When one speaks of great Horror film sequels, one film that is always overlooked is also one that is unfairly lumped into the trash pile. That film is Halloween II. Just why is it that I feel this film deserves more respect than it deserves? Well, I plan to explain.
The movie picks up right were the first one left off. As a matter of fact, it starts out a few minutes before where the first one left off. Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) blows a few hefty holes into the chest of Michael Meyers. Michael falls of the 2nd floor balcony and hits the ground below with a thud. Then, yes, he disappears. The search is then on for the man that Haddonfield soon will get to know real well.
The movie lacks much of its predecessor's punch in atmosphere. But it makes up for it in attitude. The movie moves at a very constant pace. Always giving us something to place us on the edge of our seats. The first film was able to bring the tension up slowly and give us the willies throughout. This time around though, we know who the killer is. We know he is there. The town knows he is there. The police now want him. In the context of the script, the only choice was to make this movie move. And that it does quite well. I will admit though that the first kill is rather poorly executed with Michael jumping up from nowhere.
Yes, this movie takes most of the clichés and runs with them. But let's remember that this film is also one of the ones to create the clichés. At the time that this film was made (1981!!!), there has been a rash of slasher films, but they still were a fairly new creature. It wasn't until the popularity of "Scream" that people really started to sit up and take notice of the typical slasher film styling. Though, if you really want to see where "Scream" got its ideas, go out and rent the movie "There's Something Out There". I have no doubt that this is the film Kevin Williamson saw that gave him the idea for "Scream". But I digress.
This films at least makes use of the things that became standard on Halloween in the late 70's/early 80's. Things such as the razor in the apple (yes, this actually happened quite often at this time kids), the drunk guy coming home from the party (Ben Tramer, I guess he WON'T be dating Lori) while still in his costume. There are a few others, but they escape me to be honest with you.
One of the things that I really love about this film is how even though John Carpenter said that "Halloween" was his tribute to people such as Argento and Bava, this film actually holds up that statement more than Carpenters words and his first film. Look at the scene where the paramedic slips in the blood of the nurse. The whole scene is shot like an old Giallo. Plus numerous other shots come across that way. Color is a very big part of this movie. Mostly when the color red comes into play, it is very strong.
This DVD is an amazing looking DVD. Sure, the features suck. You get a total of ONE special feature. That feature being production notes. Yay! They suck. But the film is really the reason to buy this thing. The colors are strong and sharp. The blacks are deep and crisp. This is still one of the better looking DVD's out there. I have found that a great way to check your picture clarity is to check the trees in the movies. Trees are solid greens. If you can make out the individual leaves and branches and still have deep greens, than you have a real good looking picture. This one has amazing trees, even at night.
To me, this is the best of the 'Halloween" sequels. It has suspense, action, gore and just enough style to make it respectable. Well, maybe not too respectable. The song the paramedic named Bud sings about needing the nurses pie and then the hot tub scene helps knock down that respect. This was also the last time Michael looked like the original Michael. It was also the last time he seemed to be really scary and still somewhat human. In later films he was no longer human.
If you like this film, grab the DVD, It is not too expensive and I will promise you that you will find enough reasons to really enjoy this movie again. I personally love it and really do consider it to be one of the best sequels made. Though, most sequels do suck.
|Directed by Rick Rosenthal|
|Released by Goodtimes|
|Rated R - Region1 (NTSC)|
|Ratio - Widescreen 2.35:1|
|Audio - Dolby Digital Surround|
|Running time - approx 92 mins|
|Subtitles - Spanish and French|
|Reviewed by Carl R Isonhart|