Halloween II (2009 film)
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“This movie sucks the sweat off a dead man's balls.”
Halloween II is Rob Zombie’s 2009 abortion of the Halloween franchise. It is not a remake of the Halloween II that came out in 1981. Unlike the previous film, H2 was intended to suck. This change in direction popped in the writer-director’s head when he unfortunately, incorrectly, and egotistically decided that Daeg Faerch was "waaay too old" for the role of Young Michael Myers and that his scenes wouldn’t work.
Zombie and the Weinsteins refused to let the film undergo massive reshoots when the test screenings failed, and it was released in theaters August 28, 2009. It was a fan-repelling bomb -- critics hated it, audiences hated it, fans hated it, and the film made no money at the box office. It was savaged by The Final Destination in 3-D. Halloween II bankrupted the Weinsteins.
edit Plot, or lack thereof
One year after the events of the remake (two years, according to the Unrated Director's Cut), Laurie Strode (Scout-Taylor Compton) is a drugged-up mess. Cynthia (Dee Wallace) and Mason Strode (Pat Skipper) are dead (having been killed in the previous film), and so Laurie is adopted by Sheriff Brackett (Brad Dourif) and his daughter Annie (Danielle Harris).
Michael Myers (Zakk Wylde, replacing Tyler Mane) is a homeless trailer trash Sith hobo whose mask is deteriorating. He has a mystical connection to Laurie, besides being her brother. He sees visions of his younger self (Chase Wright Vanek, butchering the Daeg Faerch role), his mother Deborah (Stevie Nicks, replacing Sherri Moon Zombie), and a white horse.
The rest is by-the-numbers.
In 2008, after Rob Zombie repeatedly vowed never to return to the Halloween franchise after his wildly successful -- and brilliant -- 2007 remake, Bob and Harvey Weinstein hired Maury & Bastillo, the French directors of Inside, to helm the Myers sequel. The plot was to revolve around Laurie Strode and her college friends, three years later, encountering Michael Myers once more as he slaughtered the entire campus before Dr. Loomis arrived to save the day as usual. Loomis would have been played by Christopher Lee, rather than Malcolm McDowell. "We were in final negotiations with Mr. Lee," says Maury, "before the Weinsteins canceled the film." Lee and the late Peter Cushing were the original two choices for the role back in 1978 before it went to the late Donald Pleasence.
The film was to retain its "Carpenterness" that was a mainstay in all of the previous films, but it would have been more prominent than in Zombie's remake. "Sadly, movies like that don't really sell anymore," says Maury, "which is a damn shame. All they want is a bunch of horny teenagers fucking each other. They get that kind of shit on my talk show. They want blood, gore, and gross-out. We don't do that."
The problem was that the directors' Carpenter's-ass-kissing vision didn't mesh with Zombie's film. So the two were let go and Zombie threw his name in the hat. He was quickly hired and spent months writing Halloween II. "I had to get some inspiration by watching other movies," he said. He presented the script to Bob Weinstein in November 2008 and got the greenlight.
Filming officially began February 20, 2009 in Georgia. Zombie suddenly became dissatisfied with his vision. "I was tired of making good movies like House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil's Rejects, and Halloween. So I decided I would make a movie that sucks the sweat off a dead man's balls."
Zombie wasn't satisfied with the clean look of Super 35mm film and the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, so he used an ultra-grainy 16mm film that he dubbed "Sub 16" rather than Super 16, and filmed in the 1.85:1 ratio.
edit Daeg Faerch recast controversy
On March 3, 2009, while Zombie was contemplating ways to make the film suck, his wife Sherri Moon pointed out Daeg Faerch's height and suggested he be promoted to adult Michael Myers while concurrently playing Young Michael. Then it hit Zombie like a pile of bricks, "This is a great way to make the film suck -- I'll fire Daeg!"
