Ron Martin is the host of The Resurrection of Zombie 7 Podcast, bartender, ghost hunter, author, bowler, drinker, a very safe driver, all around swell guy and collector of all things useless. In his spare time, he sometimes does accounting. He lives in the United States with his wife and the boys -- if you use the term "boys" very loosely. He is not fond of cats, tomatoes or the stench that builds up in the sink when dishes are left unattended for three or more days. He is very fond of Chaider.
Approaching Ron Martin to write for the website was a no-brainer. The guy is full of knowledge on horror and 80's notalgia, and his brain is packed full of more random trivia facts than Google itself. Not only does he have all of that under his belt, he's also a professional writer as you will soon come to learn. As I am sure you are well aware from listening to the Resurection of Zombie 7 Podcast, he has a way of brilliantly incorporating his sense of humour within everything he does, and this article does not lack it. If you haven't had the chance to yet don't forget to follow his podcast -- in which he, along with his cohost Little Miss Horror Nerd Jessica Feeney, go through and review every horror franchise to ever exist -- on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! - Channy Dreadful
Halloween is a film that is universally praised for it’s creativity, influence and simplicity. It’s famous.
Halloween III is a film that is a universally pain in the ass for fans of the Halloween franchise just because it deviates from the rest of the franchise story so completely. It’s famous.
In between these two famous films sits Halloween II, a film influenced by films that were in turn influenced by it’s parent film. It’s forgotten.
Halloween II has always been an interesting anomaly to me. Stuck between two “horror cred” movies, it’s the third out of the three Jamie Lee Curtis Halloween films (we are not counting that little cameo at the beginning of Halloween: Resurrection) in both critical acclaim and in the eyes of the horror public. However, I always remembered it being a solid sequel. A sequel that I felt was solid enough to compare it much more favorably to the original than most when I was going through my horror snob phase.
“Halloween II is better in a lot of ways than Halloween,” I would tell people hoping my outlandish statement would shock them into believing that I knew so much about horror that I was a borderline deity. I don’t think it worked.
The truth is that I saw Halloween II many times as a kid and teenager on TV and even on VHS once or twice. I truly remember it being a very solid movie and never understood it being tossed aside by horror fans. Think about it. No one ever talks about Halloween II – good or bad. The more honest truth is that until this review, I hadn’t seen Halloween II since the early 90s. Perhaps part of the subconscious reasoning for that was that I didn’t want to watch the movie and have it suck, thus ruining this perfect notion I had of it as a good film. Let’s see if it did.
After the success of Halloween spawned so many imitators, the people who brought you the first film decided to get in on the act and finally make good on that cliffhanger ending from the original 1978 classic.
Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis reprise their roles as Halloween II is a continuation of the same night, Halloween 1978. Before you question the math, I offer you this; It is said many times in both movies that Michael Myers killed his sister when he was six years old in 1963 and that he has come back fifteen years later – thus, 1978 for both films. Since the second movie was released in 1981, I am willing to bet that there is an error with a car or some sort of fashion, but I don’t know about these things well enough to say.
John Carpenter and Debra Hill return to write the screenplay and produce, though Carpenter refused to direct. Rick Rosenthal stepped into the directing spot. The creators of the original Halloween found themselves in a tough spot – they had started this subgenre of slasher horror but other movies (most notably 1980’s Friday the 13th) built on that subgenre with more gore, more deaths and more sex. It’s what audiences had come to expect. The Carpenter/Hill team delivered.
The events of Halloween II mostly take place in the Haddonfield Memorial Hospital as Laurie Strode was admitted into the hospital after the events of the first film. I would give my left nut for a Haddonfield Memorial Hospital paramedic’s outfit. Just saying.
The hospital staff is very young, which leads me to believe that the more experienced nurses/EMTs asked for the holiday off because of seniority. This does not bode well for our heroes. Most of the staff at the hospital are pretty one dimensional and cardboard characters. This also does not bode well for our heroes.
As Michael Myers takes the staff out one at a time, we get a mix of creativity (I’m mostly thinking of the death of Bud in the background as we stare at Karen’s tits and Myers mask appearing slowly out of the darkness as he stalks one nurse), stupidity (a hot tub that has a death setting? Really?) and cheats/copouts (a lot of deaths happen off-screen).
Is it as good as I remember it? Now that I am older, wiser and can look at movies with a much more critical eye, I would have to say no. There are some wrongs here. It’s never explained why Michael Myers can take up to 15 bullets between the first two movies and just shrugs them off – or why his mask looks different in this movie and the bullet holes from the first movie magically disappear halfway through. There is the retconning of Laurie Strode as the little sister of Michael Myers – which opens up a whole can of continuity worms. Finally, there is the bothersome guy who is dressed up just like Michael Myers before anyone knew who Michael Myers was. If the phrase WTF?! was around in 1981, a lot of people would have used it for that moment.
Offsetting the bad is the superb use of music, the continuation of amazing scene blocking for some awesome shots and the fact that while maybe not so much as it’s predecessor, Halloween II is also very influential. What are sequels known for? Higher body count, more gore and bigger stunts! Those are all present here and set the tone for sequels in franchises (with a little nod to Friday the 13th 2 which also was released in 1981).
The franchise aspect of Halloween hurts Halloween II because of the finality of the deaths of Dr. Loomis and Michael Myers. Remember, this was supposed to be the end of Michael Myers, to be replaced by a Halloween anthology series every year. When Dr. Loomis and Michael Myers both return later in the franchise, it certainly puts a little stink on Halloween II.
Was it as good as I remember? No. I’ve grown up and can realize when a hot tub is so hot it melts your face off, it’s pretty unrealistic. When I was younger, I just saw the tits and didn’t think about anything else. With that being said, it’s still pretty good and I believe the best sequel in this franchise. I would rate this a 6.5/10.
BEST DEATH SCENE: Bud, dying in silence in a silhouette behind a glass window while Karen obliviously sits naked.
WORST DEATH SCENE: Mrs. Alves. She died because somehow Michael Myers knows how to give an IV? What?!
I’M WILLING TO FORGIVE: The mispronunciation of Samhain. It’s pronounced like Saiwan, but this was 1981. We hadn’t started worshipping Satan yet.
I’M NOT WILLING TO FORGIVE: The entire rest of that scene. Why in the blue hell would Michael Myers break into a classroom to write Samhain on a chalkboard and stab a knife into a poorly drawn picture?
BEST CAMEO: It’s a tie. Dana Carvey as one of the teenagers is pretty interesting, but I have to give some credit to Nancy Loomis (Kyes) for coming back just to play her own dead body.