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Movie Review


MPAA Rating: R for strong brutal bloody violence and terror throughout, sexual content, graphic nudity and language

Reviewed by: Sara Bickley

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Horror, Remake, Sequel
1 hr. 49 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
August 31, 2007 (wide—3,300 theaters)
Copyright, Dimension Films, MGM Distribution Company
Copyright, Dimension Films, MGM Distribution Company
Copyright, Dimension Films, MGM Distribution Company
Copyright, Dimension Films, MGM Distribution Company
Copyright, Dimension Films, MGM Distribution Company
Copyright, Dimension Films, MGM Distribution Company
Copyright, Dimension Films, MGM Distribution Company
Copyright, Dimension Films, MGM Distribution Company
Copyright, Dimension Films, MGM Distribution Company
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Dimension Films, MGM Distribution Company

How does viewing violence in movies affect the family? Answer

Should Christians participate in the Halloween holiday? Answer

Featuring: Malcolm McDowell, Brad Dourif, Daeg Faerch, Tyler Mane, Scout Taylor-Compton, Sheri Moon Zombie, William Forsythe, Danielle Harris, Kristina Klebe, Udo Kier, Danny Trejo, Lew Temple, Skyler Gisondo, Jenny Gregg Stewart, Hanna R. Hall, Dee Wallace-Stone, Max Van Ville, Pat Skipper, Ken Foree
Director: Rob Zombie (‘The Devil’s Rejects,’ ‘House of 1000 Corpses’) / Screenwriters: Rob Zombie, John Carpenter, Debra Hill
Producer: Malek Akkad, Wilson Thomas Brown, John Carpenter, Andy Gould, Andrew G. La Marca, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Rob Zombie
Distributor: Dimension Films, MGM Distribution Company

“Halloween” opens with a shot of ten-year-old Michael Myers (Daeg Faerch) in a clown mask, petting a rat named Elvis. “Pretty Elvis,” he says. A few minutes later, we see him in the bathroom, scrubbing blood off his hands. He comes downstairs and flatly tells his family that the rat has died.

The whole movie’s like that: numbed by its own horrors.

The first half details the events of one Halloween in the mid-nineties. It is a microcosm of Michael’s childhood. Over the course of the day, he is threatened and insulted by his vulgar stepfather, ignored by his promiscuous older sister, and bullied (the word almost seems too mild) by his foul-mouthed schoolmates. (This is a powerful portrayal of the kind of sick social milieu that can so easily destroy a child—but it is a mere portrayal, never quite rising to the level of condemnation.)

The only bright spots in Michael’s life are his mother (Sheri Moon Zombie)—who, despite her immoral lifestyle (she works as a stripper and, it is implied, a prostitute) and bad taste in men, genuinely loves him and tries to be a good mother—and his baby sister “Boo.”

The negative influences far outweigh the positive ones, and little Michael is a seriously disturbed child. When a school administrator discovers pictures of tortured animals in the boy’s backpack, he calls in Dr. Sam Loomis (Malcolm McDowell), who urges Michael’s mother to seek psychiatric help for her son. Michael overhears the conversation, and, in some way that is not quite explained, it sets him off. He goes out and beats one of the schoolyard bullies to death. That evening, after trick-or-treating, he kills most of his family in gruesome ways.

Michael is convicted of the crimes and placed in Dr. Loomis’s care. For a while he seems to be recovering, but then, disturbed by looking at an old snapshot of himself and Boo, he commits another murder.

This sequence of events deserves the lengthy description I have given it. It is dramatic and fascinating, with hints at real psychological insight, and contains a few scenes capable of touching the emotions. Not so the rest of the film, a perfunctory rehash of the events of John Carpenter’s 1978 original: adult Michael (former wrestler Tyler Mane) escapes from an insane asylum and terrorizes his hometown, while Dr. Loomis pursues him. This mad-slasher Michael has little in common with the tragic child of the first half; perhaps we are meant to see that he has become dehumanized, but the abrupt transition feels false.

Even before the killings begin, there’s plenty of objectionable content. Obscene language permeates the film: the F-bombs are so numerous they might better be characterized as F-shrapnel, and explicit sexual descriptions are placed in the mouths of children. A pole-dancing scene, a fairly graphic sex scene, and flashes of nudity in the first half prefigure even heavier sexual content in the second. The violence is so bloody, brutal and pervasive that it does not bear description.

