Monday, September 3, 2007

An Open Letter To The Suckers


To those of you who went to see Rob Zombie's Halloween:

Thank you.

Thank you for making it No. 1 at the Box Office with $31 Million.

Thank you for sending a strong message to Hollywood that says "we loves them remakes."

Thank you for not settling with one of the greatest horror movies ever and wanting something more.

Thank you for asking the question "why does Michael Meyers kill" and instead of answering it yourself, letting Rob Zombie do it for you.

Thank you for telling all the Ratners, Burtons, Bays, Emmerichs, Ephrons and every other hack director out there that it's true, nothing is sacred.

29 comments:

pacheco said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you saw Pearl Harbor, right? You saw Red Dragon? I'm assuming you have because I hope you wouldn't bash those films the way you do without actually seeing thim. So by merely checking out for yourself whether or not a film is good, are you also telling the "Bays" and "Ratners" of the world that "nothing is sacred?" Should I be thanking you? And do I get to call you a "sucker?"

I'm also assuming that you stayed away from every one of the Halloween sequels, right? I've seen a couple of them and in my mind, they "mess with" the original just as much as Zombie's remake does. They take plenty of liberties with Meyers (or the lack of Meyers).

I guess I don't understand.

And yes, I paid money and went to see Halloween. Sue me for being curious. I guess I should have seen No Reservations instead :-)

Joe Valdez said...

At least The Fog, Black Christmas and Hostel Part II bombed. Sometimes good does triumph over evil. And in this case, I don't think Halloween is quite the end of days, Pat.

For one thing, it makes me excited for a remake of The Boogens. Dude! I'm totally there!

Genre horror that's well marketed generally does great opening weekend business anyway. Stigmata opened #1 in this same slot nine years ago. And that movie was God awful. There is just a large audience out there that loves the old blood and guts.

Piper said...

Pacheco,

Hmmmmmm. Yes I saw Pearl Harbor which was not a remake. When I refer to Bay, I'm talking about how he produces remakes of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and now Birds. And yes I saw Red Dragon. Manhunter is an excellent film, but I wouldn't say it is the definitive action or suspense movie.

Have you read a review of Halloween? Haven't read one good thing yet. And yes, I will be seeing the movie so that I may openly bash it and continue to bash it. As I stated with Hostel II I don't find it right for me to bash a film without seeing it. And correct me if I'm wrong, but I haven't bashed the film. I have only asked why is there a need to see a remake when the original is so good. Wasn't there a baseball game on or surely a good College football game. The same goes with Hairspray. I will not see the remake no matter how many people tell me how good it is. I saw the original and it was very good.

And no I didn't stay away from the Halloween sequels because those are not remakes. I thought the second one was a bit on the gory side, but I felt it kept Carpenter's sense of tension from the original. And none of them attempts to go back and try to explain why Michael Meyers did what he did which is very Hollywood-like and very Hannibal Rising like.

Hopefully that clears it up for you.



Joe,

I had my fingers crossed that this might be the end of Zombie, but unfortunately it isn't.

And yes I may be a bit dramatic with this post, but I'm getting a little tired of the lack of original thought and the bastards have creeped into some of my favorite material by one of my favorite directors.

pacheco said...

Piper, so I can clear up a few things as well,

I've often seen you throw Pearl Harbor in conversations about movies that shouldn't have been made mainly because it's Bay's take on (re)telling history, much like Halloween is Zombie's take on (re)telling "history." Guess the connection wasn't strong enough.

When I mentioned "bashing" I was referring to Red Dragon and Pearl Harbor. Even though you haven't technically bashed Halloween the film, I notice that there are a bunch of posts that mention the film, even stating that Zombie is "botching" the movie, possibly killing the franchise. So I guess that's technically bashing Zombie without seeing the film.

Why is there a need to see a remake if the original is so good? Well, first of all, the person has to agree that the original is "so good." Cultural significance aside, I wouldn't consider Halloween to be one of the "best movies ever." It was a very good movie, yes, but it had many flaws (for example, it's over-reliance on the music. Sometimes I wish it would just shut up!). But no, there's no need to see it, but some people just feel like it. I have no need to read your blog, but I do it because I think I'll enjoy it (and I do). As I stated, I personally went to see Halloween because I was curious. Rob Zombie was 50/50 with me, and I had just seen the original film a couple of nights before.

