What Zombie adds to the story is an attempt at an explanation for Michael's actions, mostly stemming the possibility that he was a just a born sociopath, exacerbated by a dysfunctional home life and his time at Smith's Grove. The audience is given a look at just what this life was like with a stripper mother, a bitchy older sister, and a disgusting stepfather. This is the part where Zombie loses me just a little bit - I'm not particularly fond of the overly crude language in the first scenes of the film. And I don't mean that in a snooty or prudish way, either. The original Halloween has retained a certain level of respect and dignity over the years, and what Zombie did to the story is admittedly quite jarring at first. Eventually, you learn to get used to it and accept it - really, you have to, because it doesn't go away for the rest of the movie.
Watching the film again, I always forget just how long it takes to move on to the main plot of the original Halloween. Laurie Strode and company do not show up until the 54 minute mark - at least in the director's cut version, which is the one I own and the one I know the best. But is too much time spent on Michael's backstory? Did fans really want a backstory in the first place? Would people have complained more if it was just another pointless shot-for-shot remake? The story works either way for me, even though I don't think the Michael that Carpenter created had the backstory that Zombie created. The little bits that Zombie did with how Michael requisitioned the mask, knife, and coveralls was different from the original but made more sense to me.
The truth is, it's really hard for me to fault Zombie at all about Halloween because I know that it means just as much to him as it does to the fans. The references he has made in his music career have more than proven himself as a big fan of the horror genre, so he obviously meant no disrespect. Zombie just has his own style, and was even told by John Carpenter to "make it [his] own" movie. He did just that and more, combining and adding in some of the most important parts of the story into this one movie. I love it and support it... although I definitely cannot say the same for Halloween II.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN, HORROR FIENDS!