Level 7: Fresh New Blood for the Rotting Masses

Making a horror film can be a challenge, especially when you’ve never done it before and have only a shoestring budget at your command.


Lofthouse is a horror fanatic.

This couldn’t be truer for fellow horror film-geek Stephani Lofthouse, who within the span of approximately one year was able to produce a feature-length horror film. The product; Level 7– a zombie flick which takes place in her native North Carolina. Following the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster, a virus breaks out which causes people to turn into flesh eaters. Simple enough, right?

Sure, it’s a jump on the zombie bandwagon, but it’s not without its merit or originality. And the feature zombies look fan-fucking-tastic.

Screenshot of the DVD case.

The film follows Felicia, a dingy, at-times annoying and ‘typical’ American woman, as she struggles to survive the zombie apocalypse. It’s a rude awakening for the protagonist, as she goes from valley girl consumerism to journeying lonely roads as she searches for sanctuary from the living dead.
The film asks the viewer many important, and existential questions; Is there a god? In the end, are we ultimately alone? How fragile is western materialism? Is humanity deserving of survival? Why am I checking out that Felicia character so damned much?

“It was definitely a challenge making the film,” said Lofthouse. “With what I had to work with to make the film, it was definitely a challenge and a lot of work. But it was fun.” Lofthouse attributed her small Western North Carolina community as a big part of making the production happen. “Everyone I know was willing to help out in some way and everyone was supportive. Who doesn’t love a zombie movie?” Lofthouse added that for her next film venture, she will improve on her planning, as that was the biggest challenge of the Level 7 filmmaking experience.

But why make an indie horror film?

Whether it was a way to preserve the memory of a friend who had passed away in 2011 (of which there are a few tips of the hat to the departed throughout the film), or the pursuit of a medium she had always wanted to pursue, or an homage to idol filmmakers such as Eli Roth, Rob Zombie, Frank Darabont or Wes Craven–it is clear Lofthouse had numerous reasons to make the film, with no shortage of passion.

“Steph is definitely a spirited filmmaker and a very serious one at that,” remarked Davin Eldridge, a Level 7 contributing writer and comic relief character in the film. “She had a vision and she went ahead and made it manifest. We had a ball [making the film].”

So far, the film has made its rounds at a few horror conventions including Full Moon Tattoo & Horror Festival and Dead Winter Horror Convention. Over the last month, since it went to DVD, it has sold over 100 copies– a modest yield for a debut film.

Lofthouse begins shooting her next film in June of this year. Those interested in ordering the DVD ($10) may contact Stephani Lofthouse at level7movie@hotmail.com. For more information about the film, all you brainless flesh-eaters can go to facebook.com/level7movie.

Attention Marilyn Manson: Please Piss People Off Again

Behold your Rock and Roll Great, but not too close. You might get infected.

“Rock is Deader than Dead”

By Merkin Muffley—HorrorHomework Instructor

I am still waiting for the resurrection of rock and roll.

That good ol’ fashioned, violent and defiant, instrumental and controversial music we Americans named Rock and Roll, baby. The music which not only reminded us we were alive, but that it’s okay to be angry.

Rock is Dead. In the wake of its demise, what we’ve been left with is the rotting concept of the rock and roll experience—a human institution. Marilyn Manson called that shit years ago, and he’s now as dead as the rest of them.

This thing called Rock and Roll is no longer heard at The Grammy’s, or on silly ol’ Mtv. It’s no longer some massive living thing that used to summon millions of congregants to arenas. It’s simply now a nostalgic, and at-times humorous relic. (See: Quiet Riot or Pretty Boy Floyd)
We now live in a culture where Rock is no longer as vital as it once was. The fervors conjured by the likes of Manson or Rage Against The Machine have nowadays puttered-out. Such is the nature of the beast, I suppose.

Religion, Government, Humanity and Society are no longer as musically-engaged as they once were.
Now we’ve taken a step down to the flashy dance floor, closed our eyes, and droned along to the mindlessness of Sex, Money, Fun and Swagga. (See: Lil Wayne, Katy Perry, Macklemore, Bruno Mars, etc.)

