Classic horror

HALLOWEEN II (1981)

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HALLOWEEN II  (1981)

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Oh yes, it is now time to take a look at the first sequel in the Halloween Saga; released two years after the original. Most of the original cast were back, with Donald Pleasence having more screen time than in the original, & the lovely Jamie Lee Curtis having less screen time. Our “scream queen” only manages one tiny squeak-scream in the whole movie, after screaming herself through several roles before this, HALLOWEEN (1978), PROM NIGHT (1980), THE FOG (1980), ROAD GAMES (1980), & TERROR TRAIN (1980).

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She had changed her hair style during all this, favoring short hair, so she had to wear a ratty Barbie cast-off piece of crap wig for this whole movie. Nick Castle, who played Michael Myers (The Shape) in the original film, was replaced by Dick Warlock, a stunt man much shorter, who had to wear lifts to seem taller.

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The film was directed, in his feature film debut, by Rick Rosenthal. It was intended to be the “only sequel”, & John Carpenter was not interested in directing it; although he & Debra Hill were the writers & part of the production team. Rosenthal, a fan of the original film, shot it very much like Carpenter’s movie; not much gore & no nudity.

Carpenter took one look at the finished film, & came in & shot several new scenes that did feature more nudity & gore. He realized that Slasher horror films would need more of both to compete & succeed. Good for you, John; the tit-shots during the hot tub murders were superb.

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Carpenter said, “This film was a project I finally got involved in as a result of several kinds of pressure. I had no influence over the direction of the movie, but I did have post-production powers. I saw a rough cut of the film & it was about as scary as an episode of QUINCY. So I had to shoot some scenes to bring it up to par with the current competition.”

Rick Rosenthal has directed 61 film projects since 1981, most of them work on television series. Features include BAD BOYS (1983), DISTANT THUNDER (1988), & HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION (2002).

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The musical score was variations on his originals themes by John Carpenter,with collaborations with Alan Howarth.

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The cinematography was done again, as in the original, by Dean Cundy.

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Taglines:  From the people who brought you HALLOWEEN.

              More of the night he came Home.

              How can you kill what’s not alive?

            He came back to finish what they’ll never forget.

             The nightmare isn’t over–the boogieman is back!

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HALLOWEEN BABE GALLERY

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Jamie Lee Curtis was Laurie Strode.

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In the beginning of her career she shared her breasts willingly.

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A fact, we at HH, are very grateful for.

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Not to say that HH is all about tits only, but exposed breasts are very appreciated around here.

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Gloria Gifford played Mrs. Alves.

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Pamela Sue Shoop played Nurse Karen.

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She did the primary nude scene in the movie.

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Her tit-shots were magnificent.

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Ana Alicia played Janet.

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Although she has not done any nude scenes, her cheesecake shots were lovely.

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Anne Bruner played Alice.

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Anne Marie Martin played Nurse Darcy.

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I did find an obscure nude shot that we can only hope is her body; not photoshopped.

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Budget was 2.5 million dollars, more than seven times the original film’sbudget. It grossed about 25.5 million dollars; a tidy return.

The body count was 10, 9 of which were killed by Michael.

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SYNOPSIS:

The film opens up with the last scene from the original film, where Michael attacks Laurie, & Dr. Loomis shoots him six times, once in the head, making him fall over backwards off the balcony to the lawn below.

Laurie: Is that the bogeyman? 

Loomis: As a matter of fact it is.

Then Loomis looks at the lawn, & Michael Myers is gone. Now the new scenes begin, nearly perfect matches to the original. Loomis rushes downstairs & finds blood in the grass, postulating that though Michael did not, cannot die, he can be hurt, injured. Police & ambulances arrive. Laurie is taken to the hospital, & Loomis hooks up with Sheriff Brackett to try & hunt down Michael.

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Cut to the hospital where Laurie is taken into the ER. She begs the doctor not to put her to sleep. He, of course, gives her an anesthetic immediately, telling her everything will be fine.

We get some Michael POV shots, hear his labored breathing, see & hear Loomis & the cops in the distance with Loomis repeating, I shot him six times & didn’t kill him. He isn’t human.

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Michael sneaks into an older couple’s home, & steals a new butcher knife.

