Saturday, August 22, 2015

Halloween II (1981)

By Daniel E

Michael finds the worlds darkest hospital. Oh... he's good.

Here we're kicking off a new series into the Halloween series as I experience it for the first time. We start with Halloween II, and we'll end with the original, which is the one I've already seen. Are you excited!?! I'm excited!

My excitement got a little stepped on by the underwhelming Halloween II. I know this movie has it's fans, so take no offense that I don't find it to be... you know... good. Obviously it's a fall from the original, but that's to be expected. Unlike the Friday series, Halloween started out with true greatness. It didn't have almost anywhere to go but down. But I'm sad it went as far down as it did.

Halloween II picks up exactly where the original left off with Laurie getting sent to the hospital and the nefarious shape still on the loose. Most of the film takes place in Laurie's hospital with Michael Myers after her and all the hospital employees. Oh, and Loomis is running around being all crazy and over the top leading the dumb cops to stop the monster. It's different from the original in many ways that are a shame. This isn't in anyway scary. It trades the horror of the first one for 'fun-shasherness' of the Friday series (I made up a term). Except it isn't fun. It's far more violent this time, but the violence feels very mean spirited. And that's coming from a Friday the 13th fan. Michael burns a woman to death in scalding water and it's shown in complete horrific detail. It's horrible in a bad way. It's gratuitous in a way that the original avoided. Horror is traded for over the top violence. I think that's a shame.
The hospital setting is a good idea in theory, but it's used in a way that makes no sense. Look, I can suspend my disbelief! I really can! But this hospital has no patients, no lights and insanely minimal staff. It's beyond ridiculous and it makes the movie impossible to believe or invest it. At least for me. If you can get passed it, I envy you. And I have to ask, who is the lead character in this film? Laurie is so underused in this it's downright shameful. The hospital staff is insanely dull and devoid of personality. I suppose it could be argued that it's Loomis. But I have a hard time investing in him in this film. How did his terrific performance from the original turn into this campy mess?

What's going on with this film's score? It's essentially the original score, but altered in a way that I don't care for. Look, I don't need the music to be exactly the same. But this score is constantly reminding me of the original, and just not doing it as well. Of course music is subjective. But the score to Halloween is my all time favorite horror film score. And I don't like it sounding like this.

Now you may be asking, where's the love? Here it is. I love the image of Michael with bleeding eyes. I think it looks incredible. It's an image that conveys terror and demented beauty all at the same time. It's so effective. In fact, I love it so much it makes me think I might the love the movie. But I can't. However, I do love that image enough to come back to the film. I'm sure I will too. The film isn't all bad. If you love Halloween, it's nice to get back into that world. It's nice to see bad ol' Michael again. Even if his mask looks inferior for some strange reason.

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