On March 3, 2009, Daeg sadly was fired from reprising the role of Young Michael Myers. The "reason" given as "increased height" and "puberty concerns," which could easily have been cheated in post-production. "It hurt him more than it hurt me," Zombie has said. "I did everything I could to make the film suck. And since I’m too opinionated and incompetent to use special effects and/or clever cinematography to make Daeg seem younger and shorter, and since I want the film to suck so badly, I thought the easiest way to make it suck is to replace Daeg with a cunt who can't act to save his fucking life."
That cunt is named Chase Wright Vanek, who was asked to audition for the role after Zombie viewed some dreadful Z-movie entitled Dear Lemon Lima. Vanek's audition was dreadful and he was hired on the spot. "He's the kind of kid," Zombie says, "who'll get angry mobs to come after me with pitchforks and torches."
The removal of Daeg Faerch resulted in the eternal and ever-growing hatred towards Halloween II and the Zombies.
The first of several protests, riots, and/or bonfires started that night, almost immediately after Faerch had confirmed his exit. An army of hundreds of thousands of Daeg fans made customized picket signs and T-shirts, and marched the streets of Hollywood chanting "WE WANT DAEG!!! WE WANT DAEG!!! WE WANT DAEG!!!! WE WANT MOTHERFUCKING DAEG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" causing chaos and panic for citizens who were unaware of the Anti-Recast Movement. Everybody carried at least one pitchfork and one torch. Two and a half people were arrested, and five were half-arrested, but everybody was let go when authorities learned that the fuss was about Daeg Faerch, and they, too, joined in. Nobody was injured except for Rob Zombie, who suffered beatings too numberous and graphic to mention here.
Other assaults soon followed leading up to the release, and the Weinsteins felt pressured to bring Faerch back. They tried forcing Rob to bring the young actor back, but he was adamant. "I want this film to suck! Can't you get that through your thick head?" The Weinsteins off and on threatened to fire Rob, and dammit, they should have, if only because of this Daeg recast. Meanwhile, Harvey Weinstein kept telling fans, "We're looking into it. Whatever Rob had that made Halloween such a great film, he ain't got it no more. [sic] He seriously needs to get his ass back on track and bring back what made the first film such a success -- Daeg Faerch. We, the Weinstein Company, will not support this film until this error is corrected; either way, we're still contractually obligated to release this horseshit, so we can't just burn the reel. I wish we would have canceled the movie after Daeg was recast; maybe that would have taught that pretentious bastard Zombie a fucking lesson. Asshole..."
edit Other cast and crew changes
The firing of Daeg Faerch led many returning actors to walk off the set. Tyler Mane flat out refused to continue on without Daeg, and even got into a huge catfight with Zombie. Even Sherri Moon stormed out and flipped her husband the bird. Zombie was already behind schedule and quietly replaced them with Ozzy Osbourne and Black Label Society guitarist Zakk Wylde and legendary Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks.
Bill Moseley, who was to portray new character Uncle Seymour Coffins cited "scheduling conflicts" as the reason he dropped out of the film. However, Zombie suspects something else.
The director of photography, Phil Parmet, was fired and replaced by Brandon Trost, an alias for Rob Zombie, who is not an ASC member, but rather an ASS member.
edit Removal of the Halloween Theme
“I had to. It was just too musical. It was too musical before I fired Daeg, it's still too musical now, after the test screenings sank like the Titanic. I am so sick of that "duh-nuh-nuh, duh-nuh-nuh, duh-nuh, duh-nuh" music that I could just scream. I hate everything to do with Halloween and I only involved myself in this horseshit franchise so I could make a quick buck and buy that new ’57 Chevy I’ve always wanted. That’s why I look up to John Carpenter so much. He doesn’t give two shits about Halloween, and he’s only in it for the money. And so am I. But hey, at least the first one was flawless, so that's an accomplishment, right? So long, suckers!”