You haven't read any good things about Halloween? I have. It's not overwhelmingly good, but even the "bad" reviews say good stuff about the film. For me, it was enough to allow myself to see the movie and judge for myself (as opposed to say, the reviews for Wild Hogs -- and I almost saw that film the other night! No, I wouldn't have paid for it....). Does that mean I need to be more discerning in choosing what I see at theaters? Perhaps. But it was a lonely Friday afternoon.

My point is that some of the Halloween sequels might as well be remakes. They may not retread the events of the original, but they do things equally as blasphemous as "trying to figure out why Meyers kills." Didn't one film say something like he's part of a genetic experiment in evil or something weird like that (please do correct me if I'm misinformed, because that one I didn't see)? Isn't that trying to explain why Meyers kills?

Oh, and baseball bores me until the postseason (go Yankees!) and what was I supposed to watch on college football? OU beating a team by 69 points? Michigan playing like a bunch of ninny's?

PS - Don't worry, I'm not defending this movie because I liked it. I actually only thought it was so-so.

Piper said...

Pacheco,

It's obviously your choice to do whatever you want just as it is my choice to question why people would go and see this movie and put it in first place. I wouldn't say that Halloween is the greatest movie ever, but in the realm of horror movies I think it's one of the best. Again, that's my opinion but I bet there are a lot of people who would support that opinion. And I would disagree that this movie relies too heavily on music. It's a great score just as John Williams' score for Jaws was great. I never tire of either.

It's hard to blame any one person for seeing it and there's no doubt that I am especially sensitive as it relates to this movie in particular. In my opinion, Rob Zombie is not a good director. In my eyes, he has not proven himself to be able to plus an already great film. There's no doubt he is a fan of the genre, but being a fan does not necessary translate to real talent. And so far, Zombie has not shown me real talent.

And yes, I believe there's a responsibility we hold as true lovers of film to pick and choose what we see and what we support. But that's me and that's extreme. There was a time when I didn't support this idea, but I don't have the disposable time that I once did, so I am forced to pick and choose more wisely. Of course, I did see Balls Of Fury this weekend, but I blame that on my 9 year old son.

pacheco said...

See, just as you refuse to see Halloween (at the moment), I too refuse to see Balls of Fury. Everything is subjective, and I too agree that picking and choosing what we see is an important thing, and it can definitely send messages. Did I send a message to Hollywood by seeing Halloween, saying I support remakes? Perhaps. It wasn't intentional, but it's something I was willing to risk because, again, I was curious and I wanted to see for myself. I may have disposable time, but I don't have disposable money, so I have to limit myself as well. But every once in a while I want to take a chance, and sometimes I want to see something that'll just entertain me (hence seeing Live Free or Die Hard the next day).

I guess my issue was being called a "sucker" and being told that I was telling the "hacks" that nothing is sacred. I felt it was a little unfair when you too have seen some of these films yourself, theatrically or not.

My issue with Halloween's score is that, while it's a great main theme, it annoyed me that it was used so often. It seemed that anytime Meyers showed up or moved, Carpenter went "Cue the music! Cue the music!" Music is tricky and it can be manipulative, and that's what I felt like here. Carpenter didn't feel confident enough in the quiet moments and in his images, so he relied on music to make sure we were "scared." Zombie does the same thing in his film.

Piper said...

Man Pacheco,

I got you a little hot didn't I?

Like I said before, I didn't really mean it to be directed at any one individual. More directed to the whole.

And had I not had my nine year old begging me to go see Ball Of Fury, I would not have spent my money for that movie. Oh, the power children wield.

And yes, I like being entertained as well. We're hardly talking about high-level art when writing about Halloween. I may be a bit sensitive, but I'm not crazy.

pacheco said...

The last time I got this "hot" was when talking about the backlash of the OFC Top 100. You know what it is? It's when it seems (in my own perception, I admit) that someone is being bashed for having an opinion. I'm finding out that that's a bit of a "hot button" issue with me.

But you're right, you did state that it wasn't targeted at an individual, but the whole. I didn't really know what you meant by that, but now I do, and it makes sense.

