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According to Deadline minutes ago, the Weinstein Company has temporarily (permanently?) pulled the plug on pre-production for Halloween 3D. With rumors circulating today throughout the industry that Summit Entertainment, flush with Twilight monies, might pursue an acquisition of TWC, this is not a good look. Sources tell Nikki Finke that TWC simply believed the production schedule was too fast—November ’09 start for a summer ’10 bow—only after receiving the script today. In the meantime, haters of Rob Zombie‘s recent Halloween II will be glad to hear that TWC is re-releasing the $31m grossing sequel on Halloween, news that demands the following: Derrrr.

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As I was typing up some notes on Rob Zombie‘s Halloween II, this CNN headline flitted through my newsreader: ‘Victims of repeated abuse suffer complex trauma.’ It’s a truth that might jokingly apply to fans of the Halloween series, as the years since John Carpenter’s standard-setting original film have seen so many pointless, insipid sequels.

More seriously, you can apply it to the characters in Halloween II. Zombie seems quite interested in the psychological effect of violence on his characters. No one touched by Michael Myers is ever whole again. Those not carved into physical pieces are broken into traumatized shards. But while Zombie’s movie has ideas and intent, it is no more expressive than Myers’ white mask. Despite heavy doses of extreme violence, the most frightening thing about the movie is that it is unremittingly dull and inert. Read More »

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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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Rob Zombie to Remake The Blob

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Just when I was hoping that Rob Zombie would step away from remakes/sequels, and return to direct an original project, we’ve learned that the rock musician turned filmmaker has signed on to write, direct, and produce a remake of the 1958 horror classic The Blob.

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Rob Zombie‘s $10 million, hard-R animated film, The Haunted World of El Superbeasto, is headed straight-to-DVD next month via Anchor Bay. Zombie previously discussed the politics involved and the theatrical set-backs with /Film; outfitted with a voice-cast that includes Paul Giamatti (as villain Dr. Satan), Rosario Dawson, Brian Posehn, and Danny Trejo, we remain as bewildered over the prolonged release limbo as he was. And apparently a teaser trailer was issued for Beasto earlier this season, but today is the first we’ve screened it. Co-written and -directed by Mr. Lawrence (SpongeBob, Rocco’s Modern Life), the professional style of the animation and overall sinister-pop sensibility is fluid and appealing and seems a natural inclusion for Halloween marathons (and Clint Howard cos-play fiestas). Update: Zombie has revealed to STYD that his ’70s-action film, Tyrannosaurus Rex, is once again off development cinder blocks and slated to be his follow-up to the forthcoming Halloween 2. Score one for the non-remakes.

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While on the set of Halloween 2 earlier this year, an acquaintance and I witnessed a night scene in which a helicopter hovered above Michael Myers.  We witnessed this scene again and again and again. On the first few takes, we laughed at the bizarre noise (and at the sheer giddy thrill of hangin’ in Haddonfield) being yelled by the towering actor Tyler Mane as Myers in said scene—I won’t reveal further details at this time. However, after about the fifth take, and against the whirring of a ‘copter and an excruciating windchill, it seemed like Michael Myers was in fact emitting a single, fully-constructed word. Shock, horror. Dear Zombie detractors, no, it was not a curse word delivered with backwoods panache. Nor was it “Boo!”—the virgin utterance once prescribed to Myers and later scrapped altogether in Zombie’s first remake. But hearing Myers, a silent horror icon a la Jason, speak for the first time was simply off-putting. “Caveman” jokes were exchanged next to heat lamps.

We immediately went around and checked in with several people involved on the production. We were told that Myers was simply emitting a grunt. At that hour and temperature, the explanation seemed fair enough. And if it was a word? It was merely a performance-enhancer to later be edited out. Well, about an hour ago, Rob Zombie posted the following on Twitter: “Off to meet Tyler for some Michael Myers ADR. Sleeping some day would be great.” As STYD has pointed out, ADR means additional dialogue recording. (Note: STYD’s editor, Ryan Rotten, was on the set as well.) So, what’s the deal?

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Halloween II Movie Trailer #2

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Dimension Films has released the second full trailer for Rob Zombie‘s Halloween II (no longer H2, thankfully) on the InterWebs and it is…well, I’m not quite sure what it is. Quite a bit of new footage is in this clip, and it’s difficult to tell if it will add up to anything or not. Watch the clip after the jump. Read More »

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