Even the Weinsteins were vocal about their disappointment. "It’s blasphemy," says Harvey Weinstein. "The Halloween Theme is as much a character as Michael Myers himself, but Rob Zombie is too insanely idiotic to realize it! Don't tell Rob this, but we snuck it in at the end of the movie. He still doesn't know yet... and he owns the Blu-ray."
edit Trailers and TV spots
On April 24, 2009, Yahoo! Movies premiered the official teaser trailer for H2. Despite all of the plot elements and new characters that were introduced in this trailer, nothing from it received any more recognition than that of the appearance of Daeg Faerch as Young Michael, despite the fact that he had been recast due to the clash his height and puberty had on Rob Zombie’s inflated ego. As usual, Daeg received unanimously rave reviews while Chase Wright Vanek was largely ignored.
“What the hell am I looking at? When does this happen in the picture?”
“Who the hell are you?!!”
“Who the fuck are you?”
“Damn you for letting him go...”
“The greatest performer ever to have graced this Earth!”
“Good Lord, this kid sucks!”
“That don’t impress me much.”
“See it! In fact, see it twice!”
But even as the reviews for Faerch’s "cameo" came in, it was still unclear as to whether the young actor would be in the actual movie. Rumors circulated that Faerch would be superimposed over his "replacement" Chase Wright Vanek’s body . Fans had reached a consensus ruling that Faerch’s head had been superimposed in the trailer in a similar manner. When word finally got to Rob Zombie in a Bloody-Disgusting interview , he announced that Faerch’s cameo was unintentional and a mistake.
“I didn't cut the trailer, this 14-year old kid in Wisconsin who lives with his parents cut it. These kids are prone to human error. The people who make the trailers are not the ones making the movie, so lots of weird little things will get in there by mistake. I am flattered and humiliated that people pay more attention to Daeg’s appearance than anything else in the trailer. What about Michael’s hoodie? Half-mask? Laurie in the hospital? But alas, I’ve learned my lesson well... Thou Shalt Not Recast... unless it works. I need a good kick in the ass, and Daeg is the person to give me it, because he is the true Young Michael Myers. Why didn’t I just make him a teenager instead of firing Daeg? Simple, because I wanted the film to suck, and Daeg Faerch is incapable of sucking. So I fired him. What a bastard I am! I’ll kick my own ass! Daeg won’t be in H2 in any way, shape, or form, because why go through all that trouble! We'll see what happens when this film debuts at No. 3 and flops big time! Karma is a bitch.”
Subsequent TV spots have shown more of Daeg Faerch’s cut scenes than anything else. Zombie still blames this on mistakes by that 14-year-old kid from Wisconsin. Daeg’s appearances caused questions and confusion more than the DTV switch ever would.
On June 22, 2009, a brand new trailer was released showing different scenes. This trailer was highly massacred by film critics as varied as Roger Ebert, Richard Roeper, Gene Shalit, longtime Halloween fan Howard Stern, Ben Lyons, Ben Mankiewicz, Peter Travers, Hugh Hefner, Stan Lee, Gene Simmons, and Bobcat Goldthwait. To add fuel to the ever-growing fire, critics and fans alike were quick to point out their disappointment in the heartless absense of Daeg Faerch, but rather, his scenes were replaced with those of Chase Wright Vanek, causing an enormous downgrade from the previous teaser trailer.
edit Test screenings and massive overhaul
After test screening Halloween II in New York City and Los Angeles, the film scored worse than the test screenings for Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. Despite this, Rob Zombie felt that the film didn't suck enough. So he and the Weinteins went out of their way to make some dramatic changes, none of which involved bringing Daeg back and attempting to make a half-decent film. Zombie decided to further explore the angle of Michael Myers being a trashy Hobo Sith with a deteriorating mask. After too many puffs of a Mexican joint, he decided to add some psycho-babble about a white horse in order to give Deborah and Young Michael an unneeded purpose. He also decided to let the adult Michael Myers talk... something long forbidden in the franchise. None of these elements impressed fans, who begged for Zombie to put some effort into the film.
