Saturday, September 1, 2007


Last night, Rhias and I travelled down to the Drive-In to see Halloween in its natural habitat. And it was a lot of fun!

Unfortunately, the reason it was fun didn't have much to do with the movie. It's really more about lounging about on a lovely summer night, chatting with the car next to you, and discussing why it was a really bad idea to get food at the snack bar. Also talking freely about which cameo character is Sid Haig and which is Udo Kier. And which ones are Sybil Danning, Danny Trejo, or Ken Foree. That Rob Zombie sure knows his classic exploitation character actors.

(Incidentally, we actually do know the difference between Sybil Danning, Danny Trejo, and Ken Foree. It's not like we were saying, "Is that big Mexican guy Sybil Danning? She's really let herself go!")

As for the movie itself, I had some problems with it on a conceptual level. The first half is prequel material, sort of describing "how Michael Myers got that way". Except that he actually starts the movie already killing animals, so he's already "that way". Okay, no problem. But then it makes a point of surrounding him with horrible people. The first person he kills is a bully, then he offs his mean sister and vicious stepfather. So even though they want him to already be a monster (he's uncommunicative, homicidal, and already wearing a mask), he's only killing people who deserve it. He doesn't really start offing innocents for another seventeen years.

Then there's the second half of the movie. I liked that they used the same locations as the first movie (according to Rhias, who has seen the first movie many times), but unfortunately I have no idea what happened in the last 45 minutes or so, because the screen was so dark. I don't know if it was the drive-in's projector not being bright enough, the sky not being dark enough, or just a complete failure of cinematography, but as soon as night came, we literally could not tell what was going on. Is that a knife? Or a fish? Or a hand?

It wasn't helped by the action scenes all being shot in shakycam (I think), so in the unlikely event that we could make something out on the screen, it would quickly drop out of frame.

We could sort of follow the action by the screams, and by discussing it constantly. "Is she inside a wall?" "I think that's her in the foreground, with Myers in the background destroying something." "Is she under the floorboards?" "Are they in a swimming pool?" It was pretty frustrating.

My reluctant verdict: The new Halloween is not a good movie to see in a Drive-In. It kills me to say that. There was a triple (!) feature of Ratatouille, The Simpsons Movie, and Harry Potter which would have been a lot more fun.


Tom the Dog said...

I will link to my Halloween review, because apparently I am shameless.

I definitely think the darkness in the second half was the fault of the drive-in, which is indeed a shame. What better place to see a horror film than a drive-in? Too bad. And despite my hatred of shaky-cam in general, I thought if often worked well within this movie, by channeling Michael's overpowering fury.

And I totally didn't recognize Sybil Danning! Damg it! I caught everyone else, I think, but that one eluded me.

Tom the Dog said...

Also, I apologize for my typos in the previous comment.

Anonymous said...

Ratatouille is actually a pretty good movie to see at the drive-in. That's where we saw it.

Monty Ashley said...

Yeah, I can see that. Large shapes with big contrast are the way to go for a projection system with problems. And it can't hurt that Ratatouille is really good.