The story of Michael Myers #1. Halloween II (1981) – movie review

As you surely know, in 2018 Michael Myers will come back on the silver screen for the 8th sequel in the immortal Halloween franchise. Thus, I decided to review every single Halloween movie – including the two Rob Zombie’s films – leading up to the 18th of October, when Michael Myers will be official back.

Halloween - The Entire FranchiseIn case you were wondering why I didn’t start this new series from the original John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978), that’s because I reviewed it already for my Classics of Horror series – check it out here.

Halloween II (1981) is written and produced by John Carpenter, but directed by Rick Rosenthal. The movie picks up where the original left, with Michael Myers inexplicably alive, despite doctor Loomis (Donald Pleasance) shooting him six times, and Laure Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) rushing to hospital due to the psychological and physical wounds she suffered from Michael’s assault.

In the scariest night of the year, the town of Haddonfield is dealing with an evil that, while in search of Laure to finally kill her, leaves behind him a stream of death and sufferance.

For Halloween II, Rosenthal and Carpenter made the clever choice of upgrading the gore and violence which, alongside a high body-count, makes for 90 minutes of pure entertainment. Spiced up with some jump-scares and a great, upgraded version of the original soundtrack, this film completes the storyline of the original and develops the relationship between Michael and Laure.

The big reveal – Laure and Myers are brother and sisters – doesn’t solely work as a nice plot twist, since it also (and mostly) gives a reason of existence to the next sequels.

Halloween II 1.pngAt the same time, though, one of the aspects I appreciate the most about Halloween II is that the movie feels like a legit sequel and doesn’t seem to focus to establish an endless stream of unnecessary sequels. In fact, Myers’ death during the finale (which, by the way, is pure awesomeness and badassery) would have seemed to put an end to the Halloween movies… somebody back then was a bit naïve I guess!

Halloween II 2This is also the Halloween film in which Loomis truly shines: he stands out as the most compelling character and I was riveted every time he was on screen. Laure plays a supporting role, instead. I mean, she’s the final girl, obviously, but for 2/3 of the movie she’s just laying down in a hospital bed.

Another great feature of this sequel is represented by the killings, which are more gruesome than in the original: some critics panned the movie for that, but I personally thought they enhanced the entertainment value, all the while not decreasing the suspense.

Halloween II 3.jpgAs per flaws, there are a few silly sequences that truly feel out of place. For example, when Laure tries to escape from Michael and he clumsily fails to grab her; or when Loomis have the upper hand but still manages to let the killer get up and go after Laure.

Also, the film doesn’t feel as atmospheric as the original, although Rosenthal really tries to replicate the lighting and long takes that Carpenter is so famous for – which is, in all honestly, an impossible task, since only Carpenter and the movie It Follows could achieve such an ambitious objective.

Nevertheless, as I said before, Halloween II is both a good movie and a great sequel, and surely deserves more credit.

Halloween II (1981)                           8/10

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