Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Horrors of October - Halloween II (#14)

Halloween II (1981)

Immediately starting at where the first film left off, Michael Myers is still alive and killing, while Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) and the Haddonfield police force continue their search for the escaped mental patient turned town menace. Too bad they never checked the local hospital, where the small night shift crew are the only line of defense from Myers reaching an injured and sedated Laurie Strode (Jaime Lee Curtis). I gave it a second chance but I am still not a fan of this sequel to the slasher classic. Let me start off with the positives before I become a sour sport. The opening credits perfectly capture the picture's status and tone: A return to the world devised by John Carpenter and Debra Hill (the pumpkin head) but now heading towards a darker and more sinister atmosphere (the skull within). Rick Rosenthal does a fine job as Carpenter's replacement, capturing some impressive horror sights, even though the post-production troubles and some reshoots by Carpenter himself undermined his vision. The kills are very memorable (the "lift by scalpel" being the best) and the explosive ending/amazing final stunt gives the Myers saga a proper conclusion. Unfortunately, that's all the good will I can give because everything else is rubbish. Carpenter and Hill do the most damage with their dull horror script, where they overloaded the pages with a bunch of cheap jump scares, flat characters that all display severely idiotic behavior, pointless allusions to mythology, and sheer amounts of bad misfortunes. Then, they drop one of the stinkiest bombshells ever on film: Michael and Laurie are actually siblings. What a shitty twist, made worst because the film doesn't call any further attention to it; it's the equivalent of the "I have breast cancer" line from the good bad masterpiece THE ROOM. This stupid creative decision would later help lead the franchise into the crapper, with future installments fixating heavily on the convoluted gene pool of the Myers clan, including one where he's an incest rapist. Don't ask about that blight and don't bother with this sequel.


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