3 From Hell director and rock star Rob Zombie says that helming two Halloween movies for The Weinstein Company was "a miserable experience." Of course, many fans of the Halloween franchise would argue that watching Zombie's dual Michael Myers efforts was also a miserable experience, but that's by no means a universal opinion. Beginning with his debut film, 2003's House of 1000 Corpses, Zombie has proven himself a divisive filmmaker, but also a filmmaker with a tone and style all his own that tends to engender great loyalty from those it connects with.
After the success of House of 1000 Corpses, Zombie of course brought back Otis, Baby, and Captain Spaulding of the murderous Firefly Family of killers for 2005 sequel The Devil's Rejects, which many still hold up as his crowning directorial achievement. Now proven as a director, Zombie was brought on to remake a film many horror fans thought untouchable, John Carpenter's 1978 classic Halloween. From a financial standpoint, Zombie's remake succeeded, earning a nice profit margin. From a critic and fan reaction standpoint, Zombie's Halloween proved to be far more controversial.
Zombie came back to direct sequel Halloween II in 2009, despite it not being a secret that he clashed at times with the Weinsteins during the production of the remake. This is evidenced by the quite different director's cut of the film that was released on Blu-Ray. A much more widely derided effort, Halloween II would also receive a considerably different director's cut. With third Firefly film 3 From Hell about to release, Zombie recently spoke to Forbes about his career, opening up about his experience on Halloween and its sequel.
“Making Halloween with the Weinstein’s was a miserable experience for me, and so I was very reticent to do the second one. I did do the second one, and I thought, ‘Okay, well the first one was a miserable experience, but it did well, so maybe it’ll be easier the second time?’ It was worse. Oh my God. I felt like they weren’t trusting me on the first one because they wanted to make sure it was a hit and now they weren’t trusting me not to f*** up their hit.”
Detailing why the experience was not one the creator looks back on favorably, he said: “They would show me scenes from Halloween to try and make a point and I’d be like, ‘Yeah, I know. I made that movie. Why do you show me that like I’ve never seen it before?’”
“We made a behind the scenes documentary for the making of Halloween. That has somehow gotten lost in the vaults. That shows how messed up everything was and what was going on when we were making those movies.”
While the above is a refreshingly frank take on his Halloween experiences by Zombie, it's worth noting that the Halloween (2007) Blu-Ray release does in fact contain an amazingly in-depth 4-plus hour making-of documentary called "Michael Lives." The documentary was also included on a 2018 steelbook re-release. Whether Zombie is referring to a different, unreleased documentary, or he's saying the Weinsteins cut further revealing material out of the released version is unclear.
Either way, Zombie is far from the first director to recall having creative differences with the Weinsteins over the years. as their old Dimension Films company was behind many notable fright flicks. The last theatrically released Hellraiser film, 1996's Hellraiser: Bloodline, infamously saw its director demand his name be removed from the final product and the film credited to Hollywood alias Alan Smithee. Then again, Zombie had similar studio problems back at the beginning of his career, when Universal refused to release House of 1000 Corpses, leading Lionsgate to rescue the film. Now though, Halloween continues on anew via Blumhouse's blossoming trilogy.