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Rob Zombie offers fresh take on 'Halloween'

Rob Zombie is out to set it straight. No, it's not a remake, and it's not a prequel. His take on "Halloween" is a fresh start with new characters and a whole new back story.

"It's a new beginning. You know, like 'Batman Begins,'" said Zombie, director of "Halloween," in a recent phone interview. "I would never make a remake of John Carpenter's classic. I'd never touch that."

In creating the new addition to the string of "Halloween" sequels, Zombie has met his fair share of critics. Naysayers maintain that adding to Carpenter's 1978 horror classic is unwarranted. Skeptics lament that a back story will ruin the image of Michael Myers, the super-manic killer from the "Halloween" films. To the cynics, Zombie replies in his typical nonchalant fashion.

"Like I care," he said. "They've done everything they can to exploit the movie. And fans are gonna get mad at me because I'm doing a whole new thing? Please. If anything, I'm doing 'Halloween' a favor."

In the year or so the heavy metal musician-turned-director has spent crafting his "Halloween" saga, he left no aspect of the production untouched. Zombie had his hands in every detail of the film, from writing to casting and post-production. For his past films, "House of a 1,000 Corpses" and "The Devil's Rejects," Zombie followed the same hands-on mantra. That's the director's job, he said.

"It's like a pilot. You don't ask a pilot if he flies the plane most of the time," he said. "I'd hope that pilot flies the plane the whole trip. That's what a director should do. Direct. And direct and take control of everything."

Unlike his past films, blood and guts - which Zombie refers to as "cheap movie-making" - aren't the main scare tactics for "Halloween." Instead, Zombie has attempted to use real-life scenarios and psychological thrills to get viewers to jump, much as Carpenter did in the original film.

When he was presented with the "Halloween" project, Zombie didn't go to Carpenter and ask his permission to alter the cherished horror film. He merely told the director he was doing the film, and let Carpenter do whatever he was going to do. Turns out, Carpenter wasn't going to do anything, much less get upset.

"He just told me good luck," Zombie said. "It's been ... 30 years since 'Halloween' came out. I think John's moved past that. He's moved past that point in his life time and time again. Fans should, too."

With "Halloween" coming out today, two solid months prior to the actual holiday, isn't it too early to release the film? Not according to Zombie's theory. Good movies stay in theaters for months, and he believes his has that kind of staying power.

"If it came out on Halloween, come Nov. 1, then what would people want to watch? That just doesn't make sense," he said. "I've made a good movie and it'll stick around. Will this be a classic? I guess only time will tell."