Halloween II

Year: 1981
Directed By: Rick Rosenthal
Written By: John Carpenter and Debra Hill


What a disappointing evening we had with this film. I had remembered it being pretty good and was looking forward to it. I didn’t take into account I was probably 14 the last time I saw it and it turned out to be like any other typical slasher sequel. There are efforts made to deepen the Michael Myers lore but they are weak at best. This is really just more of the same with less purpose.

I was under the mistaken impression that John Carpenter was behind camera on this film. I think that misconception went a long way in my memory of it being better. You can clearly see that a different director made this film and I think that is the problem with it. Carpenter did serve as producer and writer for the film but that wasn’t enough. It starts with the score of the film. It’s similar to the first film’s but just different enough that it doesn’t have the same effect. Part of what made the first film great was how the music intertwined with the action on screen and that was missing this time around. Michael Myers looks different as well and that is something that happens when a new director takes on the work of another. Myers looks smaller in this movie and the mask looks slightly different. I don’t know if the director is to blame for Michael’s choice of weapons in this film but they couldn’t be any less intimidating. Scalpels can be deadly when used against someone but I hardly think it is a practical weapon for a ghoul who will spend an evening stabbing lots of people. When he gets his eyes shot out and is swinging it randomly trying to hit anything I just felt like it was stupid. A scalpel is not a slashing weapon, and by that point I was so bored and disappointed it just seemed like something else annoying.

The story here is really lame and not at all cool like I remembered it being. In the first film Michael Myers was a stalking killer who seemed to have no purpose to his killing and that made him scarier. In this film they gave him a reason but it was as loose a reason as it could be. They decided that Laurie Strode was his sister and that was his motive to kill her as his first kill was of another sister but I think this is weak. I think it even weaker that Laurie Strode seems to figure it out on her own and tries to talk to her brother before he again attempts to kill her.

Another thing I think takes away from this movie is Michael’s seemingly immortality. In the first film he was a boogyman but in this one he is an unstoppable mindless killing machine. They vaguely try to explain it with a ritualistic word scrawled on the chalkboard at the local school but his immortality takes something away from him. If there is no real hope to kill him then there is no anticipation of how anyone will escape. It makes little sense why he would survive so many gunshots, including one to each eye, but die from catching on fire. He walks out of the explosion before appearing to die but why does that kill him when nothing else would? It seems he could have stopped, dropped, and rolled if for no other reason than to offer the audience a more terrifying looking slasher but I guess they didn’t do fire drills in the mental institution he grew up in.

Regardless what I think this movie is still a pillar of support for a franchise that has continued for more than twenty five years. It would be awesome to see the horror genre diversify but why do so when you can keep making money doing the same thing over and over again? I think if you have seen the first film you have seen them all. One slasher film is really no different than any other once you’ve seen the first. The only differences being the weapons wielded and the one doing the wielding. You have a good chance to see a set of boobs in any of them but not from the heroine that ultimately defeats the unkillable slasher.

Seems to me it’s always a woman who wins out in the end of these films. Gentlemen, if you find yourself in a slasher film scenario then make the most of your final hours of life. If these movies have taught us anything then we know we aren’t beating the bad guy. It’s most likely going to be the girl that you, or any of your buddies, didn’t try to hook up with. She will kill the bad guy and/or be the only survivor. There is no hope for us guys, so go wild if you find yourself in this unpractical and unrealistic situation.  Such a thing is unlikely but in a society where we all like to joke about our readiness for the zombie apocalypse anything is worth being prepared for.

If you are looking for a good movie to watch for Halloween then don’t waste your time with this one. If the first one isn’t available there are still several better options to spend your time with.


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