Halloween II

Halloween II

Infobox Film | name = Halloween II


caption = Original 1981 theatrical poster.
director = Rick Rosenthal
John Carpenter (Additional scenes)
producer = Debra Hill
writer = John Carpenter
Debra Hill
starring = Jamie Lee Curtis
Donald Pleasence
Charles Cyphers
Nancy Loomis
Dick Warlock
music = John Carpenter
Alan Howarth
cinematography = Dean Cundey
editing = Mark Goldblatt
Skip Schoolnik
distributor = Universal Pictures
released = flagicon|USA October 30, 1981
runtime = 92 min.
country = USA
language = English
budget = $2,500,000
amg_id = 1:63109
imdb_id = 0082495
preceded_by = "Halloween" (1978)
followed_by = "" (1982)

"Halloween II" is a 1981 horror film set in the fictional Midwest town of Haddonfield, Illinois, on Halloween night, 1978. It is the sequel to the influential film "Halloween" (1978). "Halloween II" was directed by Rick Rosenthal and stars Donald Pleasence as Dr. Sam Loomis, Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, and stunt performer Dick Warlock as Michael Myers. While other films in the "Halloween" series follow, this is the last one written by John Carpenter and Debra Hill. The film immediately follows the events of the first film, and centers on Myers' attempts to find and kill Laurie Strode and Loomis' efforts to track and kill Myers.

Stylistically, the sequel reproduces certain key elements that made the original "Halloween" a success such as first-person camera perspectives and unexceptional settings. The film, however, departs significantly from the original by incorporating more graphic violence and gore, making it imitate more closely other films in the emerging slasher film sub-genre. Still, "Halloween II" was a nice box office success grossing over $25.5 million at the box office in the United States.

"Halloween II" was intended to be the last chapter of the "Halloween" series to revolve around Michael Myers and the Haddonfield setting,cite web| year = 2001| url = http://www.halloweenmovies.com/filmarchive/h3bts.htm| title = Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Behind the Scenes| work= HalloweenMovies.com| publisher = Trancas International Films|accessdate= April 19 |accessyear= 2006] but after the lackluster reaction to ' (1982), Myers returned seven years later in the film ' (1988). The 1998 film "" would also be intended as a sequel to "Halloween II".

Plot

After the film replays a re-shot version of the last scene of "Halloween", it moves on to Dr. Sam Loomis warning Sheriff Leigh Brackett (Charles Cyphers) that although he has shot Myers six times, Myers still lives. Meanwhile, Laurie Strode is taken to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital and Myers wanders around Haddonfield in search of her. One of the EMS attendants, Jimmy (Lance Guest) begins to show an interest in her.

Jimmy tells Laurie that the man who attacked her was Michael Myers, infamous for murdering his older sister fifteen years earlier on Halloween night. After this, Laurie drifts in and out of consciousness, having strange flashbacks about her adoption by the Strodes and visiting a boy in an institution. Myers learns that she is at the hospital. He goes there and murders the hospital's staff one by one. Laurie manages to elude him, but she is limping badly and sedated and is thus unable to move very quickly.

Dr. Loomis and the Haddonfield police continue to search the town for Myers. At the local elementary school they discover that Myers has broken into a classroom and scrawled the word "Samhain" in blood on the chalkboard. Loomis explains that it is a Celtic word that means "lord of the dead", the "end of summer", and "October 31" (Samhain's symbolic importance is not elaborated on until later films). Nurse Marion Chambers (Nancy Stephens), Loomis' assistant, arrives and tells Loomis that she has discovered a secret file on Myers to which he was not privy. The file reveals that Laurie is actually Myers's sister, adopted by the Strodes after Myers killed his older sister, Judith. Chambers also informs Loomis that he has strict orders to return to Smith's Grove.

