Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Worst Film of 2009: Rob Zombie's Halloween II

I hate Rob Zombie. Hate him, hate him, hate him, hate him, hate him. I don't hate him because his movies suck. I hate him because he doesn't even mean well when he's making them. Ed Wood just wanted to entertain people and express himself. Uwe Boll thinks he's carrying the spirit of independent cinema. John Derek just wanted to make his wife feel pretty. You see what I'm getting at. But Rob Zombie? He wants to make movies that are repulsive. When asked why he chooses to work in the horror genre by a fan at a convention, his response was because "it's dark and fucked up". When I think of the great horror films, those words don't necessarily come to mind. "Spooky and fun", sure. "Frightening and hard to forget", absolutely. "Dark and fucked up" sounds like a nickname for Mike Tyson. But that's how Zombie defines horror and that sentiment permeates every one of his miserable movies.

Rob Zombie's Halloween was easily the worst movie of 2007 and I rank it as one of the worst of the decade. Less a remake than a poorly written fanfic, it transformed John Carpenter's elegantly simple story of "monster chases girl, monster kills girl" into an orgy of white trash, seventies love ballads, crude language, pointlessly hateable characters, psychoanalysis, and gratuitous violence. It was repugnant for the sake of being repugnant, which I guess Mr. Zombie considers his idea of "art". I hated that film immensely and it lowered my expectations greatly for the sequel. Those low expectations were not met. When I hear people defend Rob Zombie's Halloween II, I'm baffled. Not just the people who say it was actually good, but even the people who say it stank but "at least it wasn't as bad as the first one". I question whether these people have any taste at all. Not only is this movie not good, it's not even as bad as the first one. It's significantly worse. For all it's faults, at least Halloween had a plot you could follow. Halloween II is designed to be as confusing and nonsensical as it can. As such, you'll have to forgive me if this review isn't very well organized. I was going to watch the whole damn movie over again and break it down scene by scene, but I hit my danger level of anger about three minutes in and had to shut it off.

Appropriately, the movie opens with text defining visions of white horses as a symbol of great anger.

Right there, you've pissed me off. A) that's pretentious. B) as if it wasn't bad enough watching Dr. Loomis analyze Michael for forty minutes in the last movie, you're telling me the entire two-hour movie is going to analyze him in the sequel?

And it's not even like it's going to analyze him by actual psychotherapy standards. This white horse crap is just something Rob Zombie pulled out of his ass. Like the entire movie. The film picks up at the end of the previous one, with Laurie Strode putting a bullet in Michael's head and EMT's taking his body away. I find it odd that they left the mask on him (how'd they check his pulse through that rubber?). As they drive off to the morgue, which apparently is somewhere in Sisterfucker, Kentucky judging from all the farm country they're passing through to get there, the EMTs discuss such lovely topics as raping the corpse of one of Michael's victims because she was so goshdurn purty. So distracted are they by this conversation that they fail to see the cow in the road ahead of them until it's too late. And since this cow is seemingly made out of solid lead, the ambulance is utterly decimated in the collision, leaving the sole surviving EMT to sit there in the wreckage and growl "FUCK" over and over for three minutes straight.

FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK

If you think that's annoying to read, imagine how bad it is to watch. So annoying it is that Michael rises from the dead just to cut the guy's head off to shut him up. Michael then sees a vision of his dead mother walking alongside that damned white horse, and stomps off into the greater wilderness of Illinois, apparently now conveniently located in Middle Earth judging by all the vast expanses of open space and green fields. Momma Myers will continue to make these appearances throughout the film, acting like some sort of bizarre pagan advent calendar reminding Michael that it's almost Halloween again, and that means it's time to go get Laurie and "bring her home" to complete the family. Yes, it is total nonsensical bullshit.

Elsewhere, Laurie is being patched up at the hospital and, in an homage to the original Halloween II, Michael shows up to chase her all over the place. This being a Rob Zombie movie, this sequence lasts all of ten minutes and ends up being a dream sequence because, ya know, we can't admit that Carpenter actually had a good idea for a movie there. Flash forward one year and Laurie is now living with Sheriff Brackett and his daughter Annie. Judging from the surroundings, they live somewhere inside Oscar the Grouch's garbage can. Seriously, this house of theirs is absurd. It's filthy and disgusting and the walls are covered in graffiti, as if Laurie went on a tagging rampage to vent her anger or something. And just to make things even dumber, Laurie has posters of Charles Manson on her wall. Would the sole survivor of a brutal mass murderer really want to idolize a mass murderer? You'd think she'd find that traumatic. Speaking of disgusting, Laurie herself is just repulsive. She has Rob Zombie's hairdo and his sense of cleanliness, too. She seemingly hasn't showered in a year and her hair is a knotted mess of sloppy dreadlocks. It's like Zombie was living some transgender fantasy vicariously through Scout Taylor-Compton. It's creepy.

