FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Aug 2, 2007

Rob Zombie talks HALLOWEEN, Part 1

Early on in the Rob Zombie's Halloween saga I said my piece about the idea of remaking Carpenter's classic, and I've even posted a pic or two. But once the talk gets amped up to angry horror nerd protests and constant, useless press items both speculative and "reports from the set" about every aspect of the film, it's time to back the fuck off the Halloween posts, you know? I'll see the movie and I'll do my best to judge it on its own merits. Anything else, even constantly comparing it to the original, is pretty pointless.

With the full theatrical trailer hitting the web and the August 31 release of the Halloween remake fast approaching, however, Monsieur Zombie is ready to jibber-jabber about the movie that has had the internet's panties in a twist since the day it was announced. Yesterday I was fortunate enough to participate in a telephone interview/roundtable with the writer/director, and I asked some burning, hard-hitting questions that we all want answered. Burning and hard-hitting, I say. That's right, I got to play Lois Lane with Rob Zombie...and somehow I managed to resist blurting out the occasional "Whatta scoop!"

Questions I asked are denoted with an asterix. I was blabby with the burning and hard-hitting questions, just for you.

How much pressure is on you from the studio and from fans of the original to stay true to John Carpenter and Debra Hill's story?

As far as from the studio, no pressure. In fact, the studio, if anything, wanted it to be as different as possible. They weren't concerned with it staying true to John Carpenter at all. And the fans, you know, the fans are all over the place. Everyone's got a different opinion, so there's really no particular focused pressure from the fans.

What sets your film apart from all the other horror remakes?

Well, I haven't seen all the other horror remakes, so I can't really comment specifically. But the main thing I was trying to do is I wasn't trying to make the same movie that already existed. I think a lot of these movies look and sound and feel and unfold exactly like the original except sometimes they have different actors. I wanted to retain as much as what I thought was the essence of what made Halloween great, but make it a completely different movie so you don't just sit there feeling like "been there, done that". By adding a lot of stuff with young Michael and the early years and Smith's Grove, that makes it like a totally different animal.

Was Malcolm McDowell your dream casting for Dr Loomis?

Malcolm was my first and really only choice. I've found that one thing you've gotta do is not really have a back-up plan because in life, I find that when you have a back-up plan, that's the plan you tend to get stuck with. You know, if you want to be in a band, don't have a good job because you'll never be in a band, you'll just have a good job. So my plan was, I wanted Malcolm and I didn't want anyone else. My favorite movie of all time is A Clockwork Orange and I think (he's) brilliant in that and that was really the main reason. A brilliant actor is a brilliant actor, so I had no fear that he'd be perfect.

Danielle Harris was in both Halloween 4 and 5. Did you like those films, and is that the reason you put her in the movie?

No, actually I kinda held that against her for a long time. I didn't wanna get anyone that had been in the other films because I didn't want it to seem like it was a wink to the audience, or that we were doing a tribute. But she was so good that I couldn't deny it, that's why I cast her.

*When I was a kid, it was possible to go into a horror movie cold- you wouldn't know much about it and everything was a surprise. Nowadays, there's so much information on the internet and there's so much minutiae, you know, like "Rob Zombie ate a banana on the Halloween set today and we've got photos!", and I'm wondering if it's frustrating to you as a filmmaker, to have your every move scrutinized.

It doesn't really frustrate me because I just know that that's the way things are. But I think it ultimately is a bad thing- I think a lot of the fans themselves ruin the experience for themselves in advance for that reason. They go in, they go "Well, I already read the script and I know every plot twist and I know every possible thing that could happen!" and it's like, well, lemme guess- it wasn't a shocker to you when you saw the movie. If you know everything...I remember as a kid going to see everything from Halloween to Jaws...I literally walked in and I didn't know anything. Nothing. I assumed that there was a shark in the movie, but...even Star Wars, I didn't have a fucking clue what it was. I knew it was like a science fiction movie, but that was it. And then you just sit there and you're just blown away. But now, everybody's scrutinized, like you said...I've been trying to keep some things secret, which then leads to people speculating that you're lying about stuff. Really it's just an attempt to try to protect some element of surprise for the viewer, because- I know it's just because they're fans, but ultimately they ruin it for themselves in the long run.

