ByStephen Hampton, writer at
Lover of horror and 80's divas.
Stephen Hampton

Our beloved season is upon us, so what better way to celebrate than this? The ultimate showdown between two horror heavyweights. Michael Myers vs. Michael Myers! John Carpenter's classic 1978 is considered by many to be one of the greatest films of all time, whereas Rob Zombie's reimagining is considered to be quite the opposite. Many people see it as a complete butchering of the original where is given an extensive backstory that turns him into a human being and removes all the mystery of Michael that was so prominent in the original.

However, lots of people also prefer Rob Zombie's remake and find Carpenter's classic to be a boring, dull, plodding mess. So let's settle this once and for all. I'm going to pitch the two films against each other on separate categories and only then will we finally find out once and for all who the true reigning champion is! It might be worth noting that I'm actually a fan of both movies, so this will actually be an unbiased list.

Best Michael Myers

Or Tony Moran vs. Tyler Mane. The most iconic part of Halloween is of course the enduring villain, Michael Myers, or "The Shape" as he's mysteriously referred to in the closing credits. In the original film we never hear Michael speak, he's just a figure who lurks around bushes and playgrounds, yet he's one of the creepiest figures in movie history.

decides to give young Michael a voice in his remake but wisely puts a stop to that once he enters manhood. As we barely see Michael as a youth in the original, I'm going to judge the best adult Michael Myers from both films. At 6'6" tall, wrestler Tyler Mane does make the more imposing and frightening Michael Myers out of the two. If you stood the pair together side-by-side, you'd be a lot more intimidated by his hulking figure as opposed to little Tony Moran's. Michael also seems more aggressive and brutal in Zombie's version as opposed to Carpenter's more creeping and slower Shape. I suppose it's a matter of preference really, but I personally prefer the more threatening and animalistic version of Michael in the remake.

Winner: Halloween 2007

Carpenter: 0, Zombie: 1

Best Laurie Strode

Halloween made the renowned legend that we all know her for today. Her performance isn't Oscar-worthy by any means, but she does create a memorable and extremely likable character. She's a character you find yourself rooting for and is the archetypal innocent final girl that countless slasher films have since tried to replicate. However, don't be too quick to dismiss 's Laurie Strode. Rob Zombie really puts her through the wringer, so you can't help but cheer her on to survive the night. The only problem is that the remake suddenly abandons Michael Myers as the protagonist halfway through and introduces Laurie Strode. It's jarring, a little lazy and doesn't entirely work as her character ends up being nowhere near as focused or developed as John Carpenter's Laurie. Scout does a decent job, but Jamie is ultimately the champion.

Winner: Halloween 1978

Carpenter:1, Zombie:1

Best Director

A lot of people like Rob Zombie's grungy, distinctive style. He brings the same sort of raw Devil's Rejects intensity to his Halloween remake and it works very well. He could've easily have done a pointless shot-for-shot remake like Gus Van Sant did with , but Rob did the film in his style. Whether it's a style you like or not, you have to respect that decision. However, is undeniably the winner here. One thing Zombie can't do very well is suspense, but the original delivers this in spades. The whole film is a masterclass in directing thanks to the use of tracking shots and slow, creeping Hitchcock-like tension. The film oozes style and atmosphere, which is partly what makes it the benchmark for all slasher movies.

Winner: Halloween 1978

Carpenter: 2, Zombie: 1

Best Screenplay

I always respect a director who writes their own films and both John Carpenter and Rob Zombie write pretty much everything they direct. The original screenplay pitches a simple yet very effective idea and is the inception of Michael Myers. The idea of an escaped mental patient going on the rampage may not be a particularly inspired one, but John Carpenter and Debra Hill craft the premise with focus and skill. They also create characters who you actually care about, instead of the usual flat and annoying cardboard cut-outs.

However, I respect how Rob Zombie went in his own direction with the . I find the first half of the film very interesting and well thought out, as we watch a twisted child grow into a murdering mute. It's told with thoughtful care and precision that draws you into the story, and it's also interesting to have a slasher film told from the killer's perspective. Though, as mentioned earlier, Rob suddenly abandons Michael and introduces Laurie halfway through, making her the new protagonist. From here, the film pretty much follows the same beats as Carpenter's original, thus making the writing in the second half just plain lazy. I think John Carpenter is the clear winner in the writing department.