It’s like the seventies and eighties got together, ate some poor people, took a dump, blended the excrement, and served us one big pile of steaming ‘Hot 100’ zombie virus Pâté.

Behold your Rock and Roll Great, but not too close. You might get infected.

It’s clear to me this generation of Westerners elected the zombie as part of its pantheon. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the American zombification has infected the music of a nation with dead idols. They walk among us. They walk across our television screens and throughout the airwaves.

“But Merkin,” you say. “Rock isn’t dead. There are millions of people who still love the greats; Black Sabbath, Elvis, Led Zepplin, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Jethro Tull! Rock isn’t dead, you ugly albino bastard!”

And I say to the silly fucker, “No, you silly fucker. Rock as it was originally known, is dead. It used to move people to causes. It used to grab that thing called The Establishment, or The Man, by its miserable throat and lash it with its tongue,” and I says to him, I says, “What we have now, are zombies. Sabbath, Elvis and those Jethro Tull bastards are being kept alive on a cocktail of contracts, dope, Viagra and tired media hype. How many times do we have to hear some asshole bring up Stairway or Bungle in the fucking Jungle when I bitch about the state of vitality in Rock and Roll?”

It’s the countercultural spirit that’s lacking. The humane act of embracing inhumanity or anarchy, of breaking social norms and the inherent shackles of spirit, is no longer a part of the musical experience for most listeners. It’s the will of the people to get behind songs like We Are Young by Fun, or I Knew You Were Trouble by Taylor Swift. I think this sucks, because we have a lot to get mad about as of late, and we don’t have a Marilyn Manson or Slayer or Rage to help us vent. Rock seems to be kind of dead in that respect.

Let me back up.

Rock is not dead—but it deserves to die. Maybe it needs to be put out of its misery so that it can be reborn (See: Reanimator). There are only a few true-blue rock bands left that keep the rebel soul alive and infectious. Rock bands that remain relevant and visible in the mainstream. (See: Tool, Mastodon, Opeth, etc.)

There is a multitude of other bona fide rock groups that are still noteworthy, still viable, to the music listener. (By the way, thank you internet.) But they do not serve the needs of the public the way they were intended.

The atmosphere of the music industry is to blame. It is ever-changing. Instead of receiving record deals or exposure, many of today’s great forthcoming rock bands (See: IWrestledABearOnce, Bring Me The Horizon, Ghost, The Bronx, etc.) are now seen as “independent” or “underground”.

Today we get to see the resurrected songs and dances of “the greats” serve the ever-present need to be angry or absolved. These same-ol’-song-and-dances are performed before the aging or media-bloated internet masses. It’s a crude sort of homeostasis.

Then again I am a Rock and Roll kinda albino, so this random rant is biased.

Here comes another Black Sabbath album. Everyone grab a shotgun and run to the hills.

Something Disney this way Comes

By Merkin Muffley–HorrorHomework Instructor

There is something more terrifying than Leatherface, a malevolent force that spares none with its unmatched accessibility. Something dreadful and abominable in the movie industry.

It’s Mickey Mouse.

As we all know, the Dark Lord himself recently bought out one of the most time-honored and renowned film studios of our time. A studio that brought us that blasted Star Wars shit I keep hearing about, which has apparently entertained generations of people in the western world, creating one big, fat bandwagon for everybody to jump on.

Look at him. That fat fuck just got fatter. Beware the staggering buying power of Disney. They’ll sell your souls to those who have none.

That bandwagon just got fucking bigger now.

On October 30 of 2012, it was official. Disney bought Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion in both stock and cash. The sixty-eight-year-old Lucas, who announced late last year that he would step down from Lucasfilm, is just the latest in a line of blood-thirsty acquisitions by Disney.

In 2009, Disney purchased Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion as well, and in 2006 they bought Pixar Animation Studios for $7.4 billion. Such acquisitions in recent years have rendered that Soprano-voiced rat a formidable beast in the fantasy-cinema game.

But what does this mean for Star Wars? Well, if the upcoming release of their highly-anticipated game, Star Wars 1313, is any indication, then Lucas may have one final battle cry before its coup de gras.

