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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Unlike the original Halloween, this remake attempts to create a backstory for Michael Myers that shows Myers as a boy and seems to try to make him sympathetic or a victim of circumstance -- his father died (no one says how), his stepfather is a lecherous and abusive drunk, he's bullied at school. But soon enough, this is revealed to be just a ruse; young Myers, before committing his first homicide (killing one of his bullies in the woods with a large stick), growls "f--k you" to an authority figure trying to prevent him from being bullied at school, kills defenseless animals and takes pictures of their corpses, and gives only his mother and infant sister anything remotely resembling kindness and humanity.
Positive Role Models
Most of the film's characters range from merely unsympathetic to absolutely loathsome, including creepy and nasty grownups and bullying and promiscuous teenagers (one of whom talks gleefully about manipulating her parents' divorce for her own ends). Some of this is used to illustrate the environment that makes Michael Myers into a vicious killing machine -- i.e. that his victims "deserve" it -- but other characters who are inoffensive (and even gentle) die just as hideously, suggesting that environment had very little to do with Myers' homicidal actions.
Violence & Scariness
Horrendous up-close beatings, bashings, stabbings, hangings, and strangulation. One victim is left dangling on a door, pinned by the knife; another is drowned as blood fountains out of his mouth. Two people are shot at close range. Viewers see victims' faces in bloody close-up most of the time. Myers' mother commits suicide by putting a gun to her head -- not shown, but heard. In one scene, two drunk sanitarium workers sneak in after hours and begin to rape a female patient before they are killed by Myers. Many pets are killed, but viewers only see evidence photos. Myers leaves an animal sacrifice on the grave of his sister. Bullies verbally and physically taunt young Michael Myers in a school restroom shortly before boy Myers kills one of the bullies in the woods with a large stick.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Three teen sex scenes. Female nudity: Breasts, buttocks. Another character, an exotic dancer, gyrates in minimal clothing. Kids and adults talk crudely and enthusiastically about masturbation, promiscuity, and stepfather incest. The pages of a pornographic magazine are riffled through, and one victim thinks Michael Myers is looking for a homosexual act in a bathroom stall.
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Nonstop profanity. "F--k" used a lot. "C--t" spelled out by a teen girl talking to her friend. Basically, every curse word in the English language, with the exception of racist slurs, is used at some point, and if there's a word left out, it was an unintentional oversight by the writers. Homosexual slurs. "Retarded."
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Products & Purchases
Plugs for other horror movies admired by the filmmakers, in the form of clips from The Thing and White Zombie. Heavy selection of classic rock on the soundtrack, KISS T-shirt, one prominent porn magazine title.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens drink beer, smoke cigarettes. Michael Myers' stepfather is often shown drunk, with a bottle of whiskey or a can of beer in his hand. Two men who work in a sanitarium sneak in after hours drunk with a bottle of whiskey; while drunk, they sexually assault a female patient.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that director Rob Zombie's "re-imagined" slasher flick, Halloween (2007), leaves no blood, gore, or sex to viewers' imagination: It's all here in spades. Savage stabbings, slayings, and bashings are presented in ugly close-up. Most (though not all) of killer Michael Myers' victims seem to be sexually-active teenagers, and viewers see female characters in various forms of undress, including nearly full nudity. In the unrated version, two sanitarium workers sneak into the sanitarium drunk and attempt to rape a female patient before Myers kills them. Characters -- including kids -- use profanity; with the exception of racist slurs, every curse word in the book is used, including "f--k" used several times, and a teen character spelling out "c--t." Unlike the original, where Myers is shown as a mostly unknown force of evil, this remake attempts to craft more of a backstory for Myers, painting the picture of a home life in which a drunk stepfather never works and makes lecherous comments about his stepdaughter, his teen sister would rather sneak off and have sex with her boyfriend rather than take Myers trick-or-treating, and a school life where Myers is the target of bullies who have discovered that Myers' mother works in a strip club. While these scenes momentarily suggest that Myers is an almost sympathetic character and a victim of circumstance, it doesn't take long to see that this backstory is really just a device to heighten that Myers was born the way he was and not a product of how he grew up. Families might use this opportunity to talk about how often crime, antisocial behavior, and evil acts are rooted in environment, how often it's a product of extreme mental illness, and to what extend "nature versus nurture" guides individual behavior. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The violence in this film is appallingly in-your-face. Horror fans claim, not without reason, that the original Halloween wasn't just a sicko slasher movie that caught on, but an artfully suspenseful masterpiece that expertly played on viewers' nerves. You barely see any real violence or blood -- you just think you do. Not so much this time around. This graphic Halloween remake from rock musician-turned-filmmaker Rob Zombie is positively drenched in blood and carnage, along with smashed faces, impalings, bashings, strangulation, crude sex, and vile language, all in shaky-camera close-up. In other words, it's full of everything that original director John Carpenter merely hinted at, letting our dread and elemental fear of a lurking marauder in the dark fill in the blanks.
There have been worse slasher movies than the original Halloween (the first Friday the 13th, for one): Carpenter's finesse with the film's uncluttered, low-budget plotline made it look so easy that all kinds of hack moviemakers (many lacking even Zombie's level of directorial acumen) filled theaters with knives and butchery throughout the 1980s. The 2007 Halloween, besides pushing the gore to dare-you-to-look extremes, seems to want to cadge some sympathy for the ghastly Michael, making his victims (at first, anyway) foul sadists who deserve no mercy. But then characters who are inoffensive -- and even kind -- to Michael die just as gruesomely, so what's the point? Probably the dollar figures brought in by the combined earnings of some seven or eight (depends how you do the counting) Halloween sequels -- that's the point, and this movie's open ending leaves the door open for further installments
Did we miss something on diversity?
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