Saturday, January 19, 2008 - Much ado re: Unrated Director's Cut
Posted in Unspecified

Okay, I was wrong. Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong.

My former belief that 'Unrated Director's Cut' was equal to 'horror film perfection' has been thoroughly challenged by the bland offering that is Rob Zombie's version of Halloween (Unrated Director's Cut).

Where to begin?

I was exhausted when I first tried to watch it so I figured perhaps I was missing something. I discovered the next day, viewing it with Johnathan and with my system coursing with a delightful caffeine buzz, it was not me who was missing something, it was the film itself.

For starters, the scene in which Michael escapes has been changed dramatically. Gone is the attack on the guards, which was absolutely devastating. So much happened in the space of just a few seconds it left me practically breathless when John and I went to see it in the theater. The scene on the UDC, like the theatrical release, begins with Michael in his room at the mental hospital, but the similarities end there.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!!!!

Two guards enter and proceed to rape a screaming female patient in Michael's presence. He goes off and kills them both, then it goes to the scene with Ishmael and he's gone. No broken chains, broken glass, He quietly leaves the hospital then goes on to attack Grizzley at the truck stop.

What. The. Fuck...?

First off, the rape scene is incredibly realistic and graphic, and anyone who know me knows I can't stand this. Call it my tender sensibilities, call it flashbacks, whatever. It just bothers me. Badly. To smack us in the face with this disgusting bit of footage then water down the escape scene - thereby decreasing the effectiveness of the entire film - makes one wonder what the director's motivation was. Why did this seem like the way to go, versus leaving the original scene intact but making it somehow more intense?

Also, I'm curious; where the hell was Udo Kier? Granted, his appearance in the theatrical version was brief, but I do remember seeing him in two scenes. In the UDC he was credited, but unless I blinked and missed him he wasn't in the film. Udo Kier is a cult icon. Any footage of him, however brief, delights those of us who love him to no end. Why is he MIA in the UDC?

The scene in which Michael chases Boo (Laurie) through the house toward the end is likewise edited. I noticed that it was cut and a bit shorter than the theatrical version.

Overall, the film has far less impact than the one that had me exiting the theater on wobbly legs, heart racing. To be honest, I fell alseep the first time I tried to watch it, and not just because I was already tired.

Fortunately, the missing scenes are included on the special features disc, but watching them again leaves me to wonder; why did Rob Zombie opt to do butcher his own work this way? The original version was so amazingly good. John commented that Rob Zombie had out-Carpentered John Carpenter. The alternate ending is also included and while it was worth viewing, I'm glad Zombie chose to end the theatrical version of the film the way he did. It just does not make sense for the sheriff to be there to blow Michael Myers away when he has just discovered his daughter half naked and sliced to ribbons (yet thankfully still alive) on the floor in his foyer.

In short, I had to buy the theatrical version of the film to enjoy what I had so loved about my first viewing experience.

That said, I do disagree with some of the reviewers on Amazon, primarily in regard to comments about 'unknown' actors, or Zombie's use of cast he has previously worked with. There was a comment about 'B' actors that particularly annoyed me.

Does the reviewer mean 'B' actors like Brad Dourif, who has a career that spans over thirty years, beginning with One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and who has been nominated for and won multiple awards for his work, including the Shawshank Redemption, the LOTR series (not to mention his voice work in the Child's Play series)?

Or does the writer mean 'B' actors like Clint Howard, who comes from a family that has been working in film since before his birth, and has a career that spans over forty years (from his childhood through to today), and who still works constantly?

Or perhaps he is talking about 'B' actors like Udo Kier and Sid Haig, both of whom have been working in film most of their lives and have attained cult status? Udo Kier starred in multiple horror films in the 70s and 80s and worked with Andy Warhol. Sid Haig has worked with Pam Grier and achieved cult status of his own by appearing in Blaxploitation films.

Danny Trejo, perhaps, who has been steadily working in film since 1983, and who has also worked on television, performed on soundtracks and has produced films? The same Danny Trejo who won the Feature Film award for his role in Valley of Angels?

Maybe he means Daeg Faerch, who has not even reached adolescence yet but has been steadily working since 2004?

The list could go on, but I can't, as I am going to have to log off soon and go make my babies some lunch, but by now I'm sure I've made my point. Methinketh mayhap there be quite a few folks writing reviews who haven't been into horror for very long. Or maybe they just don't live for it like I do. That's always possible. I'm sure not everyone delights in pouring over horror websites, magazines and books like I do, so it's possible that they just either enjoy the film (or not), based upon the film itself, without knowing the history and trivia behind it. That's cool. I don't understand non-fanatics (non-addicts??). I have to know all I possibly can if I really enjoy a film, series, or the work of a particular actor, author or video game - don't even get me started on ANYTHING having to do with Silent Hill or Resident Evil, I assure you, we will be here awhile.

Anyway, I paid (with tax, of course), over $30 at Borders for the UDC, then had to spend an additional $20+ for the theatrical version. Larry & John suggested that this is the reason why Rob Zombie released two such dramatically different versions of his film, but I don't want to be that cynical about it. I prefer to think that perhaps he had an artistic vision that was somehow fulfilled by doing so. Either way, I'd advise others to save themselves some money and just buy the theatrical version, which is clearly the better version of the film (in no way does my saying this indicate that my opinion of Rob Zombie has faltered in the least; I still think he's brilliant, I just do not understand why he made the alterations he chose to make to his film). Though collectors will no doubt want both.

Daeg Faerch and Rob Zombie...they are to love.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - Hmmm
Posted by Dave
Well, I can't really comment since I haven't seen either release. My policy is to boycott remakes of old films no matter how cool they look. ;)
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Tuesday, January 29, 2008 - I used to feel that way too...
Posted by celticlullaby
...until I saw the 'Dawn Of the Dead' remake. To say I loved it is an understatement. The entire production was really well done and Richard Cheese was featured in the soundtrack. Who doesn't love Dick?

True, a lot of remakes suck a tailpipe, but just recently there have been some surprisingly good ones. 'Halloween' was definitely a great remake, just not in the UDC edition. The theatrical version was wonderful, though. One of my favorites.

If you change your mind, let me know what you thought of it.
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