Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Rob Zombie's Halloween II Unrated Director's Cut DVD Review

Oh, Rob Zombie. I have followed you blindly through the days of White Zombie, on through your solo work, looked forward to your first film, loved your second, and kind of dug the third. When it came to the music, well, your second solo effort was where it ended for me. Oddly enough, where I completely pulled the headphone plug out for you was upon your sequel to your first solo album. Now upon seeing the Halloween II Unrated Director's Cut DVD, I am puling the plug on any future anticipation of your films. Oh, how sequels wound you.

But wait, isn't this the same man that gave us The Devil's Rejects, a far better film than the predecessor it was directly connected to? Yeah, but this time around it looks as if Rob went back to his music video directing days and forgot about character development, story, plot, and entertaining the audience. How could a film that is so violent, gritty, and uncomfortable to watch wind up being so boring? For a horror fan that seems almost impossible to imagine.
If there was any promise in Rob Zombie's earlier films it would be that this guy, while trying too hard to be "witty" with his dialogue, and failing by using pop-culture references that were either tired or obscure for the sake of being obscure, still cared about the words. Many horror and shock film directors and writers don't seemingly care about anything their characters said. Upon leaving The Devil's Rejects I was instantly quoting lines from the film because some of the things they said were just so messed up and funny. Craft and care went into making these characters well-rounded, more than just the pop-ups they were in the first. When the characters aren't of Rob Zombie's own original creation, it seems that care just goes to the wayside.

Focusing more on Laurie Strode, now a complete devotee to buying bullshit at Spencer's Gifts stores, but only after she has money left over from shopping at Hot Topic, the Myers family curse is in full effect. Even after being shot in the face by Laurie at point blank range, the big guy wearing the Willilam Shatner mask is apparently still alive, thinks his mother is walking around telling him what to do (see Jason in Friday The 13th) and still wants to reunite with his little sister. Awe, how cute. Too bad we have no idea where the hell he is, while he is roaming around all disheveled and homeless, in the farm fields of Haddonfield. We also have no idea where he has been all this time, why he eats raw dog meat, or how he knows Halloween is coming up. I guess he has a watch with a calendar on it?
Now, I never saw this on the big screen, so I have no idea what was different between this version and the theatrical, but the violence and gore are pretty damn graphic. I was impressed by some of the twisted things that were done, even though none of them were anything new or inventive. Still, they looked disgusting, made me cringe, and caused me to wince in empathetic pain. Unfortunately, I never cared about anyone who died, I didn't care about who was doing the killing, and I certainly didn't care about having to see Sheri Moon again.

Mama Myers dies in the first film, and at first you see her here in flashbacks, which is absolutely okay in my book. Where Zombie goes wrong is the need to insert his wife into everything he does, thus writing some half-baked bullshit about Michael Myers being ordered around by his mother, through these lame ass visions with her in white with a white horse and the kid-clown version of Michael.
Listen Rob, stay away from the goddamn horses. Educated Horses was a crappy album. I liked a couple songs from it, but most of it was terrible. The phrase "educated horses" refers to trained animals, and it feels like the only way I'd be able to enjoy all these horse references you are making was if I was a trained animal myself. The white horse as a representation of death is pretty much also just made up. The white horse could be seen as either pure evil or the holy spirit, but death is a new one to me. Either way, it sucks and doesn't work in the Halloween mythology, even this new artsy one.

The biggest disappointment I have with H2 is that unlike much of the hardcore Halloween fanboys out there, I really enjoyed the first one. I liked having some more background on Michael and seeing his interactions with Loomis. I liked how messed up he was as a kid and how he was treated. There were flaws, yes, but overall I really enjoyed the first film. This one, however, with the arrogant Loomis becoming a sex-starved egomaniac, caring not for anything except his bank account, totally sucked out any redeeming quality from any of the characters. I love bleak movies filled with terrible and evil people, but when you have no-one to get behind, no one to root for and dislike all the characters, you don't care what happens next.
Add the extremely predictable nature of the plot, some really cheesy "watch I bet this is going to happen" clichés and some of the worst acting of the year together and you get a mess. The DVD has so much additional footage in the deleted and alternate takes section that I can't help but think that there is an even longer and more boring cut out there that makes even less sense. Rob Zombie, do yourself a favor and just take some time off. You have genuine talent and capability but something is going wrong. Take a step back and just start over, or just not start again. Also, stop putting your wife in everything you do. I love my wife too, but when it comes for her to make it in this world and do the things she loves she can get by on her own steam. If Sherri were an actress worth watching she would be in other people's films, not just yours.

Okay, this is going on longer than I had originally planned, but when there is just so much to say I can't filter it all out. Anyhow, for those who still care about this film's DVD release, if you actually liked the film, then you will love the DVD. There are tons of deleted scenes, and while none of them are really anything good to me, you just might enjoy the extra footage and seeing  how some characters got from one place to another. There are also a ton of "music videos," mostly using footage from the movie, for the fictional "Captain Clegg and the Night Creatures" band. With commentary from Rob Zombie, a blooper reel, audition footage and some more deleted and extended scenes from Uncle Seymour Coffin's stand-up comedy, they managed to pack this DVD up quite nicely. If only the actual movie was better. It isn't even enjoyable on an ironic level. Wow, this was another movie I enjoyed less than Far Cry. Uwe Boll making movies better than Rob Zombie? A cold day in hell, indeed.

Movie: D+
Special Features: A-
Overall: C+
Release Date: January 12th, 2009 (Rob Zombie's Birthday... and mine too)

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