Apr 11, 2012

RANT: PLATINUM DUNES' HALLOWEEN

 
Perhaps you’ve heard the news. Perhaps not. If you haven’t, allow me to spoil (?) your day:

Platinum Dunes, the studio who castrated Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, and John Ryder with their lifeless and atrocious reboots (you know that word? Reboot? Meaning an effort to restart each series with an eye on potential sequeling, unless of course the reboots were so piss-poor that any possible sequel was stopped dead in its tracks?), will be producing the next installment of Halloween. Whether it will be a co-production with current rights-holder Dimension Films/The Weinstein Company, or if PD plans to buy the franchise outright remains to be seen.

Regardless of the studio that unleashes it, know that it’s coming, people. The words “Halloween” and “Michael Bay” will be appearing together in that opening credit roll.

But to be honest, I’m not entirely sure how to feel about that. If you’ve read my Friday the 13th (2009) rant, you know that I found PD’s version of Jason abhorrent—offensive on every level, and not in the good way. Let’s face it, you’ve made a pretty shitty Friday the 13th if you can’t even manage to get a sequel off the ground—you know, like how the original series had the word “Final” in TWO of their entries’ titles, and STILL managed to make sequels afterwards?

Original series: 11 installments.

PD series: 1. Good work, you dumb asses. Failing to make a Friday the 13th sequel after the previous made money is like buying a prostitute and not getting laid. You look foolish for even trying.

It’s because of this that my readers (all two of you) would think that I would be immediately up in arms at the mere prospect of the PD geniuses going anywhere near my beloved boogeyman.

But here’s the thing: after what Rob Zombie did to the Halloween series, what else is left to do but hand over the reins to other filmmakers (and even other studios)? The Weinsteins clearly have no reverence for Michael Myers—during their ownership, they’ve produced 5 Halloween films, and only one of them (Halloween: H20) managed to be good, which was more of a result of Kevin Williamson’s story and Jamie Lee Curtis’ maternal shepherding. The Weinsteins’ Halloween track record is abysmal, and it’s time for some new blood.

There’s a lot of speculation as to whether PD will concoct a Halloween 3 that follows on the heels of the stupid, stupid Haddonfield Rob Zombie created, or reboot the series yet again (which is the most likely scenario, as well as my preferred one).

There are some people out there who like Zombie’s films, and some of these folks even believe they bested John Carpenter’s original. For future reference, think of these people as “retards.”

For instance, the guys at JoBlo, in a recent anti-PD/pro-Zombie rant of their own, said:
… [Rob Zombie] had a vision, he carried it through, he remade the first one, then did a completely original and totally kick-ass sequel with H2. Why try and reinvent the wheel here? Zombie rocked that shit, let him make another one!
I find it a little scary anyone on Planet Earth has any interest in making a sequel to what was supposed to be a Halloween movie, but somehow managed to feature a dead ghost mother on a white horse, a white-bread suburban town somehow filled with backwoods, white trash, foul-mouthed rednecks, and a total asshole Dr. Loomis. The box office returns of Halloween 2 alone prove that Zombie’s shtick got old real quick. His Halloween films are clear indications that he has no idea as to what made Carpenter’s film work in the first place. Zombie’s storytelling and direction is not subtle, and his “everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink” mentality is better suited for a remake of Someone Cut Off My Head Last Night, Oh Mother.

Yes, I just made that up. Zombie’s mentality is not fit for any film property—at least not a pre-existing one.

Let’s not forget that PD managed to release one good remake, 2003’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and one semi-decent remake, The Amityville Horror. And while Chainsaw’s direction by Marcus Nispel was appropriately gritty, and Andrew Douglas’ Amityville was serviceable and creepy, the strength was their scripts by Scott Kosar (proven screenwriter of The Machinist, The Crazies remake, and the upcoming Concrete Island, which will reunite The Machinist director Brad Anderson and star Christian Bale). The man can clearly write, both original stuff as well as remakes—if no one from PD has called him yet, what are they waiting for?

