I consider the original Halloween by John Carpenter to be one of the best horror films ever made. Many detractors may deride the film for its violence, its wanton use of gore, or its hokey style of killings. I’d challenge those persons to review the film, and notice that none of those things actually apply to the film that many would argue started the slasher film genre, if not certainly the holiday themed horror film.
I had seen the original for the first time on a brisk Halloween night on my family’s living room television. My family were subscribers to ONTV, and we would often gather round to watch films such as Star Wars and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
It was on one such night where my father popped his famous bag of popcorn, buttered salt added, pulled up my little wooden white rocking chair, and allowed me to view what would spawn numerous sequels and remakes for years to come.
Having not seen the sequel for many years, I decided to revisit it for the penultimate entry in this year’s series.
31 Days of Films and Frights – Day 30: Halloween II
After a horrible night of being attacked and seeing her friends killed my masked killer Michael Myers, Laurie Strode is taken to a hospital to recover from her wounds. Unfortunately, the crazed killer is still on the loose, and tracks her down, in order to finish the job.
Less superior to the original in many ways. For starters, Rosenthal attempts to have Michael mimic the mannerisms he displays in the first film, but done with much less style and/or creepiness.
Second, the motivations of Michael this time around are much less understandable. In the first film, he is after Laurie, and everyone associated with her. Here, he kills randomly, for killing sake. He begins by going to a neighborhood house, and killing the husband and wife for no apparent reason.
The violence has been punched up, and has become more “shock value” than suspenseful, more of what many viewers would associate with the slasher genre and the effects work of horror guru’s like Tom Savini. Now we get a syringe in the eye, a boiled face, and two bullets into the eyes. Also, the actions in this film rely solely on the stupidity of the characters.
Perhaps the most puzzling aspect of the film is the choice to house it entirely within a hospital. Hospitals are normally quite busy, well lit, and well staffed. In order to make it fit the mold of a horror film, however, they strangely make the hospital staffed by only a couple people, very dimly lit, if lit at all, and nary a patient in site, with the exception of poor, can-barely-walk, always in a daze Laurie Strode.
When coupled with the first film, it is enjoyable to view. I also found enjoyable what obviously was intended to be the finale for what became a long running franchise. Even if it were a bit of a different feel than its predecessor.