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Exclusive: Halloween 2's Rob Zombie Speaks!
Source:Ryan Rotten, Managing Editor
May 17, 2009

Rob Zombie has always gone against the grain. When the writer-director was wrapping up his press tour for 2007's Halloween redux, Zombie voiced his disinterest in doing a sequel. However, over a year had past before he was approached by Dimension Films and producer Malek Akkad (interview) for Halloween 2 - a film he ultimately took on. Naturally, fans and bloggers took him to task, calling him out for going back on his word. But such is the fickle nature of Hollywood, something Zombie is not immune to.

Working from a script he, once again, penned, Zombie relocated production from Pasadena (where much of his remake was shot) to Georgia where he revisited his vision of the Michael Myers saga with actors Scout Taylor-Compton, Tyler Mane, Malcolm McDowell and many other familiar faces. catches up to the man just a few weeks into editing... When you committed to the sequel, did you already have a seed of an idea of where to take it? Did the writing process go fast and furious?

Rob Zombie:
Everything has been fast and furious with this one. But no, I had no thoughts on it because I hadn't planned on doing it. I didn't have anything prepared, but once we started it was fast as it turned out to our advantage.

Shock: Well, did you find yourself the least bit surprised by the ideas that hit you?

The script was constantly being written because there wasn't enough time to live with things which is fine with me because sometimes because you can live with a script for too long and you over-think it. The life can go out of it. I actually had this conversation with Robert Rodriguez and he said sometimes if you let a movie sit around too long there's too much time to ruin it. People get in your head, they give you suggestions. Things go on. What was good is that this was similar to The Devil's Rejects in that I jumped in and went for it. There wasn't a lot of time to over-think it and that worked out better for me.

Shock: Did you find that was the case even when you were on set? Finding the film organically as you worked with the actors?

Well, one thing I liked about returning to this movie, in the same way I liked returning to The Devil's Rejects, is once you know the actors - when you first work with them, you don't know these people, they're complete strangers, you might know them from their work - it takes a long time to develop a relationship with them and unfortunately you don't have the time. By the end of the movie maybe you do. By this movie, now, I've known these people for a while, I'm friends with them, so I could tailor the parts to them. You get to know their strengths, that's not to say they can't do whatever you call on them to do, especially in the case of Malcolm McDowell and Brad Dourif. Now that I know them, I know what they excel at and where they really shine. You can see it through their careers, "Wow, that's so Malcolm, he's going to go crazy with that." Even Malcolm said the same thing when he got the script, he was so excited and all of his scenes were a blast to do because it was stuff that he could really run with. And I would say that applied to everybody. Filming a sequel, it can go two ways. You can do a cheap-o knock-off of the same thing, which I didn't want to do or you can take all of our actors, we know all of the characters, we can dig in and do something deeper and more meaningful than we did before.

Shock: Producer Malek Akkad conveyed that on set, as well - that this strays from the normal sequel we've seen before, but it definitely goes deeper. Can you elaborate on how?

The first movie was tricky because the conflict is that it's Halloween. It's John Carpenter's well-known story and well-known characters. That was the problem at all times, because I was battling with how much do I change? How much do I keep? Is it too similar? Too different? That movie from start to finish...sometimes you have experiences on a film like The Devil's Rejects - perfect experience. Wonderful all the way through. Halloween was a f**kin' nightmare from the moment it started to the moment it ended. It was just one of those things where if something could go wrong, it did. Everything was a problem. On this film, it was the exact opposite. Everything went great, we just locked into a groove and went with it. And I think that happened because there was nothing hanging over it. The characters had all been damaged and f**ked with through my movie, they don't relate to anything that's come before. For the actors, and myself, it made it easier, fresh and more my film this time. I felt with Halloween the first half of the movie was very much me, the second half was me trying to figure out what to do with John Carpenter's stuff. That becomes a mindf**k. This time I didn't care, we didn't have to think about any of that and it makes for a much better movie.

Shock: There's a palpable growth creatively that can be seen between House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects. Would you say we'll be seeing something similar between your two Halloween films?

Sometimes you grow, or, sometimes there's other things that play, too, do I put this? Making a movie is a joint effort of a lot of people. Sometimes you lock into a really solid groove of a certain person, like my [director of photography] Phil Parmet who was also on The Devil's Rejects. We butted heads and could not get along on Halloween, it was disastrous. With this movie, I have a new d.p. Brandon Trost and we locked into that killer groove that you lock into. Two people have to function as one. That was the difference. Movies are incredibly difficult even when they're going great. You cannot have that war of personalities, it just kills what's happening. We didn't have that this time and it's awesome.

