If you were looking for the same spine-chilling suspense story that was contained in the original Halloween movie, then you will be disappointed by the Rob Zombie remake. Zombie tells a more elaborate story that includes the development of Michael Myers from maladjusted child to gargantuan serial killer.
Michael was raised in a violent and dysfunctional family with an out-of-work and injured angry-at-the-world step-father (William Forsythe) who isn’t shy to voice his vehemence toward his wife and her 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. Michael’s mother, Deborah (Sheri Moon Zombie), forced to support her family alone, works at the Rabbit in Red Lounge strip club.
We first see Michael in his room with a clown mask on killing his pet rat. The mask is a part of his Halloween costume and his way of keeping the crap he receives at home at a distance. At school, Michael gets bullied in the bathroom by two larger boys who throw out some disparaging sexual remarks about his mother. When the argument turns physical, the principal hears it and breaks it up. Michael tells the principal to “fuck off,” further showing that Michael is a maladjusted 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, which is a typical pattern for most serial killers.
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 committing most of his murders. Michael’s sister, Judith (Hanna Hall), has her boyfriend, Steve (Adam Weisman), over on 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 home from trick or treating alone and finds Ronnie (step-father) passed out in the living room. So what does a little boy do after he’s committed his first murder? Well, he kills his stepfather and then his sister’s boyfriend. Then he goes upstairs, finds an interesting white mask, puts it on, and pretends to be his sister’s boyfriend. While caressing her leg, she looks at him and realizes that its Michael and she starts slapping him. Well, you just don’t do that to a fledgling killer.
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 and commits suicide while watching home videos of Michael during happier times.
Jump ahead 15 years and Michael is still institutionalized, and still making masks, enough to cover his cell walls. Loomis tells announces that he will no longer be treating Michael, as he is leaving 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). 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 living room.
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 up, she finds herself in a room with Lynda’s naked body and Deborah Myers’ gravestone, which Michael took from the cemetery earlier. Michael shows his sister a photograph of him as a 10-year-old boy holding her as a baby, but she doesn’t recognize it. She then takes the butcher knife Michael dropped on the floor earlier and attacks him. She escapes, but she falls into an empty swimming pool in her rush to safety. Michael, un-phased by the knife, cornersLaurie 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) and puts three bullets into Michael’s back when he refuses 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 with her.
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, picks up the gun, and the film ends with Laurie shooting her brother (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 is 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 got his white mask and gray jumpsuit and how the environment he grew up in influenced him to become the mass murderer Carpenter made famous in 1978.