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As sequels go, this isn't a better movie than the original, but what it is
and what it does well, it does really well. I have to say right away here
that I was scared in this movie. There are some truly ingenious and
horrific shots in this film. There are times when you really aren't
expecting what's about to transpire, and when it does, it sends chills
I first saw this film in my " horror " days in the mid 80's. I was 12 years old then. So I just recently watched it again to see if it would have the same affect on me now. I sat in my basement and turned off all the lights and you know what, I was spooked. Right from the opening number of Carpenter's ominous music and the pumpkin slowly transforming into Michael's angry face, I knew right there that I was in for a night of fear. And I was.
The story starts the same night as Halloween ended on. Laurie is being taken to the hospital and there is a massive manhunt to find Myers. Laurie eventually gets settled into the hospital and it becomes only a matter of time until Michael can find out where she is. He finally comes to get her and then all hell breaks loose.
One of the major players in this film is the locale. The hospital is dark and quiet and rather empty. And that adds to the atmosphere of the film. It gives us lots of long hallways so we can have a few shots of Michael hunting his prey. What we also get is an array of rooms to 86 his victims in and a slew of weapons to do it with.
Rick Rosenthal directed this film and I am amazed that he really didn't go on to do much because he almost copies Carpenter's style to the tee here. Brilliant in particular are two shots. One is where Michael appears out of the darkness in one room to attack his victim. The lighting is solely responsible for the affectiveness of this shot and it works so well that it still gives me the shivers when I watch it. The second is when Micael attacks one of the nurses while Laurie watched helplessly from a distance.
Not only is this a good horror movie, it is a good film and if the first rates a 10/10, this is certainly of a 9. It is that good. And if you don't agree with me, watch it again---by yourself and then answer that question.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Michael Myers, he's a household name, in my opinion he's the ultimate
boogeyman, no matter what you do or how many times you try to kill him,
he just comes back. Hence the Halloween series. We do have quite a bit
of horror movie sequels: the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, Friday
the 13th, Hellraiser, Scream, and so on. Most sequels are extremely
cheesy and don't deliver the same scares as the original movie does,
but the Halloween franchise is a different story, I think these sequels
were always a ton of fun and delivered just as many scares. Nothing
will ever compare to the original Halloween, but it was cool to see the
story continue on Michael Myers. In this story we follow Laurie Strode
to the hospital and Michael doesn't just give up that easily, he's on a
After the film replays the last scene of Halloween, it moves on to Dr. Sam Loomis warning Sheriff Leigh Brackett that although he has shot Myers six times in the heart, Myers still lives. Meanwhile, Laurie Strode is taken to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital and Myers wanders around Haddonfield in search of her. Laurie is informed that the man who attacked her was Michael Myers, infamous for murdering his older sister fifteen years earlier on Halloween night. After this, Laurie drifts in and out of consciousness, having strange flashbacks about her adoption by the Strodes and visiting a boy in an institution. Myers learns that she is at the hospital. He goes there and murders the hospital's staff one by one. Laurie manages to elude him, but she is limping badly and sedated and is thus unable to move very quickly. Dr. Loomis and the Haddonfield police continue to search the town for Myers. Nurse Marion Chambers, Loomis' assistant, arrives and tells Loomis that she has discovered a secret file on Myers to which he was not privy. The file reveals that Laurie is actually Myers's sister, adopted by the Strodes after Myers killed his older sister, Judith. Chambers also informs Loomis that he has strict orders to return to Smith's Grove. So they have to get back to the hospital to save Laurie before Michael can get to her.
Halloween 2 is probably my second favorite sequel in the Halloween franchise next to H20. I can't tell you how creepy this movie was, I know that these sequels are a bit much, but for any horror movie fan, they are a ton of fun to get into. The whole hospital setting was really scary, I love Laurie Strode, she's the strongest female in a horror movie, she's in a weakened state but just keeps going. You have to love the return of Dr. Loomis, him helping Laurie and making sure that Michael goes away for good, well we clearly know that it's not going to happen, but you have to give him credit for his optimism. If you are going to watch a Halloween sequel, I do recommend Halloween 2, it's very creepy and a great addition to the story.
As far as I am concerned this was the last Halloween movie with Myers worth watching. I prefer the third movie which has nothing to do with him to all the mess that follows. This movie is a continuation of the first as it is still the same night. Myers has of course gotten up and Jamie Lee has been taken to a hospital to recuperate from her wounds. Of course this one tries to shock us with its revelations and such, but nothing to shocking. There are kills and once again Dr. Loomis is obsessed with getting Myers. Some good kills are to be found as is to be expected. Though I always feel sorry for the guy that gets hit by the car as he is obviously not Myers. There is a television version of this one that totally blows as it is very toned down and they even have a happier ending. Watch the uncut theater version as it is much better.