On May 31, well before Lucas’ ‘big deal’, it was announced that LucasArts would release a new internally developed videogame franchise, Star Wars 1313.

As players take control of a lethal bounty hunter in a never-before-seen dark and mature world, Star Wars 1313 introduces an integrated development approach by bringing together great artists across the Lucasfilm organization, including LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, Lucasfilm Animation Ltd. and Skywalker Sound.

A third person cinematic action adventure game, Star Wars 1313 will bring to life the Coruscant underworld, the most dangerous place in the Star Wars galaxy. The new game seems a darker, nitty-gritty project geared toward mature players. There are rumors that ABC (also owned by Disney) will be airing a television series based on the game already.

Named for Level 1313, a ruthless criminal underground deep below the surface of the planet of Coruscant, the game puts players in control of a deadly bounty hunter as he uses an arsenal of exotic weaponry to hunt down his marks and uncover the truth surrounding a criminal conspiracy. Star Wars 1313 emphasizes epic set pieces and fast-paced combat with a hero who uses human skills and gadgets, rather than supernatural Force powers, to make his way through this dangerous world.

Lucas seems to have set an example of its depth, one which will surely give Disney an earmark on a market they can’t afford to ignore–the adult Star Wars market. With a final breath, Lucas descends down a new path, bringing everything it’s got. 1313 seems a befitting and ominous name.

“We’re excited to share one of the projects LucasArts has been hard at work developing,” said Paul Meegan, LucasArts president last year. “Star Wars 1313 dives into a part of the Star Wars mythos that we’ve always known existed, but never had a chance to visit. We are committed to bringing the best gameplay experience and visual fidelity to life and I truly believe the work we are showcasing at E3 will speak for itself.”

But what about Marvel? Hasn’t Disney watered it down already?

Well, as a lifelong comic fan, I can say that much of the top works by Marvel have more or less stayed intact. I understand that even more Star Wars episodes are actually in the making now that Disney has taken over, but aside from that, there won’t be too much perversion of the Star Wars line.

The fact that Disney is moving toward the teenage boy demographic with such acquisitions should suggest to fans that Disney won’t want to ruin something they themselves had bought for a pretty penny.

It’s not so much the watering-down, or perverting of studio titles then that we at HorrorHomework laud as horrific. It’s the sheer level of corporatism at which Disney operates—All Heil that infernal Mouse. All of your favorite fictional characters may be intact, but they will know bondage in the form of new projects and films.

Maybe their acquisitions will help safeguard our favorite titles from the failing economies of our time.

But if we find Wolverine or Anakin on Nick Jr., we’ll know whose office to sobbingly threaten to firebomb in the name of nostalgia and artistic integrity. #Fanboyssuck


By Merkin Muffley

Lookin’ creepy.

Oh mothers. How losing them hurts the very souls of their children.

A bludgeoning reminder of days they can never have back. Of youth they can never know again. Oh mother, whom is sought for sanctuary.

Oh mothers, how their children remember them, with throats full of tears for years. They think of all the things they should have said, but never said. All the things they should have done, but they never did.

The children plead to the deaf ears of life for the pain to go away. Oh mother, oh how they will die alone, and without the nurturing bosom that made them nearly strong enough to face this bitter fact. And as all children grey, oh as they wither away, they pray for those old moments back. Oh mother, just like you.

FUCK! Merkin you damned fool you’re supposed to give the students new review material.

Alright class, heads up!

Guillermo del Toro is at it again, but this time he’s wielding his fantastic mind for cinema differently, it seems.

Enter Mama, a film about two morose young girls whose mother dies, leaving them to spend five years in the woods only to be found by a young, sexy married couple who for some reason want to raise them.

So what does the class think?

Look cool so far? Let’s not forget what del Toro has been capable of in the past. He often makes great films that typically deal with the concept of lost children, coming to terms with the world they have inherited. Think Pan’s Labyrinth for instance.

