Halloween (1978) VS Halloween (2007)


*This post contains spoilers for the films Halloween (1978) and Halloween (2007)

"I met this... six year old child with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and... the blackest eyes - the Devil's eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up, because I realized that what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply... evil."

Jeremy: While the original Halloween might not have been the first slasher movie I ever watched (90's kid meant I couldn't get away from Scream), I can still recall to this day that it was one of the first horror movies that kick started my obsession with the genre. Where it lacked in gore and nudity, it absolutely reeked with pure suspense and terror, viewed before I even knew of such earlier classics as Psycho or Black Christmas. And while Halloween kick started a franchise that has seen some ups and dreadful downs, the series can always be remembered for generating one of, if not the greatest, slasher film of all time with the 1978 classic. It may be the horror film i've seen the most even, and has been a annual Halloween tradition my entire adult life to double feature that bitch with its companion sequel, Halloween II (1981).

As with the Nightmare On Elm Street remake, I would not see the remake of Halloween until several years after its release. It was again a situation of soaking up the awful reviews and putting them up against my already high skepticism for remaking such an immortal film. This was even taking into consideration that I already loved a majority of what director Rob Zombie had already put out (I believe this wasn't until around the time The Lords of Salem had just released). Even then, I still had my reservations. But with Halloween 2007 since becoming a yearly tradition alongside its original inspiration, you could say I was pleasantly fucking surprised. Not that I absolutely love the film, but the love/hate relationship is strong with this one, a far cry from my complete loathing of the Nightmare On Elm Street remake.

Sara:The first time I watched Halloween was at my friend Laura's house, and I remember a bunch of us kids crowding around her parent's TV, stuffing popcorn in our mouths, and gawking in horror. I too had not seen Rob Zombie's version until many years later, I actually just saw it for the very first time in 2016 when Jeremy and I first met (one of the few activities you can do in a long distance relationship is watch movies together on the phone) and I was pleasantly surprised. After all of the hype, and personal letdown for Donnie Darko, I made it a rule to avoid most critiques and watch movies for myself. However, I couldn't get past all of the constant bitching about the 2007 remake, so alas, I was missing out all of these years. Now, both versions of Halloween end up being our go-to while we're prepping blog posts, cleaning, or when we can't think of anything to watch.

Jeremy: Rob Zombie's Halloween can be seen as a half remake/half extension of the original story. For better or worse, this means we are treated to about an hour of a bratty young Michael Myers being a dick in a town where literally everyone is a dick. Originally, before I managed to get through it, I used to stop this movie several times during the first hour just for how awful the characters and the origin story being told was. As of writing, I've softened on this portion of the film over the years, despite still believing this backstory was entirely unnecessary to explain when the original saw no need for it, not to mention doing it badly at that. I've noticed from other reviews of the film that this origin tale is actually preferred to the second half of the film (the actual remake of the original scenes), but I just can't dig that. What I can dig however, is the mask they used for the remake! Nick Castle's original Michael Myers mask will always be the reigning champion, but for a plethora of sequels known for shitty Myers masks, 2007 Michael easily has the second best mask of the bunch.

So, this second half of the 2007 film borrows heavily from the original with just a few modifications (different characters living/dying, locations, etc.). This was the stuff I got into, with my knowledge that this was going to be a remake going into it. Call me a simple fucker, but I really just wanted a slight twist on the 1978 film, otherwise it might as well just be a complete remake and change the entire original film's storyline. This segment saves the first hour for me. I will often even skip ahead to the scene where Laurie is first introduced and start the film from there (my potential directors cut?). Trust me, you're not missing anything and it might even make the film more terrifying this way. And I think it's pretty difficult to argue that the characters in the second half aren't far preferable to anything the origin story has to offer.

But what can be said about the 1978 classic? A fair fucking bit, but you've probably heard it all before. It is the quintessential slasher movie, perhaps even the quintessential John Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis film too. It introduced a memorable villain shrouded in mystery, with a perfect cast of characters, excellent suspense, iconic death scenes, fantastic locations, blah blah blah it's perfect. The remake, not  quite so perfect, still has more to offer than it's ever been given credit for, despite not holding a candle to the original. It's adult portrayal of Michael Myers, with his more aggressive nature, is still a welcome addition to the series, and was a bold enough move to do something new but not shit all over its inspiration. The films attempt to expand upon the original material delivers more hits than misses, and I think the added violence was handled well, only seeming too over the top in the films first half. I will always stand by defending this remake, but like I mentioned, there's no contest here, 1978's Halloween cannot be beat in this fight. But give these both a look if you haven't already, they are as essential as any other horror film you'll find. Oh yeah, and fuck Halloween 2 (2009).

Sara: Though I don't agree that the back story was completely unnecessary for Rob Zombie's version, I do think that it ran a bit long. I think the addition of a bigger view of Micheal Myer's upbringing gives the viewer an odd mix of unsettling sympathy, an immediate disdain for the masked killer, as well as something more than just blatantly remaking the original film.  It does result in feeling like the audience is watching almost two different movies though, and that is what makes this movie seem like it seriously drags, despite the fast-paced, violent kills. I am pretty indifferent to the casting of this movie, I thought the sassy attitude from the children was a good bonus, but the teenagers were pretty typical teenagers. This version's Laurie was slightly less demure, but still shows her strengths by being the "mother" of the group, much like her 1978 original counter-part. Although the kill scenes in this film were almost absurdly brutal, I did like the scene in which this version's Annie is found alive by Laurie, and is left, topless, caked in her own blood and unable to move. I think the idea of being frozen in both pain and terror while your boyfriends dead body is hanging next to you, the person who stabbed you is somewhere in the house, is pretty fucking scary.

As for the 9178 original, some of the slang is dated, the clueless teenagers are laughable, and that 20 second sex scene in the beginning of the film is ridiculous, but these are all things that we have come to love about this movie as well. That intro with the classic Halloween theme, the title, and the pumpkin is not only iconic, it still to this day (the time of having to be reminded in a movie theater to get the fuck off of your phone while the movie is playing) manages to completely draw the audience in. Although there are many Halloween-themed movies to watch every October, nothing, aside from Hocus Pocus, really puts me in the Halloween spirit like the original 1978 classic.

Our next #BHorrorMovie Night live-tweet is scheduled for Thursday, the 19th and we will be sticking with the Halloween theme and watching Halloween III: Season of the Witch! We will be starting at 9:30 EST and you can follow along on Twitter @FoxyCatCoven and use the hashtag, as we will be adding our favorite tweets to our review post of that movie.

We also will be celebrating Friday the 13th here at the coven! We are going to be watching Friday the 13th Part IV: Jason Lives and then will be posting a review later that evening, so be sure to follow us on Instagram, as we will be adding to our story the entire evening. You can currently watch the original Friday the 13th for free on Amazon right now, so, go get your Camp Crystal Lake slashing on, and as always, keep it creepy!