Reasons for the season

Eating razor blades over Rob Zombie's Halloween

FILM On any given day, on any given Muni, you're likely to hear John Carpenter's Halloween theme trilling out of some kid's cell. Sprung from one gloriously terrifying, terrifyingly simple idea (in a word: babysitters!), the seminal horror series welcomes its ninth installment with Rob Zombie's remake of the 1978 original. I can hear you, horror snob: "Ninth installment? Remake? Why the fuck would I wanna see that?" Well, really, it's simpler than a razor-bladed Snickers bar:

1) Halloween sequels are generally enjoyable — and I'm not even talking about the attempts to hipsterfy the series with entries starring Josh Hartnett (1998) or a webcam (2002, which also featured Busta Rhymes delivering the immortal line, "Trick or treat, motherfucker!") I'm talking the shit that nobody ever watches, except us late-night cable addicts: Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) and Halloween 5 (1989), i.e. the Danielle Harris–as–Michael Myers's–long-lost-niece era; and Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), starring a pre-Clueless Paul Rudd. Don't get me started on Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982), or I'll be singing about Silver Shamrock long past Oct. 31.

2) The Carpenter universe allows for remakes. One of the director's best efforts is The Thing (1982), a most righteous reimagining itself. In recent years, The Fog (1980) and Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) have been snatched up by a Hollywood that thinks nobody remembers the early '80s. Halloween is his most sacred product, but it's also his most unusual, taking on a life beyond the Carpenter canon. Michael Myers is a universally recognized movie monster, sharing Halloween Superstore costume-rack space with Freddy, Jason, and Austin Powers. If Tinseltown was molesting They Live (1988), we might have words. But Myers's kill-crazy, supernatural blankness lets him roam different landscapes (Haddonfield, private school, the Internet) for different directors and remain reliably menacing.

3) Which brings me to Zombie. He's a huge horror fan anyway, and if you've seen The Devil's Rejects (2005) or House of 1000 Corpses (2003), you know he's all about paying homage to terror cinema past. But he's got his own style too — gruesome, jump-cutty, and nihilistic. He's also inspired enough to cast Malcolm McDowell as Dr. Loomis (and Danielle Harris as Annie Brackett) in his remake. Hell, even Danny Trejo is in this thing. Is Zombie's Halloween any good? Am I steering you wrong? I can't even say, man. I'm seeing it the day before you do — right after I interview Zombie. Ass-backwards, yes. But it's Halloween, a remake of my all-time favorite movie, not to mention my all-time favorite holiday. I'll eat some razor blades myself if I have to. (Cheryl Eddy)

To read an interview with Rob Zombie, click here.


Opens Fri/31 in Bay Area theaters

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