Winner: Halloween 1978

Carpenter: 3, Zombie: 1

Best Mask

Michael Myers may be the most iconic thing about the Halloween franchise, but what makes him so? That creepy, expressionless mask of course! Both versions feature slightly different versions though. The original mask was of course famously molded on a William Shatner Star Trek mask, as the prop department went out to find the cheapest mask they could get their hands on. It created the whole slasher mask trend and paved the way for other horror icons like and .

Rob Zombie explores the mask's origins more in his remake though. When massacring his broken family, he wears the iconic Shatner mask and digs it out years later when he escapes from the mental institution. The more weather-beaten mask of the remake gets my vote for the best one. I think it improves on the original and just looks better and scarier overall.

Winner: Halloween 2007

Carpenter: 3, Zombie: 2

Best Ending

The endings to both films are actually quite different. The original ends on an ambiguous and note as we see Michael's presumed to be dead body has disappeared from the ground despite having just been shot six times by a crazed Sam Loomis. The remake does things less subtly with an exciting Laurie vs. Michael climax that ends with her shooting him point blank in the face and then a jarring cut to credits.

I think that Carpenter's ominous ending is the scarier of the two and therefore the best. I actually preferred the alternate ending to Rob Zombie's version where Michael is shot to death by a squad of police. It's much more emotive and makes Michael into a more tragic Frankenstein's monster type of character, which I think is an interesting spin.

Winner: Halloween 1978

Carpenter: 4, Zombie: 2

Best Kills

One of the most fun aspects about slasher films (for us psychopaths) are the numerous death scenes. The original Halloween actually has surprisingly few on-screen kills, with just four people getting the chop (plus a few dogs). However, Carpenter makes every kill count by doing them in memorable ways and to characters we actually care about. The best one has to be when Michael brutally pins poor young horny Bob to the wall with his trusty kitchen knife. The poor guy only went to get a beer!

In contrast, Rob Zombie really racks up the body count in his blood-soaked remake with a whopping 18 on-screen kills. A lot of them are admittedly completely unnecessary excuses to have some gore splash on the screen, but it is a lot of fun to watch! The most affecting and kills occur with young Michael at the beginning. He bashes a young bully to death with a tree branch, slits his duct tape-trapped stepfather's throat, beats his sister's boyfriend with an aluminum baseball bat before finally stabbing his sister in the stomach. It's pretty harrowing stuff. So despite John Carpenter's iconic death scenes, Rob Zombie has to be the runaway winner in this category. His remake really takes the slasher sub-genre literally.

Winner: Halloween 2007

Carpenter: 4, Zombie: 3

Best Scares

Although John Carpenter's original lacks kills, it certainly isn't lacking chills. A lot of critics slam slasher films for relying on gore instead of trying to conjure up good scares, but Halloween has to be one of the slashers of all time. The film takes its time to build a strong sense of unease by giving us creepy glimpses of Michael Myers stalking our lovely Laurie Strode. There's some really nightmarish imagery with masked Michael standing frozen in the autumnal daylight. Then there's all the creepy nighttime stalking that all adds to the and hellish atmosphere.

Rob Zombie on the other hand does admittedly swap genuine scares for brutal kills. Zombie has never had a talent for creating suspense or tension and his remake is no different. It has a typical heavy-handed approach to horror and while a lot of the first half is disturbing, it's never actually . I think most people would agree that the original Halloween is the scarier film.

Winner: Halloween 1978

Carpenter: 5, Zombie: 3

Overall Champion

Halloween 1978

So perhaps inevitably, John Carpenter's original Halloween is the champion in this battle. It's just overall a better film full of suspense, tension and iconic moments. However, Rob Zombie's remake isn't totally obsolete. It's a very entertaining and stylish film that dares to put its own, unique spin on the Michael Myers legend while also paying homage to the original, respectfully. To conclude, John Carpenter's original will always be the best, but Rob Zombie's remake maybe isn't as bad as you first thought.

Have you ever wanted to look behind the mask of some of your favorite horror villains? Check out the video below to see what they look like in real life:

Which Halloween movie is your favorite?


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