Halloween II: A Rob Zombie Film Original Soundtrack
2009 Universal Music Company
Ray Van Horn, Jr.
A tale of a pair of Halloween II movie soundtracks...
As Hollywood and Rob Zombie by association veritably reinvents the entire horror noir of the past 25-30 years, which has already been done by the greats of the genre such as Carpenter, Romero, Coscarelli, Fucli, Gordon, Hooper, Deodato, Craven, Garris and many others, the question becomes whether or not its newer breed of directors want to tributize or actually rub out the past. The truth of the matter is, today's generation is jealous it wasn't alive or at least far too young when the classics were made, thus green envy becomes outright hijacking.
Zombie's remake of John Carpenter's halcyon Halloween was embraced by some, panned by others. One thing's for sure; Rob Zombie's Halloween is and isn't your daddy's film. Zombie took his favorite scenes from the original source, re-arranged them with an entirely new back story to the famed "Shape," aka Michael Myers and littered his characters and script with more baldfaced and forced profanity than 12-year-old boys in the back of school trying to prove their filthy vernacular prowess. It was to the point you could hardly sympathize with Zombie's Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) because she was as much a potty-mouth as her modern-imbued "Linda" and "Annie." The latter lass also got topless in Zombie's Halloween, which is highly uncomfortable if you're aware Danielle Harris happened to play Michael Myers' waif-like niece in Halloween 4 and 5. This writer enjoys a good boobie scene as much as any other oversexed male, but oy, the discomfort...
Rob Zombie reportedly passed on the opportunity to direct the inevitable sequel of his remake due to exhaustion from the film along with his concert touring duties and El Superbeasto voiceover action which followed subsequently. Malek Akkad, picking up the reins from Mustapha Akkad, perrenial backer of Michael Myers' interminable legacy (Mustapha has said on camera he'd soon see 22 Halloween films made in his lifetime in support of statements made by the late Donald Pleasance), managed to coax Zombie back into the director's and writer's chair for the new Halloween II as Akkad's team of writers couldn't pull off a pliable script.
"Family is Forever" blares overtop the marquee poster of Rob Zombie's Halloween II, which appears to be veering far away from John Carpenter's 1981 sequel with yesteryear nods in the form of scenes in a hospital and the exposition of familial relations between Michael Myers and Laurie Strode. Preliminary reports indicate Zombie's Strode (unlike Jamie Lee Curtis' naive, virginal babysitter-turned-hellcat Laurie Strode) is going to experience a psychosis of her own. Blood is thicker than, well, blood spilled in Zombie's Halloween II as we're going to see things from Strode's point-of-view including a meltdown which we'll soon find out in theaters if it means she'll turn killer like her hulking broski, played by Tyler Mane--who enjoys a rare opportunity to play Michael in consecutive films.
So where does that leave us with the soundtrack to Zombie's Halloween II? One would hope it intended to mimic not the watermark spook notes of John Carpenter and Alan Howarth's terrifying synth score from '81 (albeit reworked from the first film), but at least the dark grace and creepy electro pulse giving it an alarming cadence and still standing as one for the ages.
Save for the unnerving coldwave hellscape of "Nurse Killa" by Tyler Bates, this Halloween II soundtrack is almost Quentin Tarantino-graced in its slick nuttiness. Rob Zombie's selections are hardly metal, save for the cool inclusion of Motorhead's "The Chase is Better Than the Catch" from Another Perfect Day. Thumbs-up to Zombie for picking a cut from one of Motorhead's lesser-heralded but arguably finest albums.
Largely Halloween II is a trip down the time warp as Rob Zombie pulls out the soft seventies soap of 10CC's "The Things We Do For Love" and the ambient fugue masterpiece "Nights in White Satin" from The Moody Blues. You can picture where Zombie might fit these pieces with snaggletoothed bravado if you'll recall his masterful touch of setting his explosive ending of The Devil's Rejects to the tune of Lynard Skynard's "Freebird."
Where Halloween II really confuses in a gleeful way is Zombie's punctuated picks of the MC5's brackish live classic "Kick Out the Jams" (which ought to ring fantastically in a horror flick) and Void's nerve-slitting "Time to Die." Few people forget that Rod Stewart used to rock back in the seventies before he turned adult contemporary, but not Rob Zombie. His use of Stewart's banging rendition of The Temptations' "(I Know) I'm Losing You" is spot-on, particularly the chugging beat jam and the cataclysmic wah-fest after Stewart turns his band free. Very smart use of a hell of a good cover tune and the chaotic implications you can envision pounding on the screen behind the shoulders of Michael, Laurie or even a frustrated Dr. Loomis (Malcolm McDowell, the only logical successor to Pleasance).
The in-between skits and banter fused into the soundtrack indicates Zombie is going for another cuss-fest in Halloween II, and honestly, there's something disturbing about hearing sex moans and breathy "he's...fucking...dead..." on the opening segment. Likewise, the oafish "fucked by Frankenstein's monster" gibberish on "Ass Good" is simply whatever.
On the other hand, we get some ska punk from the Amerarockers with "Screams," some classic whitey funk with Foghat on "I Just Want to Make Love to You" and some very kickin' psychobilly from the fictitious Captain Clegg and the Night Creatures (created for the film and due for their own full-length album soon) with "Transylvania Terror Train" and "Honky Tonk Halloween."
What all of this says is Rob Zombie has appreciably diverse tastes in music. Even letting his current guitarist John 5 whip up a silky synth score "Laurie's Theme" which is nothing in accord to Carpenter/Howarth pinpoints a sharp musical mind who no doubt thought like the rest of us horror and rock dweebs did with Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper" whispering behind Jamie Lee Curtis and Nancy Loomis in Carpenter's Halloween: incredibly poignant and subtly unnerving. Also having an ethereal and shadowy cover of Nazareth's "Love Hurts" by Nan Vernon cements the deal on a very exciting come-together of apposite music to a film which might get down 'n dirty in a psychosexual manner as indicated by these tracks.
Then again, Zombie's fooled us before...
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Halloween II: A Rob Zombie Film Original Soundtrack