Halloween 2 seems to get mixed reactions but no one can deny that it
stands alone as a great slasher film. Of course it's hard to take
Halloween 2 as its "own" film compared to the greatness that is the
original Halloween, but most should be able to overlook that and enjoy
it for what it is. Halloween 2 uses the suspense of Halloween but adds
more gore and a faster pace to the mix. I found it thoroughly
entertaining, with some great death scenes and genuinely suspenseful
moments (Jamie-Lee escaping through the ventilation grill). The only
minor points spoiling Halloween 2 are that sometimes it gets a bit
far-fetched. For example, Jamie-Lee is escaping through the ventilation
grill and Michael Myers takes an eternity to simply walk over and pull
her back down. There were also a few moments of very bad acting.
Overall though it's thoroughly entertaining and I would recommend it to all horror fans. It doesn't ruin the integrity of the original film like most sequels do.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Halloween II" is clearly a rote cash-in sequel that, by all rights,
should have been dismal. It follows our surviving characters as they
continue on through October 31, 1978, which has got to be the longest
night in the recorded history of mankind. How many hours were in that
day, anyway? Laurie is whisked away to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital in
an ambulance, and it never occurs to anybody that Michael might want to
finish the job he started on her, or that wherever she is, they'll find
him. There's also a very silly 'plot twist' about Laurie's connection
to Michael. The new characters are a bunch of hospital employees who
are mostly uninteresting and are clearly only in the picture to be
So why do I keep coming back to this sequel more often than the original?
It's illogical, but this movie has a lot of the same appeal of "Halloween". I love the fact that they just went for it and started the thing exactly where the previous film ended. Once you accept that this is not the original, there is more to love. What "Halloween II" has going for it is a very European sense of style that mimics Argento's best moments.
Visually, the movie looks great. We've yet to see a truly great DVD transfer for "Halloween II", and I hope one day we get it. There are a lot of subtle, eerie touches, some recreated from the original and a few new ideas. Characters drive around nighttime streets with their faces illuminated by green lights in the dark vehicle interiors. Laurie's hospital room is dim and intimidating, large shadows moving over her bed. It's never explained in the theatrical cut, but the hospital turns dark and spooky by the end of the movie, and there's something very unsettling about seeing a hospital so dim.
The Carpenter game plan of having The Shape lurking in the background works well and often here, particularly an opening sequence where it is glimpsed behind a woman in her kitchen. In another, it is glimpsed as a shadow, and in one of the best shots, the ghostly white face looms behind several panes of glass through a darkened room. Dean Cundey revisits several shots from the original, like the mask slowly materializing out of the darkness behind an unsuspecting character. There are also a number of point-of-view tracking shots in this one; Carpenter did it first in the original, but this is also another favorite Argento trick, usually used to disguise the identity of the killer. The only difference is that here, we already know who's doing it.
Another brazenly Argento touch is the music. The brilliant original score has been pumped up here, it's almost like a score by Argento's own favorites, Goblin. One or two of the scenes pay homage to Dario with no misrepresentation, including a murder where a woman is drowned in a tub full of scalding water (from "Deep Red"). Also, note the segment where Laurie escapes The Shape by shimmying through a small window near the ceiling, only to find that it leads not to safety, but to yet another room on the other side. Lucky for her, it wasn't a room full of razor wire.
It's sad that the script didn't give Jamie Lee Curtis more to do. As if they only had her on-set for a day or two, she spends most of the film in a catatonic state, revitalizing only at the climax where she must flee from The Shape once again. Her actual dialogue in the film is very limited, and even worse, they made her wear an awfully cheap-looking wig. Donald Pleasance, on the other hand, carries a lot of the film, and is even more over the top, practically frothing at the mouth.
While the film has its Argento cues down pat, it does lack his manic energy. Dario's best movies seem to lunge at the viewer, while "Halloween II" is more like a trash compactor, moving slowly and inexorably toward a bloody conclusion. The biggest disappointment here is the attempt that's been made to 'explain' things by giving Myers a motivation for his attack on Laurie. Even worse, Carpenter's script ignores something that made the original so nerve-wracking: the murders were perpetrated by a homicidal maniac who also had a childlike sense of humor, as in donning a ghost-sheet to toy with one victim before strangling her. In this film he's more like an efficient windup toy. The gruesome murders are mostly implausible, but otherwise quite memorable in their outrageousness, and something must be said for the way that this film taps into the inherent revulsion of common hospital equipment designed to cut, poke, and prod into our bodies in the name of medicine. The most unsettling moments involve needles being inserted into parts of the body where they can do no good.