I love children, but I always tease my girlfriend, claiming I hate them, and one of my reasons is that I'll never get to watch good movies again ;-)

Ray said...

Thank you Pancheco for making me feel a little bit better. Piper is bitching about people like me, who went to see it.

Look, Piper, I knew the damn thing was going to be a tremendous pile of shit - and it actually turned out to be even worse than I expected.

But I love movies, and I love "Halloween." I have a site for which I feel compelled to review films, but I didn't receive a free press pass to see it, so I had to pay.

I despise myself for giving Zombie my fucking money, because that pinched off hack doesn't deserve one damn dime that I earned sucking dick for nickels in the scuzzy alleyways of St. Louis. I HATE IT.

Whew.

If nothing else, I look at it this way: There are a lot of people who have been sititng on the fence about Zombie's films, and these people went to see "Halloween" in order to finds out what he could do with a quality sotryline and pedigree. Now that he's totally fucked that up, perhaps the audience will stay far the fuck away from his next hoosier-filled "opus."

Perhaps ... I hope, for the sake of film, that they do.

www.therescshow.com

Piper said...

Pacheco,

Not to prolong this any further, but I had no idea who had seen it specifically. I did not know that you had seen it or if you intended on seeing it, so I just want to be clear that I wasn't bashing your opinion. Or anyone's opinion. Many people have told me that the new Hairspray is fantastic. Moviezzz has told me I should go see it. I don't bash him for his opinion, I just choose not to go and see it.

Overall, I'm just disappointed that it did so well. I was hoping for a small miracle that the masses would choose to take a pass. But I was wrong. Even if it gets bad review after bad review, the movie has made money so it will be seen as a success and Zombie will be free to go about his way.

Piper said...

I was wondering when you were going to post.

Nah. I wrote it before I had even read your review.

Again, it's not pointed to anyone in particular. It's just a statement of disappointment.

Burbanked said...

First off: correct me if I'm wrong, but I think we just learned something significant about Ray. I might have preferred not knowing, but oh well.

Second: What Ray said - the other part, not the earning-nickels part - is very true. I railed against Transformers for the better part of a year before making the choice of whether or not to give that bastard Bay my money. When the time came, however, how could I not see the movie? I HAD to either confirm or concede my opinion, after having shot my stupid mouth off for so long. Sometimes spending that money - as painful as it can be - is necessary to put something to rest in one's head.

Of course, I was right and the movie blew. A small comfort.

So I understand the anger at people sending a crappy movie to #1 for a given weekend, just as flabbergasted have I been in the past to see the same of Norbit or Click or any other piece of what I perceive will be cinematic crap. And I weep for the children, certainly, but it doesn't mean that Halloween will be viewed - when all is said and done - as any kind of success.

A good opening weekend is no guarantee of anything, especially in late summer when there's little else to see.

pacheco said...

Piper,

I get what you're saying. As I admitted before, I get bothered when I perceive someone's bashing an opinion, but I realize that wasn't what you were necessarily doing.

I totally agree with ray and Burbanked when they say that many people are on the fence with filmmakers like Zombie. Watching Halloween may be their way of finally deciding, or it may just confuse them even more.

31 Million (or 26 million as I saw on another site) may be a good opening weekend, but I have a feeling that word-of-mouth will prevent the film from grossing a whole lot more.

pacheco said...

Oops, I called Zombie a "filmmaker" in front of Piper!

I tease, I tease. ;-)

Piper said...

Nathan Johnson is right! (quick what movie?)

I agree fellas. I will pay my money to see this movie because I must in order to successfully judge it. It will pain me greatly, but at least I get to see Zombie's wife.

Elijah Price said...

Piper,

Wow, I was just getting ready to post and then I read Pacheco! Frankly, I couldn't agree with him more and I think his arguments are valid. You know how I feel about Carpenter and you know how I feel about Halloween. Though you claim its brilliance, I argue it had been done before.

I have read several reviews of the movie. While I have not had a chance to view it yet (hey, college football started this weekend. PRIORITES!) The reviews for the movie have been great. In fact, several have said it is better than the original. I again think that is not saying much. I would challenge you Piper to hold a review until you have seen the movie. It weakens your argument. If, by chance, you enjoy the movie for its merits, backtracking makes you look, well, dumb.