The most disturbing aspect of “Halloween,” though, is that it seems calculated to show humanity at its worst. The only consistently sympathetic characters are Mrs. Myers and Dr. Loomis, and both prove ineffectual. Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton), the purported heroine of the second half, has nothing in common with Jamie Lee Curtis’s resourceful innocent in the original film. She is shallow and uninteresting, and survives through a combination of luck and unappealing brutality. Near the end, her bloodied, swollen face bears a vague resemblance to Michael’s white mask; I’m sure this was intentional.

The 1978 film ended on a note of chilling menace, but there was hope, too: the “good guys” had survived, had at least temporarily defeated the evil, and hadn’t destroyed themselves in the process. The new version has a more final ending, but still lacks a sense of closure; it is despairing and bleak, a visual wail.

The film is very well-done visually, with good compositions (albeit many of them centered on corpses) and a wise use of color. The fast cutting in the second half works on a visceral level, though it cheats the story. The music, integrating John Carpenter’s original theme with new compositions by Tyler Bates, effectively keeps the mood. Aside from a wildly inconsistent performance by Taylor-Compton, the acting is competent; Sheri Moon Zombie, in particular, shines. Yet all this polish and talent seems wasted on a a flawed story with a dramatic message devoid of redemption, peace and hope.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Extreme

Recommended resource

Viewer Comments
Positive—“These eyes will deceive you, they will destroy you. They will take from you your innocence, your pride, and eventually your soul. These eyes do not see what you and I see. Behind these eyes one finds only blackness, the absence of light: these are the eyes of a psychopath.”

I think this is a great quote to use for my review of this year’s re-imaging/remake/update of “Halloween.” It is said by Dr. Samuel Loomis (portrayed by Malcolm McDowell).

…“Halloween” succeeds on a level that is equal to, and in many ways surpasses its 1978 predecessor by John Carpenter. This movie takes a more psychological approach to the main villain persona of Michael Myers; whereas the original portrayed him as a chilling, menacing, zombie-like stalker who just won’t die. Few movies have given their movie villains a more human persona and gotten away with it, but Zombie seems to have fun here. When the audience first sees Myers, he is a disturbed 10-year old boy who lives in Haddonfield, Illinois with his mother, his sister Judith, her mother’s abusive boyfriend Ronnie (William Forsythe), and baby Laurie. On Halloween night, when kids are usually out treat or treating, and having no one to go treat-or-treating with. Michael snaps and, with a kitchen knife, dispatches Ronnie, his sister, and his sister’s boyfriend. The only victim he lets live is Laurie, whom he gives to her the nickname of “Boo,” because of the fact that she represents pure innocence that Michael identifies with. Authorities take him away to Smith’s Grove Sanitarium, and assigns Samuel Loomis to be the boy’s psychologist. Fifteen years go by, and Michael escapes from the hospital just as he is about to be transported. Loomis knows where he is heading; Haddonfield. He’s going back to terrorize his now-teenage Laurie (Scout Taylor-Compton) and her friends, and will kill anyone in his path.

The movie is divided into two halves, and is seen more as a psychological horror film rather than taking a full-on slasher approach. The movie isn’t for everybody, though. There’s some heavy use of swearing, prominently in the film’s first half, graphic violence, and nudity (some of which for the movie I could’ve lived without). There are some sexual situations in the film’s second half, but one doesn’t give in to the temptations of her friends. One is asked to lie, and he ultimately gives in. At the beginning of the film, one of Michael’s first victims is a school bully who continuously harasses Michael about the fact that his mother is a stripper.

The idea of having Myers communicate as a child serves as a thrilling addition to the series. The kid who portrays Myers as a child appears very menacing to say the least, if not haunting. Through rapid editing and a little backstory, the audience can see him transform as he goes from innocence to pure evil, causing him to go into a self-catatonic state and become the Michael Myers that film buffs have come to accept. As Dr. Loomis, McDowell gives a more hardening shell in his portrayal that makes him seem embittered but a little sympathetic as he tries to understand Michael’s behavior, and Compton is believable in her screams and cries as the victim. (One of the scenes she shares with Michael is neatly choreographed and handled very well, and fits in with the innocence theme described earlier in my review.)