Unlike the original, "Halloween II" was written off by most critics upon its release, and perhaps rightfully so. A movie called "Halloween II" could only be more of the same, especially since by 1981, the slasher genre was in full swing (ironically sparked by the success of the original "Halloween"). But what this sequel has to offer is nostalgia for fans of horror films in general; for about 90 minutes, you get to imagine that the original film never ended. As if that wasn't enough, there are a number of affectionate homages to the films of Argento, and they work almost as well here as they did in his own movies. Like the best gialli, "Halloween II" gleefully overlooks its own silliness and becomes a stylish nightmare. I find that, even though it's technically not as good as the original, it is also a noteworthy film in its own right, and equally memorable.
Picking up exactly where the original left off, "Halloween II" has Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) getting transferred to the hospital, while Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasance) continues looking for Michael Myers. In the process of everything, we learn some things about the characters (like a little something about Laurie that would play a part in the later movies). Of course, in the process, Michael himself goes around killing people. A particularly interesting scene is how he kills a woman in the hospital. Oh, and by the way, this is Dana Carvey's film debut (interestingly, he later co-starred with Mike Myers, whose name sounds like the killer here). A worthy sequel it is. Numbers 4, 5, and 6 were pathetic (and #8 apparently was), #7 was really cool, while #3 wasn't even really part of the series.
What is interesting about this movie from an originality point of view is
that the movie starts from the ending point of the original. We now have
continuous story flow which is indicative of the strength of the original
concept. Audiences did not have to put up with some ill conceived spruced
up story which gave an excuse to bring Michael Myers back to the big screen.
From an unoriginal perspective, we do have the predictably higher body
count. Fortunately it did not reach the levels attained by other sequels
within the genre. The other predictable element of this horror sequel is
that the death sequences are far more gruesome. Notwithstanding these
obligatory elements, the sequel is relatively strong and although not as
good as the original, this sequel did much to build on the ominous
reputation of Michael Myers.
Looking at a sequel is surprisingly interesting. We have the original to compare to and we can access how the characters have developed. In this one, character development was not an issue since we are dealing with a story that follows events directly after the original. This in itself is interesting as we do not see this very often.
There are elements that contribute well, but also those that contribute poorly. The ones that contribute well is the soundtrack, the Shape and Donald Pleasance. Elements that did not work well here is unbelievable character decisions, and poor special effects.
The music is for me the outstanding element here. The opening theme track seems to be updated with more bass giving a far more in your face effect'. This is exactly what Michael is. He is no longer an unknown force. Haddonfield knows he is there somewhere in the shadows lurking, waiting to strike. Therefore the theme does not emphasise the suspense indicative of the original rather the gruesome intent of the villain. This seems to be more in line with the Halloween festival around the world where the costumes are loud. The movie had become more indicative of it's title.
It has been mentioned by other users here that the Sandman' track is out of place. Although this may seem so on the face of it, I feel that it offers a contrast to the Halloween theme track as a feel good' track is played and then we are led into the ominous theme track muck like what would be done at Halloween parties. This sequence of track, probably not intentionally, highlights the way that this story has become synonymous with the festival as previously touched upon. It not only takes the name of Halloween. It takes the character of Halloween. Myers is the evil that never dies the bogeyman. John Carpenter has created a story that identifies strongly with makes no small contribution. October 31st and has stolen into the ceremony. His music is a prime example of this.
The Shape is now played by Dave Warlock. The suspense lacking from the script itself becomes evident in his body language. His movements accentuated his evil presence and dehumanised him. It also shows us that he is not a normal human being - rather a cold, soulless entity that exists only to kill his sister. This was also evident in the first, but was more noticeable in this movie since we saw more of Myers. The Shape was given more screen time, but his basic character remained true to the original. A necessary keep over since the sequel deals with the same night the attack started.
Donald Pleasance is as much affiliated with Halloween' as Jamie Lee Curtis is. His major contribution is creating a sense of plausibility for the audience. He recites his lines with such authenticity that the audience will be drawn into the story. We think of the mad scientists' of an era gone by, only this is not his creation but a shell born onto the world to carry out evil deeds. He is what Alec Guinness was to Star Wars' and what Vincent Price was to horror movies. Pleasance adds to the aura of Myers and was a vital part of the Halloween' franchise. Even with Jamie Lee Curtis on board in the most recent Halloween' movies, the impact of the first two Halloween' movies was never rekindled which is due in part to the loss of Pleasance. He was a great opponent for Myers.
