John Carpenter vs. Rob Zombie. The Halloween Throwdown.

- Advertisement -


Body Count: Volume 14

I was recently asked by Horrorblips to chime in on a debate subject that they occasionally ask of their busiest syndicated bloggers. Last time they asked me which of the summer’s horror movies I thought would perform best at the box office and I took the opportunity to slag on Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake sequel since as much as I dislike Rob Zombie and as awful as I’m sure his movie will be, it’s going to kick ass at making money. Yesterday they hit me with yet another opportunity to deal the dirt to Rob Zombie and I just couldn’t pass it up. The question was a simple one with only one correct answer. Sure, they thought they were asking a nice open ended question for discussion, but they’re just being naive because when they ask whose Michael Myers was scarier, John Carpenter or Rob Zombie, the only logical answer any sane person could provide is John Carpenter. If you say Rob Zombie, you’re wrong. I’m sorry to be the one to have to tell you this, but you’re wrong.

I gave them a quick opinion about it but I really felt as though it would make a nice topic for the B-Count because the movie is due in theaters shortly and I also haven’t filed a new Bodycount in quite some time. I’m also a die-hard fan of John Carpenter and I love Halloween, Carpenter’s model for the inevitable slasher movie wave of the early 1980’s. I also have rather strong opinions of Halloween and along with The Film Fiend, had one of the first reviews of the remake to hit the web. Rob Zombie fans were unhappy with my review, which was a wishy washy Polyannaish look at a movie that I later deemed to be a fatal piece of shit. Believe me, I will separate and weigh the ingredients, shortly, as to why I feel that way. But let me start with the positive.

As if I really need to explain why Carpenter’s Michael Myers is the superior Shape… Let’s cast aside the obvious trump card that Carpenter’s Myers is the original and assume that both exist in the same continuity. Let’s also ignore the numerous sequels. I’m a purist and we really need to compare apples to apples here.

If there’s one thing that appeals to me about Carpenter’s Michael Myers, it’s the simple fact that he has no driving motivation. As far as we know, Myers was wired wrong from the start. His family seems to be your typical suburban nuclear family. We can make no asusmptions about them because they’re in the movie for a very brief spell, but there is nothing about them to suggest that the Myers home is a sociopath factory. There is no talk of abuse, neglect or alcoholism. Michael could be anyone you know. The Myers family could be the people who live next to you and that’s where I find most of my anxiety. There could be a brutal, unfeeling spree killer living right next to you and until he strikes, you’ll never suspect it. There is cold, efficient evil living in the ‘burbs and it has a face just like yours until it covers that face with a crude mold of William Shatner and hits the streets looking for victims without much in the way of criteria to qualify you as their victim. This is good stuff and part of the point Carpenter is trying to make with the movie. All these notions of morality and punishment that people wheel out in the face of every slasher movie when the virginal final girl faces down the killer in the end are unfounded.

Rob Zombie’s Shape, however, is the product of a culture that over-analyzes everything. Zombie pins a Freudian back-story on Michael that does a few things that are worrisome. For a guy whose entire career is saturated in evil, a cross between drive-in horror movies and true crime novels, Rob Zombie can’t seem to accept the possibility that some people are just born evil. He also calls on us as viewers to sympathize with Myers because his mom was a stripper, her boyfriend an abusive drunk and his sister a negligent slut. We were supposed to feel somehow vindicated when Michael finally snapped and made them all pay while accompanied by a classic Nazareth track. Every fan of slasher movies has a favorite killer but we don’t root for them because of some tragic past that we somehow identify with, we root for them because their movies have them creatively dispatching and cutting to ribbons a gallery of ditzy coeds. No one feels bad for Jason Voorhees because he saw his mother decapitated and no one certainly feels any sympathy for Freddy Krueger, a child murderer that was originally scripted to be a pedophile. So why should I give a shit about Michael Myers? I don’t want to shed a tear for him. I want to be afraid of him and Rob Zombie’s Shape just doesn’t scare me.

