Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Chucky, Pinhead — only some of the most prolific slasher villains in film history. Throughout the decades, they have all expanded through multiple sequels, leaving behind a legacy. Alfred Hitchcocks’ “Psycho” was the original slasher, but it wasn’t until John Carpenter came around that it became a mainstream sensation. Hence, it became the dawn of Michael Myers.
Right before his transfer, the dangerous mental patient Michael Myers escapes from the institution. Having watched over him for a number of years, Dr. Sam Loomis [Donald Pleasence] knows where Myers may be heading. Cut to Haddonfield, Illinois on Halloween night where Michael is loose on the street. He sets his sights on a group of teenagers, waiting to strike when the time is right. Little does Laurie Strode [Jamie Lee Curtis] know, that she’s in for a Halloween that she’ll never forget.
Even while writing this review, the “Halloween” theme is playing over and over in my head. How do you forget the iconic mask that glares in the shadows? Thanks to director John Carpenter, we now have a whole legacy of Michael Myers to look back on.
From the opening tracking shot to the dense atmosphere, everything in this film adds to the eeriness of Michael’s return. Donning a white William Shatner mask, our favorite slasher moves quietly, barely making a sound. He is the embodiment of what people think of when describing the boogeyman.
What better comrades to face off against Michael Myers than Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis? Thanks to “Halloween,” Curtis rose to stardom while earning the nickname “Scream Queen.” Pleasence, on the other hand, was already a respected actor by this time. His involvement in this project only added another bright spot to his career.
There are multiple things that could be said about “Halloween,” but it would take too long to get to them all. So sit down, grab a bowl of popcorn and a white mask and get ready for the night “he” came home!
With the box office success of “Halloween”, multiple slashers came out of the woodwork. The first film had little to no gore, the entire film relying on suspense and atmosphere. Other slashers saw this as a chance to top it by adding the gore effect.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but they missed the point of what the classic “Halloween” was to begin with. With the sequel, the filmmakers added more blood and nudity. Picking up exactly where the last film left off, Dr. Sam Loomis [Donald Pleasence] runs outside to see that Michael’s body has disappeared.
With Dr. Loomis on the hunt once again, Laurie Strode [Jamie Lee Curtis] is brought to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital. Just when she thought it was over, Michael learns of her location and leaves a trail of bodies in his wake. This time around, Michael’s true motivations are revealed which gives context to the events of the entire night.
While the film isn’t as good as the original, it is still a worthy sequel nonetheless. John Carpenter comes back to produce rather than direct, handing the directing chair to Rick Rosenthal, who would later make the worst Halloween movie in the series. This time, the directing seems more clean and polished, thanks to a bigger budget.
Returning for the sequel is Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasence who step back into their roles as if they never left them. Here, they’re both presented with challenges that makes this night even harder for the both of them. Besides the two, the rest of the cast are typical horror movie characters that are only seen as meat. Because of this, some of the suspense from the original is lost, since the characters are fairly simple. Although, I’d be lying if I said that I don’t enjoy Michael walking around, doing what he does best.
All that aside, “Halloween II” is an entertaining sequel, even if it doesn’t hold a candle to the original.
Matt Bilodeau can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org