The director’s use of cinematography is very effective in capturing the atmospheric terror that one typically associates with Halloween night. There aren’t any scenes that jump out at you, but some of the great horror movies are usually the ones that are subtle in their appearance. And, in case you’re wondering about the iconic theme music, yes, it’s still there, with one “new” addition. “Mr. Sandman,” the song made in the 1950s and popularized by the original film’s sequel (the Carpenter-era film from 1981), gets a sturdy makeover: one that does fit and touches on all themes the movie presents; fear and innocence are the only issues that come to mind when hearing the song in this version.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 5
Christopher Walker
Negative—I love horror films, and was anxiously awaiting this one. However, the language, sexual content, and nudity made this film one that I regretted going to see. There is also extreme brutality in the murder scenes. I wish Hollywood could learn to make a good horror film without all the “extras” that some of us find so offensive.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 1½
—J., age 41
Negative—Let me start by saying that my wife and I walked out of this film within the first 10 minutes. We have never walked out of a movie before, so that was a first for us. So, as you read what I say here, take that into consideration.

The first, and probably most obvious, thing to point out about this film is the language/ dialog. Within the first ten minutes, I heard the f-word over 20 times. In fact, I do not recall a single sentence that did not use that word. I think there might even have been a sentence entirely composed of that word thrown in there. There was also a whole lot of sexuality in the dialog. Comments about masturbation, ejaculation onto women’s breasts, oral sex, prostitution, and a scene of Michael’s sister masturbating the neck of a bottle on the dining room table as she made obviously sexual groans. The older man, I assume it was supposed to be his step-dad, made a comment about the older sister’s body being attractive in a very crude manner as she walked away from the table. There were also comments directed at Michael, who is, I am guessing, around 12 or 13, calling him gay (in of course a more colorful manner) as well as calling him names and such. Again, this all within the first 10 minutes of the film.

Secondly, and this is one of the main reasons we left, was the violence. We are fans of some of the previous Halloween movies, and this was nothing like those. The first scene of the movie is an alluded to torture of one of his pet rats (The camera shows him picking up the rat followed by a scene of him washing blood off of his hands and a scalpel). He also tortures other animals and takes pictures of them. These pictures are found in his back pack by his principal along with the body of an animal in a ziploc bag. We also do not recall a single moment of torture when Michael Meyers kills his victims. They are relatively quick deaths such as a knife to the throat or a fire extinguisher to the head. But, in this film, 12 year old Michael Meyers beats the school bully with a stick. But that isn’t the half of it. He hits him a couple of times and leaves him to suffer a moment. Hits him a few more times and waits. Hits him some more, then waits some more. Then he pauses for a while, taking a picture of his mother out of the bully’s pocket (his mother is, I am guessing, an exotic dancer) and staring at it. The bully is begging for his life and suffering. Eventually, Michael gets around to killing him, obviously very slowly.

Like I said, we left at this point, but if this is any hint as to what the rest of the film is like, then I am glad we left. If images and dialog like this don’t bother you, then go right ahead and watch it. But, in my opinion, there just really seems to be something wrong with this kind of movie. It is pornographic in nature and, I would say, uncalled for.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 2
—Jeremy, age 23
Negative—…Do not waste your money on this film. Wait until it’s on DVD if you must see it. This movie was extremely offensive. I cannot count how many times the F-word was used! And there were a few taking the Lord’s name in vein. And also I do not agree with using kids to Murder or be killed in movies. This Kid who plays Micheal Myers played him very well but I’m afraid for this Kid cause he played it so well I’m scared of what this film will do to him or has already done. This movie was not scary atleast not to me and I didn’t hear anyone else scream or see anyone jump. There was one scene where I did indeed jump just one! Also this movie may appeal to the homosexual society as there were a few scenes that could have passed for homosexuality. There was a lot of nudity and sex. The movie was a little boring at times. IF you really want to see Halloween then buy or rent the original. Rob Zombie did a horrible job on this movie and I hope they find someone else to produce the next one… Yes, there will be another! Lord help us!!! OK onto the acting there were some experianced actors… and there were some poor actors—really poor. I for one am really unhapppy with this film I expected better and from what I remember in the original films I do not remember all the swearing. We just do not need it to make a good film. Ok, in short, do not waste your time!!
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 1½
—Renee, age 34
Positive—I saw the premiere for this movie this week. If you go to this movie looking to be offended, you will be. If you are a fan of horror you will be very entertained and on the edge of your seat. …
My Ratings: Average / 5
—George, age 32
Response—Just to make things clear… I am a huge horror fan… And I still say “Halloween” stunk!!!
—Renee, age 34
Neutral—…I found it very hard to concentrate on the movie when the majority of it was sex, nudity, and vulgarity—a lot more than the original. Most of the time, I was running out to get popcorn to avoid it. The actual story did have potential, and I enjoyed it. So yeah if I’m ever seeing this again, there’s always the DVD to skip that stuff.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 3
—Anonymous, age 27
Neutral—The Good: I liked this film as far as the fear factor goes and how it explains that when you pick on someone enough, it will lead to bad things happening. The movie was done with superb artistic quality, and I did enjoy this film a whole lot more than I did movies such as “Hostel” and “2001 Maniacs” and “The Hills have Eyes.” It was more than just a gore fest to me. It had the ability to scare me and keep me on the edge.