Laurie's story is that she's learning how to deal with the memory of Michael's rampage. She goes to therapy, she cries on her friends' shoulders, she inexplicably loves to party at costume balls (wouldn't those freak you out after you just barely escaped a killer in a Halloween costume?). In other words, she does nothing of consequence. The vast majority of Laurie's screentime is made up of MySpace role-playing games with her gal pals at the coffee shop or wherever the fuck they work (it's never made clear because Rob Zombie doesn't know how to establish locations at all).

Finally, there's Dr. Loomis, or as I like to call him "The Human Plot Hole". Dr. Loomis died in the previous film when Michael crushed his skull and gouged his eyes out. So you, like myself, may be mystified to find out that Loomis returns in Halloween II with nary a scratch on him and his eyesight perfectly intact. That's just insulting to the intelligence of the audience. What's more insulting is how Loomis is reduced to a walking joke. No longer a good-hearted doctor at all, Loomis has instead become a money-grubbing media whore. He's published a book based on Michael's killing spree and become fabulously wealthy, to the point that he can reach into the future and buy a Blackberry phone even though this movie takes place around 1982. He's also become a total asshat, a callous and mean spirited prick who even goes so far as to insist on holding TV interviews in front of the Myers house. To put the cherry on top of the shit sundae, Loomis' book includes the revelation that Laurie is Michael's sister, something he didn't bother to tell the poor girl in person.

This movie is so God damn stupid just from a plot perspective that I could probably end there and have made my point as to why Rob Zombie's Halloween II is so awful. But the fucker just had to go and screw everything else up, too. For one thing: Rob Zombie has a shitty grasp of geography. Where in the hell is Haddonfield supposed to be located? Michael's scenes take place in vast wilderness seemingly miles from civilization. Laurie and the Bracketts live and work in suburbia, and Loomis is always show in some big city. Furthermore, it takes Michael several days to trudge into town and find Laurie, yet once he does find her it only takes him ten minutes to get back to his shack out in the middle of nowhere. Did he stop for frequent naps on the trip into town? Did he get lost? Does Rob Zombie just suck? Another issue: when does this movie take place? The previous film was set sometime in the late seventies, so one would expect this to take place in the early eighties. And yet there are cellphones aplenty, suggesting a later time, while televisions are constantly looping The Moody Blues performing "Nights in White Satin" on the Ed Sullivan Show, suggesting an earlier time than the first movie!

You want to know something even more annoying? The dream sequences. Oh the dream sequences. Laurie (or maybe it's Michael, who knows) has nightmares about...well...the great pumpkin I guess. There's some bizarre banquet being hosted by a guy with a pumpkin for a head (the credits identify him as "The Earl of Pumpkins") and Momma Myers is there with her horse...and it makes no sense. These dreams serve no purpose other than to confirm that Rob Zombie actually thought he was making an art film. Let us shame him with mockery and laughter.

Plot holes and setting confusion aside, I also must make mention of the technical issues. Namely: Rob Zombie can't direct or photograph to save his life. Halloween II is a cinematographic and editing disaster. Close ups are so close you can't tell what you're looking at, long shots are so hazy you can't tell what you're looking at, and conversations are so choppily edited and insanely close-up shot that you can't tell where people are in relation to one another. Plus, the whole movie was shot on Super 16mm film and then blown up to 35mm, which means it looks like shit. It's too grainy, the colors are faded and washed out and the picture is barely even there. Grindhouse movies produced by Roger Corman looked better than this. It hurts the eyes to behold Rob Zombie's Halloween II.

