Sunday, May 9, 2010

"Halloween II"(1981)d/Rick Rosenthal

"Heyyyyy,man,this ain't H2!"Fret not,Rob Zombie fans,when I choose to tear apart your favorite dreadlocked egg-purse's sorry excuses for remakes here at the Wop,you'll know.Tonight we examine the real sequel to Carpenter's 1978 horror masterpiece,which might not be all that great of a movie,but it's still light fucking years ahead of anything Zombie has the balls to slap the Halloween title upon.So we're still talking the original faceless Boogeyman and living embodiment of evil here,and not the abused,mutant piece of white trash with the mask fetish,to set the record straight.
Despite a few spirited moments of hilarity(mostly unintentional,and Loomis-based) peppered throughout the production and Alan Howarth's excellent electronic collaboration on Carpenter's superlative original score,ultimately,this sequel falls flat.Despite the fact that sequels rarely live up to their preceding films,there are a few glaringly obvious reasons that tonight's entry only manages to be average at best.In the original film,Nick Castle portrayed Michael as the ultimate evil with a child's perspective,on a perpetual and deadly trick or treat,hiding in the shadows,setting up horrific scares for his victims,looking on with wonderment at his trophies as the night progressed.In the sequel,Dick Warlock clocks a lot of on-screen time,methodically plodding through victims,churning out a lot of on-screen violence,where the original implied most of its kills,relying instead on good old fashioned white-knuckled suspense and jump-scares.That suspense is non-existent here.Sadly,it all seems like a contrived,punch the clock affair in the end.
Laurie Strode(Jamie Lee Curtis) wanders the halls of Haddonfield Memorial,the emptiest hospital in cinema history.
We pick up with Michael leaving the scene of the Doyle house,casually strolling through the neighborhood,helping himself to a kitchen knife at the Elrod's household(and bleeding on Harold's ham sandwich)which he uses to slash the throat of some local young gossip hound,while avoiding Dr. Loomis'(Pleasance) and Sheriff Brackett's(Charles Cyphers)bickering pursuit.The two men come upon a faceless shape walking down the sidewalk,but after he walks out into the street,he's pinned between a squad car and a delivery van,and is burned to death by the ensuing explosion.At this point,Deputy Hunt(Hunter Von Leer) arrives on the scene to inform Brackett that several teen bodies have been discovered at the Wallace house,one of which being his daughter Annie(Nancy Loomis).At this point,Brackett disappears from the story,leaving Hunt to assist the doctor in hunting down his former patient.Meanwhile,Laurie Strode(Curtis),the only survivor from Myers' bloody onslaught earlier that evening,is whisked away to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital,in shock,with a fractured ankle,and in need of stitches.The hospital staff,who seem to be the only other people in the place,are comprised of bubbleheads,sex maniacs,pot smokers,neglectful maternity ward nurses,incomepetent night watchmen,and one drunken doctor.Michael intuitively heads towards the hospital in pursuit of the one that got away.You know where this is going...
Michael helps the marshall unlodge a pesky candycorn stuck in his throat.
When the coroner examines the charred corpse of Loomis' suspect,the dental records show that the body most likely belongs to teenaged Ben Tramer(so much for Laurie going to the dance,afterall,eh)and not the Boogeyman.The good doctor and deputy investigate a break in at the school,where "Samhain" is written in blood on the chalkboard,and a crayon drawing of a family is skewered to a desk,right through the sister.Apart from obviously being a big proponent of Glenn Danzig's side projects,what's this evil son of a bitch trying to say anyway?Back at the hospital,Myers eighty-sixes nearly everyone,with hammer claws to the skull,hypodermic needles to the eyes and temples,scalpel impalings,blood drainings,strangulation with stethoscopes,boiling bobblers in overheated therapy pools,while Strode goes in and out of consciousness,amidst dreams of her adoptive parents taking her to see a young boy in an institution.Hmmmmm...Nurse Chambers(Nancy Stephens) arrives with a marshall to escort Loomis back to Smith's Grove,but when she inadvertently blurts out that Laurie is in fact Michael's other sister,the doctor forces the marshall to return to the hospital at gunpoint.In a final standoff in a room full of explosive gases,Laurie manages to shoot Michael in both eyes with Loomis' pistol(beginner's luck?),as the wounded doctor opens all the tank valves.As Laurie limps out to safety,Loomis blows the room sky high,killing himself and his murderous patient.A figure engulfed in flames stumbles out of the fire,burns for about four hours,and collapses.Laurie is whisked away to yet another hospital,cueing shots of a burning Halloween mask and the Chordettes' "Mister Sandman" for whatever reason.
Dr.Loomis(Donald Pleasance)flicks his Bic just in the nick.
Originally set to take place years later in a high rise apartment building,this sequel was a financial success,though panned almost universally by critics for its rigid slasher foundation popular in the early eighties,instead of following the successes of the original.Carpenter who declined directing here("I had made that film once and I really didn't want to do it again."Good for you,John!)in favour of producing,continued to enjoy huge success throughout the eighties with The Thing,Escape From New York,Christine,etc.Jamie Lee Curtis,a continuity no-no here with her hair still partially bleached from her portrayal of Dorothy Stratten in "Death of A Centerfold" a year earlier,went on to enjoy a fruitful career in movies and television,even revisiting her Laurie character in later retarded cash-in sequels, H20(1998) and Halloween:Resurection(2002),before mainly focusing on her family instead,in 2006.The excellent British character actor,Donald Pleasance,continued acting up until the end,in 1995,reprising his Loomis character in the fourth,fifth,and sixth movies of the series.It'd be virtually impossible to match Carpenter's original groundbreaker,but Halloween 2 stands alone as a fairly average slasher pic,with several enjoyable moments,despite its shortcomings."I'll shoot it two Wops!I'll shoot it two Wops!I'll shoot it in the heart!This film...this movie isn't human!" in my best Donald Pleasance impersonation.
We sure see a whole helluva lot of Michael Myers(Dick Warlock)in this one.


Tower Farm said...

The best thing about this movie is the original novelization that came out when the movie did. For some reason "Laurie" is misspelled as "Launie" in all the picture captions. This caused years of laughter for my brother and me.

As for the movie itself...I re-watched it recently and thought there were some well-done scenes...but overall it's kinda boring.


beedubelhue said...

It outperformed most other slashers released the same year,but looking back,the majority of theatergoers,myself included,were expecting a second dose of the first movie,not typical slasher formula.Either way,Loomis is still pretty funny.


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