Not a remake, not a sequel, not a prequel, but well it isn't exactly an entirely new film. Somewhere along the line since the 29 odd years since John Carpenter's groundbreaking horror film something went horribly wrong. In many ways Carpenter ushered in the new wave of horror films and simultaneously gave a final hurrah for the independent horror film perfected by Romero's Night of the Living Dead. Carpenter left his first film wide open for a sequel, and helped write and produce the sequel. This second film was to be the end of the series and left with everyone apparently dead. A third Halloween film was made that had nothing at all to do with Michael Meyers. The franchise was going to be a name centered around different horror stories. Had this third film been a success, or been called anything else, then who knows what would have happened. So inexplicably Meyers returned for a fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth film. Dr. Loomis also miraculously survived an exploding hospital and appeared in the 4, 5, and 6th films. After Halloween H20 promised to be the final word in the series and ended with a Michael Meyer's decapitation we seemed safe. An extremely weak explanation was offered and it was clear the franchise was in shambles.
So since dead or dying franchises like Batman and Superman are starting again from the beginning why not Halloween. Of course now we have to wonder whether the films that originally followed like Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street might also start from the beginning, considering the laughable state those franchises are in. Now Rob Zombie has had some shaky moments as a filmmaker. House of 1000 Corpses was pretty much a mess set up around a few interesting ideas. The Devils Rejects was a dramatic improvement but still amateurish. I wouldn't say that Zombie has reached maturity with Halloween, but it continues an upward trajectory, and much of the sloppy aspects of his first two films is much more contained here. The casting is full of people that populated his first two films, which in turn were full of character actors from countless other horror films.
There aren't a great deal of faces from the original film though. Danielle Harris who appeared as a child in 4, 5, and 6 plays one of Laurie's friends who of course is attacked while having sex. It sets up a blood splattered tits scene that characterizes the schlock of Zombie's film. If Carpenter's film was genuinely scary and a true "horror" film Zombie's is an entertaining product. Nothing in this film is scary or creepy but for fans of gore and exploitative horror this will work. The film's major difference from the original is its opening. A Halloween massacre was shown at the beginning of Carpenter's film from Meyer's point of view, but here it represents a much more substantial part. We see Meyer's as a kid, his family, and the strange level of humanity he feels towards his baby sister and mother. I have to object to Sherri Moon playing Meyer's mother. She's not really an actress and the role is far too large for her, not to mention her age seems a little off for the role.
On the whole though the film does deliver, and although it might not be an improvement over the original, it offers a somewhat fresh take on the series.