Halloween II

  • Directed by Rick Rosenthal (Directorial Debut)
  • October 30, 1981

Michael Myers follows Laurie Strode to the local hospital with Dr. Loomis close behind.

One thing that really struck me about Halloween II-and I realize it was pretty much the same in the last film-is that despite being two of the three major characters Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) share very actual few scenes in the story. Michael Myers appears with both of them, but those two characters rarely interact. However you are left with the impression they do more together than they actually do.

A real selling point of this film (as with most of the other Halloween films) is that the killer just keeps coming. He is a single-minded killing machine focused on Laurie Strode and nothing else. That single minded determination makes him standout among so many other horror icons. He is a lethal force that wipes out all before him. Sure plenty of others did the same but somehow Michael Myers came off as a force rather than a man. Most likely due to his never-ending silence no matter what.

If you are of a certain age there are a few recognizable faces here other than Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis. They were either one of those faces that were everywhere or went on to greater fame in something else. Lance “The Last Starfighter” Guest appears as Jimmy who is an EMT. Pamela Susan Shoop, who did a lot, shows up as Nurse Karen Bailey. Ana Alicia is another one of those everywhere faces and she is in the part of Nurse Janet Marshall. Character actor Leo Rossi is EMT Budd Scarlotti. Billy “Baywatch” Warlock shows up as Craig Levant. And Dana Carvey is reportedly Barry McNichol though I do need to doublecheck that. A solid 80s supporting cast and just somehow perfect for the time.

Though it is intimately associated the Halloween mythology, the revelation that Laurie is Michael’s sister comes about in this film and not its predecessor. It’s an element that has carried over to almost every other iteration of the narrative save for the most recent version. There’s even a bit of an implication that they have some kind of psychic connection via a vision/dream sequence that Laurie has while in the hospital where her adoptive mother tells her she’s not her mother and Laurie sees a young Michael Myers sitting on a chair in a room.

Sequels to low budget films often have better budgets than their predecessors. Studios are willing to spend bucks that they previously were not which can disconnect the next film from the feeling of the first. Somehow though they avoided that here. Visually this is no different than the first film and it manages the same general atmosphere.

Curtis was serviceable as the steady Laurie but she cries and runs more than being a character like she was previously. They create a tepid connection between her and Jimmy, but it never goes anywhere. I liked the potential they displayed but it did not amount to much.

Pleasance was good in the more sedate moments as Dr. Loomis but when he is frantic it was just a little campy and didn’t quite connect with the character. I understand he knows how dangerous Michael Myers truly is but his wavering between calm and frantic just was too much of an extreme.

Donald Pleasance was a fine actor who towards the end of his career just did not get the quality material that his talent could make shine. I am not calling his work as Loomis bad. I am just mourning a lackluster end to the career of a talented man.

Director Rick Rosenthal in his directorial debut does a good job helming a story crafted by John Carpenter and Debra Hill. It’s solid enough and entertaining enough that you will quite enjoy yourself. While there are no shocks it’s a good old-fashioned slasher and an effective continuation of the original movie.

Halloween II is a good film and a fine follow-up to the original movie. While nothing can be as great as the original, this just does a good job of following it all up which is hard for any sequel to a classic. If you’re a fan of the first film or just slashers this is a must see!

Published by warrenwatchedamovie

Just a movie lover trying spread the love.

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