The Bad: This film had sexual scenes in the movie that we could have done without. The swearing and the using of God’s Name in vain was unacceptable. The sex and alcohol use made me uncomfortable and was very offensive to me. His being picked on brought back memories that were hard to think about again. The movie still could have been scary and well made without the sex scenes. If you like a good scare and love being on the edge, SEE THIS MOVIE, but BEWARE of the sexual immorality of this movie and the over-usage of God’s name in vain and the swearing.
My Ratings: Offensive / 4½
—Jeremy, age 23
Negative—How on Earth could anyone enjoy this movie?? It was nothing but foul from start to finish. The f-word in almost every sentence. Naked women sprawled on the bed for the camera. Brutal beatings with a baseball bat until the skulls crack open. A boy slicing up his sister and slitting his stepfather’s throat. This isn’t a horror movie—it’s a sickening gore-fest from front to end. And to think I was originally looking foward to it. I enjoy horror movies and especially John Carpenter’s original “Halloween,” which, though far from perfect, is like “Citizen Kane” compared to this mess. I wanted to leave early on, but I stayed because my date didnt want to leave. I am sorry I stayed. I should have insisted on leaving the theater, instead of sitting in my seat and cringing every five seconds as teenage girls get naked for their boyfriends onscreen, and then get slashed up.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 1
—Dana, age 22
Neutral—…I am a christian. When I went to see this movie I had expectations it was going to be very bloody, very violent. I will agree that a lot of the sexuality and a lot of the swearing could have been avoided. BUT my point is… What else do you expect when you walk into a theater to see a “R” rated movie? If you did not want to hear the profanity, see the violence, etc. Why go? The truth is, this movie is great, IF you as a christian are strong willed enough to look past the senseless obscenity, and appreciate the movie for the movie quality (lighting, story, acting, etc.). …
My Ratings: Offensive / 5
—Mike Omen, age 21
Positive—I was pleased with the film. It wasn’t bad at all, really. A know a lot of previous comments about this film revolve around the disturbing first half where Michael is a child. I’d like to point out that this was meant to show what created the monster. This ever silent “shape” didn’t appear out of thin air. He is the product of years of humiliation, neglect, and a broken home. I looked at young Michael’s upbringing, his mom being a stripper, the boyfriends, the child neglect and saw Rob Zombie’s point. Yes, folks, there was a lot of cussing. If you didn’t like it and got disgusted then Rob’s message came to you loud and clear. It’s interesting to read that one reviewer and his wife actually got up and left in the first 10 mins. I saw an older woman do the same in the first 15-20 mins. when I saw this film. And to that I just wanna say that I think its a little odd to walk into a movie where, in the film, you know people are going to be mercilessly murdered by a crazy person. However, it’s the “naughty” language that just goes too far.
My Ratings: Offensive / 4½
—Anthony, age 21
Negative—It is funny to see how many people liked this movie. I will agree some of the film was okay, but I will say this: yeah it was nice to see how Micheal Myers was being brought up, but in the original films Micheal Myers was born into satanism. So I think I’ll stick to the old movies. Seriously, I do not know how anyone can think this movie was so awesome?
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 1½
—Renee, age 34
Comments from young people
Neutral—Rob Zombie’s name speaks for itself. As the director of previous films “House of 1000 Corpses,” and “The Devil’s Rejects,” he solidified himself as a member of the new-wave horror genre, aptly named “The Splat Pack.” And in the same fashion as his previous two films, “Halloween” is graphically violent, and verbally harsh.