The believability added by the abovementioned members of the cast was undermined by unbelievable character decision making. Curtis is always hiding not far away from Myers. Not rational for somebody who was previously attacked and knows what she is up against. There would have been more plausible solutions to making Curtis more of a helpless victim. She could have injured herself while she was trying to escape and the perfect opportunity for this was in the hospital when she narrowly escaped Myers. What she did, did not assist the story, but weakened it. It is these areas within which audiences drawn in may be lost.
The effects were weak in places. The blood drained on the floor was way too red. It served to weaken the movie since this is another element which may jolt audiences from their imagination. Special effects serve to add believability to the story and when attention is drawn to them in a negative sense, the story can only be adversely affected. It was also too much blood for a Myers kill. He strikes a lethal blow rather than causing too much gore. It is unfortunate that this seemingly obligatory element became a part of this movie.
I had seen this movie before the original and for some time favoured this one, mostly due to the haunting soundtrack. But I grew to prefer the original because of its suspense. The music, in my opinion, is still better in this sequel since it adds ominous intent to Myers and more truly reflects his character. But this was not enough to improve it over the original and if the weaknesses mentioned above were ironed out, we would have had a much stronger comparison.
What separates Halloween' from other slasher movies is that Myers has real purpose, although there is no evident motive. He exists solely to kill his sister. Myers does not kill all that are within his territory, but those that may stand in the way of his objective. This is the essence of the story and gives reason for his continued existence. This has now been stopped in the most recent Halloween' movie Halloween Resurrection' and although it is said that this gives way to a new story, it seems to lead it to older stories where the villain kills senselessly. It is true that it had to change in some way, but if Myers is not stalking a relative his core purpose is lost. I am sure that there will be another sequel and I am hoping that they bring back Laurie. The original concept was very good and if the story is going to continue, the foundation should be kept.
HALLOWEEN II (1981)
cast: Donald Pleasance, Jamie Lee Curtis, Charles Cyphers, Lance Guest, Pamela Susan Shoop, Leo Rossi, Hunter von Leer, Nancy Stephens, Tawny Moyer, Ana Alicia, Gloria Gifford, Ford Rainey, Dick Warlock.
plot: Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance) and Sheriff Brackett (Charles Cyphers) continue their hunt for Michael Myers (Dick Warlock) as Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) is wheeled into the hospital, confused on why she was targeted. As Myers murders every nurse, doctor and ambulance driver in his way to get to Laurie, Loomis discovers the chilling connection between the killer and his target.
Just as good as the first, only a few improvements. The death scenes are more gruesome, the suspense is higher, the mask looks creepier and the chilling score is even more chilling.
Lacks the character development of the original, but most of the characters are still likable.
I think this is the best sequel and has a lot of merit. We are of course introduced to many secrets, such as why Michael Myers is so interested in killing Laurie Strode. It picks up right where the other one left off, with Loomis chasing after Myers, and Laurie being taken to the hospital. Michael finds her soon after, and stalks her through the hospital. My favorite part was when Michael was walking through the parking lot, and the trademark music is playing. The end was fabulous, with Loomis blowing up the anesthetic room, and severely wounding Michael. This film is definitely worth seeing, and I recommend it to anyone who wants a good scare.
On the same night in 1978, Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) thought he
killed Micheal Myers but he has escaped. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee
Curtis) has survived from being killed and now she's taken to the
hospital. Micheal is following Laurie and He stalks the hospital
employees one by one to get Laurie. But there is a dark secret between
Laurie and Micheal that we will know on Halloween night.
Directed by Rick Rosenthal (American Dreamer, Bad Boys, Distant Thunder) made a terrific sequel, which is entertaining but this sequel doesn't quite have the same suspense as the first film. But it has a different look and the setting in the hospital could be a scary place.
DVD from Goodtimes Home Video has an above average non-anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1) transfer and an fine Dolby Surround 2.0 Sound. The DVD only extra is Production Notes and a Hidden Feature.
DVD from Universal has an good anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1) transfer and an fine Dolby Surround 2.0 Sound. DVD extras are Theatrical Trailer and Production Notes. Although the Universal DVD was supposed to be a Special Edition with Commentaries, Documentary and Deleted Scenes but it didn't happen. Produced & Written by John Carpenter and the late Debra Hill. Panavision. (****/*****).
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