Saturday, June 2, 2007

The Blah Behind the Mask

I've avoided talking much about Rob Zombie's Halloween remake because I don't want to be a member of that oft-criticized group of people who defame movies before they've seen them. In the post-post-post-punk era, the mere mention of doubt seems to be perceived as a premature attack on one's creativity, and I sure don't want to undermine the creativity of someone who's invested a year or so of their life into crafting a remake.


But now that the poster art has been released, we finally have at least one tangible, finished product related to Rob's holiday in Haddonfield about which the field of discussion is wide open. And I know that Rob didn't have much to do with this poster, so I feel entitled to rip its creativity. Or lack thereof.

I appreciate the attempt to visually acknowledge the legacy of the Halloween series. This image is clearly attempting to appeal to the mythic quality the Halloween movies have acquired among fans, with a Myers mask that's obviously larger than life, and the problems begin right there.

For a film that's proposing to revolutionize the series, this is an awfully traditional key advertising image. Not only does it evoke the same marketing ploy used (poorly) in past non-H20 installments of the series (every film from Part 4 onward has incorporated a close up of the Myers mask into its signage), but its juxtaposition of iconic incarnate evil (in this case, the mask) with the presumably innocent frame of a young boy is so cliched even George Lucas has used it.

As I said, I'm relieving Rob of the blame for this one, assuming that most, if not all, of the fault for the image is the Weinstein Co/Dimension Films marketing department, which seems to reserve all of its creativity for Quentin Tarantino's films (although they really dropped the ball on the Kill Bill campaign). That said, Zombie's greatest strength as a filmmaker is in his ability to craft a very specific, exacting visual style out of his films, and in the past that style has translated marvelously well to his movies' posters. Case in point, the outstanding one-sheet image for The Devil's Rejects.

Hopefully the Hallowfodder Dimension has devised thus far will prove to only be the teaser, with a more original design in the cards for the full release one-sheet. Or, at the very least, more than meets the mask.