Stephen King Calls Polarizing Horror Remake an “Excellent reimagining”

Stephen King praises Rob Zombie's Halloween
Stephen King, (c)Laurel Entertainment Inc./courtesy Everett Collection

It’s not exactly a controversial opinion to say that while I think Rob Zombie’s 2007 Halloween remake is abhorrent, his 2009 Halloween II is akin to a modern masterpiece. It isn’t perfect, but Zombie flexes his filmmaking muscles better there than ever before (save, perhaps, for The Lords of Salem). That first Halloween, however, is rough.

The Michael Myers origin in the first act is the most polarizing addition to the Halloween mythos. Some love the way it contextualizes Myers’ descent into evil. Others (read: me) think it’s aggressively juvenile, a facile attempt to understand abuse and the longstanding impact it has on adolescents. Zombie is just throwing everything he can at the wall—cruel sister, homophobic, abusive stepfather—hoping something will stick. It doesn’t. At least not for me. Stephen King, however, seems to feel differently.

Per IMDB: After being committed for 15 years, Michael Myers, now a grown man and still very dangerous, escapes from the mental institution and immediately returns to Haddonfield to find his baby sister, Laurie.

While Zombie’s remake has since been eclipsed by the David Gordon Green trilogy—franchise fans can only stay mad at one thing at a time—it’s worth revisiting how Stephen King, the master of horror himself, was a fan of Zombie’s reimagining. In the 2010 version of Danse Macabre, King’s non-fiction account of different horror texts and fear more broadly, he referred to Zombie’s movie as an “excellent reimagining of Halloween,” additionally adding that the pairing of Zombie and Halloween was “inspired.”

If nothing else, I’ll meet Stephen King there. It was inspired, and while almost none of the first works for me—excellent is far from the word I’d use—it was, at least, an attempt to shake things up. Zombie imbued the franchise with his own signature backwoods style, adding grit where there used to be polish, grime where there used to be Tyra Banks.

What do you think? Do you agree with Stephen King? How do you feel about Rob Zombie’s Halloween? Let me know over on Twitter @Chadiscollins.

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