Halloween 2


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"It's Time, Michael "

Oct 14th, 2009

With the sour taste of the recent Halloween remake sequel (How hard is it to label the remakes?) still in my mouth I went back to wash it down with the first continuation. Not potent enough to erase it fully (TV spots bring the bad memories back) this film is still a lot of fun, but I'm hard pressed to put this as my favourite sequel (I know sacrilege for many) as two others actually trump this.

John Carpenter never intended for there to be a sequel to the original, the film was complete. Myers disappearance at the end was not a set up or cliff-hanger, it was to show Myers as the embodiment of evil, the Boogeyman, a being that cannot be destroyed, he represented all the terrible things that pop up in horror and fairy tales. It was a morality tale.

Why was this made then? The same answer why most sequels are kick started studio interference. The first movie was a surprise hit and some executive saw the benefit of continuing the night he came home (that's Michael not the executive, that'd be a boring movie), in other words a mountain of cash.

The sequel was going ahead with or without Carpenters involvement but fortunately the stars aligned just right and they were able to convince him to at least write the follow up (no interest in directing again). I have always thought that if you really want to make a follow up to any movie it's always best to consult the original creators. Even if they don't wish to be that actively involved they can give useful insights that can contribute to a better movie.

The story here repeats a lot from the last only with the characters more aware of the threat they're facing .Continuing where the first ended; Laurie is taken to Hospital and kept overnight to treat her relatively minor wounds? I would have though there was more mental damage to Laurie than physical damage. It may have been safer to have taken her to the local police station all things considered (there's a nut job still on the loose after all).

With Laurie "safely" tucked up in bed Loomis continues his hunt for Michael round the streets of Haddonfield. I say hunt as Loomis is clearly out for some vigilante justice and from my view has rarely shown he has any skills as a Psychiatrist (I do prefer him this way though). Is it any real surprise to learn that Myers made a bee line for the hospital housing Laurie?

Let's be honest most slasher film sequels (and a lot of other sub genres in horror) rarely have anything to do with the preceding flick. Aside from the killer very few survivors are ever brought back. That's probably why this sequel stood out in that it had a far stronger link and connection continuity wise with the first. The look and tone are all but indistinguishable from the first and it'd be easy to convince people that both movies had been filmed back to back with the first (There was actually a 2 year gap). The only discrepancy has to be Jamie Lee Curtis' terrible wig!

I enjoyed my time with this but there's not too much to shout about. As a companion piece it's nice to watch this back to back with the first as they really work well together. In fact I tend to watch the different Halloween movies in batches as they really can be separated into different eras (see Halloween 4 review for the full breakdown).

As the laws of the sequel go the death scenes are more elaborate (Randy from the Scream franchise nailed that one) with Halloween 2 taking nods from the other big franchises of the time (Friday the 13th in particular). The original really wasn't focused on graphic kills and body counts and it didn't need it because it had atmosphere. Fortunately the increased gore doesn't destroy the overall tone by opposing the tongue-in-cheek style of most stalk and kill films. It's something that the majority the on-going Halloween franchise continues to get right (Resurrection once again the exception to the rule).

The people who end up as Myers' victims are fairly likeable – just not on the same level as Laurie's original friends. One of the things that really stands out is that this is one of the first films horror flicks with the arsehole victim you want to see bite the big one. I salute you and your death Graham.

Loomis bizarrely has no real purpose here aside from repeating the process he went through in the last movie. Despite this Donald Pleasence is amazing and I actually enjoyed the scenes with him more than Laurie's. Jamie Lee Curtis is fine but all in all she's just playing a prolonged victim (she's much better than this). Pleasence though has a way with words and makes every line he speaks valuable. Excellently his role leads to an important revelation that defines the series mythology (right up to the remakes) Here's a mild SPOILER WARNING – Laurie is actually Myers sister (Take that Star Wars, Halloween did it first and without the creepy incest kiss).

When Loomis finally discovers Laurie's link to Myers he rushes to her rescue, although I never fully bought this. Why did they leave her on her own at the start? Was there no possibility that he would want to finish the job he started regardless of who she was? Either way this leads in to an amazing showdown with all three players which would have been a great close to the Myers legacy (not the last time they did this).

This is a fun film. While nothing original it still stands over the crap that Zombie offered us. I would score this higher but my love of the later sequels consign this to lower ratings and of course the lack of P.J Soles also harms my score, I missed her. If you plan on seeing the new Halloween II watch this first and see how it should have been done.

Best Kill
That looks hot

Trivia
The mask in this film is the exact same one used in the original it looks different due to wear and tear over the years.
Actually takes place the day after Halloween.
There is an alternative cut of this film which only aired on TV with extra scenes to take the place of the violent killings. (Available on DVD with some extra scenes added into the original Halloween as they were directed by Carpenter himself.)

Director: Rick Rosenthal
Screenplay: John Carpenter, Debra Hill
Released: 1981
Rating: 18
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, Charles Cyphers, Lance Guest


Other reviews in the series

Halloween (1978)
Halloween III: Season of the Witch
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later
Halloween (2007)
Halloween II (2009)


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Movie Details

Movie Poster Here
Director: Rick Rosenthal
Screenplay: John Carpenter
Debra Hill
Released: 1981
Rating: 18
Starring:Jamie Lee Curtis
Donald Pleasence
Charles Cyphers