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Monday 5 November 2012

Burl reviews Halloween II! (1981)

Hi, it’s me, Ben Tramer! Ha ha, no, actually it’s Burl, here again with a review for you! The other night, which was actually Halloween night, I watched Halloween 2 once again! I’m talking about the original sequel, not the sequel to the remake that didn’t itself actually seem to be a remake of the sequel! Ha ha, are you following me? Doesn’t matter! The point is that Rob Zombie had nothing to do with this one, as he was a mere cradle baby when it was made!
As you know from my review of the original Halloween, I consider it a superior picture in almost every respect! And I also harbour a great fondness for Halloween III, even as I recognize the great lost opportunity it represents! So where does a fellow like ol’ Burl stand on Halloween II, the sequel that doesn’t simply take up the story exactly as it ended in the first picture, but shows us the last five or six minutes of that John Carpenter masterwork, just in case we’d forgotten them!
After a few pokings and jumpabouts, Michael Myers makes his way to the hospital where Jamie Lee Curtis is being treated by Doctor “I’ve Just Been To A” Mixer! Ha ha, he’s pretty soused, is old Doc Mixer! Some kind of terrible statewide health care budget cuts have evidently taken effect, as the hospital is severely underpopulated! Perhaps it’s simply that the Haddonfield General administration recognize what an important holiday Halloween is in movies like this, and have let as many staff as possible have the night off! (They must have learned the trick from the administrators of the hospital in Hospital Massacre!)
Michael sets about reducing the staff roster to zero! The only patients we see in the place are babies, but he lets them alone as far as we can tell! But everybody else is fair game, and Michael gives the old kitchen knife a rest and tries a few creative variations, like exsanguination, needles, a boiling hot tub, and a claw hammer! Ha ha, I guess this sort of thing was hinted at by his use of a curly phone cord in the first picture – an example, I guess, of movie murder using a weapon that no longer exists in our day and age!
At any rate, it’s all very unlikely, and though there are some efforts at stylization, as well as the usual attractive, pumpkiny camerawork from the portly cinematographer Dean Cundey, the picture has a slightly wheezy air! I used to think it was a crackerjack entertainment, bold and gleaming, but as each year passes the gap in quality between this sequel and the original becomes more apparent! To a certain segment of the population this one might come out on top, as there are more victims and even a few Special Makeup Effects! Dr. Loomis is a bit crazier, as one might be after shooting someone six times! Ha ha!
Altogether for an early-80s slasher picture it’s pretty good! The technical quality is marvelous, and The Shape will always be an iconic fellow, and a pleasure to watch on screen as he walks purposefully down a corridor or melts slowly out of the darkness! It's a typical 80s slasher movie, but as such things go, a superior one, though as a sequel to such a grand original, is inevitably a disapointment! I give Halloween II two razor blade apples!  

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