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HALLOWEEN II, 1981
Movie Review

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HALLOWEEN II,  MOVIE POSTERHALLOWEEN II, 1981
Movie Reviews

Directed by Rick Rosenthal

Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, Charles Cyphers, Jeffrey Kramer, Jeffrey Kramer, Lance Guest
Review by James Mansell


SYNOPSIS:

Following the horrific night of butchery on Halloween night, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is taken to the hospital where she tries to recover, but the nightmare is far from over as Michael Myers is loose in a panic-stricken Haddonfield.

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REVIEW:

Nobody will ever forget the first time they saw Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) shoot Michael Myers six times and watch him fall off a balcony, only to vanish to the chilling theme music, at the finale to John Carpenter’s near perfect, genre defining classic, Halloween (1978). 3 years later we returned to ‘the night he came home’, this time under the direction of Rick Rosenthal, and are plunged back into the nightmare. Without a moments hesitation, the film continues as we follow Michael disappear into the darkness, to Dr. Loomis’s cries of “I shot him six times!”.

Sequels, by their nature (aside from a few rare occasions) are lesser films than the originals. Even more so in the horror genre, with horror franchises stacking up numerous sequels of 9 or more in some cases. The question begs, do we actually need this sequel in order for the story to progress, or is there an ulterior-motive (possibly a financial one) from the studio. The Halloween franchise is a perfect case in point, one that has had it’s fair share of hits and misses (Season Of The Witch anyone?), but I strongly believe the continuation of the original film (although not nearly a patch on it) is a well made, and necessary addition to the story. I personally loved the ending of the original, just for the fact that you didn’t know where he went, or what happened to him, and you’d leave theatre with the feeling, ”he’s still out there…”, and possibly the sequel took that away from the original. Saying that, if a sequel was imminent, I couldn’t imagine any other way in making a film true to the atmosphere of the first one, but with an interesting and gripping plot.

One can only compare Halloween 2 to it’s predecessor, so it’s already got a big job ahead of it. First thing to strike you is the music change, the classic theme (written by Carpenter himself) has been slightly modified with synthesisers and keyboards, it does work, but sounds peculiar when it first begins. We now have a large section of the film, filled with Michael continuing on his murderous rampage through the homes of the town, in which he steals a new knife in one instance. The police force become aware of what has happened, and a full scale panic begins, with Loomis being held responsible for Michael’s actions, as Haddonfield’s Sherrif Brackett says upon discovering his daughter has been killed, “You let him out!”.

Michael makes his way to the Hospital, where Laurie has awoken to find things aren’t as they should be. What follows is a cat and mouse chase throughout the hospital, and the unlucky ones getting caught in the middle. Loomis frantically makes his way to the hospital to try and intercept Michael, and put an end to what he tried earlier the same night. Jamie Lee Curtis slows down dramatically from the original, she barely says a word throughout the first half of the film, which is in keeping with the character, who has just been through hell, but it slows the pace of the film down hugely. But the tension is still at it’s peak throughout the finale of the film, as Laurie avoids Michael by inches, desperately trying to survive with the help of Loomis.

Donald Pleasence re-prises his role as Dr. Sam Loomis with macabre delight, as the only one who truly understands ‘the evil’ as he so often refers to Michael as, unafraid and terrified simultaneously, trying to stop him from getting to Laurie. Jamie Lee Curtis appears to have had all the acting drained out of her, as she ambles around the hospital, screaming and not doing much else. The role of Laurie isn’t as well rounded as we had in the original, but I really felt Jamie Lee Curtis could have done more with it.

Although the film has the same traits as the original, it’s dark and sinister, Michael is as ruthlessly brutal as ever, and the music is (albeit different) still as menacing and threatening as before, but it doesn’t capture the same feel the original had. For a start, a stunt man was used to portray Michael, which is actually noticeable, as Michael doesn’t act at all, but simple does exactly what is required and gives no more. And, the big clincher is the fact John Carpenter wasn’t in the directors chair, but saying all that, I feel Rick Rosenthal could have done a lot worse a follow up to such an incredible film as Halloween.

Halloween 2 is a solid slasher movie, that fits in neatly with other horror franchise sequels. It’s near, if not at the top of the pile as far as Halloween sequels go, without a shadow of a doubt, but it’s superior forerunner is still the king of the Halloween films.

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