Halloween II (1981)

7 Apr


Smith’s Verdict: **

Reviewed by Tanner Smith

John Carpenter’s great 1978 chiller “Halloween” did not need a sequel. Sure, it was a box-office success, was the most profitable independent film at the time, and became the phenomenon that would create the “slasher” genre. But it didn’t need a sequel. It was fine on its own.

But with all the trashy, deplorable “slasher” movies (movies in which dumb teenagers are stalked and sliced by some psycho) hoping to cash in on the film’s success, critics and cynics at the time must have hoped that “Halloween II” would at least show copycats of the original how to do this craft properly. But as it turns out, the film is only here as an attempt to cash in, just like the other movies of this sort. It’s a disappointing, repetitive, and (worst of all) boring thriller that lacks the tension and compelling nature of the original film. It’s as if they didn’t want to try so hard with this one because they knew that whatever they would make for a sequel to “Halloween,” it would make money either way.

The eeriness is monotonous and not very tense. The characters are unbelievably dumb. The masked killer, the Shape, has lost his effectiveness as a menacing force, and has instead become a typical slasher-movie villain. Even the gore-level is turned up because apparently, blood and gore sells with audiences (those who are fond of the original remember how bloodless it is, and it had atmosphere and suspense to keep people tense).

“Halloween II” begins just a few minutes after the original film ended. Sick psychotic Michael Myers attempted to kill babysitter Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) before Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasance) shot him seven times (even though he repeatedly, frightfully yells he shot him SIX times, but whatever), and yet his body disappeared without Loomis noticing. Now, Laurie is taken to the nearest hospital, which conveniently (for a horror film) has one doctor on duty and just a few nurses. (I’m not quite sure there are any other patients either—if there were, I’m sure that would explain why there are no complaints about the poor lighting of the building.)

But wouldn’t you know! Michael Myers makes his way to the hospital and kills everyone he comes across!

Wait, how did he know where Laurie was? Why does he still want to kill her? Well, so this sequel can be made, I guess.

Anyway, Michael creeps about the hospital and kills off the people he comes across, while Laurie relies on her wits to fend for herself…Oh wait, I’m sorry; this time around, Laurie is a broken, catatonic fool who is about as complex as Barbra from “Night of the Living Dead.” Scenes that feature her in danger grow really boring as a result.

While all of this is going on, Dr. Loomis is still out to find his patient (Michael) and somehow stop him because he knows for sure that he’s alive because “he’s not a man—he’s evil!” (That’s one of many screaming rants he likes to deliver, including “I shot him six times!”) But soon, he learns of a family connection between Michael and…Laurie? Really? OK, it’s one thing to have a backstory over a character that didn’t need one in “Halloween,” but to have him related to Laurie is to give up hope for this movie.

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