Shock: Did that new groove yield a different look for this picture? What are the differences?

The biggest difference on this - I hate talking about what's wrong with things - on Halloween what I was unhappy with was the film looked too clean. For this type of thing, it looked too clean and that's a problem I dealt with in post-production. The Devil's Rejects is a dirty looking movie. That's what I liked about it. What I did with Brandon, we made a Halloween 2 - or whatever the f**k they're going to call it - dirty again. We went back and shot it on super-16mm and it's got a dirty vibe that's my thing. I felt on the last movie my thing had been removed which was a problem.

Shock: One of the things you expressed in the gigantic making-of documentary is that you shot a lot of material and by the time you went into the editing room, it was all about paring things down. Was that the case here?

Yes, we shot like maniacs. We did some re-shooting on Halloween or additional stuff. I knew on this one our schedule was so tight, so I overcompensated by shooting every scene every which way I could think of so I, when I was in editing, I wasn't saying, "F**k, if only I had this but I don't have it!" There's so much f**kin' film here. That's the one thing you learn as you go on. You really want to cover your ass because once you get into the editing room, you're f**ked.

Shock: What's happening with the familiar Halloween theme and music cues this time? Are you using them or going off on your own?

We're just starting to crack that nut. We're not sure yet. We're going to redo the entire score, we're not reusing any of the cues we had on Halloween because it would just seem weird. We're just starting to figure that out.

Shock: We're talking after the official trailer's been release and it's interesting to see how much of it plays on the hospital angle when the story really isn't set there all that much.

Yeah, here I am complaining again, one thing that bugged me about the trailer was it made something that is a very tiny thing in the movie seem like the whole movie. The trailer was cool, but I don't think it did the movie justice. It took things that were really small and made it seem huge. We were still shooting when they cut the trailer and the trailer is cut by people who have no idea what we're doing so what you get back sometimes is confusing. Usually, I get more involved but I was so overwhelmed with the shooting I just didn't have time to be a part of it.

Shock: Can you talk about Michael Myers' new look that we're seeing in the photos and trailer?

There is a photo out that I didn't approve that has Michael standing there with half of the mask off. You never really see it like that. You have these on set photos of him standing there in this brightly lit room. Everyone starts complaining, "I don't like the way it looks!" Well, it never looks like that. I thought the mask should degenerate as Michael's state of mind degenerates but it's never that clearly seen and it's still pretty mysterious in the actual film.

Shock: What was alluded to is that Laurie Strode goes through a bit of a mental degeneration, too. Did you find Scout really receptive to this or did it take some convincing?

I think Scout is an incredible actress and she didn't get nearly what she's capable of doing in the first film. Again, Laurie Strode as portrayed in Halloween is more or less John Carpenter's vision of this girl in a way. In this movie, that's not the case at all. This is more how I see things. It's like once the characters get fucked up, the people are more relatable to me or something. Her character has a lot to do and it gets pretty heart-wrenching. Everybody does, everybody in this film is pretty damaged. In the first film, Michael is the only damaged one. In this, Loomis is f**ked, Sheriff Brackett is f**ked up. Laurie is a mess, Annie is a mess. These are emotionally damaged people which always makes for more interesting characters.

Shock: Is this film bigger in scope? When we were on set you had a car on fire, police everywhere, a helicopter scene - it definitely looked like you opened up the action a bit.

It's a much bigger film. On some level it's both. The scope is much bigger than the first film, but the actual story and characters is much more personal, so it's both. The thing about getting out of L.A. and into Georgia, you can shoot with a greater scope. When we were in Pasadena, it turned out to be a huge mistake because you couldn't get any scope without seeing a palm tree or a Starbucks.

Shock: New Line is putting their latest Final Destination up against your film. What are your thoughts on that?

It is what it is. You try to find a good date to put your movie out and it doesn't matter where you move it there's always something else that will land on the same day. It's a bummer that there are two horror movies because you split the audiences. What can you do? I'm sure Final Destination is very...look, our movie is f**kin' dark. Dark and nasty, so we'll see.

Halloween 2 opens August 28th.