Carpenter is a whore. No question. He sold out. Some one who is truly proud of his work and doesn't want to see it go down in flames would hold on the rights, rather than sell out for a quick buck.

The arguments Pacheco makes are spot on. Who knows, I may have just found my equal.

Pacheco, I will say this, it appears Michigan didn't play a "ninny team." Seems they got their ass handed to them. Those are fun games to watch. Watching teams like LSU or Nebraska play is boring. They both played teams who sucked. Makes me really question their ability.

EP

Piper said...

Elijah,

Why ya gots to hurt me so.

First, I have not judged this movie. I have just asked the question why it had to be remade.

Please attach all reviews that say the Zombie's movie is great and better than the original. I want to read them. And who did Halloween before?

And I'm seriously beginning to wonder if you are the anti-Piper.

You hate Carpenter, love Dances with Wolves, love Titanic, and question Nebraska football?

If you're a true college football fan, you always know that Nebraska plays bullshit games the first couple of weeks to get a little warm up. Call it pre-season. Michigan thought they were doing the same but ooops. And actually, Wake Forrest is no slouch as competition next week for Nebraska. But the true test comes with USC.

Piper said...

For everyone to peruse. I saw that there were about 4 good reviews.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/halloween/

pacheco said...

Piper,

First of all, I wanted to let you know that Zombie continues his streak of showing off Sheri Moon's booty. So I guess you have that to look forward to.

If Elijah is the anti-Piper, would that make him Bizarro Piper?

I only state that Michigan played like ninnys because they really should have won that game. They are the better team and somehow they lost. I will say App. outplayed them the entire game, and for that they deserve credit, but at the same time, if you're outplayed by a team that you are obviously better than, what does that say about how you played (did that make sense?)?

Dan E. said...

The main problem I have with this post is the idea that all remakes are inherently inferior. I would much rather spend my money watching the remake of Hairspray again than some crap like War or Rush Hour 3. Just because a movie is a remake doesn't mean it doesn't deserve a chance. The best remakes attempt to add something to the original. I dislike You've Got Mail because an anticorporate stance doesn't really add anything to the original movie. A straight remake of Halloween would have been a massive waste of time and a bigger failure than it is.

This line of thinking would take down Ben-Hur because it was a remake or 12 Monkeys because it takes its concept from La Jatee. That's not the line of thinking I think we should take. Sure, I support original ideas over remakes and sequels, but does Balls of Fury really qualify as a more original idea than Halloween? A bad comedy about fake sports? Didn't we cover that with Beerfest and Blades of Glory? Let's keep our ideologies consistent here, fellas.

pacheco said...

Dan, I agree that remakes shouldn't be inherently inferior, though I think part of Piper's point was that this specific remake is of a great film, making it extremely difficult for any remake to live up to or add anything to without ruining things. But I don't want to speak for Piper.

By the way, I don't mind taking down 12 Monkeys but not because it's a remake....

Piper said...

Dan E.,

That's what I'm talking about.

You are correct. It is wrong to make the generalization that all remakes are inherently inferior. But I would argue that 90% are pretty damn close.

Yes, Ball of Fury has been done before. It's actually a Ping Pong version of Enter The Dragon. And damn, I'm sorry I mentioned even going to see it. I should have kept that on the down low.

Without remakes, we would not have gotten The Thing, or Cape Fear or Ocean's 11. But I would argue that those movies were not exactly good to begin with. The original Cape Fear was decent, but Scorsese brought some much needed depth to the characters in updating it. And yes I know that's not always the case.

But my main point is that there sure is a lot of unoriginal thinking going on out there recently. It is much easier to rethink what has already been thought than to come up with something completely original.

And being that I love Halloween, I hated to see a lesser director try his approach. There are some of us that do hold these movies sacred and it feels like anyone with a backer and a camera can re-do what's already been done. For good or for bad. It's a scary thought.

Ray said...

@ Burbanked - Why are you so disturbed? Can't you find a nickel and ten minutes to spare?? WINK!!

@ everybody else - First of all, Sherri Moon Zombie ain't nothing to look at in this stupid fucking flick, and it's much, much worse when she begins "acting."

Carpenter sold his soul a long time ago, but it was also long after he had created some of the greatest genre works of all time. "Halloween" completely redefined horror films, while "The Thing" stands with "Alien" as the best example of the sci-fi-horror genre.

