Thursday, April 8, 2010

Halloween II (1981)

Solid, if rudimentary follow-up to the original that takes place immediately after the events of the first one. Jamie Lee, wounded and catatonic, is hauled off to the local hospital while Dr. Loomis tries to explain to the locals that, although he fired 6 rounds into his chest, Michael Myers is still at large. This is the one where they actually explained that Jamie Lee is Myers' long lost sister, and that's why he keeps incessantly killing everyone around her in an attempt to end the sibling rivalry. Because she's mentally out to lunch, and Loomis takes a hefty chunk of the screentime to figure out Myers motives, we are basically treated to a retread of the first movie, with a new group of citizens, this time both young and old, being tormented by the man in the Shatner mask in various macabre ways. Slasher cliches abound, but, surprisingly, they are directed with a sort of engaging visual flair; in terms of maintaining suspense, this one rivals the first. However, the new characters are not that engaging and are basically lambs lined up for the slaughter, and the plot, without the momentum of being surprised by Myers evil ways, often drags and loses cohesion. By the time Laurie and Mr. Pleasance are back in tag team mode, enough stooges have came and went that you wonder whether they really did need to make another movie about that same exact night. But alas, how many horror sequels are derived with even the slightest hint of ingenuity, even ones with the same writers as the original...although I kind of like H20 better than this one, if only because the character of Laurie is actually involved in the plot.

Recommended for fans of Halloween or other similar early-'80s slasher flicks. Oh, and John Carpenter, the composer, actually added some bomb-ass expansions on the traditional Halloween theme. Wasn't expecting that.

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