The Return of Halloween


Generally speaking, there are three main franchises that come to mind when you think classic 80s horror flicks and villains: "Friday the 13th," "A Nightmare on Elm Street," and of course the one that came first and is still hailed as one of the greatest, "Halloween." Freddy and Jason had nothing on Michael Myers, the murderous child who grew to become an unrestrained, unstoppable psychotic killer. "Halloween" put John Carpenter on the map and made his name synonymous with horror films for decades to come. In 1978, the original "Halloween" hit theaters and created a scare sensation the likes of which had not swept audiences nationwide since "Jaws." Even the music had the same kind of trademark creepy, chill-inducing power that will always be recognized as the theme for one of the most persistent and prolific horror antagonists of all time.

Michael Myers is a faceless, voiceless, mindless murder. He was born that way, and he will (and many times has) died that way. But, you can't kill Michael Myers. You certainly can't kill the endurance of the character in pop culture as passed down from generation to generation among true horror buffs. There have been eight "Halloween" movies, and by most measures, only a handful of which have ever truly satisfied fans. The first is golden by the measure of most horror enthusiasts. It made John Carpenter, Jamie Lee Curtis and one fictional monster of a man horror household legends. Michael Myers is the Terminator of slasher flicks, an adversary that cannot be bargained with, beaten, broken, or outrun. And yet, he is just a man, the masked and expressionless tormentor of teens everywhere. Freddy and Jason were never as real or terrifying. When he first came slashing onto the scene, Michael Myers was king.

The last "Halloween" movie hit theaters in 2002, a whopping 24 years after the first was released. Jamie Lee Curtis came back for "Halloween: Resurrection," starring Busta Rhymes and Tyra Banks, but this follow-up just served to prove how far this golden apple of its genre had fallen from its tree. It made $30 million domestic on an approximate production budget of $13 million. Even the 1998 movie, "H20" ("Halloween: 20 Years Later) did better than that at the domestic box office taking in $55 million, having cost about $17 million. Though there were some complaints, "H20" was a fairly good new chapter in the story, especially when compared to some of its predecessors.

"H20" tried to take "Halloween" back to its roots with Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role as Laurie Strode, coming full circle to the original focus for some new mayhem and closure. The sixth film, "Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers," released in 1995, starring Paul Rudd ("Anchorman") took in only $15 million, nearly half of which came from its opening weekend. In 1989, "Halloween 5" took in only $11 million, and again, almost half of that total came from its opening weekend. Considering the figures sloped downhill after redundancy and irrelevance to the original began to take their toll on the fans beyond the second movie, "H20" was actually a successful attempt at a comeback, demonstrating a willingness on behalf of moviegoers to revisit the "Halloween" films in hopes of rediscovering their lost edge.

Now, the buzz surrounding Rob Zombie and "Halloween: Retribution" is sharpening that dull knife and the eyes of fans everywhere are lit with the new shine. Rob Zombie has made a reputation for himself with cult horror fans after "House of 1000 Corpses" and "The Devil's Rejects." The nature of that reputation greatly depends on your point-of-view. Some aren't fond of his style of horror, and they are worried about his adoption of the "Halloween" franchise in his quest to revitalize it. But, many are more excited about the prospect than they have been about any of the latest efforts of keeping the "Halloween" movies alive and kicking as Michael Myers always is. No matter what you've thought of his previous projects, Rob Zombie's visions are always uniquely crafted and he has a talent for their presentation.

As an artist who remains true to his instincts and also an admirer of the "Halloween" films, the combination of Rob Zombie and Michael Myers may just equal the fresh reboot "Halloween" needs and that its horror following has waited for through so many missteps over the last decade and a half. The fact that this new film will return to the origin of it all, starting over with a blank slate, is the best idea to invigorate this classic and restore its former thrill. Call it a remake or don't, but know that this means a new and redefining page in the history of horror's most memorable slasher.

blog comments powered by Disqus