If you were looking for the same spine-chilling suspense story as the original Halloween, then you will be disappointed in this remake by Rob Zombie. Zombie tells a more elaborate story that includes the development of Michael Myers from maladjusted child to gargantuan serial killer.
We see Myers as a boy in a violent and dysfunctional family with an out of work injured angry-at-the-world step-father (William Forsythe) who isn’t shy to voice his vehemence for his wife and step-kids. Calling Michael (Daeg Faerch) a girls name implying he’s a homosexual and making sexual innuendo to his wife about her teenage daughter, the man is nothing but a pig. His mother Deborah (Sheri Moon Zombie), forced to support her family alone, works at the Rabbit in Red Lounge – a strip club.
We first see Myers in his room with a clown mask on (part of his Halloween costume and his way of keeping the crap he receives at home at a distance) killing his pet rat. After he is teased by his father when coming down to the breakfast table, Zombie takes us to Michael’s school. Michael gets bullied in the bathroom by two larger boys which included disparaging sexual remarks about his mother. When the argument turns physical the principal hears it and breaks it up. Myers tell the principal to fuck off further showing Michael as not a very well adjusted 10 year old.
Michael’s mother is called and we are introduced to psychologist Dr. Samuel Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) who, with the principal, shows Deborah the disturbing contents of Michael’s school bag (a dead cat in a plastic bag and Polaroids of other tortured and killed pets). Michael, overhearing the conversation, runs away. He follows one of the boys who bullied him in the bathroom, dons his clown mask, and beats the kid to death with a heavy tree branch. Michael has escalated from animals to humans.
After we see a short scene of Deborah pole dancing at work, Zombie shows us the origin of the famous white mask Michael will use when commiting most of his murders. Michael’s sister Judith (Hanna Hall) has her boyfriend Steve (Adam Weisman) over Halloween night and while in the process of fooling around Steve takes the mask out of his bag and wants to have sex with her while wearing it.
Michael returns to the house from trick or treating alone and finds Ronnie (step-father) passed out sleeping on the livingroom lazyboy. Michael finds duct tape and a butcher knife in the kitchen and tapes Ronnie to the chair. He then slices Ronnie’s throat. When Steve comes downstairs into the kitchen after sex with Judith Michael clubs him to death with a baseball bat.
Michael moves upstairs and finds the white mask on Judith’s bedroom floor. He puts it on and pretends to be Steve while caressing her leg. She turns and faces him, sees he is not Steve but Michael and slaps him repeatedly to the head. Michael stabs her in the stomach.
Michael, after being arrested and convicted for the three murders, is institutionalized at Smith’s Grove Sanitarium under the care of Dr. Loomis. Institutional life does not agree with Michael. He spends his time making elaborate masks to hide his face and slowly withdrawals from Loomis and his mother until he stops speaking completely. When he attacks a nurse with a fork, his mother loses her will to live shooting herself while watching home videos of Michael at a happier time in their lives.
After the suicide Zombie moves us ahead 15 years and we see Michael as a full grown man. His cell is filled with masks covering every wall and his silence has remained for the decade and a half he has been institutionalized. Loomis informs him he is leaving Michael to pursue other things as his help is no longer warranted.
Michael escapes when he is being moved from his cell killing the guards and incapacitating a custodian he has known since he was first institutionalized (played by Danny Trejo). We see where he gets his gray jumpsuit when he attacks a trucker at a gas and wash stop. Michael returns to his mother’s house which has been abandoned since the murders and retrieves the white mask and butcher knife he hid under the baseboards of the livingroom.
Michael returned to his hometown to search for his baby sister who he spared 17 years earlier. Adopted by the Strode family (after Deborah blew her brains out) Laurie (Scout Taylor-Compton) is a happy high school senior. Michael kills almost everyone around Laurie including her adoptive parents and best friend Lynda (Kristina Klebe) then takes Laurie herself.
When Laurie wakes she finds herself in a room with the naked body of her best friend Lynda and the gravestone of Deborah Myers that Michael took from the town cemetery earlier. Michael shows his sister a photograph of him as a 10 year old holding her as a baby but she doesn’t recognize it. She then takes the butcher knife Michael dropped on the floor earlier and stabs Michael in the chest. She escapes but in her rush to safety, falls into an empty swimming pool. Michael pulls the knife out of his chest and pursues her trapping her in the deep end of the pool.
Dr. Loomis arrives on the scene (he came to Haddonfield after being told of Michael’s escape from Smith’s Grove) putting three bullets in Michael’s back when he doesn’t obey Loomis’ command to stop. After Michael falls, Loomis takes Laurie to the police car he got from the town sheriff. But Michael isn’t dead yet. Michael smashes the car window and pulls Laurie out. Loomis halts Michael telling him it’s not Laurie’s fault but his own. Michael drops Laurie and attacks Loomis killing him easily. Laurie runs into the house and goes to the second floor taking Loomis’ gun out of the pocket of his coat which Loomis wrapped her up in at the police car.
Michael rushes Laurie and they both go though the doors and off the second floor balcony landing on the lawn below. Laurie wakes before Michael, takes the gun from the grass where it landed after the fall and the film ends with Laurie shooting her brother in the face (and a three second cut of a home movie of the two as children).
What Zombie did with his version of Halloween is turn it into what many other slasher films became famous for. People after seeing the original commented on its lack of nudity and blood. Where were the teenage girls being killed when disrobed having sex. Why didn’t they see Jamie Lee Curtis nude? Where were the slit throats and gaping stab wounds? Well Zombie’s version took care of this.
The original was heavy on suspense, Zombie’s heavy on boobs and blood (well at least for the second half of the film anyway). But what made the film the most interesting was the back story of how Michael came into possession of the white mask and gray jumpsuit and how the environment he grew up in as a child influenced him into becoming the mass murderer Carpenter made famous in 1978.