Movie Review: Halloween II (1981)

Posted: November 22, 2015 in Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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Halloween II 1981 Kill Graph

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Bare Hands, Revolver, Butcher Knife, Hammer, Garrote, Scalding Water, Syringe, Scalpel, Fire

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Reviewed by: Jenicide

Since John Carpenter’s Halloween turned out to be a big hit, it prompted the typical studio response for a horror movie sequel to cash in on the predecessor’s success. In the case of Halloween II, the scare aspects of the film tend to include more gore over suspense, which is unforunate because the suspense made the original film terrifying. While the film fails to equal to Halloween , part II does turn out as an entertaining ride.

Halloween II picks up from the precise moment the last movie left off, continuing on Halloween night, 1978. Dr. Loomis is searching around town frantically for his patient, Michael Myers, while Laurie Strode is admitted overnight into Haddonfield Memorial Hospital for treatment. Once Myers learns of this, he heads off to the hospital and continues his killing spree in search of her.

Hospital Laurie carexplosion

After Halloween proved to be a massive hit, the anticipation of a sequel, like Halloween II, that picks up directly from the predecessor is exciting. This satisfies the audience’s curiousity of “what happens next”. Fans of the film were already attached to these characters and were eager to see where their adventures would lead them to next. Becuase of that, a lot of weight is put on the film’s shoulders to produce a sequel that fills the original’s shoes.

michaelstalk laurielurks

While Halloween II has its good points, one element that brings the story down is that the gore factor is substituted for suspense. The body count and gore exposure on screen is massively larger compared to the original, trading shlock and blood for atmosphere. Part of the problem is that part II takes place in a brightly lit hospital, where it is less possible to keep the mood as dark and creepy. Then there is the sibling relation factor. Halloween II makes the surprising revelation of Michael’s connection to Laurie in that they are siblings. This changes the whole premise where Myers was simply an evil being, killing without any reason. Giving Michael a motive now makes him less scary because it takes away from his mystique.

LoomisShootsThreat Bloody Michael

On the other hand, Halloween II manages to be an entertaining movie because it provides action sequences that makes this sequel a pulse-pounding thrill ride. For example, the movie featured multiple explosions and shooting scenes that would have been out of place in the original, but here, it gets the adrenaline flowing. Dr. Loomis becomes the classic “man-with-a-gun” hero, typical of action movies. Makes it a little hard to believe this is the same calm and collected character from the previous film, as he is forcing a federal marshall at gunpoint to drive him around. The action in Halloween II is fun, but it’s also what makes it lose its scary qualities from the original.

Halloween II is an enjoyable sequel, but it’s not as excellent as the original. This comes down to the tradeoff of suspense and ambiance for mindless kills and cheap thrills. Not necessarily a bad thing, but these popcorn-movie elements are inferior when compared to the craftsmanship of John Carpenter’s Halloween.

 

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