Halloween II (1981)

By Brett Mullins

Released: 1981

Directed by Rick Rosenthal; Written by John Carpenter and Deborah Hill

Halloween II
is a direct sequel to John Carpenter’s original, beginning during the final scenes where Dr. Loomis fires his revolver, and Michael plummets to the ground. Rushing to the window, Loomis observes that Michael has disappeared into the night, once again. As Laurie is rushed to the Hospital, Michael continues his murderous rampage.

This film holds an important place in the Halloween franchise, insofar as it established Micheal, Dr. Loomis, and Laurie Strode as icons of the series. Further, it played a key role in developing the motives of the characters, especially Michael’s. This film feels as though it was an attempt to account for the carnage of the previous film. It is clear that the style that accompanied John Carpenter’s direction has been replaced by a more gory, less tense approach. The focus is more on Michael’s killing and story, rather than building a frightening atmosphere.

Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasence both return to deliver great performances, though each character has a bit of a cheesy quality about them. Loomis is often awkwardly serious in moments of ease, and Laurie Strode unconvincingly fails to call for help at one point. There are several other nit-picky items one wouldn’t normally point out, except in a film with such high expectations. For instance, Laurie grabs Loomis’s gun and shoots Michael in the eyes at least once. It has not been established thus far that Laurie is a great shot or if she has even fired a gun before.

Despite this film being far inferior to the original, Halloween II manages to provide an interesting story with familiar characters. This story is original and believable which explains why this series is held to such high regard within the horror genre. Some could argue that this film was to be Michael’s final entry in the series, due to the closure of the ending, yet such a view only enhances the film’s legacy.

Rating: 7/10

2 comments:

  1. I've only seen most of the first one. But the franchise is so ingrained in pop culture that I somehow know all about the series.
    I'm going to try to watch at least the first couple the weekend before Halloween.

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  2. This is the one where Michael and Laurie are revealed to be siblings. A major turning point in the series. I wonder how different things would have been had Michael just been still a random, motive-less killer. Or if Carpenter and Hill had done their "different story for each movie" idea right off the bat with this one, instead of waiting for part III?

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