Each version of Myers is stacked with super powers. It’s just that one director equipped him with measure in order to sow some tension and terror into the movie. He’s always right behind you even though it looks like he never breaks into even so much as a brisk walk. There’s also the matter of taking a couple of bullets and falling out of a window where he gets up and manages to strike again. True, it’s preposterous but when compared to Rob Zombie’s version of Meyers, this scrawny kid who spends his childhood, adolescence and a portion of his adult life in a cramped cell in a psychiatric hospital where he is shown making a variety of masks and not once shown working out, we’re supposed to believe that he magically grows up to be a pro-wrestling grade behemoth capable of breaking steel chains? That’s just stupid.

Though, it took me a thousand words to explain to you the obvious, John Carpenter’s Michael Myers is the winner of the fight. Neither killer is particularly believable but Carpenter is a filmmaker and a storyteller and made all the right moves to deliver a standout killer in the model for slasher movies to come. Rob Zombie is just a horror movie fan that, thanks to a successful career in rock, suddenly found himself in the position, with the influence and funds to fulfill his teenage fantasy of pretending to be John Carpenter. The end product of his fantasy was a poorly scripted and acted movie that is even more embarassing when compared, side-by-side, to the original.


  1. Michael says

    Zombie i just wanna say u suck the original is better way better cast better era 2 the 70s were the best so every zombie fan should just shut up donald pleasence dr loomis way better then that no namer jamie lee curtis better than that other no namer

  2. Tanner says

    rob zombies is scarier u guys are all wrong well most of u he has a way better story behind it

  3. HalloweenmovieBuff says

    I have seen every Halloween including Rob Zombie’s. I started watching Halloween when i was very young. Michael always scared me more than anything else. His mannerisms… the unknown about Michael. Rob Zombie however… for some reason his Michael didn’t scare me. Rob Zombie made a good modern horror flick but in my opinion knows that lots of young kids don’t appreciate or go for the classic halloweens and have become to a sense brainwashed by what is a “cool horror flick”. I could go on. I’m also biased. John Carpenter wins by knockout round 1.

  4. Michael Mowry says

    Ok, ok lets look at the big picture here… Michael Myers John Carpenters Michael Myers had purpose, we all found out the reasons behind his madness, the curse of thorn the curse made him kill everyone from his bloodline in that, was scary all together because nothing could stop him from finding his family Lori Strode i think people seem to forget that Michael had a link to his family if you watch carefully he had a link to know were they where now that is scary. no emotion that is the kicker that is what is scary someone after you that is not able to be talked down. Now Zombies Myers is a that seemed to me a helpless little boy even as he becomes a grown man. zombie with his inter child hood problems.

  5. Sarah says

    I must say I agree with most of the people here and that JCs Mike Meyers was by far better, but to me, personally when it comes to something that scares me, reality scares me more than “monsters.” That is why Zombies movie scared me more than Carpenters because Zombies remake dealt with a more “human” Michael Meyers and Carpenters dealt with a more “supernatural” Meyers. His was just an “evil force”, hence why he could never be killed. To see the history of Meyers in Zombies film interested me. It gave a background, which I liked honestly. It made it more human which spoke to me more.

    1. Tanner says

      ok guys i think u are right sarah john carpenters is well scary just it seems to unreal but rob zombie, maker of house of 1000 corpses and others is more scarier and makes is way better to watch even though his last movie of i think micheal dies pisses me off because it just… why would he die it still has a lot of stuff they could add on to it to make it better but i think rob zombies is better because it is newer and more exciting right?

  6. Jdx27 says

    The original Halloween was made in a more simpler time. Its got a feeling of innocence that existed in the late 1970’s. Many of the movies from that period to the late 80s didn’t need a whole lot of explanation to us then they were just silly and fun or scary by using suspense instead of blood and guts. Today everything has to be raw and raunchy to be cool. The more blood, guts and CG you put in a film the better. Plots and drama are absent and cinematography replaced by a computer. Hollywood’s lack of originality is apparent by the pile of crappy remakes that flood theatres each year. Only just to prove that the original was a finer product. Ill take Carpenter anyday and twice on Sunday. Not only a better movie but a better time. Something these Bieber tweens will never understand.

