Director: Rob Zombie
Stars: Scout Taylor-Compton, Tyler Mane, Malcolm McDowell
Laurie Strode struggles to come to terms with her brother Michael’s deadly return to Haddonfield, Illinois; meanwhile, Michael prepares for another reunion with his sister.
I know this may seem a bit odd – just a random review for Halloween II out of the blue. “But Jowski? What about the whole series? Why start with the most recent one?” Well I’m not going to review all of them other than just cover a few highlighted points from the whole franchise. The only reason that Rob Zombie’s Halloween II deserves an article unto itself is because of… well… you’ll see. While my thoughts about any other film in the series of Halloween movies could easily be summed up with a sentence, Halloween II is not that simple.
A Little Background Info
The ground-breaking classic that many hold as the origin of all slasher movies. (It’s really not). It’s the movie that made John Carpenter a name worth remembering across all genres and rightly so because it is a great film.
Halloween II (1981)
An okay follow-up to the original. It takes place the same night, carrying the action into a hospital. It’s then we learn that Laurie Strode (Jaime Lee Curtis) is Michael Myers’ long lost sister. It was a pretty good twist making a decent slasher movie a little bit more.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Has no continuity in common with the rest of the series but that doesn’t stop it from being an enjoyable and downright GOOD horror movie.
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
I don’t like this movie. It creates a new story where Michael Myers is pursuing a new victim – his seven-year-old niece Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris). Overall it felt like a tired remake of the first movie only replacing the “final girl” with a younger actress.
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
It takes place a year after the previous film and features the same cast but it feels like the same movie!
Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
My God does this movie suck by taking it into a different direction. The character of Jaime Lloyd is kidnapped by druids and gives birth to some baby that Michael is after and then there’s this whole “curse of the thorn” crap making it all more supernatural. But there’s a young Paul Rudd before people cared about who Paul Rudd was.
Halloween: H2O (1998)
I really don’t mind this movie too much. I appreciate that it knocked all the Jaime Lloyd stuff out of continuity. It felt like a generic slasher but it’s from Steve Miner who directed by two favorite entries in the Friday the 13th series (parts 2 & 3). Also Josh Hartnett, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michelle Williams all had to start somewhere.
Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
This movie totally sucks and Busta Rhymes should never be in any movie… EVER
And now we come to Rob Zombie’s remake. I appreciate that there is a lot of backstory given for Michael Myers and the first 30 minutes of the movie are rather intriguing. In fact, if this was not a Halloween film and we only focused on the story of this sociopath child getting treatment I would have liked it a lot more. However after that backstory is developed it becomes a rather typical slasher film which I found rather disappointing since I was an admirer of Zombie’s cinematic works prior to this.
So now… On to Halloween II and everything that is wrong with this movie.
A Pretentious Open
Halloween II opens with some explanatory text.
Okay this whole white horse thing – immediately put me on the defensive. This wasn’t going to be some sort of slasher movie. This wasn’t going to be simply Michael Myers going around killing random teenagers for 90 minutes – which is what one expects from a franchise like Halloween. This white horse thing established that there was going to be some sort of story here, that there was going to be an attempt to craft some sort of metaphor from this already established character. That’s not what I wanted and.. in actuality it’s not what I got either but more on that later.
This is followed by en expository flashback to young Michael Myers in the hospital having a conversation with his mother. She’s visited and given him a white horse. He talks about how he misses his mom, misses home and how this white horse reminds him of the dreams he’s been having. Michael Myers TALKS. Now in the 2007 remake the young Michael Myers spoke up until he murdered his family. After that he shut down and never uttered another word for the entire movie. We also get laughing and smiling Michael Myers which totally spoils the concept of The Shape (a term for the killer Rob Zombie seems to have never embraced). And then Smash cut to 15 years later where we pick up with the events following the first film.
So I guess the introductory text about dream imagery gives this movie the goddamned right to fuck around with it’s audience and make the first 20 minutes of story a dream sequence, huh? Michael Myers escapes from the ambulance, coming back to life by force-of-will I suppose and storming into the hospital to kill Laurie (Scout Taylor-Compton). We don’t have a talking Michael Myers – but we do have a grunting one. It was a bit unsettling for this silent killer to be grunting away the whole time he murders someone, grunts that convey the tired effort of moving a heavy sofa. All of this chasing around is done with a Moody Blues song playing on television the whole time. As if that’s supposed to be a clue to the audience “see! See! there’s this Moody Blues song tying the whole thing together!” The song, by the way, is “Nights in White Satin” (again with the White.. come on!)
However this is all Laurie’s dream – except for the parts that aren’t her dream. Yeah, I realize that doesn’t make any sense. Her dream is cut with scenes that actually happen to progress the story like Michael escaping from the ambulance. Perhaps “progress” is the worst word I could use because that whole ambulance thing is one of the worst things about this movie. You’ve got these two ambulance drivers having an in-depth conversation about necrophilia and how one of them wants to fuck this hot dead chick. Then they hit a cow – a fucking COW that totals the ambulance. Then we have a few minutes of NOTHING as one of the paramedics just sits there saying “fuck” over and over again until Michal eventually gets up and kills the guy.
