What was I thinking? Did I honestly expect “Halloween II” to be any good? Well, no, not in a “four star must see” sense, but rather in a fun, scary, thrill sense, the kind you can get from a decent horror movie. When I walked into the nearly empty theatre, on only its second day of release, to see “Halloween II,” I was thinking that lately I had been reviewing lots of documentaries and “off the beaten path” movies and that it might broaden my horizons to get back to more main stream fare. However, “Halloween II” was not that film.
“Halloween II” is not to be confused with that other movie called “Halloween II” which came out in 1981. You see the “Halloween” movie series is being remade so there are now two “Halloween IIs” in the world. If one does the math (2+2) then this newest movie probably should be called “Halloween 4,” which would only cause confusion as “Halloween 4” is actually the title of yet another of the series, “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers” (1988). Then again all of the Halloween movies are about the return of Michael Myers.
For the uninitiated, Michael Myers is a psychotic killing machine with a touch of the supernatural. Even when it looks as if he has been killed he comes back to life in movie after movie, killing at random.
“Halloween II” is poorly shot, badly edited, brutally violent and convoluted. The scenes consist of muddy looking close-ups, probably employed to hide the film’s over all lack of production value. Every time I got a foot hold on what was going on story-wise the movie used the old “It was only somebody’s dream” gag. The protagonist, Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton), is the one who keeps having the story-line interrupting dreams. Taylor-Compton’s unbearably grating performance consists of lots of running around and screaming.
Of all people Malcolm McDowell appears as Dr. Loomis, the authority on Michael Myers, played by the late Donald Pleasence in the original “Halloween” (by the way a good movie) and some of its sequels. McDowell’s Loomis is a pompous jerk on a book tour promoting his new book on Michael Myers. One of the better scenes has him on a talk show where the host, along with fellow guest “Weird Al” Yankovic (remember him?), make fun of Loomis. The film could have used more scenes like this. The idea of a self-proclaimed serial killer expert exploiting a killer on a talk show for personal gain is clearly a satirical commentary on our media obsessed society, so why not push this further? Maybe have Myers join him on the show and then go on a rampage against the studio audience. Since the “Halloween” series has been going on too long and is now chasing its own tail broad social satire might breathe some life into it. Instead the story is dank, depressing and takes itself way too seriously with a pretentious recurring image of a woman in white leading a white horse.
It bothers me that soon “Halloween II” will be just another chunk of sludge clogging the home video pipeline that kids, looking for a fun scary movie to watch on Halloween, will get stuck seeing. The end credits resort to inter-cutting stills of dead bodies, Michael Myers’ victims, with the end credits. What fun.
“Halloween II,” director Rob Zombie, 2009,
Dimension Films, 101 minutes, R