Halloween II (1981) movie review
It’s Halloween today, so what better movie to talk about than Halloween II? The first one, I suppose, but I’ve covered that flick already. I know most people prefer the first one, but I’m a Halloween II kind of guy. Spoiler discussion after the jump!
Everybody’s back for Halloween II (except John Carpenter only has a writing credit this time and not a directing credit), and it’s certainly my favorite horror movie sequel. Friday the 13th Part 2 is hilarious fun, but there’s something respectable about Halloween II.
Improved story and pacing
I feel like you do a lot of waiting around in part 1 (I know this is supposed to build tension, but the more times I see the movie, the more I get bored with the stalking scenes and the weaknesses of the film become more obvious), and the characters are kinda dumb, and Michael Myers doesn’t have much motivation. Here in the second one, they firm up the story, even if it creates some discontinuity or at least oddness – if Laurie is Micheal’s sister, then Laurie’s foster father is kind of a dick for making her drop the key off at the Myer’s house – but it at least explains Micheal’s fixation with her, why he stalked her all day long before attacking, that sort of thing. The sheriff is still dumb, but he was dumb in the first one, so at least it’s consistent – between the two movies, the Sheriff and Loomis have the same conversation a zillion times:
Damn you for letting [Michael Myers] out.
I didn’t let him out – I gave orders that he be restrained.
I do feel that the new characters aren’t nearly as dumb and at least try not to paint targets on themselves in the face of a known threat. Overall, Halloween II has nice flow, interesting plot points (like the guy in the Michael Myers costume who gets hit by the car) and fun characters. One such character is Dr. Loomis, who is a long winded bastard (“He was my patient for fifteen years. He became an obsession with me until I realized there neither reason nor conscious or anything about him that was… even remotely human. An hour ago I stood up and fired six shots into him and he just got up and walked away. I am talking about the real possibility that he is STILL OUT THERE!” whew, relax Shakespeare!), but when it comes down to it, he doesn’t screw around. Sure, he’s similar in the first one, but I think he brings much more intensity this time around.
I really like the gore in this movie. Sure, there are some cheapies, but I still think it’s an improvement over the first one. Also, we get some kill variation with the burning/drowning of the nurse and the bleed out of the other nurse, whereas the first movie is very stabby.
There aren’t as many boobs in this movie as there were in the first one, but they certainly checked the boob box. I’m not sure why they had the lady reveal her boobs the way she did, but, I guess everybody likes some dramatic boobs. I’d also go as far as to say that these are more respectable boobs – at times, I just feel that there are boobs for the sake of boobs in the first movie – it’s very “La la la, brushing my hair with my boobs out, la la la.” In the second flick, they went with a less is more idea on the boobs, which is better for everybody… except for maybe perverted casting directors who like auditioning boobs.
Acknowledging that Michael is some sort of freak
Lines like “Why won’t he die?” and “I keep telling you he’s not human!” somehow make it more palatable that Michael just keeps coming, even after taking… I dunno, 10 gun shot wounds (not to mention a nasty fall of at least 12 feet and landing flat on his back). Yet, he bleeds and, when Laurie shoots him in the eyes, he loses his sight. Sure, this makes no sense medically, but it does seem consistent – he can be hurt, but not stopped – you can only delay him… unless you burn him to a crisp. (But, if you release a movie called Halloween 3: Season of the Witch and don’t include Michael Myers, he magically comes back in the fourth installment.) Anyway, I was always unsatisfied that he disappears at the end of the first one, but this one wraps everything up, nice and tight.
I know I’m in the minority, but I prefer Halloween II to the original. It’s a satisfying sequel with no BS to bridge the gap – it just picks right up where the first one left off and moves at a fantastic pace. I highly recommend this flick, but you do need to watch the first one before jumping on board.