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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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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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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 »

A Better Look at Michael Myers’ New Mask in H2

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Dimension Films has released our first high resolution look at Michael Myers; new mask in Rob Zombie‘s Halloween sequel H2. As you can see, the mask is ripped, revealing more of actor Tyler Mane‘s face. I’m not sure I like it. One of the big reasons I think people found Myers scary is because they can’t see his face. The mask offered a creepy soulless face that stares blankly and never blinks. And now that they can see behind the mask, it not only makes the whole idea of a mask pointless, but takes away most of that unknown creepiness. Check out the full photo after the jump.

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Michael Myers to be Maskless for Most of H2

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If you’ve seen any of the set photos from H2, Rob Zombie‘s sequel to the Halloween reboot, you may have noticed Tyler Mane not wearing the signature mask, ShockTillYouDrop was able to confirm with effects make-up artist Wayne Toth that Michael Myers will be maskless for more than 70% of the film. Towards the end of the film, Myers wears a new mask which Toth describes as “a lot different from any of [the masks] we’ve seen.”

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The above photo shows actor Tyler Mane reprising Michael Myers in Rob Zombie‘s H2: Halloween 2 and arrives via a new tipster batch sent to Shock. While it’s difficult to make out the face, the guy is rocking long locks and a huge beard (!), features never previously associated with the horror icon. Over the weekend, many /Film commenters had it out over the superiority of Zombie’s Halloween compared to Platinum Dunes’s limp F13th, and it seems that Zombie will continue to excavate canon and pave new ground in the sequel. Cool by me. Also of note, actor Daeg Faerch who played a young, blond Myers in the first film reports that he has been recast in the sequel due to height issues. He is bummed.

The blog Rated-M also managed to get photos from the film’s set, and they reveal two things: there will be Halloween decorations and vibes aplenty (horror fans cited a lack thereof in the first film), and the biography on Myers by an opportunistic Dr. Loomis (Malcolm McDowell), The Devil Walks Among Us, will play into the plot as well.

More set pics after the jump…

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Photo: Halloween’s Michael Myers

Michael MyersRob Zombie has posted a new still of Tyler Mane (X-Men, Troy) as Michael Myers in Halloween (movie trailer). Looks pretty much like you would expect him to look. Click on the image to see Myers in full high resolution. Zombie’s new film is a bit of a prequel and a remake at the same time.

Did You Know:
The mask that Michael Myers wears is actually William Shatner’s face painted white?

Halloween hits theaters on August 31st 2007.

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