Jeez, what are we up to now? Seven? Eight? Actually, try nine. Time flies when you’re running a franchise into its fourth decade. Ever since John Carpenter first unleashed his masked maniac Michael Myers in 1978, the trick-or-treat thrillers have spilled more and more blood to less and less effect. But in the lucrative world of horror movies, nothing stays dead when there’s a few more bucks to be made.
In this latest installment, we find out what happened to the troubled preteen Myers in the years between his first holiday kill and when he busted out of the asylum years later. Call it a prequel, if you want. Just don’t call it Halloween 9. ”I had no interest in the series,” says writer-director Rob Zombie. ”I thought the first film was great, but come on, when you’re tacking a ‘9’ onto the end of a movie, who cares? What I liked about this is that it was a fresh start.”
Zombie is actually an interesting choice to revive the slasher saga — and, in a lot of ways, the only really compelling thing about this movie. You may not have particularly enjoyed his previous gorefests, House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects, but there’s no denying that the former shock rocker has real talent behind the camera. As for the cast, there’s the always-creepy Malcolm McDowell, stepping into the shoes of Dr. Loomis (played earlier in the series by Donald Pleasence), and 18-year-old newcomer Scout Taylor- Compton as the imperiled Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis’ role in the original). But perhaps the most notable bit of casting is the man behind the mask. Instead of an anonymous stunt guy, this time Myers is played by an actual actor: 6-foot-10-inch former wrestler Tyler Mane (Sabretooth from X-Men). ”They wanted Michael to be more than just a guy who plunges a knife into people,” Mane says. ”They wanted to make him a real character.” A character we’ll no doubt get to know even better in part 10. (August 31)