Halloween 2 (1981)

HW21

On October 30th 1978, Michael Myers escaped from a mental institution and one night later, Halloween Night, began tormenting Laurie Strode. Six shots from Doctor Sam Loomis’ gun put a stop to Myer’s reign of terror, but only for a short while. After only a minute or two, Myers was back up and running, err, menacingly walking, and he intends to finish what he started.

This is actually the last Halloween film to use the original Captain Kirk mask. Most people think (myself included for the longest time) that the first film was the only one to use a whitewashed version of William Shatner’s face as a mask because the one in the second film looks so different, but it is in fact the exact same mask they used in the first movie. So why does it look so different? Because it’d seen a lot of wear and tear over the years. The previous actor, Nick Castle, had kept the mask in his back pocket when not in use which lead to it being pretty beaten up on the first set. Then it sat under a bed collecting dust and growing old until filming of the new movie began. On top of that, the actor playing Myers for the second flick was actually a bit smaller than Castle, and the mask sat a little more flimsy on his smaller head so the mask looked different than it had in the previous movie. Honestly, I think it kind of worked out. After the beating Myers took in the previous film, it would make sense that the mask would look a little worse for wear which it completely does. Shame though they didn’t keep the mask when filming ended but they didn’t think they’d be doing another Michael Myers themed movie, so they just let the new actor playing Myers (Dick Warlock) have the thing when filming was finished. I can only imagine what happened to it after that.

Our film begins with the very end of the last flick, Michael getting up after Laurie stabbed him in the eye with a hanger (one of the most classic scenes in horror cinema history, if you haven’t seen it…shame on you, shame). This is of course followed by Loomis giving Michael a lead injection (maybe it’s just me but that sounds only slightly dirty) and sending him through a window (also dirty?). When Loomis runs out to the front lawn to check on his patient’s status, he finds the body gone and has an understandable freak out. Myers meanwhile is wandering through the neighborhood trying to get his bearings when he finds a house with the door unlocked and decides to steal the occupant’s kitchen knife (no, his thieving ways haven’t changed). Deciding that the elderly couple wasn’t worth more than their knife, he leaves them to watch Night of the Living Dead and goes next door to kill someone much younger. As Myers finds a random victim to fulfill his bloodlust, a much traumatized Laurie is taken to the local hospital so her wounds can be treated. It’s possible that Michael would have never had any idea where Laurie was taken to but he lucks upon a random stranger with a boom box blasting information about Laurie’s whereabouts. With all the info he needs to continue his quest to kill the poor girl, Myers heads over to the hospital fully intent on finishing what he started and ending the life of his younger sister (shhh, no one knows it’s his sister yet).

HW23

{Let this me a lesson to you, never fall asleep while Night of the Living Dead is on, or Myers may just show up as your punishment}

Sequels are always a toss-up. You can usually guess, and guess correctly, that once you start getting up to the six through ten numbers they’re going to be fairly awful. That’s not always the case as there are a few examples of later series sequels being pretty good, but generally speaking it’s a correct assumption. Where the toss up really comes into play are in the beginning sequels, this especially being true with the second part of a series. They are either complete and total garbage compared to the first (Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2), much better than the first (X2 or an even better example Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back), or are on the same level as the first film. Halloween 2 is the latter. That being the case there isn’t really too much I can say for this film that I haven’t already said in the review for the last one, but I’ll go down the list regardless because let’s face it, I love to hear myself talk.

HW27

The atmosphere is still creepy with, in my opinion, a slight improvement over the first film. I can’t quite place my finger on what it is that makes it a little more unsettling than the last, but it did seem to be creepier. I do however have a theory because of course I do. Part 2 uses effects just as sparingly as the last with one slight exception, a lot more blood and brutality. There aren’t a whole lot more effects than the last one (though there is definitely a higher body count) but the deaths are much more brutal than those in the first movie. There is a woman whose face is shoved in and out of boiling water, a person getting a needle through the eye, a man getting a hammer to the skull, and a women who has all the blood drained out of her body. Compare those to the deaths in the first one that pretty much just consisted of people being stabbed or strangled. I think that this fact, coupled with the still creepy atmosphere, helped the movie to seem so much more frightening than the last one.

