When the calendar page turns to October, we Rejects have only one thought: horror. To celebrate this grandest and darkest of months, we’ll cover one excellent horror film a day for the entirety of the month. That’s 31 Days of Horror and 31 Films perfect for viewing on a dark, chilly, October night. If you, like us, love horror and Halloween, give us a Hell Yeah and keep coming every day this month for a new dose of adrenaline.
Synopsis: Picking up immediately after the events of the first film, or more accurately, starting during the last few minutes of the first film, Halloween II follows an injured Laurie Strode to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital, where no amount of ambulance drivers, doctors, or nurses can keep her safe from the relentless Michael Myers.
I’ve always found the first two Halloween films to be masterful examples of understated horror. In this film, one of my favorite scenes occurs when Myers silently enters an elderly couples home and steals a kitchen knife. No one is killed, there is no jarring music, and it works. But that’s boring (actually, it’s quite tense) so for the purpose of this article I’m going to say the Killer Scene is when Michael Myers stealthily strangles a paramedic and then drowns a nude nurse in scalding hot water. Score.
While there aren’t actually an overwhelming number of kills, when they do happen, they can be quite brutal without being graphic. The two best, in my opinion, involve a car accident fireball while the other is a simple needle to the brain. Simple, but effective.
Unfortunately Halloween flicks never really embraced nudity like other 80’s slasher films, so in this installment we really only get one nude scene, which ends with the owner of a nice pair of boobs getting her face scalded off. It was pretty sexy right until then.
Halloween II never really makes it into the realm of scary, falling a bit short of its predecessor. The film makes the wise decision of ignoring jump scare tactics pretty completely, and rather relies on atmosphere, a classic score, and the audience knowledge that Michael Myers is always lurking just behind you. It may be unsettling for some and scores a respectable number of creepy moments.
This is an important film for a couple of reasons: first, it invents Michael Myers as the personification of evil. Dr. Loomis repeatedly refers to him as inhuman, he survives six gunshots, and takes a lot of new damage before ‘dying.’ Second, it’s one of the few continuous sequels to pick up immediately after the events of the first film, a style that is imitated today, with Hatchet II for example.
While clearly inferior to the first film, it’s one of the better sequels in a land full failed and disappointing continuations and represents the shifting of “The Shape” into Michael Myers, the unstoppable slasher. If you’ve never seen it, take a look, and if you have, consider owning it on the newly released Blu-ray that comes with a couple of cool extras.