The High Court of Deadly Movies

Deadly Movies Reviews | The case FOR Rob Zombie’s ‘Halloween 2’ (2009)

RZ’s Halloween 2 debuted in the US back in August (like 2007’s Halloween, which is ridiculous, launch the film in October and show some pride in the Halloween franchise) and it’s safe to say the reaction was, as expected, mixed. Many people, horror fans included, don’t enjoy RZ’s aesthetic style, and this film, more than the first, is very much a Rob Zombie joint. 5.2 on imdb, 20% on Rotten Tomatoes critics, 48% from the RT community, and 46/100 on Metacritic speak volumes for it’s so-so reception.
Deadly Movies isn’t really in the market place for star ratings or marks out of 10, there’s enough online critics as it is, I prefer to just give a straight up opinion. But to give this article some grounding i’ll need to score it. For me H2 is a 3 star horror movie but i can comfortably rate or recommend this as a 4 star Halloween movie. I’ve read many of the negative critic and user reviews and there are certainly themes that appear, so I intend to address some of the more recurrent ones. Let’s kick off with a statement of taste; I am of course a horror fan, I am a massive Halloween franchise fan, I am hot and cold towards RZ’s films, I am neither a lover nor a hater of his work, and have no agenda to either defend or attack him. The reason for stating this is that RZ’s films (especially his Halloween films) stir up both fanatically positive and negative responses amongst internet fandom, i fall in neither camp.
The Aesthetic: This is perhaps the largest divisive factor: Is RZ’s so called ‘Redneck’ aesthetic appropriate for the Halloween franchise? I must admit that in Halloween (2007) I found the redneck Myers family frustrating and annoying, they were simply too much. What i found odd in H2 wasn’t that Haddenfield was a redneck backwater town (so what if it is?), but rather the overly dirty Bracket household. Personally i don’t understand why the Bracket family seem to live in a dirtier than dirt student house (cops earn good money don’t they?). Now the aesthetic of the film itself, for me, was fine, it was different and it was fresh for the franchise. And there is nothing wrong with that. Halloween Resurrection (2002) is a normal looking film, full of ‘normal’ looking people, and that is an abomination of a movie on every level.
Michael: So people say that A) Michael is too big, he’s more like Jason, B) Michael makes too many grunting noises, and C) Michael spends too long with his mask off. Ok there is no height restrictions on Michael Myers, it really doesn’t matter. Tyler Mane (the man behind the mask) stands 6′ 9″ but he was someone’s baby once, he could be someone’s brother. Do you see what I’m getting at? There is nothing unrealistic in Michael having a huge physique, and personally i think Mane nails the Michael performance. Michael grunts in Halloween (1978) all the time, remember when he’s strangling Lynda with the phone chord? It really doesn’t matter that he grunts…, at all! Appearing without his mask on, again, doesn’t really matter. At the end of Halloween (1978) you get a fully lit face shot. In H2 he only appears without the mask in the shadows. Most Halloween fans enjoy the fact that Michael is a real man rather than a Jason-style zombie, in which case it shouldn’t be hard to understand that he is empowered by the mask but would, at times, exist without it. This Michael Myers is one of my favourite portrayals to date outside of Carpenter’s original. And yes the beard is fine.., as long as he looks like Michael when the mask is on, it’s all gravy.
The Mother figure: The criticism here is two-fold: “SMZ is only here because she is the wife of the director”, and, “the mother character is too ‘Friday the 13th'”. Ok point one is stupid, I couldn’t care less. Point 2 is constructive and needs discussion. I found the white horse metaphor far to overdone, cliched, and forced. That quote at the beginning was completely unnecessary. I enjoyed some of the Michael/mother relationship in H2. You have to remember that this is entirely a fantasy in Michael’s head. This is very different from the relationship between Jason and his mother. His mother was psychotic who was herself a serial killer and who’s death Jason is forever avenging. Mrs Myers killed herself with guilt over what her son had done. The woman in white in this film is a fantasy of a delusional mind, if anything it makes him more like Norman Bates. To suggest this has taken Halloween into Friday territory is a fallacy I’m afraid. Do I like the dead mother character? Not overly no. However she is, again, something new to the franchise, and she does appear in some of the best shot sequences in the movie.
It’s just not a Halloween film: Why not? Some people talk as if the Halloween franchise is a template for horror perfection…, It most certainly isn’t! Halloween (1978) is one of the greatest horror movies ever made, no doubt, but from there on things get ropey. You have a franchise full of oddities; part 3 isn’t cannon, neither are parts 4, 5, and 6 IF you accept parts 7 and 8, and then of course you can also discount parts 7 and 8 should you wish to. See what I’m getting at? When people say that RZ’s Halloween films aren’t a ‘Halloween film’ but I’m really not sure what they mean? Perhaps that it’s not Halloween (1978)? No shit of course it’s not, it never will be, in which case you will always only be disappointed. Do they mean it’s not Halloween 6 (1995)? Thank god for that!
It’s too violent: The content and theme of any Halloween film is violence, Zombie has given us a very visceral take on this. No problem, doesn’t matter.
Loomis is a asshole: Are you serious? The man has always been an asshole, that’s the point. His obsessive compulsion with Michael has driven him rather crazy. The supporting characters in the Halloween films are generally treated like shit by Loomis. Remember how he talks to Jamie in parts 4 and 5? Yes he turns up and saves the day but he’s usually doing it on his own agenda. The man is deeply flawed. What RZ does in H2 is to explore the fame side of that kind of personality. It was interesting. The Loomis character is a horror icon yes, but that doesn’t mean he’s Clark Kent.
So that’s it. I’ll sum up by saying that Halloween 2 (2009) is a much better film than Halloween (2007). It’s just a much better example of film-making, it’s a far more sounder product, it’s far more confident, and technically superior in every way. As a Halloween film it is very different yes, but come on why is that such a bad thing? As both a horror and Halloween fan I whole heartedly recommend it.
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5 thoughts on “The High Court of Deadly Movies

  1. Britney says:

    I totally agree with this review! The only thing I disagree on is that this one was better than the 2007 film. I thought that one was better, but I did like H2. I think a lot of people misunderstood the movie and didn't understand that the whole mother thing was in Michael's head and not real.

  2. Jessica says:

    Maybe it was just something I didn't remember from the first one, but why doesn't laurie know she's michael's sister?

  3. DeadlyMovies says:

    Well she was only a baby when Michael massacres the family, then when the mother commits suicide a few months later Sheriff Bracket finds her and puts her up for adoption without saying who she is. So she has no knowledge or memory of the Myers family.

  4. […] in the entire franchise. I 4. Halloween 2 (2009): I enjoyed this more than I though I would (see here for my defense of H2). For me Rob Zombie’sHalloween 2 was a unique horror experience that offered something truly […]

  5. […] pose down in his classic wheels before speeding off for a good night’s partying. Both of Rob Zombie’s Halloween efforts sorely lacked Michael driving classic muscle cars. I salute you whacky 1980s […]

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