*I think it's the blessing and the curse of the internet.

Well, yeah, and unfortunately at least half the information that you read all the time is completely false. But what are you gonna do?

Will you be continuing the series?

I'm done. I did what I wanted to do, I came in and I made a movie that I thought was a self-contained film and now I'm walking away.

What made you want to remake the film?

Nothing made me want to do it, it never even crossed my mind. It was something that came to me. I think people sometimes think I thought of this idea and searched it out, but I had a meeting with Dimension and they brought up Halloween, that they owned the franchise and they wanted to do another movie- but they didn't know what they wanted to do. They had 7 or 8 scripts for Part 9 that they weren't happy with, and I didn't know if I wanted to get involved because I thought basically that the series had run its course and it seemed kinda tired to me. Then I went away and thought about it for a long time and I felt, well, what seems exciting is starting over and bringing new life to the whole thing rather than continuing on. I wouldn't do a Part 9, that would be crazy...when a movie gets to Part 9, it just screams direct-to-video piece of crap. You can't help but think that- it's just not possible to think anything else.

Oh, babies, there's much much more to come. Tune in tomorrow for Part II of the interview, wherein I ask Mr Zombie the burning, hard-hitting question regarding his decision to change the "mythology" behind Michael Myers.

Burning and hard-hitting, I tells ya!


J. Skel LaTour said...

After The Devil's Rejects I have no doubts that this will be a solid flick. (I was no fan of Corpses.)

However, everytime I read an interview with Zombie (a last name change I still wish I had thought up first), I expect him to say "yeeaaaaah" a lot more than he does.

Is that weird?

Anyways, thanks for the interview... looking forward to reading the rest!

Clay McClane said...

Dude! Thank you for asking the Danielle Harris question. She was pretty much what made part 4 tolerable (I actually still like that one quite a bit. Please edit out this part of my message on your blog. Totally embarrassing.)

Can't wait to see the rest of the Q&A.

John Barleycorn said...

I love Rob Zombie. What I love more, though, is your banana comment.

Anonymous said...

I'm for it.

And, Stacie, you might wanna go see a doctor about all that burning and hard hitting stuff...I think one shot will clear it up.

Stacie Ponder said...

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't at least very interested in this film. I'm just gonna keep an open mind about it- any other attitude about it is useless.

Craig- your new avatar is hilar. And though I can't take credit for the Danielle Harris question (I'm Madame Asterixed Questions), I'll join the ranks of Part 4 likers. At least, it's one of those movies that gets better and better in my memory. You know, like, maybe I actually hated it when I saw it, but for some reason now I'm like "Oh yeah, Part 4 is great!" I can't remember anymore. I do remember liking the ending quite a bit.

Monsieur Barleycorn- see? Burning and hard-hitting!

Speaking of which, maybe you're right, Theron. The questions are now burning, hard-hitting, and itching. I think it's time to see someone.

M said...

Hi Stacie, you won a Rockin' Girl Blogger. Thanks for all the fun I've had reading your blog. You truly rock! *guitar riff*

insomniac said...


You got to talk to the my husband!

And the man whose concert almost got me killed!


Oh yes the burning questions.

Can't wait for part two!

Stacie Ponder said...

Thanks so much, Mariana! It really means a lot, and I'm flattered that this place can be a source for inspiration for you. You get a guitar riff and devil horns!

\m/ \m/

Jess, you were ALL he could talk about! The questions I've posted were the only ones we could get in around all his yammering about his "future wife". He wouldn't name names, though- thanks for clearing it up!