ByK. Lee Adams, writer at
Hello, world.
K. Lee Adams

A while back, someone here on this site posted an article called "How unrealistic is Halloween?", in reference to the original versus the supposedly more realistic 2007 remake. While the article was well written and had some good points, it seems to me that a lot of people find Rob Zombie's remake of the film more realistic than the original simply because of the addition of a backstory about Michael's childhood that, similar to that of many real life serial killers, was anything but pleasant. Zombie attempted to make Michael sympathetic by portraying him as a boy bullied at school and emotionally abused at home by his older sister and his mother's alcoholic boyfriend. Fair enough. As mentioned above, that type of abuse during childhood (though usually much more extreme) has resulted in number of violent offenders in reality. Not long into the film, Michael snaps, killing a school bully and, on Halloween night, his sister and his mother's boyfriend. After that, he's sent to Smith's Grove Sanitarium for years until finally escaping and returning home in the present for another night of terror. But realistic this film is not.

Michael somehow goes from being an appropriately sized 10 year old to a towering giant of a man, worthy of WWE Wrestling or gladiator tournaments. How did that happen? Is there a gym in the hospital and he's been pumping iron during his incarceration? Was the food being laced with some form of steroids? It's said in the film that he's barely moved the whole time he's been locked up, so how he became a gargantuan goes unexplained. Later in the film, Laurie spots Michael standing outside of the school, watching her. How does a man that size and wearing a mask stand around in broad daylight and go completely unnoticed?

Ultimately, the biggest dent in the film's so called realism is Zombie's attempt to portray Michael as a real human being, a psychopath who still loves his little sister, rather than the emotionless, merciless, supernatural force of evil he originally was. Why, then, is he getting up and walking after being shot by a police officer who responds to Laurie's frantic 911 call and then an additional 3 times in the back by Dr. Loomis? Size does not matter. If his condition is psychological rather than supernatural, Michael sure as hell should not still be able to jump up and attack, seemingly feeling no pain from his injuries, unless he's on PCP. The film ends with him being shot in the head by Laurie and yet by the time the sequel rolled around in 2009, he was still alive and well, as though he didn't have a gaping wound in his forehead. These things need to be considered before you run with the idea that this film is somehow so much more realistic than the original. Only the backstory grounds it in reality for a brief time before it derails that and goes back to being just another horror film that is anything but realistic. In fact, up until the end, the original is actually the more realistic film. Nothing huge really occurs in the first film that makes you think Michael is anything but a psychopath until Dr. Loomis looks over the balcony and sees that Michael is gone, even though he just fired six bullets into him. Having no backstory in the original doesn't make the film unrealistic, it just makes it scarier, in my opinion, and that's what Carpenter was going for. And as for why he can drive, the end of film clears that up with the revelation that he's inhuman. That may not be realistic, but as I said, it's only at the end that the movie leaves the "real world" and crosses over into movie world. The point of this article was not to paint the original as a wholly realistic film, but rather to explain why the remake isn't either. Considering these few things, how many of you think that Zombie's Halloween is a truly realistic film?


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