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COVINGTON, Georgia — It's 1 p.m. on a Tuesday and we're surrounded by bloodied wolf-men, evil clowns and topless alien babes. The location is a small town in rural Georgia — which, despite not having a single stoplight, now finds itself home to the set of Rob Zombie's "H2: Halloween 2," the follow-up to his successful remake of John Carpenter's iconic film.
Around 200 extras are gathered for the production's largest single shoot, the filming of a massive Halloween rave complete with live music. Each of the extras is attired in a distinctive costume, fully adorned in intricately designed makeup and body paint. Because it's a Rob Zombie picture, the outfits are on the gory side and include everything from a rabid monkey to metal-clad female warriors.
The rave takes place inside a large barn, which is quickly becoming a sauna for the hundreds of cast and crew tucked inside the wooden structure — especially for people outfitted in furry costumes and those dressed as robots. The heat is smearing the carefully applied body paint, forcing extras to repeatedly go outside for touch-ups.
One look is all it takes to know it's a [artist id="350129"]Rob Zombie[/artist] film. The director says he felt somewhat stymied the first go-round, because it was a shared vision with Carpenter. For the sequel, it's entirely him, and he bathes in the freedom that allows.
"This one is 100 percent mine," Zombie says. "Every day, we laugh about how different it is. We don't even think about 'Halloween' anymore. We just do what we do."
With his first "Halloween," the filmmaker struggled to maintain the balance that audiences expected, but according to him, the shackles have been released for [movie id="416250"]"H2."[/movie]
"The first one, it was like a true remake, reimagining, whatever the hell people want to call it," Zombie says. "So you had to go through the beats of, 'How much do you keep? How much do you change? What do the fans expect? What don't they expect?' Because if it's too similar it's a waste of time, and if it's too different everyone's upset. But on this one, it's, 'Do whatever you want.' "
But Zombie isn't the only one who's unrestrained. Scout Taylor-Compton, who plays the female lead, also feels the newfound autonomy. Her character, Laurie Strode, ended the last film as a powerful heroine, and she picks up that mantle again for "H2," albeit with Laurie having slightly more baggage than her last time around.
"If you just watch the first one and just see all the stuff she has to go through, it was very traumatizing for her," Taylor-Compton says. "So in this one, she's just trying to find herself, and she's trying to find out answers, and just trying to get over everything. People kind of deal with things differently, and I think she just sort of rebels and doesn't know how to control it."
Audiences will see the results of Laurie's journey into madness when "H2: Halloween 2" opens August 28.
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