Monday, April 10, 2017

Halloween II (2009)








DIRECTOR: Rob Zombie

WRITER: Rob Zombie

CAST:

Scout Taylor-Compton
Danielle Harris
Malcolm McDowell
Brad Dourif
Tyler Mane
Sheri Moon Zombie
Dayton Callie
Brea Grant
Angela Trimbur
Richard Brake
Octavia Spencer
Richard Riehle
Mark Boone Junior
Margot Kidder
Jeff Daniel Phillips
Daniel Roebuck
Matt Bush
Silas Weir Mitchell
Sean Whalen


PLOT:


After Laurie Strode survives Michael Myers Halloween night murder spree, she is soon rushed to the local Haddonfield hospital and into emergency. As Michael Myers corpse is being driven to the morgue, a car accident happens and Michael Myers manages to escape. As he begins to make his way back to Haddonfield to finish off Laurie Strode, he'll leave a pile of dead bodies in his wake. Laurie Strode and anyone who managed to survive the massacre will come face to face with true evil again.







Like the original Halloween II (1981), Halloween II (2009) follows immediately after the events of Halloween. The movie begins with a bloodsoaked Laurie Strode walking the streets of Haddonfield alone. The town is desolate and she is in a catatonic state. She is soon rushed to the local hospital where she is rushed into emergency. Michael Myers corpse is being transported to the mortuary. After one of the most spectacular and gruesome looking car crashes that involve a high-speed van slamming into a cow and someone's face meeting a steering wheel. Halloween II was off to a good start.

The first issue that I have with Halloween II is that unlike the original sequel which was set entirely in the hospital. Rob Zombie's sequel sets the opening first act in the hospital, but it's all revealed to be a nightmare. So a lot of what happens didn't really take place. It was all in Laurie Strode's mind so we can cue a much darker as well as a moodier sequel. That's not to downplay the absolute brutality and ferociousness of the hospital scene. There is a moment that involves Octavia Spencer in a supporting role where she is stabbed so many times and so viciously that it borders on being cruel. It's incredibly mean-spirited but the sequel delivers more carnage candy.

I think another big problem that I have with this is that after the awesome opening twenty-five minutes, the movie suddenly descends into this pretty dreary and dull story. After surviving the killing spree, Laurie Strode is now in therapy, she verbally attacks Annie at every turn and she has become almost unhinged. Rob Zombie has written her to be utterly cold and she is just so unlikeable. I didn't like Scout Taylor-Compton's performance in the first film and here, I absolutely loathed the character but that comes down to the way she is written. I wanted to connect but was left even more disconnected to her character this time around.

What counteracts these dreadfully lifeless Laurie Strode scenes are any moment that has the one and only Malcolm McDowell as Loomis in them. He's completely sassy in the sequel. He insults, he threatens and even shuts down Weird Al Yankovic in one of the weirdest and odd scenes in the entire Halloween franchise. It brings our killer into the known and real world. He's connected to us now, whereas in the rest of the series it felt like it's own little universe. Here we have a character from Halloween chatting to a real singer and making fun of him. It's very weird but brings some much-needed levity to an otherwise really cold flick.

We come to the white horse motif that is a heavy element that's been added to the sequel. We see Michael Myers having visions of his mother and younger self. I think while the white horse motif and nightmarish visions give Rob Zombie a much more bonkers vision to play around within the sequel, had they not been in the movie, I wouldn't have exactly missed them. I think they don't really add much to the story other than a chance to have Rob Zombie bring back his wife Sheri Moon Zombie seeing as he casts her in everything he ever directs.

Now we get to the scenes that involve Michael Myers just strolling the countryside just murdering people. We have a strip club, a guy in his car trying to help someone and a truck full of rednecks. It honestly just feels like they've been written in to give his sequel a large body count to rival his remake. Don't even get me started on the random barn party scene, minus the three female friends dressing up as characters from Rocky Horror Picture Show, this scene feels like it doesn't add much other than to show Laurie Strode letting loose and Michael to brutally kill a few more people.

The elements of Halloween II that I like are the gore and bloodshed. I think that the sequel is easily the most detached of the series. This is a cold and dark vision. Every kill in this film is about five steps above anything else in this franchise. I've heard that folks say the gore in 31 was over the top. That is comical by comparison to how nasty and ferocious Michael Myers is in the sequel. There is a moment where he repeatedly stomps on a man's face till his skull is a bloody pulp. How about some guy having his head ripped in half by a steering wheel. The gore in this film is top-notch. I can't deny that this is some excellent work.

Lastly, I want to talk about the acting in this movie. The sequel delivers two excellent performances. One is from Danielle Harris and the other is Brad Dourif. When Annie is killed and Brad Dourif as the sheriff and her father finds the body. It's the most heart-wrenching moment in the entire series. After this scene alone, if anyone ever doubts Brad Dourif as a talented actor, I just won't understand it. The grief and anger that he displayed here almost had me in tears. Just a very devastating scene and should've secured him an award nomination alone from all horror award shows.








DEATH TOLL: 20

BLOOD AND GORE:


- Someone's wrist is completely snapped and their head is smashed into a wall.
- A woman is choked to death.
- Someone is stabbed in the back.
- A police officer has his neck snapped.
- Laurie Strode is found covered in blood.
- A woman has her throat slashed in a dream sequence.
- A man's head is split in half when his face hits the steering wheel.
- Michael Myers severs someone's head with a kitchen knife.
- Laurie Strode is seen with broken fingers and has surgery done.
- A woman is stabbed repeatedly.
- A nurse is ferociously stabbed.
- Michael Myers repeatedly stomps on someone's face.
- A nurse is found with her eyes cut out.
- A man is slashed across the eyes with a kitchen knife.
- Someone is impaled on deer antlers and is repeatedly stabbed.
- Michael Myers kills and eats a dog.
- A stripper has her face repeatedly smashed into a mirror until unrecognisable.
- An old man is hit in the back with an axe.
- Dr. Loomis is stabbed in the stomach.
- Someone is thrown through a windshield.
- Annie is found stabbed to death in a bathroom.
- Michael Myers is shot dead.
- Laurie Strode is gunned down.
- An entire waste bin filled with dead bodies.
- A cow is decimated by a speeding van.
- A nurse is sliced across the face with a kitchen knife.








Rob Zombie's Halloween II, just like its predecessor, missed the mark for me. This sequel is Rob Zombie delivering his brand of music video horror and giving us the most bonkers vision since the sixth entry in the Halloween franchise. Here we have nightmarish visuals, ferocious kills and some excellent gore and performances. The movie, however, is overstuffed, the pacing is tedious, Laurie Strode is so unlikeable, and the ending didn't sit well with me even after a second viewing. But it takes balls for a director to go and kill off your main character. While not the worst movie in the series, this is sadly a missed opportunity.

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