Director – Rick Rosenthal
Cats – Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, Charles Cyphers, Jeffrey Kramer, Lance Guest, Pamela Susan Shoop, Hunter von Leer, Dick Warlock
Release Year – 1981
Reviewed by John of the Dead
After the great success of “Halloween” it is no surprise this film came about, and what a great film it is. Time and time again we get an awesome film only to be supplemented with a horrible sequel that tarnishes the memory of the original, well that is not the case with this franchise(as of this second film). Halloween II is a very positive sequel and truly effective slasher that once again embodies the pure evil that is Michael Myers, and gives us more classic carnage that only “The Shape” can dish out.
Halloween II takes place right from the conclusion of the first film. (If you have yet to see the first film…prepare for Spoiler City) It is still Halloween night, and Michael Myers is on the loose after surviving being shot by Dr. Loomis. Laurie Strode has been taken to a local clinic to be treated for her wounds suffered from her encounter with Michael. Michael eventually finds his way to her clinic and after dispensing of most of the hospital staff, begins his second attempt at killing Laurie. When Dr. Loomis gets a visit from a colleague of his he then learns the true meaning behind Michael’s return to Haddonfield, and it does not involve a happy ending for Laurie.
I really enjoyed this film for two big reasons, one being that Michael Myers is in this film, and the other being that this film is nearly as dark as it’s predecessor. Once again we get some pretty sweet yet still mysteriously inconclusive background on Michael Myers, provided mainly through Dr. Loomis’s great dialogue. Towards the end of the film we find out the great twist involving Michael and Laurie that sets the story straight for the rest of the franchise, definitely one of the most iconic scenes in this series. The kills in this sequel were much gorier than those in it’s predecessor, and that is what keeps this sequel up in slight competition with the original.
The one big difference between this film and it’s iconic predecessor is that John Carpenter did not return to direct this sequel, instead he opted to produce the film and pen it’s screenplay. Instead first-time director Rick Rosenthal was chosen to direct this film, and actually in 2002 became the only director to direct more than one Halloween film when he directed Halloween: Resurrection. Nonetheless, I did have some problems with Mr. Rosenthal’s direction in this film. His pacing was a bit off, and this film dragged at times. Luckily we get some good Michael Myers action to keep us engaged, but even that comes to us tainted. Word has it that John Carpenter himself set aside three days to reshoot scenes for this film, especially gorier scenes, because he felt that Rosenthal’s version was “too tame”. I am personally glad this happened, because given this film’s moderate pacing problems “tame” is not a word that should be associated with Michael Myers.
Overall, this is a great sequel to one of horror’s most iconic films. The storyline is once again very interesting, and the Michael Myers carnage continues in epic fashion. Watch this if you are a fan of the series or would like to see a great slasher film.