John Carpenter’s 1978 classic Halloween has been one of the most viewed and talked about horror films in the history of the genre. As a matter of fact, it was the first horror movie I saw. In 2007, John Carpenter’s classic got a reboot from the disturbed mind of Rob Zombie. Being a fan of the original Halloween and Rob Zombie, of course I went to see it and of course I had to add the film to my collection. Anytime a remake or reboot comes about, the first thing anyone does is compare the film to the original. I decided to sit down and watch both the original and the reboot back to back and add Halloween to my Original vs Remake series.
The first comparison I made was the role of Laurie Strode, the sister and main target of Michael Myers. In 1978 the amazing Jamie Lee Curtis put on her innocent face to grace the screen as he damsel in distress turned badass heroine. Jamie Lee Curtis could never be topped in the role of Laurie Strode. In the 2007 reboot, an actress new to the scene, Scout Taylor-Compton was cast as Laurie. In 1978, Laurie was much more reserved and timid whereas in 2007 she was more outgoing and not nearly as standoffish. Both films portray Laurie as the more innocent one of her group of friends. Scout did an incredible job resurrecting the iconic role, but she did not sell it as well as Jamie Lee.
The next most vital role is obviously Michael Myers. In 1978 Tony Moran played the masked psycho and in 2007 the very large, intimidating Tyler Mane reprized the role. Tony Moran was of course amazing, but Tyler Mane’s Michael was much more menacing. Tyler was larger and his movements were much more brutal. Michael’s kills in the 2007 Halloween were much more gruesome than those in the 1978 film. In the battle of Michaels, I am going to have to give it to Tyler Mane.
The most iconic image from the Halloween franchise is without a doubt, Michael’s white mask. The masks are drastically different in both films. The 1978 mask was not very detailed and seemed to be very loose fitting and it did not have many human characteristics. In 2007, Michael’s mask was much more defined and tighter fitting. You could tell that there was a human face behind the mask. In the battle of the masks, I would have to say that Tyler Mane’s mask in the 2007 Halloween wins this one. Michael’s face does not seem as blank and I love that he has more human qualities to his face.
Of course Halloween would not be the same without Dr. Samuel Loomis, Michael’s doctor. Both the original and the remake had icons playing this role. In 1978, Donald Pleasence played the role and in 2007, Malcolm McDowell dawned the tan trench coat and pursued Michael around Haddonfield. The role in both films, in my opinion, is kind of a creepy one. Loomis is a very complex character, he’s a good guy, yet he’s very conflicted. Both Pleasence and McDowell did an incredible job in the role, and it is almost impossible for me to choose which one I liked more as Loomis. So, when it comes to this role, I’m calling it a draw.
Now to compare the contents of the films. Both films have the same characters and the same basic concept. One thing that I did like more about the 2007 reboot was that we got to see more into the mind and life of young Michael Myers. Being able to see more into Michael’s past makes him easier to understand and much more a sympathetic character. In the 1978 classic, we only see young Michael when he dawns the mask and kills Judith, but in 2007, his rampage is much more brutal and his body count is much higher. It was great to see the hell he went through at home and at school that makes him snap. It gave the film much more depth and more of a story to build on. In John Carpenter’s Halloween, we are not quite sure what happens to Michael’s parents, but in 2007, we see that he kills his step-father/mother’s boyfriend and that his mother kills herself after a very traumatizing visit to see Michael in Smithsgrove.
In the 1978 film, Michael moves more like a mindless killing machine, which I guess would kind of make sense. However, in 2007 Michael moves with more calculation and his actions are much more methodical and thought out. I like the actions of Michael in Rob Zombie’s Halloween more than his actions in John Carpenter’s film because if you really think about it, he has had 15+ years to think about what he is going to do, so his actions should appear to be more thought out. In 1978, Michael seems to be on a mission to kill Laurie, but in 2007 he seems to be on more of a mission to bring her home and make her understand that she is his sister.
In 2007, we see Michael kill the Strodes on his destructive path to find his baby sister, but in 1978, we have no clue what happens to them.
Laurie of course has her group of party girl friends, Lynda and Annie. In both films, Lynda and Annie were much more outgoing and sexually driven than Laurie. In 1978, PJ Soles and Nancy Kyes/Loomis play the mischievous duo. In 2007, Kristina Klebe plays Lynda and a veteran to the Halloween franchise, Danielle Harris plays Annie. Of the teenagers killed on Halloween night by Michael Myers, one of the most memorable ones is Lynda. In both 1978 and 2007, Lynda’s iconic death is the same. Lynda and her boyfriend fooling around in the Myers’ house and when they are finished Lynda has her boyfriend get her a beer. On his way back he is brutally killed by Michael and Michael then dawns a sheet and her boyfriend’s glasses and enters the room Lynda is in. After some bitchy lines from Lynda, Michael hands her the beer and then proceeds to strangle Lynda. I am glad they kept that kill from the original the same. Annie however has a different fate in both films. In 1978, Michael is in the backseat of Annie’s car and when she gets in to go pick up Paul, Michael reaches to the front seat and straggles her. However, in the 2007 reboot, Paul picks Annie up after she drop Lindsey off to Laurie and they head off for a rendezvous. While they are messing around on the couch, Michael channels his inner voyeur and watches them for a bit then proceeds to kill Paul. Annie however tries to run away and Michael catches up to her and stabs her a few times, but Laurie finds Annie still alive laying on the floor.
In both films, Michael finally gets a hold of Laurie and takes her to their childhood home. In both films, Laurie sees Lynda laying at the foot of Judith’s tombstone in the basement of the Myers‘ house. In the 1978 film, Annie is also in the basement, dead with Lynda, and we all know that in 2007’s adaptation, Annie survives and is not in the basement with Linda.
The endings to both films were different yet similar. They were both very open and left room for a sequel. Both involved Laurie, Michael and a gun. In the original, Michael finds Laurie in a closet and she stabs him in the eye with a coat hanger then Loomis enters the room and shoots Michael and he falls out the upstairs window. When they look out the window, Michael is gone. In the reboot, Laurie tries to shoot Michael but the gun jams then Michael tackles her out the window. Laurie lands on top of Michael and then she repeatedly tries to shoot him, but the gun does not go off. Finally, the gun goes off and she shoots Michael in the head. The movie ends with Laurie sitting on top of Michael screaming.
In this edition on Original vs Remake: Halloween (1978) vs Halloween (2007), I am giving the title to John Carpenter’s 1978 classic Halloween. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Rob Zombie’s reboot, but when it comes to such an iconic film, nothing tops the classic.