Keep in mind, it will be directed by Andrew Muschietti–a fella with only a few titles under his belt. Oh, and Mama’s got Nicolaj Coster-Waldau co-leading. The guy plays a pretty bad ass Jaime Lannister on HBO’s Game of Thrones. Jessica Chastain (that hot wife from Take Shelter) stars as his spouse–a nourishing well of courage for this film. Oh mother.

Also, be sure and check out the short film that got the studio’s attention, right here on Horror Homework!


Buy advance tickets on Fandango!
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Bring me the heads of James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich!

Growing up in the suburbs of Central Florida, I was no stranger to anger. I was no less a victim to hormones than any other adolescent. I was no less an enemy of the establishment than other youth who tried to think for themselves.

So when I was introduced to the counter culture at an early age, I knew I had found my release.

Baggy JNCO’s, Dyed hair, spiked bracelets, Doc Martens, violent tendencies… All that shit came with certain types of music that allowed me to feel represented. I began collecting what cassettes I could; Dead Kennedy’s, Black Flag, The Misfits, Biohazard, Rage Against the Machine, the works…

And then there was Metallica.

An entity at the core of the whole mess of my angst and opposition to the world. Their sardonic, intelligent, political and satyrical music resonated with me, as it had with so many other pissed off brats. It was such a testament to the energy and springtime of youth.

And as the years have passed, and as time has changed, as I have grown and learned, healed and calmed down from that pimple-faced asshole, I have but one question;


Here at HorrorHomework, we tend to focus on the aesthetics of horror. But this particular subject deviates from that, as it is an ugly side to American horror. A once wondrous thing has become something very… Awful.

Let us first examine early Metallica; a band from California that toured extensively across the U.S., honing its skills to the tune of rock greats like Merciful Death, The Misfits, Queen, Black Sabbath and others. Like their contemporaries (more or less) Slayer, Motorhead and others, Metallica was not only a band that represented masses of pissed off, mostly white kids. They not only represented what the rest of society wanted to hate, but they were good musicians.

So, as I grow older, and the testosterone has somewhat subsided, I tend to consider my roots. And when I see what has become of the band, I hold some kind of contempt for them.

Yes, we can go with the whole ‘but what happened to you also happened to them, they grew up Merkin.’ To you sir, I say, fuck that. A band can evolve, or grow up, or even mellow out, without asking a dedicated audience to buy in to this:

I’ve heard it all before:

– ‘Let them make whatever music they want to. They DESERVE it!’
– ‘Artists do this all the time. They are no different.’
– ‘They got too old to make music like they used to.’
– ‘Blah, blah, let’s get passive about it, blah fucking BLAH!’

I don’t see Slayer or Megadeth selling out like that. I don’t hear them growing old like that.

My one request, Metallica. My one request:

Please, do one more good album. Change it up if you must, but don’t forget your roots. You can go Prog. You can go Fantastical. Artsy. But don’t go the direction of vanity.

Otherwise, thanks for a few great albums and notsomuch for the rest. I am proud of part of your legacy.

Saving Face: An American Zombie Frenzy

By Merkin Muffley– HorrorHomework Instructor and zombie extraordinaire

The American masses have recently found the grossly eaten face of a homeless Miami man leering into their collective conscious this week. The moment of madness has not only been widely reported, scoffed about and tweeted, but was also caught on camera for all to see.

I am referring of course to the May 26 incident involving a homeless drifter having most of his face eaten off by a fellow Floridian—for an approximate eighteen minutes.

An alleged photograph of Poppo after the attack.

Many speculate that the real-life Hannibal Lecter was high to the point of psychosis on legal synthetic drugs. Asked to stop by a Miami policeman, the nude attacker, thirty-one-year-old Rudy Eugene, simply growled back at the officer and continued his mid-day snack. The officer promptly let loose several rounds until Eugene died.

As their bodies lay naked upon the sidewalk of the MacArthur Causeway, something happened. True horror returned to the lives of the American public—evident to the responding officers and the world audience. Such horrid things can indeed happen in this world, and we’d be damned if they didn’t excite.

A photograph from the seen of the crime.

The victim, sixty-five-year-old Ronald Poppo, was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, with eighty percent of his face missing, including his left eye, nose, mouth and cheeks. He still lays in intensive care, according to reports.