What’s a dream and what’s not? For just as Michael is about to kill Laurie she wakes up screaming – and that Moody Blues video just happens to be playing on the television. We see that it’s actually two years later. But when is two years, I wonder? As I recall the previous film had Laurie Strode has a contemporary teenage girl. Now she’s listening to Moody Blues and has all these Alice Cooper posters on the wall. Does this sequel magically take place prior to the first one in a time when the original Halloween II was made? And speaking of Alice Cooper…
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Every character in Halloween II is a hateful fuck of a human being. Let’s start with Dr. Sam Loomis (Malcom McDowell). Remember Dr. Loomis? All the way from the original Halloween up until Halloween 6 the role was played by Donald Pleasance and it was perhaps his best and most iconic role. The NICE Dr. Loomis who was willing to do whatever it took to stop Michael Myers because of the need to protect people and save lives. He didn’t want to murder Michael either, but rather get him back into a hospital – no matter how soulless he felt Myers was. Dr. Loomis was a nice guy who only had the goal of helping others in mind. Even in Rob Zombie’s remake, Dr. Loomis is not bad. He’s still a basically okay guy with the proper motivation. Loomis in Halloween II is a selfish and greedy media whore doing whatever it takes to keep his name in the spotlight. He’s become even more cold and heartless than Michael Myers. the only time he attempts to do something to help Laurie is when the goddamn cameras are rolling. You WANT Dr. Loomis to die because he is the total polar opposite of both the original Dr. Loomis as well as the Dr. Loomis from the first Rob Zombie Halloween movie.
And then there is the character of Laurie. In the previous film she was a normal teenager thrust into this nightmarish situation. Now she is a psychotic, shrieking hell beast. She’s crazy as hell, addicted to all kinds of drugs. There’s several scenes where she just breaks down crying, “Pity me! I’m Michael Myers’ sister. A Boo hoo.” When whatever sap is unfortunate enough to share screen time with this banshee offers a kind word or some condolences, she turns on them angrily. Again, another “hero” character who I wanted nothing more than to meet an untimely death. We find out that Laurie’s real name is Angel – a name that Rob Zombie chose to clearly illustrate the she is the opposite of Michael. Well she doesn’t live up to that name at all. This girl is no Angel – she is a goddamned demon.
The rest of the characters are your standard slasher film cannon fodder – which means irritating archetypes of “modern” teenagers. There is one girl, in particular, that is trying to dress up for Halloween with the dumbest costume idea I’ve heard. “I’m a girl dressed as a guy pretending to be a chick.” And it’s not some throwaway line either – she repeats this SEVERAL times. And while she initially shows her costume as being a flannel shirt with panties – she eventually dresses as Frank N Furter from The Rocky Horror Picture Show as if that reference is supposed to be the punchline to her goddamned joke.
What About Michael Myers?
Well in the director’s cut he actually takes off his mask and says “Die!” as he kills Dr. Loomis, and THAT’S fucking stupid. But let’s talk about all the other aspects of Michael Myers readily available in any cut of the film available.
I was explaining what I didn’t like about the backstory in Halloween II and the conversation we had pretty much surmises everything wrong with his character.
Me: Michael’s mom keeps showing up on a white horse and telling him to “kill for me”
Martha: Well that’s not too stupid. I mean, at least Rob Zombie is trying to give him some character.
Me: But it’s not the established character.
Martha: What I don’t get is why he’s so big if he drowned as a little boy.
Me: That’s Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th.
Martha: But you said his mom was showing up and telling him to kill.
Me: Yeah… you see now why this movie sucks? It’s using a different character’s backstory.
That’s the biggest issue I have with Halloween II is that Michael Myers now has all these mommy issues and emotional baggage. First of all – he’s a goddamn psychopath. Psychopaths do not have mommy issues because they don’t care about other human beings. Second, this isn’t the Michael Myers we’re familiar with. While I appreciated the greater look at his backstory in the the 2007 remake of Halloween I absolutely HATED carrying it on further – I hated the whole mother on a white horse crap. Michael Myers never needed motivation – he’s a goddamn unstoppable killing machine that kills everything. THAT’S what made the movies a success – that’s what worked for people and why the Halloween franchise was so successful. Now he’s a caring soul that misses his mommy and is killing people because ghost mommy tells him to. It’s a bunch of bullshit is what that is.
I hope you understand now why Halloween II deserved it’s own article rather than a sentence of “it sucked.” There is simply so much wrong with Halloween II that “it sucked” must be followed up with WHY it sucks. It’s a general consensus that Halloween: Resurrection sucked because it had Busta Rhymes in it – that’s all the explanation that’s needed. Halloween II, however, has so many problems that I can’t leave alone. So I’m glad that’s done with.