Sunday, April 02, 2017

Halloween II (1981)








DIRECTOR: Rick Rosenthal

WRITERS:

John Carpenter
Debra Hill

CAST:

Jamie Lee Curtis
Donald Pleasence
Charles Cyphers
Lance Guest
Pamela Susan Shoop
Jeffrey Kramer
Gloria Gifford
Leo Rossi
Dick Warlock
Ana Alicia
Tawny Moyer

PLOT:

Picking up immediately after the events that took place in Haddonfield. Laurie Strode is rushed to the local hospital, and Michael Myers is now on the loose. Dr Loomis and Sheriff Brackett are on the hunt for Michael Myers who has made his way to the local hospital in hopes to finish what he had started earlier that night. Dr Loomis will need to try and stop Michael Myers before he gets to Laurie Strode and kills her.







Going into the sequel of a movie that many consider to be the greatest slasher film of all time. I wasn't sure what to expect for this follow-up. I had seen the film as a teen when I was just starting to get into the horror genre but couldn't remember anything about the film. So this was going to be a totally fresh experience for me. I was pretty excited but also a tad worried that we may just see a huge decline in the Halloween series, while only being two movies into the series.

As Halloween II began, I was shocked to see that the movie starts immediately where the last one left off. Halloween II even repeats the final moments from the first movie where Laurie and Dr Loomis gun down Michael Myers. It was a nice little way to catch all of the audience up on who may or may not have seen or even remember the way the original film had ended. The difference between the first and second flick is that this is full on from the very first frame, right up until the very last moments. There is little time to take a breather in the sequel.

The first twenty minutes of Halloween II is fantastic. John Carpenter, Debra Hill and Rick Rosenthal weren't messing around when they wrote and filmed this movie. They come out of the gate running and never really slowed down. Everything in the sequel is ramped up to the extreme. The film is more bloody and brutal, the killer POV's are much longer, and Halloween II is more action packed with a pretty big car crash and explosion to set this movie apart from the slow burn pace of the original. Halloween II is the Aliens while Halloween is the Alien equivalent.

What I enjoyed about Halloween II is that it's mainly set within a hospital. Witnessing Michael Myers storming the corridors of a hospital and breaking down doors to get to Laurie Strode was pretty exciting. Michael Myers in the sequel is more in line with the unstoppable force that I can first remember seeing in Halloween H20. Halloween H20 was my first glimpse that I got of Michael Myers never being aware that there were six other films that came before that film. I was twelve years of age when I got my first taste of the Halloween franchise.

Another aspect that I really enjoyed about Halloween II was that John Carpenter and Debra Hill give us the excellent twist of Laurie Strode being the younger sister of our Michael Myers. The twist is something that I think defines the series. Yes, it may split the franchise into two completely different timelines, but I think it gives more weight to the whole story between Michael Myers and Laurie Strode. I absolutely adore that the twist manages to carry over into Halloween H20 and Halloween: Resurrection and spans close to twenty-five years.

The most significant issues that I have with Halloween II were the same problems I had with the original Halloween. Pretty much every single character that isn't Laurie Strode or Dr Loomis is disposable in this sequel. Not once did I really feel that any of the nurses, doctors or security guards that are working in the hospital feel like they are given proper development. They are collateral damage, and while that cements Michael Myers as a cold-blooded killer who shows no mercy or remorse, it makes me not care for a single one of them. The biggest emotional punch in the film is early on when our sheriff finds his daughter Annie dead, and she is wheeled out on a stretcher. It's a shame that no other scene hits as hard in this film.

When it comes to the gore and suspense in Halloween II. I actually found this sequel to be more intense than the original, and this may be because I had seen the original more than once and when revisiting it, the shocks and surprises were less hard hitting as I knew they were coming even a decade later. In the sequel, the first twenty or so minutes is nail-biting. Watching Michael Myers moving from home to home murdering strangers, the entire town on edge after the killings from the original being played out in real time, the police car running down a man wearing the Michael Myers costume. It's all very fast-paced and heightened in the sequel.

While the carnage candy is certainly ramped up in Halloween II and the death scenes are much more elaborate, they become somewhat repetitive. I think with the opening twenty minutes being so quick on its feet, that when we finally slow down to the stalk and slash stuff inside of the hospital, it's entertaining on a gruesome level, but it's the same thing over and over again. It starts to feel incredibly repetitive, but as far as the horror sequel goes, this is one of the most entertaining and enjoyable that I've seen since Wes Craven's excellent Scream 2. These little things aren't enough to kill how much I still enjoyed this follow-up to the original.

Lastly, the acting in the sequel is fantastic. I had no problems with both performances from Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasence. I think both of them are just fantastic in their respective roles. I also think that the final scene of Donald Pleasence is very bad ass. One actress in the cast who stood out to me on the hospital staff is Gloria Gifford as Virginia Alves. She was my favourite nurse who took no attitude and laid down the rules to those mucking up. In one way, I enjoyed the fact that we didn't actually see her murder and only get a glimpse of the aftermath.







DEATH TOLL: 12

BLOOD AND GORE:

- A girl is stabbed in the chest and blood sprays onto her face.
- A nurse is injected in the temple with chemicals.
- A man slips in a puddle of blood.
- Michael Myers is shot in the eye.
- A nurse is stabbed in the back with a scalpel and lifted off the ground.
- A doctor is found dead with a needle in his eye.
- A nurse is drained of all her blood.
- Someone is set on fire and walks down the hotel corridor.
- A man is stabbed in the stomach with a scalpel.
- Someone is blown up in a gas explosion.
- Someone is strangled to death.
- Someone is smacked in the head with a hammer claw.
- A police officer has his throat sliced with a scalpel.
- A kid is shown bleeding from the nose and mouth.
- A man wearing a Michael Myers costume is hit by a police car.
- The man is burnt alive as he is crushed between the car and van.
- A Nurses face is shoved in scolding hot water and her skin bubbles and flakes.
- A burnt and charred corpse is shown.








Heading into Halloween II, I wasn't sure what to expect from the sequel. When the original film is such a highly regarded masterpiece, there is always this expectation that a sequel never lives up to the original movie. While this sequel falls short of the original, the film is still a highly entertaining slasher film. The first twenty minutes of Halloween II is nail-biting, and you aren't likely to find a slasher sequel that delivers on the action and suspense. With great performances and an excellent continuation of the Laurie Strode character, Halloween II is one of the more fun horror sequels that I think I've ever seen.


2 comments:

  1. You are never going to be able to match up to the original Halloween and that is why this doesn't but it is a very entertaining and fun slasher movie.I love the hospital setting and I love that Myers is a killing machine here. He has no qualms about slashing his way though everyone in that hospital to get what he wants. It makes him more dangerous. I liked the cast and this was the best of the sequels, I think. A very enjoyable movie overall. Great review!!

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  2. The plot twist is really what makes this franchise better (to me anyway), we learn there is a motive for Michael going after Laurie and anyone who comes into contact with her. Anyone who isn't her meets a brutal demise, and isn't given much development because they're there just to get in the way and get killed, the Slasher aspect of it taking over.

    It's enjoyable witnessing your revisit into this franchise and experience some of them for the first time.

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