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Halloween II
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Halloween II (1981)

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Plot Summary:

"Once again, Michael Myers pursues the beautiful teenager Laurie and satisfies his blood lust with random slaughter: loving couples, a defenceless nurse, a luckless guard and many more fall prey to Myers as he wields axe, breadknife and even medical syringe in his relentlessly violent quest."

Reviewer: Ryan McDonald @horrorasylum
Location:Sydney, Australia
Reviewed: 04 December 2003 Rating: out of 5


Set shortly after the excellent first film, we find Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) being taken to hospital after her traumatic encounter with The Shape, AKA Michael Myers. Meanwhile, despite shooting him six times ('I shot him six times! Six times! He's not Human!') Dr. Loomis believes Michael Myers is still walking the streets and he and the sheriff (Charles Cyphers) hunt him down. Hmm, could he be headed for the hospital? And just why is he so hell-bent on getting this particular girl? Luke, I am Your Father...oops, wrong movie.

For years I've been saying that this Rick Rosenthal sequel was the best of the rest of the series, but on reflection, it does not hold up well at all. For one thing, the cast is less interesting this time around, although greater in number. Oh sure, Donald Pleasence (easily the best thing in the film) is great fun running around like a stark raving mad Ahab of the medical profession, and Leo Rossi (anyone seen the never-ending and aptly titled 'Relentless' series?) is perfectly sleazy as the hospital worker you just hope will get it in the worst way.

But then there's Jamie Lee. Not only is she less interesting than in the first film (where we were with her every step of the way screaming for her to look behind her etc.), whispering and mumbling way too much, but I can't help but feel she didn't really start to act until 'Trading Places' (the film where she finally got naked. Connection anyone?). Here she's almost non-existent, and the same goes for her abortive romantic interest Lance Guest as a shy member of the hospital staff. They make for a pretty glum leading pair and aside from a brief cameo by then-unknown Dana Carvey, there's no one else of interest. In the first film we at least had the quite underrated Nancy Loomis and Curtis was much better.

Rosenthal's direction is fine, there are one or two choice kills (the hot tub bit is one of the most memorable in the series), but there's one huge speed bump to get over- the cinematography and lighting. In the case of the latter, there doesn't appear to be any. Scenes set in near total darkness are obviously meant to be that way, but we can't see a damn thing in some scenes, notably the outdoor scenes with Dr. Loomis and the sheriff.

The less said about the music score the better, apparently the work of John Carpenter 'in association with Alan Howarth', though I'll bet it's the other way around. It's limp, including the requisite 'stings'.

It's just a 'stalk and slash' film, but so was the first one. It was better, though this still stands as far from the worst of its type. I guess when you see the name Dino Di Laurentiis in the opening credits, and still watch the film, you get what you deserve. For die-hard slasher fans only.

Reviewer: Phil Davies Brown @PDB82
Location:Scotland, UK
Reviewed: 26 October 2003 Rating: out of 5

Very cleverly opting to continue exactly where 'Halloween' ended, Rick Rosenthal's first sequel is just as exciting.

With Michael Myers still at large, Laurie Strode is transported to the Haddonfield State Memorial Hospital, and it isn't long before he's back to finish what was started.

Once again we have the wonderful use of P.O.V. first made prominent by Carpenter, as Myers stalks the hallways of the Hospital and interestingly, Rosenthal makes use of CCTV footage and radio communications technology (more on that later) as well.

The death scenes are radically more gory and the body count is much higher, but the basic elements remain largely unchanged which thankfully includes the score, which is merely expanded upon.

The cast are all good again, with the nurses being the most sympathetic, and whilst many critics felt that Jamie Lee Curtis being drugged meant she was severly underused, I felt that after what she'd been through she would have needed the rest or she wouldn't have survived.

Halloween 2 helps to cement the franchise policy of less is more, retaining it's sense of small town atmosphere present in the first film, ensuring that the audience are once again terrified out of their minds.

Excellently building on it's premise, the series continues it's reign of terror on cinemagoers by retaining it's core elements and then adding many great set pieces of atmospheric terror.

Reviewer: Josh Winning @horrorasylum
Reviewed: 31 October 2001 Rating: out of 5

I have to say that this is probably one of the better Horror sequels that I have seen in a long time. Instead of re-treading the material that worked in the first film, Halloween II seems to build on the successes of its predeseccor and turn them on their head, rather than simply going over stuff already been done. It cleverly throws you straight into the action from the very beginning by having the movie continuing directly on from the end of the first, which immediately gets the viewer right into the action.

Halloween II is, in parts, better and far more enjoyable than the original, maybe because during the original things were so intense and brooding! There is a higher death count here (which doesn't really matter but is something worth noting), and the suspense is more elaborately played out - especially a scene where Laurie is struggling to crawl through a tiny basement window and then into a lift as Michael advances.

At times, Halloween II can be pretty scary, but the thing that really got to me in particular was just how creepy it was. The quiet, empty hospital is so peaceful - completely contrasting with the terror that is occurring within its walls, and the stretching white corridors add a real surreal-ness to the place. The setting is used effectively as an almost inescapable cage-like place where the corridors seem to strech on forever giving no escape. Director Rick Rosenthal manipulates this expertly; almost in fact matching Carpenter's directorial debut with as much skill.

The movie can be quite predictable in places, but there are enough contrasting scares and surprises in order for it to stay enjoyable. The finale itself is absolutely jaw-dropping, and if the sequels had not proceeded with Loomis, then tragic as well. And Laurie goes out with true heroine style, of course, strong and ready for a world that no longer holds true terror and threat.

While lacking in the originality that the first movie demonstrated, Halloween II makes up for this in scares and the pure creep-factor. Jamie Lee Curtis gets little to do, but Donald Pleasance is brilliant as ever. One of the better sequels to grace our screens.

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