Even with all the negative backlash for the first film, it still made a good amount of money to warrant a sequel. Now with not having to worry about remaking anything, unless you count the first 20 minutes of the movie as a remake of Halloween II. Rob Zombie crafts his own story and evolves characters in his own style, which includes once again a lot of swearing, grunginess and a hell of a lot of unmasked hobo Myers. Does Halloween II fix the problems from the first, or does it just pile more crap on top? Read on to find out…
Short nitty-gritty plot description from IMDb is as follows: Laurie Strode struggles to come to terms with her brother Michael’s deadly return to Haddonfield, Illinois; meanwhile, Michael prepares for another reunion with his sister.
Starting right from the last frame of the first film, similar to the originals, we pick up with a bruised and bloody Laurie Strode, wandering down a lonely street. It’s a haunting image, only slightly marred by the fact that the cops that were about to arrive in the last film, have vanished. Also, you may be asking how does Michael survive a shot to the head? Well, it’s never explained, but does evil have to be? What is explained, however, is how Michael escapes, which really is dumb, but better than Halloween: Resurrection‘s way of doing it. After the escape, Rob Zombie decided on doing a quick remake of Halloween II‘s hospital idea and it’s probably the best part of the movie. It has a pretty crazy and graphic kill and seeing Michael stalk the hallways after Laurie was exhilarating and terrifying. Unfortunately, after that short bit, we jump ahead two years and get placed in a Haddonfield that is pretty damn different from the last time we saw it. The whole place looks rundown as if Michael’s rampage put them in the hole. Really though, it’s just Rob Zombie’s style of directing coming through, one that he held back doing in the first one. Everyone in this one is a hippy pot smoking sex hound, just waiting to get their head cut off by Michael.
If you’re expecting nonstop Michaelness, prepare to be disappointed. Michael has been living off the grid for a few years and after one two many visions of his younger self (now played by Chase Vanek) and his mother on a white horse (representing evil or something; really pretty much the dumbest way for Rob Zombie to shoehorn his wife into this movie), he heads back to Haddonfield to reunite the entire family. So, we get several scenes of Michael wandering in fields (sans mask and sporting a mean hobo look), a quick stop at the strip club and finally, Michael arrives back in town by the time I feel the film should be wrapped up.
The biggest problem with Halloween II is the random inconsistencies. Michael will sporadically, kill a few people and the next thing you know, he’s miles away for no reason, but only to further the plot. The other problems we get should be familiar to people who’ve watched the first, the swearing. Loaded to the brim with every variety of swear words possible, if you played a drinking game for every time they said something vulgar, you would die from alcohol poisoning in 2 minutes flat.
Brad Dourif (Sheriff Brackett) gets some more screen time and for that, we can be thankful, as he has some great scenes near the end that really show off his talent. I also enjoyed the scarred (both inside and outside), Danielle Harris, as she returns once again as Annie. I’m surprised to say it, but I warmed up a little to the angst-ridden and depressed Laurie Strode, played again by Scout Taylor-Compton. She is not the nerdy high school girl anymore, instead, she’s the clinically unstable and nightmare riddled shell of a girl she used to be. She also has quite the mouth on her. Her mother needs to wash it out with soup, oh wait. Dr. Loomis also returns and I’m loving every minute that Malcolm McDowell is on screen. He’s turned Loomis into a pompous ass living off the tragedies of others, but deep down, he is as scarred as any other victim. Everyone else is pretty much fodder, meant to get their heads smashed in.
In the musical department, you can expect some big changes. Almost completely absent from the film is any Halloween musical cue. Instead, we get new themes and although one or two are somewhat memorable and played throughout, I’m drawing a complete blank on any other music present. The original theatrical cut had Laurie’s theme playing at the end, which I remember really liking, but for the unrated (the version I watched), it’s removed and replaced with a cover of “Love Hurts”.
I remember at the time liking Halloween II better than the first one. I knew what to expect, I reigned back any expectations and just appreciated it for what it was, a loud and very, very, very gory film. Now though, after watching both films back to back, I came out liking the first one ever so slightly better. Is it because I watched the unrated director’s cut? Maybe, but I don’t really want to sit down and find out. These two may not be the classics like the originals, but if you separate them and just try to enjoy yourself, it’s not an awful way to kill some time on a cool October’s night.