And there's one more thing I have to mention: Michael spends most of the movie with his mask off. Not only is that stupid because it goes against everything we know about the character, but it's stupid also because Michael Myers unmasked looks like Rob Zombie. Same beard, same hairdo, same exact facial expression as Zombie on the cover of the Hellbilly Deluxe album. It can't be a coincidence, folks. Rob Zombie purposefully created a jacked-up seven-foot clone of himself to play Michael Myers. So the climax of the movie is a giant man who looks like Rob Zombie trying to kill a small girl who looks like Rob Zombie. Maybe Rob Zombie has gender identity issues and he used Halloween II as a metaphor for his masculine side trying to destroy his feminine side in order to avoid having to go through with the sex change operation he secretly wants. Or maybe he's just a narcissist who likes to dress people up to look like himself and I'm just reading way too much into things. Movie still sucks either way.

The conclusion of the film is crap, but it's only fitting since the rest of the movie is crap too. After reading that she is Michael's sister, Laurie goes totally batshit crazy, to the point that when Michael is holding her hostage in his shack, she too begins seeing Momma as well as a younger Michael dressed up, pretentiously enough, as some sort of Fellini-esque clown. When Loomis, suddenly good-hearted again, shows up to save the day, he finds Laurie thrashing about as though the ghosts were assailing her, while Michael just stands there and watches, perplexed. And then Michael freaks out and kills Loomis - again - at which point Laurie turns it around and kills Michael - again - leading to an insanely stupid climax. Donning Michael's mask, Laurie stumbles outside and gets taken in by the police, who drop her off at the hospital. And then Laurie is shown locked up in a padded room, where Momma and the horse greet her (who knew lunatic asylums made rooms with bigass halls your delusions could walk down in slow motion?). So yeah, Laurie's insane and Michael probably never existed anyway.

Way to crap all over the audience, Rob.

40 comments:

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宗家 said...

Actions speak louder than words. ........................................

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劉je217relacoste0 said...

Thx ur share........................................

FrederickI_婷妏Ferreri1003堅強 said...

無一事而不學,無一時而不學,無一處而不學。

CameliaS佳宣 said...

快下班囉~來問個安,跟您打聲招呼 ........................................

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730A_ngelinaRabideau0 said...

happy to read~ thank you!........................................

宛美黃惠妹 said...

you always know the right thing to say!............................................................

jackveronic said...

在你一無所有的時候 是誰在陪伴你 他便是你最重要的人..................................................

誠紋 said...

No pains, no gains...................................................................

雲亨 said...

能猜得出女人真實年齡的男人也許耳聰目明,但肯定毫無大腦。哈哈!...............................................................

貢慧 said...

欣賞是一種美德~回應是最大的支持^^....................................................................

皇銘 said...

卡爾.桑得柏:「除非先有夢,否則一切皆不成。」共勉!.................................................................                           

慧君慧君 said...

成熟,就是有能力適應生活中的模糊。.................................................................

陳登陽 said...

人生是故事的創造與遺忘。............................................................

星美星美 said...

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JasonBirk佳琪 said...

thank for share, it is very important . ̄︿ ̄..................................................................

芸茂芸茂 said...

初次造訪,安安^^..................................................................

吳婷婷 said...

好的開始並不代表會成功,壞的開始並不代表是失敗............................................................

文辰文辰 said...

要繼續發好文喔^^..................................................................

祐音祐音 said...

God helps those who help themselves...................................................

淑慧 said...

真是感人肺腑的文章~~......................................................

青卉 said...

很以有啟發性的故事阿~感謝大大分享^^......................................................

楊儀卉 said...

拒絕冒險和成長的人,終將被生命的潮流陶汰。.......................................................

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鄭雅雯 said...

河水永遠是相同的,可是每一剎那又都是新的。..................................................

承王蓁 said...

Knowledge is a treasure, but practice is the key to it.................................................

恭v秋昀嘉 said...

快樂,是享受工作過程的結果..................................................

凱v胡倫 said...

弱者困於環境,智者利用環境~~加油!............................................................

偉曹琬 said...

It is no use crying over spilt milk.......................................................................

瑞陳彥 said...

愛情是盲目的,但婚姻恢復了它的視力。......................................................................

蕾蕾 said...

嘿,你的部落格不錯哦!............................................................

蕾蕾 said...

一棵樹除非在春天開了花,否則難望在秋天結果。............................................................

江仁趙雲虹昆 said...

來看你了~心在、愛在、牽掛在,幸福才會繁衍不息^^...............................................................

惠邱邱邱邱雯 said...

你怎麼能經過一片海,而忘記它的藍?......................................................................