Some directors might be intimidated to put their spin on a classic horror film, but Rob Zombie wasn't plagued by such thoughts while creating a new version of "Halloween," in theaters this weekend.Some directors might be intimidated to put their spin on a classic horror film, but Rob Zombie wasn't plagued by such thoughts while creating a new version of "Halloween," in theaters this weekend. "All you're trying to do is make the best movie possible," he explains. "But if you start worrying... you're just going to psyche yourself out." And judging from the soundtrack he has curated for the film (out now on Hip-O Records), he's truly followed his own vision for recasting the John Carpenter's original.
Carpenter's 1978 movie, which launched Jamie Lee Curtis' career, was set in the same era that it first terrorized audiences. While Zombie's remake takes place in a generically contemporary America, the soundtrack he created dips into such '70s rock with Rush's "Tom Sawyer" and Alice Cooper's "Only Women Bleed." The songs that appear in their entirety on the soundtrack are actually heard during the film's action rather than being an "inspired-by" collection. On the album, each song begins with movie dialogue. Among the best meshes of film audio and music are the few lines that speak of villain Michael Myers before the start of Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper."
Zombie didn't contribute his own music to the film, however. "It's too distracting and seems it's just too much. I don't want to hear me in these.
Trying to create these other worlds and to decide that you're going to score it with your own music seems really strange." Horror composer Tyler Bates, who previously worked on the Zombie's 2005 movie "The Devil's Rejects," handled the score, largely preserving the chilling "Halloween" theme and the music to "The Shape Stalks Laurie," which plays when Myers hunts his main target.
Acclaimed for "Rejects" and its predecessor, 2003's "House of 1000 Corpses," Zombie's road to "Halloween" began with a call from Miramax honcho Bob Weinstein. "I guess they had tried to make a 'Halloween' movie for a long time," Zombie says. "They saw 'The Devil's Rejects' and were excited about it . . . They didn't necessarily want to do a remake, they just wanted to do something 'Halloween.' "
But Zombie didn't want to do "the ninth installment in the series, either. That just seemed ridiculous. When the first movie's a classic, by the time you make seven sequels, clearly it's run out of juice."
The only avenue that seemed worth taking was writing a prequel that focused on the back story of Myers, the sociopath who murdered his sister when he was 6 years old. Zombie concentrates on the years he's incarcerated for his crime before he escapes to kill again. "I kept the idea of the same three girls [Myers terrorizes], but the events play out differently and the girls' characters are different. But that was the basic thing: keeping Michael Myers [as] Michael Myers, [retaining the character of] Dr. Loomis, the same town. It's essentially the same story and the same characters, but you watch it play out fresh and new."
Jamie Lee Curtis doesn't make any cameos in the film, but Zombie's decision to cast Malcolm McDowell as Loomis was an inspired decision. "I've always been a big fan of his and I wanted to find someone who could bring what Donald Pleasence brought to the role back in the day... He was really my only choice."
After "Halloween," Zombie plans to tour from October until Christmas, which follows a live album (simply called "Live") that arrives Sept. 18 on Geffen Records.