halloween

Over the weekend, the conclusion to Rob Zombie‘s fresh take on the franchise, Halloween II, grossed $17 million. Budgeted at $15 million, the sequel would likely have grossed much more if not for direct competition with the weekend’s top movie and debut, The Final Destination 3D (a very healthy $28m). Today, the rebounding Weinstein Company announced a new, eleventh installment that is already in the planning stages. Entitled, not-so-curiously, Halloween 3D, it’s slated for release next summer.

According to the LA Times, Dimension‘s Bob Weinstein offered that Zombie would not be back, as expected per his upcoming The Blob, and that a new director is in talks, one with experience in horror and a “different take” on Michael Myers. Note: /Film commenter, DrChicago, guesses that Alexandre Aja (High Tension) may be the director in line to take over the franchise. This is a great guess because Aja is currently finishing up Piranha 3D for Dimension and is not officially booked for another project; then again, Piranha is due April ’10, so would Aja really have two 3D horror films from the same studio released so close together?

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Post-Screening Update: In short, my verdict on Halloween 2 is that it’s superior to Rob Zombie‘s first effort and a far more entertaining film. Zombie definitely listened to criticism that the first film wasn’t holiday-oriented. In this one, he stages a trippy Last Supper with Jack-o-Lanterns. And moreover, it works for chrissakes. The critics labeling the film a by-the-numbers “rote slasher picture” either didn’t see the movie or haven’t been paying attention to recent  ”rote” horror flicks like Prom Night and Platinum Dunes‘ stillborn Friday the 13th.

I ask these critics to show me a comparable “rote” horror film this well-shot that stars the excellent Brad Dourif (Blue Velvet, John Huston’s Wise Blood) reminiscing about Lee Marvin. Or how about one with a fun Malcolm McDowell thinly and hilariously disguising contempt for movie journalists who trash certain directors with trigger-happy aimlessness. The early hospital scenes set to The Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin” make for only one of the sweet, sweet uses of music therein. Sidenote: I enjoyed seeing actress Silvia Jeffries‘ (Tracy on Eastbound & Down) play a stripper who receives a priceless tip from Michael. Like most, I was worried that Sheri Moon Zombie would take a sizable Yoko-like chunk out of the movie, but she’s merely a muse to Michael (and Zombie) here. And sure, the dream sequences are different from previous Myers installments, but is that a bad thing? They add genuinely creepy flourish to Zombie’s grisly murder scenes. It’s only been an hour since my screening let out, but I’d say this is the second best Halloween movie in existence: inferior to John Carpenter‘s first (obviously!) but better than Rick Rosenthal‘s original sequel. I doubt the critics hating on this movie (and Zombie, for whatever reason) can debate my closing statement. And tellingly so. Rob Zombie put Laurie Strode in a Black Flag shirt and dragged her to hell. And I liked it!! And it makes me wonder: are sites like CHUD and STYD, that profess love for horror, this out of touch per the genre? They really prefer the dated Abercrombie bottle blondes of Platinum Dunes to Zombie’s girls, who for Halloween go as guys dressed as girls and leave parties to shag a werewolf in a van? Weird.

Set Visit Report: Earlier this year, /Film went down to Georgia to visit the set of Rob Zombie‘s Halloween II. The sequel to 2007′s remake was shooting in a quaint, charming town called Newborn—an hour or so outside of Atlanta—that is tucked behind sprawling farmland and reached by hilly roads outlined in dead trees. Spring was in session, but outside it was already chilly and the approaching darkness and anticipation made it feel like Halloween night. After spending an hour completely lost and staring at a cow in search of cell phone reception, /Film finally reached the set. A handful of other peers including STYD’s Ryan Rotten joined us as we piled into a van and drove down a dark street to watch what publicists said was a climatic action piece in the film.

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