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Posted by: mike on May 17, 2009 at 13:20:42

i liked the first one, i wasnt happy about a few things but ill give this one a chance, if he really was more comfortable with the actors and everything maybe it'll turn out better, and i liked the music score, i dont know why it ALL has to change. i can see a new halloween theme ( which changes every sequel) but they should keep the chase theme and all of that. or do a remix of how the chase theme was in the orginal H2

Posted by: Dutch on May 17, 2009 at 13:27:10

Sounds fantastic. Mr. Zombie is one of the greats.

Posted by: danny glover on May 17, 2009 at 13:28:36

they better use the halloween theme how would it be weird if you use the halloween theme if there is no halloween theme i will go see final destination.

Posted by: Tommy_Doyle on May 17, 2009 at 13:38:23

Finally nice to see he addressed that awful "half-mask" business...thanks...I liked the trailer, and I will be there on opening weekend.

Posted by: nunya on May 17, 2009 at 13:59:52

See? All the people moaning about the trailer have nothing to moan about anymore. Zombie didn't even like the trailer and said it's a misrepresentation of what the movie is about. So, until you see the movie I don't want to hear anyone say **** about it again. But they will...oh, boy, you bet they will. Most notably because half the whiners can't read and comprehend worth ****.

Posted by: nunya on May 17, 2009 at 14:01:29

See? All the people moaning about the trailer have nothing to moan about anymore. Zombie didn't even like the trailer and said it's a misrepresentation of what the movie is about. So, until you see the movie I don't want to hear anyone say **** about it again. But they will...oh, boy, you bet they will. Most notably because half the whiners can't read and comprehend worth ****.

Posted by: brooklynpsycho on May 17, 2009 at 15:16:12

So true nunya, so true.

Posted by: ttop33 on May 17, 2009 at 15:33:10

You are supporting a man so talentless that he cannot make a single character different or original in his films. He cannot maintain a coherent plot, he does not make horror movies. Horror implies a sense of fear. He makes redneck gore porn.

Posted by: paul on May 17, 2009 at 16:05:16

ttop33 you are a moron, can u do better I think not, just shut your mouth and don't see the movie and it won't bother you anymore. How is that for a plan ja**off.

Posted by: Madness Of Mando on May 17, 2009 at 17:36:56

Well said Mr Zombie

Posted by: RJ Scriber on May 17, 2009 at 20:00:08

I sorta agree with ttop33. Horror needs that fear edge, and I just don't feel that in any of Zombie's films. And before anyone ****s on what I said - NO I can't make a better one, because I'm not a director.

I can understand the rush of something like The Devil's Rejects after House of a 1000 Corpses, but I mean, those two were original Zombie films, Halloween isn't. I just thought that they'd try to take a little more time with this one. I dunno.

Oh, and Ryan - you missed editing out an f-bomb. Lol.

Posted by: Christopher Walken on May 17, 2009 at 20:52:33

The unfortunate thing is what creeped me, and I think most people, out about the Original Halloween got totally lost. Unfortunately knowing Carpenter, he didn't care what Zombie did with the movie cause Carpenter gets bank off of it regardless. I actually am starting to think this could be the movie that I wanted the remake to be. I really wish and hope that Zombie while incorporating the gory factors can include some really intense thrilling aspects.

The scene where it's pitch black but then camera adjusts to the dark and you can see Michael hiding, those kind of moments mixed in with some true gore would be incredible.

Posted by: nunya on May 17, 2009 at 22:02:45

If this movie is what you wanted the remake to be then it wouldn't be a remake would it? It'd be a totally different movie with characters with the same name. The way you make it sound like you want Zombie to have done it is what Stephen King did with Desperation and The Regulators. If you don't know what I mean, look it up.

Posted by: chris on May 17, 2009 at 22:54:04

i still don't get why they just don't release this in the month of october

Posted by: Jason138 on May 17, 2009 at 23:06:10

Before anyone gets to excited (good excited OR bad excited) about any thing RZ had to say, lets remember that he is a known and charter member of the BULL_S**T Club. In other words, dude lies like a rug. Now this is not a "I hate everything about Rob Zombie" comment, it is a known and proven fact. Check his history.

Posted by: nunya on May 17, 2009 at 23:42:43

Um, then why don't you provide some examples? I'm sure if I Googled "Things Rob Zombie lied about" it wouldn't pull up what you're talking about if anything at all.

And there is a difference between lying and misdirection.

Posted by: j.Boogeyman on May 17, 2009 at 23:44:08

As a huge halloween fan, Horror Fan, Movie fan over all, Z man is a top grade film maker, Just watchout when I get my foot in the bizz!!!

