Continuing directly off from the last one, Halloween II strives to give a reason for Michael Myers’ rampage. Does this ruin the mystique of Myers or only help quantify his evil? Read on to find out…
Short nitty-gritty plot description from IMDb is as follows: Laurie Strode is rushed to the hospital, while Sheriff Brackett and Dr. Loomis hunt the streets for Michael Myers, who has found Laurie at the Haddonfield Hospital.
I’ve always been a fan of sequels that continue on from the last scene of the previous film and Halloween II is no different. Continuing from Michael’s disappearance and Dr. Loomis hunting him down, Laurie Strode is carted off to Haddonfield Memorial. In this film, however, we find out that (ancient spoiler alert), Laurie is Michael’s sister, which explains his desire to stab her multiple times. I know that I said in the review of the first movie, that I loved that his evil was unexplained and I still do, but if you going to continue the series, what they decided to do was really the only viable and sane option. So with that out in the open, we move into the idea behind the film, Michael hunting down Laurie in a dark and almost empty hospital (more on that later).
John Carpenter decided to not return to direct this one and the task was left to Rick Rosenthal. However, after seeing an early cut of the film, Carpenter felt it wasn’t scary enough, so he decided to spice things up and do a few re-shoots and viola! We now get a much more violent film than the first one. If you check out my Chop 10: Halloween Michael Myers kills, you can see some of them for yourself.
Acting is almost on par with the original. Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode, is pushed a little to the side and Donald Pleasence’s Dr. Loomis, is given a little more to work with. Which honestly isn’t a bad thing,
as I love his crazy role as the Doctor, which only gets more insane as the series continues. As for Laurie, her role is reduced to an almost mute character, with barely any lines. I find it works though, as the terror she was put through that Halloween night, would drive anyone batty. A romantic option for Laurie is introduced in this one and no it isn’t Ben Tramer (Laurie’s date to the dance in the first movie, who meets a tragic bone crashing end in this one). Jimmy (Lance Guest) is the sweet paramedic who falls for our tragic victim. Unfortunately, due to some sloppy editing, we never find out the fate of Jimmy, unless you watch the TV edit, which fixes that problem.
If you’re wondering why Michael Myers looks a little different, this is contributed to the fact that a new actor was playing the shape. Dick Warlock, a stunt man who has done some genre classics, donned the mask in this one. He does a great job of taking over from Nick Castle and the transition between the two films isn’t hurt by the change in actors. (Fun little fact, the mask used in this film, is the exact same one, but thanks to several years of mistreatment, it has degraded quite a bit, hence the awful state it’s in.)
Music is once again amazing, but “updated” to incorporate a more synthesized version of themes. John Carpenter is also helped out this time with Alan Howarth, a man who will continue on with the series after Carpenter.
I like the hospital idea, but why in god’s name is it so abandoned looking. It’s constantly dark, with hardly any staff on-site and you would think, after the countless murders that just happened that night, it would be full of people. (If you want to see how a hospital should look, check out Visiting Hours, another hospital-related slasher film, that came out a year after Halloween II.) In what I can only assume was a decision to make the film scarier, having the hospital so empty only goes to hurt the continuity between the two films.
Halloween II ranks almost as high as the first one and if you’re going to watch Halloween, you have to watch this one right after. It only makes sense, as the two go hand in hand. However, a few editing issues and a decision to shoot the hospital as looking abandoned, making no sense as Michael’s rampage should’ve made that place hopping, brings the score down a little.