The 2006 movie Halloween Night is what’s known as a mockbuster. In case you didn’t know, a mockbuster is a movie made quickly to capitalize on the success of another movie. Maybe you can’t make it to see the latest hit, but hey, there’s a movie just like it for rental. That’s the thinking behind Halloween Night, which beat Rob Zombie’s 2007 Halloween reboot by a year.
Halloween Night 2006: A Twist on Halloween
If you’ve seen the John Carpenter original (or any of the reboots), then the plotline of Halloween Night might sound familiar. It begins with a young man who lives in a psychiatric institution. However, this young man, Chris Vale (Scot Nery), isn’t purely evil like Michael Myers. In fact, he’s a victim when we meet him.
After witnessing his mother’s brutal murder (on Halloween night) when he was only twelve, Chris entered the institution. The masked thugs who attacked his mother also caused an accident that maimed Chris, a trauma that he barely survived. Now a grown man, with a severely disfigured face, a haunted Chris escapes the hospital. First stop: His old house, where new people–David (Derek Osedach) and his girlfriend Shannon (Rebekah Kochan)–now live. As it’s Halloween, Derek and Shannon are having a costume party. How do you think Chris will react to a bunch of masked folks?
Behind the Scenes on Halloween
The Asylum, a company with a history of producing mockbusters, is responsible for this one, too. If that names sound familiar, then you might already know them for cheese classics like the Sharknado series. But that’s not their only collaboration with the Syfy Channel; they also created the show Z Nation.
The company started out making general low-budget horror, but found themselves crowded out of the market by bigger-name studios. However, in 2005, they struck gold–or pyrite, to be more specific. That was the same year Steven Spielberg directed an adaptation of the HG Wells story, War of the Worlds. The Asylum beat him to the punch, though, with their own take. When that prompted a bigger order from video rental chain Blockbuster than The Asylum had ever gotten, they realized they had a formula. And despite the sometimes thorny legal issues–they’ve fought major studios more than once–The Asylum is still kickin’.
As for the specific behind-the-scenes players, former Fangoria editor-in-chief Michael Gingold wrote the 2006 Halloween Night movie. He based it on a story by himself and David Michael Latt. Mark Atkins, an Asylum regular who directed such jewels as Snakes on a Train, also helmed this one.
Yeah, Yeah, But What Did the Critics Think?
Well, to put it delicately, they didn’t love it. It wasn’t just the fact that it was clearly similar to any given take on Halloween, though. Even without the obvious allusion, critics thought it just wasn’t up to snuff as a slasher flick. Felix Vasquez, Jr, writing for Cinema Crazed wrote, for instance, “…as a ‘Halloween’ wannabe, it’s horrible, but as a slasher film on its own merits it’s horrible.”
There were issues with logic, for one thing. The accident that causes that grotesque disfigurement? It was a ruptured steam pipe. In the living room, where we all commonly have steam pipes. (If you buy the DVD with special features, though, then you’ll know that Chris’s disfigurement was originally supposed to be caused by a fire. However, the producers deemed that too unsafe to shoot in their building.)
Further, there’s no internal logic to the movie. Yes, Chris has been in an institution and he was the victim of a crime. That doesn’t mean he’s an automatic killer, though. And while the few critics who reviewed the movie didn’t make this leap, it’s unwise at the very least to link mental illness to a propensity for violence.
But perhaps that could have been forgiven if the movie held any scares. However, there’s no character development, so the collection of types at David and Shannon’s rockin’ party are basically expendable. When Chris goes after them, for whatever reason, you don’t care.
On the other hand, not all critics panned the movie. Adrian Halen, writing for Horror News dot Net, said that while there was a certain familiarity with the movie, he found it pretty decent. He also appreciated the nudity. Sometimes, that’s all you need.
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featured image via The Asylum
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Salomé Gonstad is a freelance writer who grew up in the swampy wilds of south Alabama. She now splits her time between the Appalachian wilds (of Alabama) and the considerably more refined streets of New York City. When she's not yelling about pop culture on the internet, she's working on a supernatural thriller about her hometown. Also, we're pretty sure she's a werewolf. Email her at email@example.com.