The movie is about a serial killer who murders folks because he's all about murdering folks real good. R.
DIRECTOR: Rick Rosenthal
I have no understanding of where this movie fits in people's hearts. Some people say it is the gem of the series. Some people spit at this movie. Some people really swear by Halloween III: Season of the Witch. I left this movie completely confused on how to feel, except that I have something to say. What that is, I guess I'll discover with you.
I'm a big fan of the original Halloween directed by John Carpenter. The movie is pure and creepy as all get out. Michael Myers, for some bananas reason that probably has to do with me witnessing a murder as a child and blocking it out, resonates as one of the creepiest horror movie villains out there. (Hey, maybe I witnessed William Shatner murder someone. That would explain so much!) I've seen that movie at least a dozen times over separate Halloweens and I always look forward to seeing it. I have seen the fourth and fifth entries in the series and have spit at those, but really liked Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later, despite the perfect storm of a name they created. I really like the reboots done by Rob Zombie. So the only movies I hadn't seen in the franchise were the original Halloween II and Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Now, my love for horror has been curbed by my age and my wife's stares of disgust, so I don't have the passion for this franchise that I once did. I have shown Lauren the first Halloween and possibly the reboot. Again, I tend to block things out. But I have to say that I didn't go into this one that excited to watch it. I went into this movie knowing that Lauren wouldn't want to watch it and I better watch it when she was out of town. That might not have been the best choice.
Under a fine layer of garbage, there's something absolutely brilliant going on in the first twenty to thirty minutes of the movie. The movie explores something that I haven't really seen in a horror movie, let alone in a franchise. The movie, smartly, picks up immediately after the first movie ends. Michael has disappeared from the front lawn and he's on the loose. Now, had the rest of the movie followed the building blocks that it set down, this review would have taken a very different turn. I would have been lauding its praises to the heavens for doing something gutsy. The next twenty minutes are about Michael Myers regrouping after getting wrecked by Laurie Strode. The cops are after him and he is without a weapon. They are closing in, but he's not scared because all we see are the unfeeling eyes of a William Shatner mask. (You now get my reference.) That is a nifty idea. We never get the vulnerable juggernaut, trying to regroup and assert his dominance again. There's a cool moment where Michael just sneaks into someone's house to steal a knife. Everything just takes place in the background and, as a horror fan, have never experienced not knowing what was going to happen. That adrenaline had returned that I first got when I first started watching scary movies and I wanted to slow clap. The problem is...MIchael regroups way too quickly.
I don't like when the killer becomes unkillable. What's the point? The motivation of the protagonist is to just get away from the killer. They really have no motivation to confront the murderer because he is untouchable. The bad guy has to reach an Act-of-God-level of onslaught to stop the narrative. The first Halloween film presented a perfect story: a mute serial killer escapes captivity to stage an attack on the town of Haddonfield and Laurie Strode. The second mythos is brought into the story, it kind of cheapens the purity of the other movie. I know. This is problematic. Movies and franchises need to grow or else they are just rehashes of previous films. But when many horror franchises decide to sequelize, they kind of retcon the story of the first one. Laurie Strode didn't fight a demon in the first movie. Or did she? It forces disbelief and that means we have to shut our brains off for the movie to work in the first place. Michael becomes a force of nature and I don't want to see that. Also, speaking of retcon, the end of this movie is very obviously retconned, so what is the point? I know I might be overly idealistic, but I like the idea that, at one point, Halloween was a passion project. A passion project about a a killer in a William Shatner mask, but a passion project nonetheless.
I feel like the opening credits lied to me. I don't know what John Carpenter's relationship to this film is, but it doesn't check out that it is what it says in the opening credits. I feel like his hand was remote from this film and they just tied his name to it to give it a sense of authenticity. The feel of the movie feels very clunky at times. Plotlines are thrown in the movie and barely resolved. The hit and run / explosion scene (yup.) is very thrown in there for stretching out a threadbare script, but the weight of the moment is ignored. That moment is a big deal. Yet, we never really get a sense of the gravity of what is happening in this small town. Outside of the opening sequence with Michael around the neighborhood, the rest of the movie is quite utilitarian. On top of that, the character portrayals become very one-dimensional. Donald Pleasance comes across like a psychopath, but he's the character we're meant to be supporting. The first film portrays him as the voice of reason in a town where people are burying their heads in the sand, but this one has him a gun wielding maniac. And what is the movie saying about guns? It seems to have a message, but I have no idea what that message is. Pleasance almost blows some kids' heads off, but he needs the gun to stop Michael. Is it advocating proper procedure, because I definitely didn't get that vibe from watching this movie.
By the time the movie gets to the hospital, I was checking out. Then we stayed there for a really long time. Like a really long time. By the time the movie was over, I was just begging for the movie to be over. It seemed so useless. Considering that Jamie Lee Curtis was headlining the movie, there was almost no point for her to be in the movie. She was simply an avatar for a target. Yes, the movie gave her a ridiculously retconned (sorry) mythology, but Curtis added nothing to the story. She just sat in a bed until she started running away. She displayed such strength and independence in the first film and this one just had her fleeing from a very slow moving killer. (Let's point that out as well. Michael was overconfident on his slowness in this one. I felt like he was going out of his way to slow down.) This makes the whole movie feel like a cash grab. They got the stars from the first movie to come back for the second movie, but they aren't really doing much. They have no purpose except for being cannon fodder for Michael. The same logic goes for the new characters introduced to the film. There is little done to make these characters develop a sense of attachment. The closest thing to an actual new character is the nurse, who has the sped up version of a storyline attributed to her. But she isn't, by any means, a protagonist. She is unaware of the creepy things happening around her. She screams unknowing victim from moment one and she typifies the way death is treated in the second half of the film. Characters are just in the movie to delay the end of the film and that seems pretty criminal when it comes to making a horror movie. I want to scream at the screen for killing a character that I liked rather than simply watching another murder simulator.
Really, Halloween II might epitomize why people critique horror movies. This movie doesn't form attachment or offer consequences to horrific acts. Rather, it is just about making death look cool and that bums me out to no end.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.