"I wouldn't listen to anybody," Zombie said in January at the DVD and Blu-ray release party. "I knew I needed Daeg back, but I didn't want him back, because I'm an egotistical director who was on the verge of turning myself into the laughingstock of Hollywood."
Sixty-eight percent of the film had to be reshot in order to crush fans’ wants, needs, and demands. Ironically, Zombie remains unimpressed by the theatrical cut. "I hate the final cut," he says. "When you went to see this film, you should have been prepared for disappointment, especially if you’re a Daeg fan."
More than 8,675,309 Daeg fans were able to get past security and sabotage one of two test screenings for the film. They pelted trash at Rob & Sherri Moon Zombie, the Weinsteins, producer Malek Akkad, Chase Wright Vanek, and the screen. They shouted insults every second Vanek showed up on screen. They mooned Hobo Michael Myers and screamed "Bring back Dick Warlock!"
The second test screening got even more out of control. The number of Daeg fans rose to a total of 6 trillion. They managed to bound and gag security, break into the projection room, and replace the reel with Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Rob Zombie was none too impressed, and he stormed into the projection room like a pretentious prima donna, beat up the Daeg fans within inches of their lives, and replaced the reel with the much-maligned H2. Once the film finally started, everybody in the audience booed and pelted trash at the screen and everybody responsible for the film. The only Halloween II cast or crew member not booed, pelted, or insulted was Weird Al Yankovic, who actually participated in the sabotage. After the film ended, a Q&A was held. Comments ranged from "The ending sucked," "The whole film sucked," and "Where's Deag?" One person was brave enough to tell the cast and crew:
“I have seen every Halloween since the 1978 original, and I can honestly tell you that this is the most godawful waste of $15 million I have ever seen committed to such a horrible piece of celluloid. I wouldn't pay one cent to see this horseshit if you put me at gunpoint. Rob Zombie, you have failed in your duties as a writer, and as a director. You should be ashamed of yourself. You have shamed John Carpenter's legacy with Halloween II. Moustapha Akkad is rolling in his grave as we speak. Donald Pleasence is rolling in his grave, as well. Malek Akkad, your father should be very ashamed of you. If I were him, I would fire your ass in a heartbeat. I would spank you so hard, you wouldn't be able to sit for a year or two. I would ground you for 20 years. Mr. Vanek, you are the WORST child "actor" I have EVER witnessed in ALL MY YEARS!! I hope you are BANISHED from Hollywood. I hope you all burn in hell for this. The Weinsteins are toast. See you in Hell... from Heaven.”
This long and detailed rant received a standing ovation lasting two full hours. Zombie, Vanek, Akkad, and the Weinsteins were all taken aback, before Zombie simply told Dandy to "go fuck yourself" and left the room whilst being pelted with trash.
Another incident occured at the premiere of the film at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. A very clever Daeg fan snuck into the projection room and replaced the reel with the original Halloween II from 1981, directed by Rick Rosenthal. At this point, Zombie was very pissed off about the backlash. When introducing the film, he said, "I made this film so that it could suck. I know you all hate it, and I want you to, but please stop rubbing it in my fucking face. Thank you." The boos turned into cheers the minute Jamie Lee Curtis, Brian Andrews, and Kyle Richards appeared on screen. The appearance of Donald Pleasence received a standing ovation, causing current Dr. Loomis Malcolm McDowell to put a paper bag over his head for the rest of the day. Critics were unable to officially review Zombie's H2 at the premiere due to the fact that the reel could never be found after it was replaced.
Lesser incidents continued on until the film left theaters after three weeks, then resumed when the film was re-released in October 2009, and yet again when the film was released on DVD an Blu-ray.
When critics were finally able to review Halloween II on opening day, the film was met with unamimously negative reviews from every film critic who matters a fuck.
Among the reviews:
“[Chase Wright Vanek is] a pallid replacement for the previous film's Daeg Faerch.”
“SWEET JESUS MAKE IT END.”
“Zombie really doesn't escape the genre conventions.”
