Halloween II (1981)


There was no need for a sequel. I don’t care how good Michael Myers was as a character, there was no need to further the misadventures of Michael and Laurie. I would have loved to see what the writers would have mustered up with their idea for a “Halloween” anthology movie series, but sadly, we were given “Halloween II.” As a sequel it’s not a bad film, by any means. It just takes the opposite direction of the original film by turning Michael in to a hack and slash killer, rather than a force of nature. Instead of Michael receding in to the night to await his next rumble with someone tasked by fate, Michael is not quite done with Laurie just yet.

“Halloween II” set hours after the first film. Laurie has been taken to the hospital to recuperate and Michael has come back to finish the score. It’s kind of baffling that a girl involved in multiple homicides who barely survived a fight with a serial killer is taken to an empty dark hospital with only four security guards and glitchy security monitors. Why not assign her with security escorts and around the clock guarding? And wouldn’t officers be asking her questions or put her in custody? That said, the Haddonfield hospital is a hospital you’d only find in a horror movie. It’s dark and poorly regulated and quiet like a cemetery. In either case, Michael has returned to follow Laurie, and slowly works his way in to the Haddonfield hospital.

Meanwhile Loomis and the local authorities are on the hunt for Michael, tracking him to his house and begin following him back to the hospital to stop him. The suspense is, for the most part, the best aspect of the sequel. Director Rick Rosenthal lacks the picturesque suburbs with hedges and dark streets to work with, and does the best he can to turn the hospital and its surrounding area in to a character all its own. Rosenthal induces terror and suspense through small moments like Michael sneaking past security monitors, and brushing past a maternity ward filled with newborn children. But “Halloween II” in spite of some tense moments and entertaining deaths really misses the point of the first film by dropping pretty much all the pretense of build-up and fate in exchange for a more repetitive routine of running and hiding with slashing random yuppies.

In the original film, Michael seemed to have it out for Laurie Strode so he spent the majority of “Halloween” not only bringing her in to his nightmare, but murdering everyone she knew. Her best friends, her friends, friends, poor intrusive dogs, and he even threatened to murder the children she was caring for. It was a battle of wills and mental endurance. In “Halloween II,” he just will slaughter anyone unlucky enough to cross paths with him. We’re given a ton of exposition for a slew of minor supporting characters we know are just cannon fodder, so we only want to see them die. In Carpenter’s ideal sequel, Michael would sneak in to the hospital, murder Laurie, and sneak out without anyone realizing it.

But then with the slasher barrage of the eighties, “Halloween II” would have disappointed audiences alike. With a sequel, even in 1981, the follow-up had to be faster and much more violent, thus Carpenter delivered two fold. And even came up with the twist that Michael and Laurie happened to be related. So rather than being a meeting of fates, it’s just family squabbling. If she is Michael’s sister, why doesn’t she or anyone else remember her being in the Myers house? And why didn’t anyone tell her she was related to a psychopath? In a decade filled with awful slice and dice films, “Halloween II” is a solid slasher flick, but overall a pretty disappointing follow-up to “Halloween.”