On this glorious Halloween night, I’d like to say:
Dear Rob Zombie,
I’m sorry – I’ve been hating Halloween 2 for all the wrong reasons. Please allow me to explain. For starters, I’m a big fan of Rob Zombie’s music, and have been since the days of White Zombie.
I saw him live with Korn when he was on tour for Hellbilly Deluxe, and it was a hell of a show. When he started making movies, I was pretty excited. I loved House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects, and when I heard he was remaking Halloween I just about jumped up and down.
Here’s the part where a lot of you will start to hate me: I liked Rob Zombie’s Halloween better than the original.
John Carpenter’s original Halloween is a classic that could never be replicated. I think this is where many remakes go wrong. They try to imitate what made the original so great, and they fail. What I loved about Rob Zombie’s Halloween is that it didn’t try to imitate the original. It was truly a new vision of the characters, and it was violent as hell. I think I squealed a few times while watching it, and when I learned he was making a sequel I couldn’t wait to see it. That’s where it all went wrong.
I hated it. Big time. I watched it merely waiting for it to end…just so I would never have to watch it again. When asked about it later, I always used this rationale: there was not a single likable character in the movie. Seriously, they all sucked. I mean, what a pack of whiny assholes. Where the Lorie Strode character was at least believable in the first movie, she had turned into a self-hating might-as-well-be-goth character who looked like she could cut herself at any minute, and whine at the audience through the whole thing. Everyone was pretty much like that. I hated them all.
I really thought that was why I hated the movie so much. I’ve seen stupid movies that I still enjoyed, but if I didn’t like any of the characters it was always a fail. Most times I would just stop watching, but I watched all of Halloween 2 in the hopes that I would see a glimmer of what I loved in the first one. Instead I saw a stupid ending with ghosts and horses or something, I don’t know…I’ve repressed the memory. However, I recently learned something; I might have been hating the movie for all the wrong reasons. Again, allow me to explain.
Last week I read a novella. I won’t talk much about the book in this setting because I don’t want you to think I disliked it, but if you’re interested you can read my review on Goodreads. As it relates to Halloween 2, the important part is this: I hated every character in that book. Couldn’t stand them and hoped they would all die. Seriously. However, I somehow liked the book. It was a really cool and creepy read, and at the end I didn’t even care that I hated the characters. This was the first time I even finished a book where I didn’t like the characters (and was a little confused by the story, but that’s a different conversation), much less enjoyed the book overall. What the hell happened?
I don’t know, but the bottom line is this: In a perfect world, your characters will be as likable as your story. That’s generally considered a win. However, if your characters suck, the story and writing had better be damned good. I don’t recommend trying this just to see if I’m right, but I think people will forgive certain things (like shitty characters) as long as you keep them engaged and entertained. I also think this works both ways, because I’ve read books (and watched movies) where the story was horribly stupid but the characters were so engaging that I made it to the end and enjoyed it overall.
In the case of the recent book I read, the story and writing were that good. If you’re okay with a few head-scratching moments, I do recommend giving it a read. It has great pacing and you’ll rip right through it. I just bought another book by the author, if that’s any indication. Unfortunately, in the case of Halloween 2…well…sorry Rob Zombie, but your movie just plain sucked.