Give Rob Zombie his due. Asked to remake one of the most influential horror films in history – one of the few that remains as effectively jarring today as it was at the time of its 1978 release, when an up-and-coming director named John Carpenter reinvented the slasher genre with his stark portrayal of a lunatic killer loosed on suburbia – and the White Zombie singer has done so in a way that is unique and, surprisingly, still shocking.
Carpenter, recruited to direct Halloween, his third feature, on the heels of his similarly unrelenting 1976 thriller Assault on Precinct 13, may have raised the bar too high, but Zombie offers a broader yet compelling take on the mythology that has made Michael Myers one of the big screen's creepiest bogeymen.
Halloween has arrived early this year thanks to the weekend’s two biggest major-studio releases – The Final Destination (in 3-D!) and Rob Zombie’s latest supplement to the never-ending saga of famed serial killer Michael Myers. If you don’t feel like celebrating, there are several excellent alternatives now playing at an indie theater near you.
No, it’s not quite the return of John Carpenter that longtime fans have been anxiously awaiting since the 61-year-old director’s last film, 2001’s underrated Ghosts of Mars. But that’s no reason to scoff at the news that Ronald Moore, the creative force behind the Sci-Fi Channel’s much-heralded Battlestar Galactica relaunch, is planning a prequel to Carpenter’s 1982 classic The Thing.
Just as the Grateful Dead have been fairly and unfairly blamed for inspiring the aimless noodling and whimsical indulgences of jam-band progeny like Phish and Blues Traveler, so too has M. Night Shyamalan born the brunt of criticism for the blindsiding, 11th-hour twists popularized by his 1999 thriller The Sixth Sense.