My wife and I are big horror movie fans. Last night we got a chance to ditch the kids for a few hours and see Halloween in iMax.
I’d like to talk about it.
First of all, we were perplexed because we went to the 6:35 p.m. iMax showing of Halloween on Oct. 29th at a major theatre in our area and we were literally the only people in the movie. I was stunned. I mean, I’ve been to the movies when I was one of just a few people in the place, but to be the only people in the theatre to see Halloween two days before actual Halloween? Crazy. And when we walked out of there at around 8:45 p.m. there was no one but workers standing around. I literally said, “Are we in the apocalypse right now?”
On to the movie. Man, was it disappointing. To be fair, it was better than most of the Halloween remakes and a far sight better than the awful Rob Zombie versions (Hey, I look freaky and front a freaky band, so I must be a good horror movie director, right? Right?), but the expectations this time were high. It was supposed to be a throwback version that took its cues from the original all the way down to the score. It was supposed to be the kind of reboot the franchise needed.
It was supposed to have been written well.
Well, taking cues from the original doesn’t mean repeating the same scenes as the original but with different characters. (Here’s a tip, Halloween writers, that kind of thing takes people right out of the context of your movie and reminds them of the better version they saw all those years ago so, you know, probably don’t do that.) It means trying to capture the essence and feeling of the original but doing it in different ways.
It’s like saying, “We’re going to take cues from the song Thunderstruck by AC/DC and create a song that harkens back to how big a hit Thunderstruck was. We’ll call the song Lightning Bolt and have it go, ‘Lightning! Oo, oo, oo, oo, oo, oo, oo-oo.’ Which is totally different than, ‘Thunder! Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah-ah.’ See? It’s different, but just as awesome!”
Look, if you asked me to direct a Halloween movie and gave me a megaphone so I could start telling actors where to stand before I yelled action, I’d probably piss myself. I’d crumple up into a little ball and shiver. I’m not saying it’s easy to do. I’m not saying I understand all the processes and restrictions that go into making a movie, particularly when that movie is supposed to be the reboot of a legendary movie franchise.
But I will call into question the writing.
In my opinion it was lazy. And I guess that’s where I get a little upset. Real talk, people – what if you were asked to write a horror movie where you knew millions of people would spend money to watch it on its opening weekend? What if that big fat task landed in your lap? This is not something obscure where you do your best while locked away with no expectations, hoping you’ll be able to create something people will eventually like. This is a situation where you’re guaranteed a massive audience for your project no matter what you do. Some of us would crumple up just like I would if being asked to direct the film. But for me, knowing all of this in advance, I’d be a wasted, exhausted, broken-down version of myself once the script was finished but you better believe it would be the best mother-effing script anyone ever saw. I wouldn’t be able to do interviews or press sessions; I’d be asleep for a month, resting from giving every ounce of my being toward that script. It would be impeccable. It would be inked in my own blood and scribed on what remained of my flesh.
And that’s just it. This wasn’t. This was just a tired walk down tired paths with tired and mostly meaningless characters doing meaningless things until they were all dead. An homage to the past it may have wanted to be, but instead it was, “Lightning! Oo, oo, oo, oo, oo, oo-oo.”