Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Halloween franchise

If there's only one thing I have learned over the years, the Halloween franchise is and has always been, as one person said, "on fumes."  The original John Carpenter film's intent has alway been 'less is more', and so everything after is an uphill battle.  If you continue to show less you fall into the category of copycat and are redundant.  If you show more backstory, you become redundant also because Michael Myers' archetype is built on not knowing his motivation.  He just is.  There is a track record of 30 years of sequels that do not come even remotely close to the original to back that up.  I believe fandom is the worst.  It's all about new (and old) fans alike with a neverending appetite for The Shape based on some vein hope that their needs will be met.  It's really just childhoold nostalgia.  The horror genre, particularly "slashers", are limiting to begin with.  How much can a director/writer do with a knife-wielding maniac going around slaying innocent victims?  Not much, except make the kills more "cool," which is limiting in itself sense the kills become more important than story.  It's an endless loophole.  I'm saying this from the perspective from someone who has seen ALL the Halloweens, and as an older (though not "old" haha) person, it's time to just let em go.  My support for the series is to the extent of buying the blurays of the original and the 1981 sequel.  He died.  I accept it.  But it doesn't mean I need more of the godawfulness of them.  It took some maturity to come to that point.  Carpenter knew that nothing else could be done and left, only having a mild hand in II and doing the score in III.  His mild hand in those two extra films had a great deal of impact because they felt like they were his films even though he didn't direct them.  The other crucial piece was photographer Dean Cundey who still maintained Myers as an unstoppable force of nature, something the entire Myers catalog after never achieved.  The killer's penultimate moment ironically came in the sequel during the hospital room scene, being called by his name, tilting his head briefly as if to remember his "human" form for a moment before withstand two shots to the eyes and still unstoppable as ever.  The film itself is nothing special, but Cundey's shadowed photography is forever etched in my memory.  Now all Myers is is some lump in a mask without any of the mythological context.

My real crux with fandom, even hatred sadly, lies in part III.  I personally find the film to be rather hollow, but at least they TRIED to do something different with the franchise.  Yet fandom presumably insisted on 1988s Return Of Michael Myers.  25+ years later what is there to show for it?  Not much.  It gets back to what a person said:

Because making something up from scratch that's crappy is 'like totally last year'. Hooray for rehashed crap!

I would rather fail going down a path with the loosest sketches of Halloween's origins at this point than to fail doing the same old thing.  It's a good motto for life I think.

Then there's this jacka--.....

People aren't tired of Halloween movies. They're tired of Rob Zombie destroying them.

Maybe the premise is backwards?  People should be tired of the franchise.  Zombie didn't exactly do the series a world of good.  He may have even nailed the coffin on it for a long time to come, but the franchise has always been a broken record.

...but it’s not like anyone seems to be shooting for high art with this series anymore.

Jeez, that came from a columnist.  It never was "high art," except for the original.  See John Carpenter gets a dual benefit from having the franchise continue.  He receives a nice check in the mail because presumably he has proprietary rights, and he also benefits from not having his name attached to the most recent installment that will eventually be forgotten.  If you ask me it's a good gig!

Part 6's The Curse of Michael Myers is another great illustration of fandom.  The original script writer wanted to sew the "thorn" ideas together, but what went in the final edit was not his vision.  There were some bare sketches still intact, and the alternate ending, even if a little cooky, at least again it TRIED to explain some sh-t.  The "cut" ending to these eyes, while lacking kills, felt refreshing, had a great deal of suspense, and was even scary.  But the producers knew better than the fans themselves.  Why?  Do you really believe fans wanted all that backstory over body count?  Gimme a f--king break! 

2007 remake
Given all of this, is there a silver lining to this production? One compliment that's been thrown out there is that at least it's Zombie's vision all the way -- or is it? When rumors of the reshoots popped up promising more deaths and an extended ending, the filmmaker scoffed at the idea, sizing it up to Internet lunacy. The official response was that Bob Weinstein offered more money to help juice up the production any way that Rob wanted, so the timeline of the film was played with, opening things up for a few more cameos along the way (including key members of the Rejects alumni -- Sid Haig and Bill Moseley). Additionally, the director has said that the ending was reworked to give Laurie a more satisfying arc, but if that's true, then he missed the point even more the second time around, studio interference or not. Either way, one thing no one counted on was a workprint copy leaking onto the Internet the week of release, not only raising the piracy flag in Tinseltown, but allowing an interesting peek at what the picture looked like before the notorious Weinstein Company waved more money around. Reportedly gone is the Texas Chainsaw-tinged ending, as well as the absurd chain-breaking escape from the hospital. In their place, grounded character work that allows for a richer Halloween experience than the cut-and-paste one that made its way onto the big screen. Sadly, it seems that audiences lost out again, making this yet another Halloween sequel that's been tampered with before its theatrical release. What's even worse is that this looks to be a monumental step back creatively for Rob Zombie, who for whatever reason, has delivered what many outside his loyal following would consider to be a colossal waste of time." -Jeremy Wheeler

In addition, Dr Wolfula's review highlights how the 2007 remake actually clones sequences and dialogue word-for-word in the second act from the original. (I believe there is only two acts in the remake.)  There isn't a whole lot of incentive on the producers part to do any more when the film grosses nearly $80 million worldwide and another $39 million in DVD sales.  The numbers don't lie.  Two of the franchises safest entries, H20 and the 2007 "remake" (or redo, get it?), also made the biggest profits.  The former was largely based on Jamie Lee Curtis' star power.  Because all Michael really does is follow her to her teaching grounds, kills a bunch of dumb students, and gets his head chopped off.  Nothing real groundbreaking there. And knowing Myers' entire motivation in the remake is based on his trash family upbringings is hardly what I have been waiting for all these years.  So if you haven't already figured it out, the moral of the story is fandom really doesn't want anything fresh to come from it.  We complain about it being rehashed, but then we go right back to it.  It doesn't say a lot about us.

As another once said bluntly, "No, just end the franchise."  Until the next one that is.....


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