Then he marches next door, peeking at Alice, who lives there, who is on the phone to a girlfriend, discussing the events of the evening. (her friend’s voice is Nancy Keyes (Loomis) who played Annie Brackett in the original film, & does a cameo in this one as a corpse).

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Michael cuts her throat in a jump cut moment (alerting us that Rosenthal is going to only offer artistic nearly bloodless kills; what bullshit for sure). Alice had her TV on & Michael conveniently hears that Laurie has been taken to the Haddonfield Memorial hospital, so he begins to make his way over there.

Cut to the hospital room for Laurie. She is beginning to have flashback dreams of being adopted by the Strodes, & of visiting some boy in a mental institution. (Gosh, what could this mean? Really lets the cat out of the bag; we recognize the young Michael Meyers immediately).

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Her sedation leaves her in a semi-conscious state (for the whole fucking movie actually. Between the inarticulate sedated mumbling & the dime store wig, Jamie Lee does not fare well with her performance; written poorly).

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One of the ambulance drivers, Jimmy, is worried about her, & begins to fall in love with this fragile sleeping “beauty”, constantly being tossed out of the room by the head nurse, Mrs. Alves.

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Cut to Loomis in a police car with the Sheriff. He sees someone in cover-alls wearing a white mask among the tricker-treaters. They get out of the car, & pursue him on foot (dumb thing to do). The person in the mask wanders on,

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like in a drunken stupor; stepping out in front of a truck just as another cop car arrives slamming into the truck; killing the kid in the mask, & burning him to a cinder. At that moment Sheriff Brackett is told that his daughter,

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Annie was one of the first victims earlier that night. The sheriff looks at her body & is so distraught, he has to go home to comfort his wife; and this is the last we see of this character.

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One of is head deputies took over Loomis & some cops look at the burned corpse of the kid killed by the car & truck crash & fire. They cannot tell if this is Michael or not; although later, some other kids ask about their missing friend, Ben–and this turns out to be him.

Cut back to the hospital. Nurse Karen arrives late, says hi to the security guard, Mr. Garrett, & is chewed out by the charge nurse. She then goes to the break room

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& flirts with Bud, an ambulance driver, & watches the other driver, Jimmy, moon over Laurie. Bud is foul-mouthed, & quite the ladies’ man it seems.

Cut to Michael, POV shots as he cuts the phone lines. Garret goes off to investigate, finds Michael in the store room, who overpowers him easily, cuts his throat,

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& leaves him dangling by a power cord. ( Again, I have to bitch a bit about all the fucking strangling that Michael Myers does; those kills outnumber his knife kills two to one; just seems odd to me. At least he had the decency to cut this guy’s throat first).

Cut to Bud making out with Karen in an empty room; they then decide to go to the hot tub room for a fuck session; which they do. Bud is in the tub watching Karen shower. Then she shows up to join him in the tub, & we get those great tit-shots from her.

While fooling around, she notices that the water was getting “too hot”. We see Michael’s hands turning up the temp dials.

They get out of the tub, Karen draped in a towel, while Bud goes to check on the dials. She, of course, is not looking while Michael strangles Bud, & tosses his body to the floor. She is daydreaming, I guess, while Michael walks up behind her-putting his hand on her shoulder. She caresses it, then turns around.

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Michael grabs her & forces her head back into the super-heated hot tub. She screams a couple times before drowning & having her face cooked. Michael yanks her upright by the hair for one more terrific tit-shot, then tosses her to the floor like a sack of dog shit.

Cut to Orderly Janet, who notices that Laurie is reacting strangely to her meds, and she rushes off to find Dr.Mixter, the on-call specialist. (Now this is where I must say the plot stretches credibility. The fucking hallways are always empty, no one in sight. We never see other patients. It’s like Laurie is the only damn patient in the place. This is all very creepy, of course, but way too contrived).

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Janet enters Dr. Mixter’s dark (of course) office, & finds him dead with a hypodermic needle shoved into his eye. While still screaming, Michael appears out of the darkness, white mask first, and stabs her in the temple with a hypodermic needle; killing her instantly.

