Halloween II (2009) Director: Rob Zombie

Rob Zombie is a genius. Rock musician, now film director, he makes the kind of horror movies that I dig. There's no pussy-footing around. Zombie is brutal and keeps the camera rolling when it should have turned away. You should feel uncomfortable during horror. You should be scared. You should be shocked. He does it all.

He breathed life back into Michael Myers and Halloween with his 2007 remake and Halloween II is a strong continuation of the story. We start at the 'end' of 2007's film, albeit it through a dream sequence, and follow his sister Laurie as she comes to terms with what Michael did to her, their relationship and all things 'family'. What I particularly liked about Halloween II is the suggestion that Laurie can't escape her fate and the chilling apparitions of her Mother Deborah Myers (Sheri Moon Zombie) and a white horse. I won't let you in on what the white horse stands for but let's just say, it's not the calming influence you may think it is.

Going back to Zombie's brutality, this type of horror won't be for all. What I like about him is his vision, his style (almost Tim Burton-esque at times) and he doesn't shy away from pain and suffering. When Michael Myers stabs you, it's going to hurt. He's a complete sadist. It's different from other popcorn, run-of-the-mill teen horror flicks - it seems more raw, more 'real' (the blood is dark, dark, dark) and totally full-on. His camera stays on the violence and victim a little too long for the comfort of the audience as if to say 'f**k you, this is what it is and I'm going to show it to you'. A stripper gets her face repeatedly smashed into a mirror. A man gets his head stamped on and pummelled to a pulp. You see it all. There is no escape.

The one victim who Zombie does show sympathy to, and which I found very clever, is Laurie's friend Annie, a survivor of the first film. We know what her fate is but Zombie doesn't show her slaying in full, graphic detail. We see the aftermath (and it's horrific with connotations of all he has done to her) and we see Annie cowering underneath Myers in a flashback. Zombie plays us good here; it's not wimping out, he's messing with us, actually bringing in a very emotional and sad moment in the film. It's rare to feel so sad for someone in a slasher. But you do. Annie is spared our voyeuristic gaze during her attack and we feel bad for 'looking' when she is so bloody and battered, dying in Laurie's arms.

Scout Taylor-Compton, as Laurie, is a real talent too; a Scream Queen Pro. Her portrayl of Laurie is immensely believable and the 'twist' at the end, well, she almost looks like the young Michael without giving too much away.

Be prepared for an assault on your senses. He should have remade Jason and Freddy, he's the guy for the job. Zombie's next project is Lords of Salem about a 300 year old coven of witches. Damn it, I knew witches would be big next year. He's beat me to it!