Monday, October 27, 2014

The MONTH of HORROR - Day 27: Halloween II (1981)

A sequel to a landmark film in any genre is a difficult undertaking, and when it's a sequel to a horror masterpiece like John Carpenter's 'Halloween', you have some mighty big shoes to fill. There needs to be a good reason to bring the characters back for another go, to advance the story to a place worth visiting (and re-visiting), and to not repeat the same, or similar beats as before--'Halloween II' unfortunately fails at all of that.

Picking up immediately where events are left off in the original, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has survived an attack by the unstoppable killing machine Michael Myers, and Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) has saved the day just in time. For this second entry, I feel like it's almost insulting that everything that came before is completely discounted, Michael Myers is alive, and once more he's after Laurie except that this time our setting is predominantly contained within the halls of the local Haddonfield Memorial Hospital.

The hospital itself is an odd setting because nothing about it feels authentic whatsoever as it seems that virtually none of the rooms contain any other patients, the orderlies are basically non-existant, and the skeleton staff of nurses all appear incompetent. From a script level it's almost like no real care was put into the story, and seeing as it was written by John Carpenter and Debra Hill, scribes of the first 'Halloween', this makes sense as I understand that Carpenter didn't even want to do the sequel with Michael Myers however was forced to by the studio, hence why it seems like he just threw something generic together. Stock horror characters who you expect to die all do, and in ways that have all been recycled from the previous entry, save for one ridiculous death in a chemical bath that can be turned up to boiling levels because that's what medical staff like to do to their patients! Michael stalks his idiotic victims throughout the near deserted hospital halls while Laurie spends 3/4 of the runtime lying down, waiting for the boogeyman to visit her, slowly inching toward a predictable conclusion.

It's a weird movie because no one reacts realistically to all of the gruesome, and brutal murders that have occurred over a single evening in this small town. The cops are way too relaxed, and lackadaisical, just sort of lumbering from one crime scene to another--ho hum, another body, no big deal. Dr. Loomis is very calm, and uninterested, although that could just be Donald Pleasence taking his pay cheque, and wanting to put this flick behind him. Michael Myers should have died in the first movie, and stayed dead, that's the way John Carpenter wanted it. 'Halloween III: Season of the Witch' would put the series back on course but then the studios interfered once more after that, and what do you know, more tepid adventures of Michael Myers were to come. Oh, what could have been...

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