This, however, does not negate from the quality of the filmmaking. To his credit, Zombie (who is also the host of TCM Underground on Turner Classic Movies) made notable effort to remain true to the original plot behind the first “Halloween” film (directed by John Carpenter and released in ‘78), and sought advice from the first film’s director on how to go about maintaining the integrity of the story. Zombie’s respect for cinematic art makes him a refreshing alternative to other modern horror directors like James Wan (the Saw franchise).

Granted, this movie does not come without objectionable content. Moreover, this is not a movie I would view in mixed company at all, and I have actively discouraged my female friends from viewing it. There is graphic violence, language, and nudity throughout. Though part of the original slasher film’s purpose was to model karma (the slasher figure is often a result of the character’s behavior, as is very evident in both the original Halloween film, and the remake), there is no Earthly substitute for the justice of God, and this film contains little to no content that would suggest that God has any part in this story.

For viewers who view the movies as a medium through which to tell stories, this movie will be rewarding; it is a highly effective (and complimentary) retelling of the classic story that made Michael Myers a household name. Additionally, viewers who enjoy being scared by movies will also find satisfaction in this film. However, anyone who walks into “Halloween” expecting any kind of moral lesson or applicable virtue will be disappointed. There is none.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 4½
—Matt Tolander, age 17
Neutral—Well, all I can say is that this movie was pretty bad. I know im only 15 but I’ve seen the first three halloween movies and they weren’t that bad and I actually enjoyed them because I am a classic horror movie freak anyway so I was pretty excited when I heard they were making a new one and bringing Michael “back to life” so to speak becuase I am a huge fan of the old ones. Well, there was a whole lot of language (probably the most language I’ve ever heard in a the first 15 minutes of a movie in my life) which I really did not at all like, and then there is the sexual content. Everytime a sexual scene would pop up on screen or I could guess it was coming, I would look away, and unlike the old halloween movies, I had to look away at least 5 times, which I was really dissapointed about becasue the old ones were vertually clean of language and sex. The violence was, at times pretty intense and graphic, but come on its a movie about a physcopath who was abused as a child. I don’t think that there would be any other way to portray Michael and honestly after the childhood scenes I found myself feeling bad for Michael, even though he is a fictional character. Well, all in all I give this a 2 mostly because of all the sex and language, and I wouldn’t go see it again so I’m just going to have to stick to the old ones which I enjoy much, much better, and I definitely would not recommend it to anyone, Christian or not. If you are a Christian and you enjoy horror movies, then my advice is to stick to the old ones because they seem to be much cleaner and they still are scary.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Trevor, age 15
Positive—First off, I want to say that I saw this movie at a friends house without knowing anything about it. At first I thought it was very disturbing and also offensive. Within the first 15 minutes there were around 30 profanities, most being f-words. There was also a brutal killing, at that point I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue. But as the movie played on I started to realize that everything that Micheal Myers had become was a result of his messed up childhood. His hatred for the world was so massive that it drove him over the edge.

I think that under all of its content there is a good and notable message that Rob Zombie is trying to potray in a very raw and straight-forward manner. That the earliest years in a childs life are the most important. And that the type of person you are to the child really does matter.

There is a lot of sex, language and violence so if you go see it, do not be surprised. And only take an older teen if they are very mature and can handle the content.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jonathan, age 15
First of all who would want to see this?… Even though I have not see this movie I can just tell you by the previews that it is horrible. …in one of the previews it shows a little boy and a girl, and they pass a house (the main character of “Halloween,” his house,) and the little boy then says “That’s the Devil’s house;” now first of all no one, and I mean no one is more cruel then the devil! Even though I am only 12 years old, I will NEVER give up my faith in God, I would say that if anybody believes in other “things,” I would just teach them about God, back to the point though, no Christian should see this movie; it’s just really horrible to want to see anyways, I mean watching people get killed horribly in torture is just disturbing. So to all of the Christians out there, if you really love God with all your heart, I would advise you NOT to see it!!!
—Kaitlin, age 12