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Cut to Loomis with a gaggle of cops (seems like this small town has about 50 cops & sheriffs & ten cop cars), investigating a break-in at the local elementary school. Michael has been there, it seems, leaving blood smears on several chairs,  a butcher knife sticking out of a child’s drawing, impalingthe figure of a girl–& on the blackboard, spelled in blood is the word:

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SAMHAIN, which the wise Dr. Loomis recognizes as a Druid/Celtic word for early Halloween ceremonies, making a connection to the Occult, postulating that maybe that is where Michael gets his invincibility.

A state car drives up, & his mental health colleague, Marion tells Loomis that the Governor of the state, upset with the bad press of all this, has ordered Loomis to return to the mental institution to face charges. Dr. Loomis, rightfully reminds her that if the other doctors had heeded his warning about Michael, none of this would have happened.

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Unfortunately, there is a Marshal along to enforce this, so Loomis goes with them. During the ride, Marion reveals information about a “secret file” that was kept from Dr. Loomis for all the 15 years he treated Michael, revealing that Laurie was adopted, that she actually is Michael’s younger sister, born before he killed the older sister, then adopted afterward, & never told who she was.

Loomis freaks out, pulls his pistol, shooting out a window in the car to force the Marshall to turn around & head back to the hospital. You are in deep trouble now, Dr. Loomis, the Marshall said very calmly.

Cut back to the hospital, curly mopped Jimmy & nurse Jill realize that they can’t find anyone. He tells her to drive for help, summon the cops, since the phone lines are dead. Jill goes outside but finds her car has had its tires flattened, & it won’t start. She sees all the cars in the lot have been tampered with so she, of course, goes back into the hospital.

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Jimmy, running up & down empty hallways, finds the charge Nurse, Mrs. Alves strapped to a table in a surgery room, all of her blood having been drained from a nicely inserted IV tube (I guess Michael must have had some medical training in between being a mental patient and his 20 people kill rampage!).

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While trying to run out of the room, he slips on the blood, banging his head on the floor, giving him a concussion (probably) & knocking him out.

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Nurse Jill, meanwhile, is wandering the empty hallways, allowing Michael to stab her in the back with a scalpel, & then lift her off the floor, letting her dangle a bit until her shoes fall off.

 

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(God damn it, not even Frankenstein could have lifted her body off the floor with a two inch scalpel inserted in her back; oh well, it was a cool effect).

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After being semi-conscious for most of the movie, they let Laurie wake up, get up, & try to escape, fighting the medication, limping from her hurt leg injured in the original film when she fell down the stairs. Michael is soon in slow shuffling but inexorable pursuit. She goes into the storeroom/boiler room, &, of course Michael finds her there & pursues her, albeit slowly. She discovers the security guard’s body (think that’s when we hear her only scream in this movie). She crawls up on some boxes, & barely escapes through a small window into another room; flashing us with snow-white thighs & white panties.

Michael takes swipe at her with his puny scalpel (talk about blade envy, his carrying what looked like a pencil eraser on a stick looked about as menacing as being attacked by PeeWee Herman carrying a butter knife).

She finds an exit, rushes out into the parking lot, & tries to start Jill’s car (come to think of it how did she get the keys?) Then she discovers all the flat tires, & decides to hide in a yellow ’57 Chev, cringing near the floor on the passenger side (but she doesn’t lock the car door; the voice in me kept yelling, Jamie Lee, lock the fucking door, but she paid me no heed.

Soon a tall dark shadow appears above her from outside the car. The Shape moved to the driver’s side, & got in; it was Jimmy, still dopey from his concussion. He tries to start the engine, but it will not start. He passes out and his head goes down onto the horn ring; alerting Michael wherever he was.

Loomis, Marion, & the Marshall arrive, & they rush inside looking for Laurie. She sees them, but while trying to yell for help, she does not have enough voice to get the job done. Michael shows up from another exit, sees her, & shuffles her direction. She whimpers & drag/limps her way to the front door, finding it locked. She begins pounding on it as Michael keeps getting closer (WTF, how did the door get locked? It was unlocked when the trio just used it!).

Loomis finally hears her pleas, & shows up just in time as Michael was almost upon them; he does lock the door. Michael just walks through the glass door, shattering it to pieces.