Zombie, on the other hand, has shown nothing previously in terms of talent or originality. And now, for his third film, has the audacity to even CONSIDER touching Carpenter's masterpiece. Hell, Carpenter's theme for the movie beats anything done musically in Zombie's entire career as a "musician," let alone as a filmmaker.

I don't think it's fair for Elijah to attempt to compare the two. Completely different animals.

I also agree with Dan and Piper - not all remakes are inherently inferior. In fact, films like Nosferatu and Cabinet of Caligari are films I think should be remade, and could be far superior to the originals in the hands of better directors than Zombie.

However, as we noted here:

http://therecshow.com/2007/08/22/the-untouchables-list/

some films are UNTOUCHABLE, and Halloween is definitely one of them.

Elijah Price said...

Piper,

Ok, first of all, I wasn’t bashing Nebraska (although there is plenty to be bashed there) and second, as for a positive review, I would tell you to look no further than your own city’s website and their review. Here is the link…http://www.kansascity.com/entertainment/story/253754.html. Here is how the review ends….”Though the new “Halloween” suffers from too many false climaxes and repetitious stalking, in general Zombie crafts a well-paced, clear story while building suspense.
Kind of a treat, overall, and who expected that?”
Pacheco, read my post in response to the Bizzaro Blog, I said I think I am Bizzaro Piper!
My point on the whole thing is this…Is it different? Yes. But that is the beauty of film. Same story, different vantage point. While this is a remake, it is not a remake in the sense of Psycho or the Fog. It is different and for that, I think Zombie is brilliant! As one review says, Zombie attempts to answer questions many of us had. To that I say, bravo. I’m not glad he is answering questions for us, but rather I am glad for him offering another view point.
EP a.k.a Bizzaro Piper

Elijah Price said...

p.s. Piper, I hope you read my post on "Bizzaro Fallout."

Ray said...

Elijah, you can be Bizarro Piper if you'd like ... but you don't need to be bizarro in general.

This "Halloween" film fails even on its own terms - end of story. The white-trash opening is GRATUITOUS in its over-the-top depiction of the Myers "family" (why would the stripper mom stay with a guy like THAT?? Nobody would). Its depiction of Myers' upbringing and psychological underpinnings do not even work within the subtext of the movie itself - for instance, why does he take Annie and leave her and the other girl alive, but then kills the nurse and other women in the film? Why does he take Annie to the basement of the Myers home? These kinds of retarded and lazy screenwriting moments litter this "reimaginging."

On top of that, the film fails as a simple horror film due to its illogical and circumstantial moments, almost solely due to laziness on Zombie's part...

For instance, HOW is Myers able to run so damn fast that he can cover several hundred miles on foot in a matter of hours? How is he able to track Laurie Strode in a matter of minutes upon arriving in Haddonfield, even though he has no idea what she looks like or where she lives? WHY OH WHY is the Myers' old house sitting in the middle of a beautiful neighborhood in an absolutely decrepit condition for FIFTEEN YEARS??

The audience with whom I watched this abortion actually laughed at it most of the way through, even during the parts that were supposed to be scary. Contrary to that review you mention, this film does nothing in the way of building tension ... in fact, it appears to be more of a send-up of earlier Zombie films, rather than an actual horror film...let alone a "Halloween" film.

Gut-wrenchingly horrid shitball.

http://therecshow.com/2007/09/02/halloween-the-im-discussion/

Elijah Price said...

Ray,

So how do you really feel?

EP

* (asterisk) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
* (asterisk) said...

Whew, look what happened while I was away! I hate remakes and will almost never watch them. Certainly I won't watch them if I'm familiar with the original version. Why? 1. if it was good, I see no reason for a remake. 2. if it was bad, I see no reason for a remake. Overall, then, I see no reason for remakes.

Scorsese's Cape Fear has been mentioned. Sure, it was all right in its day. But have you looked at it again recently? Again it is ripe for updating. But let's not get into this notion of updating. The story's the story. End of story. We supposed intelligent film lovers don't need it to be remade any more than we need any works of great literature to be "rewritten".

I shan't see Zombie's Halloween. Nor Scorsese's Departed.