HW22{Myers, shown here with his happy face}

One of my complaints from the first film was the acting. How does this film stack up? Actually, a little bit better. The characters have more thought put into them and the actors portraying them even do a better job in my opinion. Hell, my favorite character in this flick is actually a complete asshole named Budd who is an absolute jerk but does it so well I still couldn’t help but like him. Not only do we get a better cast of actors from some of the costars, but we also get Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasence back. Curtis isn’t really in the flick too much but she still pulls off the “scared girl” routine well when she is and even adds to it with her portrayal as being drugged up from the hospital staff. Pleasence is of course on top of his game and does a great job as Loomis, making sure no one can ever top his performance of the character (yes I’m looking at you Malcolm McDowell). Our newcomer as Michael Myers, Dick Warlock, does just as good as Nick Castle did before him but has a much more enjoyable story as to how he got the part. Nick Castle basically just got the part because he was John Carpenter’s friend and Carpenter needed someone to play The Shape. Dick Warlock on the other hand had to audition for the part. His audition idea was awesome, so awesome I’m not sure how he didn’t have the cops called on him. On his way into the audition he found the Myers mask sitting on a table, put it on, and walked into director Rick Rosenthal’s wearing the thing. When Rosenthal asked him a few questions, Warlock said nothing, he simply stood there silently, freaking out Rosenthal and the few others in the room with him until finally removing the mask and asking for the part. He was hired on immediately.

HW28{This isn’t a screen shot, it’s just what happened during the interview}

The story improves over the last in that my main two complaints from the last one in the story department aren’t of any concern here, Myers never drives a car and he doesn’t have the chance to kill Laurie early on. Myers has to make his way to the hospital and deal with the staff there so unlike the first film where he could have killed her within the first twenty minutes, he doesn’t get that opportunity here. They even throw in a small scene where Myers hears about Laurie being taken to the hospital on a news broadcast so you know how he knew to get there. Sure, the hospital he has to cut his way through is full of inept security guards, useless oversexed nurses, and a drunken doctor, but at least he has a reason for not just gutting Laurie and walking away. The only thing I can think of as being wrong is when Loomis sees the word Samhain written on a wall and states that it’s the Celtic god of death. As far as I know that’s not at all true but I could be wrong. Still, that one mistake aside I think it’s a better story than the first one.

HW29{It might even make you tear up a bit}

After writing that review I’m going to have to reverse my earlier statement about this film being as good as the first one. I think it’s actually better than the first film in more than a few ways. I know that the first is the original classic, but the sequel does a better job and I have to say that I’m a bigger fan of the sequel that the first film. I’d say that if you’re going to watch either that you watch them both in one night; it’ll make for a great viewing experience.

 

The Undead Review

 

Michael Myers’ Kill Count

Stabbed: 2 (4 Series Total)

Hammer: 1

Strangled: 1 (2 Series Total)

Hot Tub Burning/Drowning: 1

Hypodermic Needle: 2

Slit Throat: 1 (2 Series Total)

Exsanguination: 1

Myers’ Total Kills This Film: 9

Myers’ Total Kills: 14

 

Directed By: Rick Rosenthal (Bad Boys, Halloween: Resurrection)

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis (Terror Train, Prom Night, Trading Places), Donald Pleasence (The Great Escape, Halloween 1, 4, 5, and 6), Lance Guest (The Last Starfighter, Jaws: The Revenge) and Dick Warlock as The Shape (Firestarter, Pumpkinhead, many stunt performances)

Written By: John Carpenter (The Thing, Assault on Precinct 13) and Debra Hill (Halloween, The Fog)

Released By: De Laurentiis and Universal Pictures

Release Type: Theatrical

Release Year: 1981

MPAA Rating: Rated R

Rotten Heads: Four Heads Out of Five

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
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