Tuesday, October 1, 2013

#1,142. Halloween II (1981)

Directed By: Rick Rosenthal

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, Charles Cyphers

Tag line: "More Of The Night He Came Home"

Trivia: Tommy Lee Wallace was originally offered the opportunity to direct this film, but turned down said offer because he didn't like the script

John Carpenter’s Halloween is, without a doubt, the greatest slasher movie ever made, not to mention one of the best horror films of all time. It’s a moody, atmospheric picture that keeps you glued to the edge of your seat, and the major strength of its sequel, Halloween II, is that it picks up immediately where the first Halloween left off.

It’s still the Halloween from hell for poor Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), who’s been taken to Haddonfield Hospital to recover from the wounds she received during her encounter with Michael Myers (Dick Warlock) earlier that night. But the nightmare isn't over yet, because, despite the fact Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance) shot him six times at close range, Michael is still very much alive. In fact, he's made his way to the hospital, where, in his continued search for Laurie, he butchers a bunch of unsuspecting doctors, nurses, and orderlies. As Dr. Loomis continues to track the elusive serial killer, he uncovers a bit of information that might explain why Michael is so interested in seeing Laurie dead.

Despite being produced three years later, Halloween II is a near-seamless continuation of the first film. As the two leads, both Curtis and Pleasance slip immediately back into character, though Pleasance’s Loomis is a lot more unhinged this time around; while driving with the Sheriff (Charles Cyphers), he mistakes a trick-or-treater for Michael, resulting in a fiery crash that’s one of the film’s most spectacular scenes. As Michael, Warlock matches the cold intensity that Nick Castle brought to the role in the ’78 original, while switching the action from suburban Haddonfield to the local hospital also works in the movie’s favor, providing Michael with a string of fresh victims. In one scene, the night watchman, Garrett (Cliff Emmich), is checking out the grounds and notices someone’s broken into the storage shed. After a couple of jump scares, he finally finds the intruder… and is introduced to the claw end of a hammer!

From the characters to the numerous POV shots, from the violent kills to the now-iconic score, Halloween II convincingly takes us back to Halloween Night, 1978. It is one of the finest horror sequels ever made, and a worthy follow-up to the classic original.

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