  7. Mike says

    Wow. . you people are totally clueless. . .well most of you. First off, Rob Zombie is playing on the notion that things like evil and serial killers don’t just happen. Cause and effect is at work here. Social upbringing is a big factor in this film. The messages and little quips in this film are great and the connection made and ellaborated on are very much appropriate for a film like this. You have to think of this film as if Halloween was made on a realitic basis. If the story was real, this is what it would look like and how it would play out. Carpenter’s film dealt with evil on a nature level while Zombie’s deals with it on a nurture level. There is nothing to suggest that Zombie is trying to be carpenter regardless of his love of horror movies. I love comics and superheroe novels and am trying to write one of my own, but that doesn’t mean I am trying to replace Stan Lee. Rob Zombie merely gives you reasons and explanations as to why a man like Michael Meyers would and could be capable of such things. That’s what makes it scary. And now the second one explains that Lorie is suffering from the same sort of symptoms genetically. It seems that some people just don’t have the mental capacity or the patience to listen and analyze what it is that the director might be saying or the message they want to deliver. Take some time and watch the films again and try to understand what it is the new director is trying to say and stop being one track minded by being retro about all your opinions.

  8. Cole says

    People are not born evil some are born chemically imbalanced. When the problem goes unnoticed circumstance and social programming make them evil, you have a lot to learn about psychology.

  9. Cole says

    People are not born evil some are born chemically imbalanced. When the problem goes unnoticed circumstance and social programming make them evil, you have a lot to learn about psychology.

  10. Corby says

    So, you hate Rob Zombie, and therefore, you misread his film and smear your solipsistic crap all over him. OK, then. Very well-balanced opinions.

    1. Randy says

      Misread Zombie’s film? I think he had gotten the point of the remake and therefore there was no misreading done. If you like Rob Zombie then that is one thing but make no mistake about it, Carpenter’s Myers was and is WAY scarier than Zombie’s for the same reasons stated in the article. My question to you is now Have you seen the original? Too many people have jumped on the bandwagon of Zombie’s remake without properly examining just WHY just about every fan of the original was so ticked off.
      Every single movie Rob Zombie has made has been nothing but his own vision of better material. House of 1,000 Corpses stole from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and The Devil’s Rejects stayed with the same type of characters already seen in his previous movie. I loved Zombie’s music especially back in the White Zombie era but I have to say that he cannot write a movie to save his life!

  11. Ricky says

    I still think Rob Zombie has a good eye for horror but he needs to lay of the screenplay writing and casting.

    1. Fulgur Reynard says

      I kinda like his casting job. I think he’s able to find these great looking faces which have character of their own, and is often able to use them effectively ( House of 1000 corpses, Devil’s Rejects.) I dod agree that his primary characters and cast in both his Halloween films are atrocious!!! To me it’s exactly like John Waters going from having friends, freaky, funny, foolios from the Baltimore neighborhood as his primary actors, to having Johnny Knoxville and Melanie Griffith to being his main attractions…plain and simple, it just doesn’t work nor does it feel right at all. You kinda feel like you were openin ga present at Christmas hoping for the best of Will Ferrel SNL discs but instead you got a Carrot Top Cd with a broken jewel case and maybe some aids in the liner notes.

  12. jaime says

    right on!!!
    you also have to remember he’s remaking this movie because, you know in some sense he thought it was so good, when he first saw the movie…and he just wishes he could’ve created something so good…
    all of his remakes are shite….

  13. MoviePhanatic says

    Thank you so much for seeing what I saw in the first Zombie film and what I have always seen in the original Michael Meyers. So many people enjoyed the Zombie peice of crap that came out a couple of years ago and I found it to be distasteful to the original. Originally, Meyers was just a creepy psycho who just wanted to kill. He wasn’t after Jamie Lee Curtis because she was his sister, there was no background information given or needed on Meyers, other than he’s a little kids who is screwed up. The analyzation of Meyersi n Zombies crap was just ridiculous and I am so glad someone else finally sees this!

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.