“Brutal and redundant... gruesome sequel... pathetic... tragically irredeemable... [Zombie] suffers from multiple personality disorder!”
“Wish Michael Myers would have taken his knife to that stupid white horse.”
“In a word, ugly. It just pips Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (aka Halloween 6) to the title of worst Halloween film ever.”
“An artless, bloody mess.”
“It amazes me how this film was snubbed not only by the Oscars -- which is fully understandable, but also by the Razzies! I was expecting a few.”
edit Box office
The film debuted at No. 3, with an estimated $0.00 at the box office. It was behind Final Destination 4 3-D (No. 1) and second-week champ Inglorious Basterds (No. 2). The film continued to make no money until it left theaters early, after only three weeks. Everybody was disappointed by every aspect of the film.
In an attempt to make some money, the film was re-released in time for Halloween. Unfortunately, it only made $0.00, bringing the film's total gross to $0.00 worldwide.
edit Home video releases
On December 25, 2009, the penniless Weinsteins enlisted the help of Sony to help them release Halloween II on DVD and Blu-ray. They said, "Are you fucking kidding me, Harv? Release this steaming pile of cow manure to Blockbuster and NetFlix and expect a profit? And put us out or work, too? And how the hell did you afford that fancy suit? Goodwill?" The negotiations continued until Sony agreed to release it -- on January 12, 2010.
Not only was the theatrical cut released on DVD only, but also released was Zombie's contractually-required Unrated Director's Cut featuring three minutes of extended and additional scenes, plus a 17-minute alternate ending set to the tune of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. Special features included a feature-length
commentary apology from Rob Zombie and all parties involved; deleted scenes; a blooper/gag reel (which, surprisingly, was not the movie itself!); makeup tests; every scene Daeg filmed; 12 featurettes documenting the immense backlash; "How I Killed Michael Myers... the Second Time Around!" featurette; and the trailers.
The discs peaked at No. 8 on the rental/sales charts with an estimated $0.00 profit.
edit The Infamous P-Cut
After the release of the theatrical and director's cuts of the movie, Rob Zombie revealed to Ain't It Cool News that he had created a new version called the Pretentious Cut (or P-Cut, not to be confused with the P-Cut of Halloween 6):
"I was watching Eraserhead while on LSD, and it occurred to me that I should make a third cut of Halloween II that made absolutely no sense whatsoever. Of course, I'd never officially release this cut to the world, but I will tell a few people on the Official Halloween Message Board about it so that they can spread the word and let the P-Cut's reputation grow amongst the fanbase. Then I'll slap a copy of it on eBay or something and make no fortune."
Here is a partial list of the changes in the P-Cut:
- The pumpkin opening credits are restored.
- We learn that the white horse signifies that Michael is a Replicant.
- As Brackett stands over Laurie's body, that guy from Stand and Deliver appears to say, "It's too bad she won't live, but then again, who does?"
- The long-lost jitterbug scene with Dorothy Gale is restored.
- The intricate flashback structure initially envisioned by Zombie has been restored.
- Since the film now begins at the end then jumps to the middle before it actually starts, a detailed voiceover narration from Sam Loomis is now included, in the hopes of eliminating audience confusion. Unfortunately, due to an oversight, most of the VO has nothing to do with what's actually occurring on-screen.
edit Halloween 3D
On opening day, it was announced that Halloween II would be followed by Halloween 3D, which would have a new writer and director, and be released in the summer of 2010. No details were given, so speculation was high. Some predicted another reboot, while others predicted another Zombie-esque failure. A handful of people predicted it would simply be the original Halloween in 3D.
Although Steve Miner (Friday the 13th Part 3D, Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later) was the rumored director, it was announced that Todd Farmer would write, with Patrick Lussier directing. Conflicting news reports followed, including one stating that the Weinsteins were looking for pitches for the film. Farmer gave a long and detailed account of the events leading to the cancellation of the film.
Halloween III may or may not resume production until the duo is finished with the Nicolas Cage film, Drive Angry.