Ill Miglior Fabbro

“He was actually swallowing pieces of the man’s face,” said Armando Aguilar, president of Miami’s Fraternal Order of Police, to scores of reporters the day following the incident.

Many now jokingly heil the incident as the start of the zombie apocalypse, as they buy survival kits and make snide remarks of it with glee. Memes of the incident will also inevitably arise to the delight of many social networkers, generated by the faceless and ravenous public. Licking their lips, they dine on a new chapter of the new American gospel—a truly grisly and neon-lit thing to behold, especially in 1080p.

But how off-the -mark is this newfound sentiment? This cult of the zombie?

The face-mauling has somehow impassioned much of the on looking public, many of whom have never experienced the frenzy of spectacular violence and murder. Forever the cultural lexicon may be affected by this event, as Eugene has now been called the “Causeway Cannibal”.

This fascination with zombies, particularly prevalent among Americans, suggests to some a fascination with not only death, but a wont for violence. Conditioned by our love for guns, there is indeed an exemplary readiness within the country to bear arms—hell it’s our god-given right.

Let’s consider the point of origin for this ‘zombification’, shall we?

The synthetic drugs that cooked Eugene’s brain to an al dente level of murder can arguably be the strain that kicks off the epidemic. Here’s the real eye opener, Eugene’s drug-borne zombification was even within his rights. It caused him to lose his humanity, and take from Poppo what identity he had remaining in the name of substance escapism. Unregulated strains of the substances are abundant alternatives to outlawed conventional drugs, and ultimately, Eugene may have got them from your friendly neighborhood bodegas.

All heil the lavish sea of blood that will wash ashore the coast of American drug policy!

How far would you have gone, Eugene? What amount of flesh would have satiated your need to reclaim your humanity?

Alas, Poppo, reportedly once a man with considerable faculty and even prominent roots in Upstate New York during his youth, fell to the streets of Miami; laden in addiction, pharmakeia, jail time, homelessness and sandy beaches. There’s probably some cocaine in there somewhere as well. What was left of him went with Eugene.

Poppo you are a new man, and though the original zombie partook of you, the infection went airborne.

And the infection spreads, as the prodding American public runs this event through its cultural gambit.

I pray Poppo that you no longer keep your eye on this bloodthirsty world, and that you forgive it of its lidless eye. For in the interest of our own self-preservation, we must feed.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to look for updates to your story. Yum.

Stake Land: a film about Vampires, Humans and the New Age

By Merkin Muffley—HorrorHomework Instructor
Vampire films seem more immortal now than ever before. The genre can’t be killed, even with bad films such as Twilight and Dracula 3000 having seen the light of day over the last decade or so.

Luckily, there are some flicks that have come out in recent years which make it easier for film freaks to separate the wheat from the chaff.

One such film is 2010’s Stake Land, directed by sophomore filmmaker Jim Mickle.


The premise

Basically the film revolves around Martin (played by Connor Paolo, “Alexander”) an American teenager who is saved by the mysterious veteran vampire hunter Mister (played by film co-writer Nick Damici, “World Trade Center”), in a vampire assault which claims the lives of his whole family before his eyes.

After the attack, we find that a mass vampire epidemic has nearly destroyed North America. Martin and Mister make their ways north to Canada, to a place known as “New Eden”, where vampiric activity is nearly non-existent due to the frigid climate.

In this world, where life is rare yet disposable, our antagonists fight their way to an uncertain sanctuary in the north. Along the way, they collect comrades who share their need to survive.

Why you should watch it

Stake Land is a great movie for many reasons. First of all, it’s free of that teeny bopper vampire pageantry we have all grown to loathe. It was even produced on a relatively small budget of just $4 million, according to imdb.

Just gimme a small shot of vampire to go with my glass of estrogen.

Stake Land is a coming-of-age film set in a post-apocalyptic world where survival is the fabric of society.

There are no sexy and stylish vampires to woo the characters and audience. The film’s ever-present nocturnal blood suckers resemble zombies more than vampires. The premise doesn’t get too technical on these grounds—a breath of fresh air when compared to other vampire flicks.