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At point blank range, Loomis empties his gun, six shots into his head & torso–& this puts him down. The Marshal walks up to him, & bends down, against Loomis’ warnings, to check out the “corpse”. Marion runs outside to use the police car radio to call for help. Michael comes back to life, & begins shaking the Marshal, who had holstered his gun, like a punishment for a bad dog; Michael cuts the cop’s throat, as Loomis drags Laurie off to hide.

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They flee into an operating room. Loomis had picked up the Marshal’s pistol, & he gives Laurie that one. Michael finds them, & Loomis, at point blank range, tries to shoot him for a third time; but his gun is empty. WTF, who is that stupid? Michael stabs him in the stomach as reward for his stupidity.

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Then he goes after Laurie. At point blank range, she shoots him twice, putting a bullet in each eye.

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Michael, now blind is thrashing the air, trying to stab Laurie. Loomis is yelling at him, so he heads back after him.

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Loomis had opened the valves on several ether & oxygen bottles. Laurie slides by them, &  rushes out of the room. Loomis holding his gut wound, flicks his Bic, & the entire room goes off in an explosion like three grenades had been tossed into it. They are both caught in the blaze.

Laurie, knocked down by the concussion, watches Michael come out of the room, his body completely engulfed in flames. He pitches forward onto his face, & burns up in front of her.

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Cut to a crane shot, it is daybreak, Laurie, the only survivor, is loaded into an ambulance, & taken to safety. As she looks out of the windows, the final credits roll. In the American TV version, she meets Jimmy in the ambulance; they hold hands, she says, We made it .

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Rotten Tomatoes rated it at only 29% Critic’s approval, with 64% Audience approval. In this instance, the audience had the more accurate sensible response.

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In VARIETY it was written: “This uninspired version amounts to lukewarm sloppy seconds in comparison to the original film that made John Carpenter such a hot property.”

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Janet Maslin of the NEW YORK TIMES wrote: “HALLOWEEN II is good  enough to deserve a sequel of its own.”

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Roger Ebert wrote: “It is a little sad to witness such a fall from greatness; for that’s what this movie essentially is.

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Eric D. Snider wrote: “It’s a cheap shot to have a sequel that merely completes the story you SHOULD have seen in Part 1–but as sequels go, this one is not too bad.”

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Chuck O’Leary of FULVUE DRIVE-IN.COM wrote: “This kill-happy sequel was a lot bloodier than it needed to be, but it is still pretty frightening nevertheless.” (Actually, by HH standards, it was nowhere gory enough).

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MY RATING:

This castrated dog could barely hunt. The characters were dumbed down. Michael Meyer got shorter. Donald Pleasence seemed fairly ridiculous. Jamie Lee Curtis had about 20 minutes of screen time, & she had hardly any dialogue; half of her scenes she was unconscious, delerious or asleep.

The closing scenes in the hospital strained the credibility of morons, & even the easily-distracted youngsters who watched could sense that the Carpenter creative magic was in absentia.

The film was almost shot in 3D; what a snorefest that would have been. They filmed most of the movie in West Hollywood, but it seemed to work for a stand-in for rural Illinois. Donald Pleasence’s character, I’ve read, must survive, because he is credited for appearing in 6 Halloween films.

There were some mishaps for the actors on this project. Pamela Sue Shoop got an ear infection from several takes in the hot tub death scene, saying later that the water was “freezing & filthy”. Ana Alicia hit a desk with her head during her death scene, getting a cut over one eye that required 12 stitches. Ironically, as tame as the gore was in this movie, it was banned in Iceland, West Germany, & Norway; bunch of gore pussies living there I guess.

The script by John Carpenter had so many plot holes in it, was so shallow in its point of view, it was quite disappointing to me; seeming like something only wrote while on the toilet, scribbling some ideas on ass-wipe stationary. Carpenter stayed involved in the production end of other sequels too, enjoying a fat paycheck; but in my view he did not fucking earn it. Using the HH ten star rating system, I could only assign 5 stars to this three-legged piglet.

Well, next up is HALLOWEEN III: The Season of the Witch (1982), which departs from the Michael Myers theme completely. The producers had envisioned the HALLOWEEN franchise becoming a kind of TWILIGHT ZONE anthology, where every new film would be a new story line. Gee, I can’t wait to get into viewing that crap-fest.

 

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