Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Malcolm McDowell, Tyler Mane, Scout Taylor-Compton, Daeg Faerch, Sheri Moon Zombie
Directed by Rob Zombie
Distributed by Dimension Home Video
"Make the movie more Rob Zombie." According to Rob in one of the special features contained here, that's what he was being told by the studios. Maybe they should have been instructing him to make it more Halloween or better yet, just leave him alone and let him make his own film. As a result of advice given, re-shoots shot, and what I'm guessing to be a lot of pressure coming from every conceivable direction, this latest cut of the film has ended up being the third version of it that I have seen this year. Truth be told, aside from a few remaining issues, it's also the best.
You can check out our Halloween theatrical review here and our Halloween work print review here for more, but right now let's focus on what exactly you'll be seeing in this two-disc edition. Basically what this is, is a combination of the best parts of the other two cuts named above. Clocking in at a runtime that just exceeds two hours, this edition feels like a more complete and cohesive film. A lot of the character development and exposition that was missing from the theatrical version has been added back in one form or another. Even better, one of the main gripes about the theatrical version -- the ludicrous chain-breaking escape scene that featured what could only be described as a mini Devil's Rejects reunion is gone. Yep, that set-up has been completely removed, and in its place we have Michael's original escape sequence from the work print. More than anything this is the most significant difference to be found here. The people who did like the theatrical escape scene may be in for let-down as it's nowhere to be found here except for briefly in the trailer and in snippets during some of the featurettes found on Disc Two. The other differences are a bit more subtle until the end of the film (i.e., some re-added footage here, some new stuff not used in either the work print or theatrical version there).
Now on to the ending.
I hated the ending of the theatrical cut. It was noisy and void of any suspense. Seeing Michael crash through his seventh door while Laurie was doing her best Die Hard-like vent crawling was nothing short of uninspired. Besides that, the most crucial part of any Halloween film was missing -- a final showdown between Loomis and Michael. The work print of Halloween had a much better ending in which Loomis and Michael do have their Ahab/Moby Dick moment. It wasn't much, but it was still there and infinitely better than watching Michael performing in Extreme Makeover: Horror Edition. So which do we get here? Both. Though I would have preferred the entire work print ending to have been used, Zombie does splice in the better parts of it, along with some never-before-seen stuff. Thankfully it all plays as seamlessly as if it were always there.
Don't get me wrong, Halloween still suffers from some of the same pitfalls that it did when it first hit theatres, like some pretty bad dialogue and suspense-less mimicry, but in the end, this version seems a hell of a lot easier to swallow and stands as the best cut to date.
Just like House of a 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects before it, this DVD package is nothing short of stellar. The only extra to be found on Disc One is Zombie's commentary track, and it's pretty damned entertaining. During it you'll find out what was cut and what was added as well as listen to some amusing on-set stories. When you're done, head on over to Disc Two for the mother lode!
Things start off with seventeen deleted scenes with optional commentary tracks that clock in at about twenty-one minutes combined. Being that it was excised completely, this is where the theatrical escape scene should have resided, but alas, this is not the case. What you will get are cameos from other genre personalities like Adrienne Barbeau, Ezra Buzzington, and Tom Towles, who was nixed from this final director's cut version despite having played two different roles in the other cuts. Methinks he's the real victim here. From there we also get the entire alternate ending (with optional commentary track) from the work print, which in my opinion is still far superior to any of the other endings. Next up is a six-minute featurette entitled The Many Masks of Michael Myers that, as you may have guessed, is a closer look at all the movie's masks and why Myers wears them. Moving on, we get to a three-part feature called Re-imagining Halloween that clocks in at around twenty minutes and tracks every step of the film from production design and props to Wayne Toth's F/X and the movie's costumes. Though surprisingly short, everything is laid out well and in pretty damned concise fashion. Good stuff.
Finally we get to the cast. The first featurette dealing with them is a twenty-minute segment entitled, what else? ... Meet the Cast. Here we have your standard cast interviews with everyone from McDowell to the always entertaining Sid Haig. Next up we get a thirty-minute look at fifteen different casting sessions with Danielle Harris, the ever-so-spooky Daeg Faerch, and more. Couple them with the next eight-minute featurette, Scout Taylor-Compton's Screen Test, and you have pretty much every bit of cast related stuff you could ever want short of watching the movie itself.
There's one more thing to cover here, and it surprisingly deserves a mention independent of the other features -- the ten-minute blooper reel. Holy shit, I don't think I have ever laughed so hard watching one of these things. Usually they end up being pretty lame, but this one? Best damned blooper reel -- ever. I swear this DVD is worth checking out for it alone!
So there you have it, folks. The thankfully final word on one of the year's and our genre's most revered, maligned, and controversial movies. Like it or not, Rob Zombie's Halloween has served its purpose. For better or worse it's re-energized a very tired franchise, and there's not a single day that goes by that I am not grateful that Busta Rhymes' karate kick to Myers' face in Halloween: Resurrection was not the series' death knell. Now if only someone would give us a Joe Grizzly movie! We need more Joe Grizzly!
2 1/2 out of 5
4 1/2 out of 5
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