Monday, January 13, 2014

Halloween II (1981) Review:

Like many low budget films that achieved a strong following, a lot of popularity and financial success, a sequel was made to bring the viewers back another time for part two of whatever franchise had struck such a memorable chord. Halloween II (1981) is no different. After receiving such strong acclaim it was decided to whip out a continuation of the William Shatner mask wearing serial killer. And to be honest, it's one of the most tightly knit horror sequels viewers may see in a while.

Jaime Lee Curtis
Compared to many other sequels, it doesn't start a year, month or even day later. It starts right at the ending of the Halloween (1978) movie and picks up right where it left off. It literally bookends the first movie and starts chugging along again with Michael's violent killing spree. There's not much of a change at all in this story. After the traumatizing experience of the night Michael Myers came to his hometown, Laurie Strode (Jaime Lee Curtis) is rushed to the local hospital where she is prepped to be taken care of. Little does she realize that Michael is still on the loose looking for her even after Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) loaded six slugs into him.

This basically sets up the whole plot for the rest of the movie. Michael Myers makes his way to find Laurie, killing people in his path while Dr. Loomis and the police trail behind him, trying to find where he plans to be next. Interestingly enough, that's all this sequel needed. Fans enjoyed Myers so much in the first movie that they couldn't resist to pass up another feature involving him. John Carpenter (who decided no to direct this time) and Debra Hill's writing pretty much stays the same in this installment. But here's where audiences may get frustrated - the character of Laurie Strode still is of main focus but her character doesn't do much this time. For the most part she lies around in the hospital until the third act hits.

Michael Myers vs Dr. Loomis
But the writing also includes a little more explanation to why Michael Myers is so determined to kill Laurie, which does make it nice to get a little more background. However, it's still not enough to cover why he can withstand so many bullet wounds. That's utterly insane to imagine. The gore is also a little stronger here and that's understandable since the franchise was competing with several other horror films as well. Lastly, it's appreciated that John Carpenter's score sticks to the same theme and motifs that was created from in first but this time, more synths were used. Unfortunately this also removes the eerie atmosphere that was established from the first movie with piano keys. It's a different sound but not as effective. It's still a very strong sequel.

For most horror sequels, the story is not this closely knit but it is done very competently here. With minor changes, the story of Michael Myers continues once more like it did in the first movie.

Points Earned --> 8:10

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