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Friday, December 24, 2010

Halloween 2

     Could 1981 have been any more phenomenal in the realm of horror flicks? I don't really see how, as it is now universally known as a magical year in film-making, music, and pretty much everything else. Literally tons of horror films were released in 1981, one of them being the sequel to John Carpenter's masterpiece, HALLOWEEN.

      Neatly picking up exactly when the original left off in one continuous story flow, the movie starts with the ending of the original. Dr. Loomis runs down to the yard screaming "call the police!". After some POV shots of Michael still alive and still creeping the neighborhood, we are treated to the sight of an ambulance showing up and whisking Laurie away to the emergency room for treatment. Meanwhile Dr. Loomis runs off into the night, determined to track down the murderous madman.Not finished with Laurie, he inevitably tracks her down at the nearby hospital, and disposing of anyone in his way.

       I love this movie and there are many things I love about it.  For one, the fantastic atmosphere! There are many great, eerie shots of dark, deserted hallways in the hospital, which leave a lasting impression. Director Rick Rosenthal takes a cue from John Carpenter,as he wisely mimics his use of blues and orange in the nighttime scenes, only this time giving us shades of green and red, especially in the hospital.

     The score is another great thing going for the movie. The original, iconic score has been pumped up electronically here, which almost gives it a nice Dario Argento effect. Dare I say that I actually enjoy this score more than the original? Yes, I actually do. It's actually a sensational score, and one of my favorites. I also like the addition of the Chordettes "Mr. Sandman"- somehow, it just fits.

     I love that Nancy Loomis, Charles Cyphers, and Nancy Stephens, along with Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasance, all return for cameos. And what a setting! That dark, creepy hospital is a perfect setting for a killer to silently stalk. Sure, there are faults with the movie, (I was beginning to suspect that Dr. Loomis might have contracted rabies by that point- he certainly foams at the mouth in this one...), but I will always defend and love HALLOWEEN 2- simply because it's still hands down the best sequel in the whole franchise.

     I really like how HALLOWEEN 2 adds a touch of the urban legend to the mix- apples filled with razor blades and monologues about Samhain. It's a nice touch and works just fine for me, as I was a kid when these movies were released, and they were a huge part of Halloween for me. HALLOWEEN and its early sequels were hugely influential on me back in the late 70's and early 80's. They were some of the first scary movies I started watching and made a huge impact on me. The image of Michael Myers silently gliding through those dark, empty hospital corridors really stuck with me as a kid and it was such a part of my movie-going youth that it's impossible for me not to love it.  And it still bathes me in a warm, orange nostalgic glow that instantly takes me right back to childhood. This movie perfectly sums up my childhood vision of Halloween and all its magical, mythical glory.

      This is the last movie before they inexplicably started changing the mask- it grows more and more ridiculous looking as each lame sequel is released. For me, this is the end of Michael Myers. In my mind, he dies in the fires of Haddonfield Memorial because I simply cannot take him seriously when he returns in the fourth installment and it was the original wish of John Carpenter, Debra Hill, and Tommy Lee Wallace anyway. I'm gonna side with those guys.

      Fans complain of Jamie Lee Curtis being wasted as an actress in this movie- but let's not forget, her character, Laurie Strode, is supposed to be in great pain and shock-nearly catatonic. It's only when she's fearing for her life does adrenaline kick in and causes her to haul some righteous ass. Movie-goers apparently loved the idea of a sequel to John Carpenter's 1978 classic as it easily crushed the competition that year, beating such notable slashers as FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2, MY BLOODY VALENTINE, THE PROWLER, and THE BURNING at the box office, grossing $25.5 million. And how cool is the movie poster for this one?  A worthy sequel, in my humble opinion.

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