Monday, August 24, 2009

HorrorBlips Poll: Myers Vs Myers

Beyond the jump, you will find an excellent and timely poll presented by HorrorBlips on a topic everyone is sure to have an opinion on:

Myers vs. Myers, Who is Scarier?

I Like Horror Movies had the chance to participate in the discussion, so be sure to stop by and see what each of the top-rated Horror bloggers thought on the subject in the link above! Each of the entries were limited to 250 words, so you can find our abridged version on HorrorBlips, or you can read on for our feature write-up:

"No horror remake has split genre fans more evenly than Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN remake. The question isnt necessarily whether Rob's film was superior to the original or not, but rather if his interpretation was complete garbage or gold. Regardless of how fans reacted to the changes that were made to the story or the characters, there is one thing that genre fans cannot deny: Tyler Mane's posturing in the role of Michael Myers truly was frightening. The man is a brick wall, and brought with him the force of a MACK truck and the image of a giant. This added a huge intimidation factor, and also grounded the character's strength and abilities into reality, limited only by Mane's physical restrictions. Unlike the precise and meticulous knife work in Carpenter's version, this new incarnation is absolutely brutal and unrelenting, resulting in several blood-soaked deaths and mangled corpses.

There are two main problems with the new take on The Shape that stand out more than any other. Understanding the inner workings and motivations driving Michael's madness only serves to humanize him, which is opposite of what Carpenter's film looked to achieve. It also peels back the curtain behind why Laurie Strode became the focus of his obsession, a key plot element left out of the first film that only furthered the mystery and the darkness of the character. The second issue at hand involves the choppy editing and busy set designs that only serve to distract rather than impress. What worked for DEVIL'S REJECTS only works against HALLOWEEN, and makes it nearly impossible to watch. Michael is lost entirely in several of the chase sequences where the audience isnt given a single moment to focus, and is instead bombarded by a barrage of fast cuts and mangled backdrops.

Jump back 30 years, and we have a fundamentally different version of the character as portrayed by Nick Castle. After a brief but effective set-up, the character of Michael is only described as a soulless embodiment of evil incarnate. There is no rationale behind his actions, no motive, no explanation. He is just an unstoppable force that enjoys killing, and does it well. On screen, Castle is still very imposing at only 5'10", which is a credit to Carpenter's use of angled shots and framing to make the character appear larger than life. Myers then becomes much more accessible to the audience since he is the height of any average person, meaning the person next to you or the neighbor could become the next evil avatar. Where his later counterpart would come in and obliterate his victims in a series of thoughtless slashes, retro-Michael plants the tip of his blade with pin-point accuracy, then stands back to admire his work. Carpenter's Michael is then a much more subtle, sinister, and methodical killer, unlike the rabid dog unleashed by Zombie.

What is most effective about the original Michael Myers is his stark contrast against the dark sets, brought out even more by the minimalist backgrounds that emphasizes his presence. The blank, white face of the mask as it slowly appears out of the darkness creates an iconic moment in film that is as terrifying as it is memorable. Carpenter also leaves the interior settings empty and open, which immediately initiates a response in the audience for anyone that has ever been spooked when they are left home alone in a dark house, but also makes Myers' presence that much more apparent and intimidating. The audience isnt left worrying about the shards of splintered wood or dilapidated housing that Laurie had to struggle through in 2007; it is just her and an intimidating foe pitted head to head. This places the central focus on Michael and makes him infinitely more frightening.

Is Rob Zombie's Michael Myers scary? Yes. Is John Carpenter's Michael Myers scary? Definitely. Between the two, however, there is no question that The Shape that started it all is the scariest of any of the slasher icons that came before or since the 1978 classic. We can only hope that the new incarnation of Michael Myers will continue to evolve and terrify the audience in the films to come."

-Carl Manes
Editor, I Like Horror Movies

HorrorBlips: vote it up!

4 comments:

  1. Haha, after reading all of the bloggers' opinions, was it really a fair question at all?

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  2. I agree. Are you really going to go against Carpenter's Myers? He brought the masked slasher genre into the limelight.

    It boils down to the fact that Carpenters version makes MM evil. That's it. He's plain evil. Sometimes that's the best explanation.

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  3. Good write up, Carl. I will have to go with Carpenter's vision as well, IMHO. One reason is due to his Shape being the original but also because of the major difference between the two Myers. In an interview on Howard Stern last week, Rob Zombie stated that Carpenter's version was pure evil and that his version was strictly human. His is just a man. So I will take my chances against Rob's vs. Carpenter's any day of the week based on the human factor. I think I'd last longer in a street fight. Even though Rob's Shape (Mane) can toss me to Europe with one hand. =)

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  4. The question was a bit one sided, but I have heard some people actually claim to like Robs film better somehow. Genre fans, even! Granted, the ones that do typically have drastically different tastes than I do.

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