They really Nailed what a vamp should look like in this one.

To compare, this film resembles a few acclaimed stories; Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead and Mad Max, directed by George Miller.

What themes do these stories have in common with one another, class? And how are they different? What do such stories accomplish when considering the human condition?

As we follow the two characters on their adventure, Mister trains Martin in the arts of killing vampires and staying alive. The two encounter all manner of people who have survived along their way, in small towns in a barren and cold landscape.

Despite the dimly lit setting and the dun-colored patrons therein, the story is rich with religious and economic undertones.

At one point, we find that many survivors have taken to religion as their cornerstone for existence, meaning that all non-believers are just as killable as vampires. The towns which Martin and Mister make their way through come equipped with trade, entertainment, prostitutes, assholes and booze—all the facets of a functional society! It’s like a Western, on those grounds.

What this story does is comment on the human condition in a very unique way.

As Martin learns to assimilate into this new way of life, he grows and matures. The survival skills he learns open the door to an old but very important concept in human history: filial piety—reverence for those who can teach.

This film was not made with the “blockbuster” philosophy of film production, thankfully. It has something to say and show the audience. It doesn’t have to prove anything. It’s just bad ass.
For extra credit, what does the class think of this film?

Rob Zombie can direct a decent horror remake. There, I said it.

By Merkin Muffley—HorrorHomework Instructor


We’ve all heard it before:

“How many horrible fucking remakes is Hollywood going to fucking make?”

And if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably even said something like that before. I hate Hollywood remakes, and I think filmmakers should abandon the practice.

In fact, there are MANY regurgitated stories that Hollywood has vomited up and onto the big screen that very few of us are able to stomach. It’s HIGHLY frustrating. Why fix something that was never broke? Why pervert a film classic for the new generation? Are there really no new ideas coming from the writers in Hollywoodland?

But, I would be remiss if I didn’t give credit where credit is due. There are SOME remakes which I believe were wrought with a considerable degree of skill and competence.

The Carpenter constructed Zombie

For the sake of brevity, I am going to argue that the first remake of Halloween is one such example.

Am I saying that the new version compares to its predecessor? No. I am simply saying that it is a decent film, which relates the original story adequately, and it happens to be a remake.

Many diehard horror fanatics (like me) will even assert that the original 1978 production of Halloween was a classic, while dismissing the 2007 version as a sophomoric attempt to retell the story in a more testosterone-driven and profitable way.

Sure, it was directed by Rob Zombie. Not John Carpenter. But it was with the go ahead from John Carpenter on the advisement that he make it “his film”.

However I must submit to the class that in the scope of recent Hollywood remakes, Zombie’s take on the story of Michael Myers is a cut above the rest when considering content, direction and editing.

Let me put it to you this way:

Would you rather the new generation of movie goers be subjected to subpar remakes like 2009’s The Stepfather, which had so many holes in continuity or logic that you could play Wack-A-Mole out of them? That movie fucking sucked, and now most youngsters who think of that story won’t know of the grim original from 1987, which starred Lost’s Terry O’Quinn.

Zombie’s version of the film obviously deviates from the original in many ways, but it could have gotten MUCH worse direction.

There is no mystery. The characters are by no means allergic to vulgarity. More emphasis is placed on Myers’ childhood and his obviously dysfunctional family. There is less of an element of ‘evil’ and more of an element of ‘psychological disorder’, and it’s just simply not what most of us grew up watching.

Let’s get one thing on the table.

All of the characters are, quite simply, unlikeable. They are made out to be monsters. Everyone from Myers’ principal, his sister, school mates and even Dr. Loomis. To help get that ball rolling, Zombie has pretty much all of them spitting out profanity while exhibiting some sort of immoral behavior.

Anybody can do that! Woopty fucking doo.. doo.

Doo doo. Haha, anyways.

I can’t stress enough that Zombie makes the audience question ‘how the world can create such monsters?’ rather than, ‘who in the world could be one?’.

Zombie is using the remake to ask a similar question posed by the original: Who among us could be wearing a mask to hide from a brutal world, and was it the world that drove them to that point?

