While Rob Zombie is an incredible talent and gift to the horror genre, his Halloween movies have a polarizing reception in the horror community; much of this is due to his attempts to induce sympathy for Michael Myers.

Zombie has been vocal about his experience working on the Halloween remakes, and has said he would never make another one. However, despite the sympathetic lean toward the franchise’s villain, there’s a lot of positives to what Zombie produced. In many ways, his 2007 and 2009 versions of John Carpenter’s seminal classic are just misunderstood. Rob Zombie’s Halloween attempted to explore more of the origin story of Carpenter’s The Shape, and delivered his aptitude for twisted family dynamics by casting outstanding young lead actor Daeg Faerch in the role of young Michael. While the director’s cut of Zombie’s Halloween remake added longer sequences of Dr. Loomis and Michael’s therapy sessions, almost to an exhaustive point, there was still plenty of material in the theatrical cut to support what is one of the weakest aspects of his take.

Currently holding a 26% rating on Rotten Tomatoes for his first Halloween and 22% for the sequel, Zombie’s fresh ideas put the wrong emphasis on The Shape. Because of this, his movies were harshly criticized by long-standing fans of the franchise, though some admired the more brutal take on the villain. Zombie has proven himself as someone capable of creating lovable villains, as he’s done with the Firefly family in three of his movies, but for Michael Myers, it was a bad take.

Rob Zombie’s Halloween Was Too Sympathetic To Michael Myers

Starting at the beginning, Michael Myers was born into a broken home with a mother who loved him dearly, though her career as a stripper got him beaten up and tormented by bullies in school. Adding to that his mother’s a drunk, abusive boyfriend with misogynistic tendencies who was cruel to him, there’s a petri dish for a budding psychopath. While some of this was later blamed on him being truly evil by Dr. Loomis, who was played brilliantly by veteran actor Malcolm McDowell, the explanation for his nefarious ways didn’t strike as harsh a chord. In Carpenter’s original, Michael’s motivations aren’t known, and that’s part of what makes him truly terrifying. All that’s seen is a young boy stalking his sister, then brutally stabbing her to death on Halloween night in one of cinema’s most iconic sequences to date.

Carpenter leaned on Michael Myers being The Shape and “the boogeyman”; it was important only that he committed terrible acts, and not so much why he did them. Zombie’s attempts to explain, and even empathize with the villain were unique, but didn’t land with audiences. Though this is somewhat subverted when he does things like murder Cruz (Danny Trejo), an orderly at Smith’s Grove who has become fond of him, even begging for his life by saying he was Michael’s friend, it’s still not enough to overcome the lost, confused, and even occasionally tender young man who was depicted in the beginning of the film. Later, in the sequel, the sibling connection between Michael and Laurie (Scout Taylor-Compton) continues this sympathetic Myers, in that she is not only biologically related, but they almost seem to be each other’s weakness.

Whereas Michael in the previous installments pursued Laurie Strode relentlessly, he doesn’t have the same zest for killing her - or doesn’t seem to - by the second movie. In fact, she is able to approach him, tell him she loves him, and then stab him repeatedly with minimal consequence. David Gordon Green’s 2018 version of Halloween completely retconned the sibling relationship, choosing instead to make their obsession with one another an intertwined game of who is the hunter vs. the hunted. This was a smart choice, as many people - including John Carpenter - disliked the sibling aspect that was introduced in Halloween’s original sequel. While the saga of Michael and Laurie will continue over two more Halloween movies, unless Laurie dies in Halloween Kills, it’s better to see Michael in full force as a killer, without the extra emotional attachment.

Next: Halloween: Michael Myers Is Still Superpowered In New Reboot

  • Halloween 2 Release Date: 2021-10-15 Halloween 3: Season of the Witch Release Date: 1982-10-22