Let’s face it, PD’s films are a brand—a product; and while most of their films have been mixed bags, they all managed to have capable people behind the camera (except for The Hitcher, which not only looked like a TV movie, but even dared use NIN’s “Closer” in the most clichéd way possible). Besides, outside of Chainsaw, none of PD’s movies reflect 100% the director’s vision. PD’s Andrew Form and Brad Fuller have their hands in the process at every turn. Internet suggests that both Andrew Douglas (The Amityille Horror) and Samuel Bayer (A Nightmare on Elm Street) both became disgusted during production and haven’t really discussed either of their films since.

You also of course collaborated heavily with Brad Fuller and Andrew Form who are very hands-on. How was that experience?
You know, we have a love-hate and hate-love relationship.
Naturally it’s a brief snippet from a full interview and easily taken out of context, but at the same time, it’s an indication of usual PD productions. Even the interviewer knows the guys are hands on. Their reputation precedes them. (Another thing I noticed about PD films’ coverage…Michael Bay seems to be the third silent partner. His name appears on the finished product, and he’s always present at the premieres but he’s clearly in it for the cash, not the appeal. He never has anything to say on the subject, except for the usual canned PR-ish “we’re honored by the chance to blah blah blah”’ press release announcing their latest conquest/rape of a beloved film property. It’s even believed he walked out of the Friday the 13th premier calling it “fucking stupid.” For once, he was right.)

Despite how much Form and Fuller might tamper, PD’s films usually look great, especially Nightmare. While its story was tepid and grossly stupid for ever trying to make the audience doubt that Freddy Krueger was as bad as he was made out to be (of course he is, morons), Bayer managed to try some interesting things, and for the most part, his direction was quite fine. I’d be interested in seeing a future Bayer film produced by competence and not the Devil. Basically, if PD has proven one thing, it’s that they produce good-looking pieces of shit. What they need to focus on is a good script.

The devils you know.

 Some fans are urging PD to pick up from where the first series left off with Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers. While I appreciate the reverence and respect for the original series, these people need to wake up and realize that’s never going to happen. Halloween 6 had muddied up the franchise with so much explaining and ridiculous mythology that Halloween: H20 had to come clean up the mess and basically say nothing after 1981’s Halloween 2 ever happened. That was Curtis’ deal in making the film, and it was the right move to make. Laurie Strode’s reign as the victim may be (and should be) a thing of the past, but that doesn’t mean other recognizable Haddonfield citizens can’t appear. Throw us a Tommy Doyle, a Sheriff Bracket, and a Dr. Loomis, and we’ll start to wonder if you are actually thinking of us after all…

I know the popular answer is “let the series die!” And I can see the point. Perhaps after Halloween: H20, I would have agreed. Myers had his head hacked off by his sister (and returning Jamie Lee Curtis). A fitting ending, and probably the best we’ll ever get. But no, they had to go ahead and give us Resurrection and Zombie’s two misguided films. At this point, there is no “class” left to the series. The bad entries now outnumber the good ones. The original will always be the absolute example of classy, low-budget film-making. Not even a Halloween 19 could ever take that way. So who cares if they keep making more? If we can get Batman and James Bond over and over again, why not Michael Myers? Is anyone out there suffering physical pain and crying with each Halloween installment? John Carpenter sure isn’t, as he comically runs from each meeting with two money bags clenched in his hands. If he doesn’t care, why should you?

Rebooting is the only option left. PD has the chance to make amends for all their previous wrongs. They have the chance to work extra hard in nailing down a great script (again, get Scott Kosar on the phone) and a great story. Good stories in this franchise are still entirely possible. Look to the Halloween: Nightdance comic series for proof of this. Forget the newest gimmicks (found footage, 3D) and get Michael Myers back to basics. Cut off his hippie hair, clean up his mask, ditch the useless incestuous undertone, and put a knife in his hands. You’re never going to live up to the original, but you can easily exist in its shadow, so long as you play your cards right.

Please…do it for us, the fans. We've made you rich, now make us happy.

You so owe us.

1 comment:

  1. Okay, so we all know Rob Zombie screwed up the franchise, we get that. Which is why we still have no information on whether this is following in the footsteps of Rob Zombie, or is it becoming a brand new film with some sort of connection to the original. I personally think Platnum Dunes need to take over. But, please no more remakes, it will only confuse the fans, and probably hurt the franchise. Not to mention, Rob Zombie had terrible casting. I hope PD could come up with a sharp cast, and sharp death scenes, along with a continuation
    of Halloween H20 with Jamie Lee Curtis returning.

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