I think that Carpenter revealed the grim origins of Myers in a more profound way. He didn’t spell out a troubled and sadistic past the way Zombie did, and any violence in the remake by no means comes as a surprise to the audience because of this.

But it wasn’t Zombie’s intention to do so, nor was it his intention to replicate the tone or pace of the movie. Zombie is telling the story of a broken child at odds with a broken world, where sanctuary is found only behind a mask.

If you would class, please refer to any moment in the film where a character ISN’T hiding their true nature. Notice how Michael, a person who attempts to conceal his true self, reacts to the rest of the frankly vile world.

He pretty much kills or maims them in true Myers fashion.

Through this viewpoint, one might consider the moral service Myers seems to be doing the audience. The towering shots of Myers even as an adolescent suggest a coup de gras for his victims later on in the film. What irony might you find in that as a viewer?

As early as ten minutes into the film, we can watch Myers bludgeon an easily unlikeable bully with a tree limb after school. After begging for mercy, our antagonist puts his mask back on and finishes his attack. The bully, who just minutes before was dishonoring his sister, is then dispatched viciously.

The product of Zombie’s storytelling is no different from Carpenter’s in this sense. Every kill is not without extreme prejudice.

But Zombie retains some of the indiscriminate evil that Myers has always been known for. Through betrayal.

As Ismael Cruz (played by Danny Trejo), the loveable janitor who gives Myers wise advice about life behind bars, is later killed by an older and hulking Myers. By going against his early depiction of Myers, Zombie paints a picture of a more traditional Michael Myers.

It should be noted class, that when Cruz tells Myers that “learning to live inside” his head would keep him sane, the very Manson-esque rationale was then readily accepted by the mask wearing youth. This can be seen by the subsequent obsession with masks, which I found quite original.

The viewpoint of the film tends to get pretty personal. While we are watching a story about a giant peoplestabber, Zombie also has us peering in over the shoulder of many a character in the middle of every conversation.

When actors are in field, the viewpoint tends to be at a low, down to earth level with the characters. Often a character is directly in the middle of a shot. An up close and personal kind of thing. Again, this is a more human approach to Michael Myers, which helps drive the kinds of questions Zombie poses about our culture.

What is seen and heard in the film:

Zombie’s use of rapid editing during action sequences, albeit a mainstay in modern cinema, was used with tact in many areas of the film. These are coupled with free-roaming or “shaky” cinematography to give the film a human feeling, while side scrolling shots push along exposition.

In short, it’s a simple formula and it works for Zombie’s intent.

Another intent of his is to show off his hot wife, Sherri Moon Zombie.

We are all very aware of Zombie’s propensity to put her in his films, and while that may be very easy to dump on, I would like to note the nice strip tease performed by her in the film. This kind of sexual content, albeit more jacked up, was present in the original Halloween. And such would be evident to any ten year old boy in the seventies.

It’s also eye candy, which I won’t dispute is something most filmmakers are going for nowadays.

We can often hear dialogue among characters which are out of the shot, while abstract objects float around in the foreground. This is often used as a device to inhibit the measure of a character. And we certainly don’t get a good look at Myers when he is being verbally abused by his mom’s boyfriend. The imposing voice of Ronnie White (played by William Forsythe) referring to Myers as a ‘faggot’ seems larger than Myers himself, along with the blurry jack-0-lantern.

What is our antagonist thinking?

Is there anyone among the class who would say Zombie didn’t get it right when Myers gets his revenge by slitting White’s throat? The inverted shots, high pitched tones and suddenness wasn’t without favor for the audience? It encapsulated the spirit of a slasher in scenes such as this, and without replicating Carpenter, who executed similarly, yet with less for the viewer to go on.

Again, it is easy to slam remakes for their incongruity to the originals. And while I can get drunk on nostalgia as much as the next horror fan, I also can see the more polished turds from the least—a sobering thing when faced with such horrible remakes as I am Legend or Friday the 13th.

Just don’t get me started on Zombie’s choice for Malcolm McDowell to play Dr. Loomis.



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