Posted by: johnp09 on May 18, 2009 at 01:12:37

i hate everything rob zombie's doing to halloween. if you wanted to do this story, don't f***ing set it to a classic story, come up with something original you ass. 1000corpses and rejects were some awesome movies, i dont understand why you could use your vision on a horror classic that isn't yours.

Posted by: nunya on May 18, 2009 at 01:54:58

God, people are stupid. You know what guys? Like it or not...Michael Meyers, Pinhead, Jason Vorhees, Freddy Krueger, etc. are our Wolfman, Dracula, Frankenstein, etc. These guys are always going to be here and people are going to shape and mold them as time goes along. The only thing is that our parents didn't ***** and whine like all you people are doing.

Posted by: Paul S. on May 18, 2009 at 05:30:49

Fight the good fight nunya, even if folks like us are just fighting a flood with matchsticks it seems. What I see here is someone, Rob Zombie, clearly taking the characters seriously again in ways no one has since Carpenters original film. These are two characters that before Rob come along, saw their ends in a pointless sequence when Laurie was stabbed and dropped from a rooftop, and Michael was karate-kicked through a door by Busta Rymes -- and yet Rob Zombie is a talentless hack who shouldn't have touched Halloween when he's actually making, you know, an /effort/? Sometimes I wonder if people even have a grasp on what they're saying.

Posted by: Paul S. on May 18, 2009 at 05:47:14

The first film was far from perfect, as Rob clearly speaks of above throughout. It didn't quite look right, it didn't quite feel right, the last half spent too much time in a nearly scene-for scene re-make mode, and the actors weren't quite given enough to work with to make them stand out. I still rather liked it because despite its scattered problems, it still managed to wipe the floor with every Halloween film since the first for its numerous strengths as an intense slasher. I also loved, *loved* every moment spent at Smiths Grove between Loomis and young Michael.

With H2 I see a plethora of creative and visual thought on the level, indeed, Devil's Rejects carried -- if not more so. Focusing the films core on both Michael and Laurie's mental deterioration and how it effects both their appearance and mental outlook is more substance than the series has /ever/ asked for. Michael seeing his "mother" in his mind justify his actions is eerily similar to how real-life serial killers function. If they can make it appear for whatever reason that what they're doing is right, it's right. There's nothing wrong with it. Psychopaths always think what they're doing is the right thing to do. People call this a rip on F13's angle with Jason's mother, but I don't see that as the case at all. Jason didn't see visions of his mother encouraging him to kill people (unless you count Freddy vs. Jason, which was just Freddy screwing with Jason's head). Jason kills to avenge the death of his mother. She, of course, was a murdering psycho, killing to avenge her supposedly dead son. What we know about Deborah Myers is that she wasn't a murdering psycho and seemed to be a loving mother to Michael. Ergo what Myers is seeing in his mind is a completely skewed vision of his mother. In short, a justification for his murderous impulses that bears no resemblance to his actual mother, aside from the "physical" form that he perceives. Bottom line, I think the "It's the same as F13!" argument is completely invalid.

I think the footage is awesome with some great shots, use of color, and creepy imagery. I'll sure as hell take this over the stupid CGI ghost-kid crap that hits theaters every weekend. I like my slasher films and Rob seems like the only person still willing to give a damn about the genre.

Posted by: Jason138 on May 18, 2009 at 06:50:10


Go ahead and Google my friend. The man does not tell the truth.

Posted by: Jerms on May 18, 2009 at 10:39:17

I'll take what Zombie is doing over almost all of the sequels we've gotten so far from this series. Do you really want to see Halloween 9 starring P Diddy?

Posted by: kevin on May 18, 2009 at 10:43:48

I have a question...does releasing final destination really split the audience? Do people not go and see two movies? Or is it more important to have opening weekend numbers?

Cos I definitely would go and see both.

Posted by: AFuneralMaker on May 18, 2009 at 12:49:57

Opening weekend numbers count because that's where the biggest profits come from. The typical fan doesn't understand something...if a movie doesn't make money, especially if they don't profit and go past what they spent making the movie, then the director loses a little creative control, the writer loses some and the studio will be up your ass next time you get around to making a film. It is important to make money not just to feed the family but for these creative reasons as well. I think many of you don't comprehend that when you say , "Oh he's in it for the money." He is and he isn't, just like every other writer director. Once he's proven he can put asses in seats with his notoriety alone then the money won't be an issue, at least not a discussable one.

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