-of-nature Michael perfectly. There's no reason to try to copy that, so Zombie went for a real world Michael who had bad parents. Fair enough. From killing his pet rat to killing a fellow student to his time at Smith's Grove, we see Michael slowly lose his humanity. Did I want to see this? Not really. But, it wasn't done too badly. My main complaints would be that William Forsythe was a tad over-the-top as the verbally abusive stepdad and making Michael's mom a stripper was pushing the low-class family thing a bit too hard. If anything, this made me keep thinking of Mallory's family from Natural Born Killers, complete with sitcom laugh track.
The remainer of the film is a bizarro world version of the original, where things are slightly different or out of place. Which, I have to admit, is kind of fun. As a fan of the original, it's fun to pick out the references and twists (Bob actually puts the sheet on first! We get to meet Paul!). Ultimately, though, I think many of the changes Zombie made were for the worse. For example, he has the Laurie-Michael confrontation take place in the dilapitated Myers house instead of in Tommy Doyle's house. No longer is the babysitter being attacked in a seemingly safe, normal suburban home; now she's in a stereotypical haunted house. It's not as effective. The pacing is massively sped up as well. Lynda is killed almost immediately (again, in the Myers house). There's never any tension allowed to build or any time spent with atmosphere. We're just dumped right into the action. Michael is also made to be a rather ineffective killer. In the cut on the Blu-ray, both Annie and Dr. Loomis are attacked by Michael and (seemingly) survive. I suppose this fits with a more real world version of the character, but it's kind of odd.
Rob: for the love of Herman Munster, let's get over the '70s fetish. The beginning of this movie takes place in 1978 (per the script and, clearly, the music and posters in the film). The last half takes place 17 years later... in 2007. WTF? My wife and I both found this to be quite distracting: "when is this supposed to be?" she kept asking me.
Better than Halloweens 6, 8 and maybe even 5. So it's got that going for it. Like 99.9% of horror remakes, though, it's just unnecessary. Just ignore continuity and make a new sequel instead. No need to rehash the origin story. Plop Michael in Haddonfield on October 31st, come up with a least one interesting twist, and let him go to town. Anyway, this one could've been worse. (6/10)