It's a given that this "re-imagining" was needless. Like him or not (I personally do), Rob Zombie was setting himself up for failure from the moment he signed on to do this. But we here at planet of terror have beat this point into the ground, so let's look at the film for what it is.
Almost every aspect of this remake has a good and bad side to it. The backstory showing Michael's "tortured" (I'm with Cortez here, it wasn't like the kid had the worst childhood, it was no picnic but it didn't warrant turning out as a psychopath either) past does in fact make you feel more connected to the "character" of Michael, but that was one of the things that makes the original story so frightening is that that entire portion is missing. It was not knowing what had happened to Michael all those years in confinement, and only Loomis' impression of why we should be scared that made the story work so well. There was power in the not knowing. Still, the interactions here between Loomis and Michael were interesting.
Zombie explores some interesting ideas with the masks. The idea that Michael needs to wear masks to become someone else, someone capable of killing is interesting, but do we really need to know that about him to be afraid of the dude the in the mask with the big knife? Perhaps Zombie was really focused on the humanity and struggle within Michael, and bringing that out so that the audience connects with him, which I think worked to a degree. The scenes before he breaks out of the hospital were some of the most frightening as Zombie does close up shots on the eye holes of Michael's mask where you know that somewhere in there is a person instead of the relentless killer from the original franchise.
Then there were the things that were just silly. Honestly, Michael sitting on the sidewalk forlorn while "Love Hurts" plays in the background was just fucking stupid, and yet, a highlight of the film. Also, Zombie takes great pains to remove any ambiguity about the connection between Laurie Stroud and Michael. Thanks dude, I get it. Sherry-Moon Zombie was atrocious, and the young Michael made me shiver. BUT, I was honestly surprised and relieved that the score was the original one done by John Carpenter, and not a Nu Metal version redone by Zombie. I all but expected that.
The saving graces were the performances of Brad Dourif and Malcolm McDowell. Both were spot on. Also, my movie-going experience was priceless. Folks in Long Beach take their horror movies pretty seriously, and we had a peanut gallery of about 200 obnoxious people who held no restraint in screaming out such gems as "bitch got some flat ass titties", "look at that broke ass old cracker" "RUN BITCH RUN", and other beautiful moments such as the group of four ladies responsible for all of the above statements leaving during the climax of the film, only to scream, wave their hands int he air and literally run out of the theater after the false ending gives way to the obligatory second climax. What was once a respected and cherished genre of film has been reduced to a madhouse in Long Beach, but I'll be damned if it doesn't make for an enjoyable evening.
The real question here is should you see this. And honestly, I can't make a definitive statement on that. At best you will still most likely just be asking yourself why it was made in the first place, and that's just not a good sign. It's like trying to find the specific combination of scents that makes poop smell bad; sure it's a good thing for someone to explore and to know the answer, but in the end it doesn't really matter cause you already know poop smells bad. I suppose if you don't care that much about the original, and you thought that the Texas Chainsaw remake as good as or better than the original, then sure go for it. But if that's the case, why are you reading this blog? And if that isn't the case, odds are you already threw down 10 bucks to see it opening night (as apparently all of planet of terror did) and left the theater asking yourself: "why"?
- the fucking beard