Movie Review – Halloween II (1981)

1981 Universal Pictures

Three Stars

Halloween IIThree years after Dr. Sam Loomis pulled a Dirty Harry and shot Michael Myers full of lead in the climax of John Carpenter’s Halloween the sequel hit the theaters. Directed by Rick Rosenthal this time around Halloween II begins at the same moment the first movie ended with Michael getting shot six times (or seven if you count the gunshots) and falling off a balcony before disappearing into the night.

Returning to their roles are Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasence as Laurie Strode and Dr. Loomis. John Carpenter supplied the story, produced, and created the music along with his frequent partner Alan Howarth. Carpenter also shot additional footage after the first cut was deemed too soft.

Michael Myers seems none the worse for wear as he shakes off the minor wounds he received from the gun shots and second story fall. He arms himself with a nice pointy object once again and heads for Haddonfield Memorial Hospital to try to take care of that pesky babysitter who escaped his murderous advances. Once there he resumes his all out assault on the clueless people of Haddonfield as he takes advantage of their lack of peripheral vision.

Halloween II falls short in many ways when compared to the first movie. Rosenthal does an adequate job of directing but he just doesn’t come close to the direction of Carpenter. The actors are fine in their roles but Jamie Lee Curtis is in the movie for less than thirty minutes and most of the time her character lays around in a drug induced stupor. Dr. Loomis gets more screen time as well as Michael Myers who is seen way too much wandering here and there and everywhere. The gore factor has been cranked up quite a bit over the first movie and that to me is the sequels biggest flaw. The gore is simply not needed and sticks out like a sore thumb. The first move relied on atmosphere, suspense, and the occasional visual shock but was far from bloody. This movie lingers on the gore and the shocking scenes way too long.

All in all this is not a terrible sequel but it’s not great either. It has some very effective sequences but too often resorts to bloody nonsense instead of suspense and tension. Kind of a disappointment but still entertaining.

The good:

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I love the Sam Loomis Character. “You don’t know what death is!” Great line.

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I like the skull in the pumpkin.

The music is not as good as the first movie but it’s still well done. I would have preferred some new themes to compliment the original score.

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The climax is well done…

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… even with the all too obvious flame retardant suit.

To me Michael Myers died at the end of this movie. His flesh probably melted off the bone. Sorry but I can’t believe he would survive this even if whatever force made him able to survive the previous wounds was still active . Besides the sequels that involved Michael after this movie are appallingly bad. I highly doubt Dr. Loomis lived through the blast either.

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His freaking head is toasted. He dead.

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I don’t think most of the added blood and gore was needed. However this scene is creepy.

The not so good:

I hate the use of the song Mr. Sandman by The Chordettes. Nothing against the song I just don’t think it fits. I re-edited the scenes and took the song out.

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Do the Haddonfield police always scream through residential neighborhoods going a gazillion miles an hour? On Halloween when people are trick or treating?

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Brakes. Try using them.

Oh my god people what are you blind?

Oh my god people what are you blind?

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Pay no attention to the clearly visible man shaped object behind the screen.

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Maybe it’s just me but the little scalpel doesn’t seem as scary as a big ass kitchen knife.

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Um…you can still see his eyes and they look fine. Why they filmed this from such a low angle is beyond me?

Random thoughts and observations:

Loomis

Dr. Loomis changes his facial hair slightly and gets a new jacket before running downstairs to look for Michael.

Masks

The mask they used is the same one as the first movie but it aged quite a bit since the first movie was made. Looks kind of strange.

Hammer

Friday the 13th Part 2 and Halloween II, both released in 1981, contain a scene where a pudgy policeman/security guard with a mustache gets a hammer in the noggin from behind.

Hammer II

Pretty weird huh?

Halloween Movie Review: Click Me!

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