Instead, Loomis forces The Marshall (John Zenda) and Chambers to drive to the hospital, knowing that Myers will have already tracked Laurie there. Once again, Loomis shoots Myers several times, but to no avail. After Myers kills The Marshall, Loomis and Laurie retreat into an operating room, and Laurie shoots Myers in the eyes after Loomis is stabbed. Loomis is able to turn on the oxygen and ether tanks in the operating room, utters the line "It's time, Michael", then lights his cigarette lighter, causing an explosion that engulfs him and Myers. A shocked Laurie watches as Michael still pursues her while he is engulfed in flames. Nonetheless, he collapses finally and the film ends as Laurie is transferred to another hospital.

Production

"Halloween II" boasted a much larger budget than its predecessor: $2.5 million. "Halloween" producers Irwin Yablans and Moustapha Akkad invested heavily in the film even though John Carpenter refused to direct. Most of the film was shot at Morningside Hospital in Los Angeles, California, and Pasadena Community Hospital in Pasadena, California.Debra Hill interview, "Fangoria", quoted at [http://www.halloweenmovies.com/filmarchive/h2bts.htm HalloweenMovies.com] ; last accessed April 19, 2006.] There was discussion of filming "Halloween II" in 3-D; writer and producer Debra Hill said, "We investigated a number of 3-D processes ... but they were far too expensive for this particular project. Also, most of the projects we do involve a lot of night shooting—evil lurks at night. It's hard to do that in 3-D."

Writing

The screenplay of "Halloween II" was written by John Carpenter and Debra Hill, the writers of the first "Halloween". Hill mentioned in a 1981 interview with "Fangoria" magazine that the finished film differs somewhat from initial drafts of the screenplay. She explained how she and Carpenter had originally considered setting the sequel a few years after the events of "Halloween". They planned to have Myers track Laurie Strode to her new residence in a high-rise apartment building.

The sequel was intended to conclude the story of Michael Myers and Laurie Strode. Neither Carpenter nor Hill were involved in writing material for later sequels. The third film, "Halloween III: Season of the Witch", released a year later, contained a plot that deviated wholly from that of the first two films. Tommy Lee Wallace, the director of "Halloween III", stated "It is our intention to create an anthology out of the series, sort of along the lines of "Night Gallery", or "The Twilight Zone", only on a much larger scale, of course." [Tommy Lee Wallace interview, in Ellen Carlomagno, "Halloween III: Season of the Witch: An On-The-Set Report On The Ambitious Sequel to Carpenter's Classic!", "Fangoria", #22, October 1982, p. 8, available [http://watchthemagicpumpkin.com/gallery/album01/fangoria22_1?full=1 here] ; last accessed April 19, 2006.] When asked, in a 1982 interview, what happened to Myers and Loomis, Carpenter flatly answered, "The Shape is dead. Donald Pleasence's character is dead, too, unfortunately."John Carpenter, interview with "Twilight Zone Magazine", November 1982, available [http://www.geocities.com/hollywood/academy/9412/interview2.html here] ; last accessed April 19, 2006.]

Film critic Roger Ebert notes that the plot of the sequel was rather simple: "The plot of "Halloween II" absolutely depends, of course, on our old friend the Idiot Plot, which requires that everyone in the movie behave at all times like an idiot. That's necessary because if anyone were to use common sense, the problem would be solved and the movie would be over."Roger Ebert, review of "Halloween II", Chicago "Sun-Times", January 1, 1981, at [http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19810101/REVIEWS/101010336/1023 RogerEbert.com] ; last accessed April 19, 2006.] Characters were described as shallow and like cardboard . Hill rebuffed such critiques by arguing that "in a thriller film, what a character says is often irrelevant, especially in those sequences where the objective is to build up suspense." [Debra Hill, quoted in Robert E. Kapsis, "Hitchcock: The Making of a Reputation" (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), p. 172, ISBN 0-226-42489-8.]

Historian Nicholas Rogers suggests that a portion of the film seems to have drawn inspiration from the "contemporary controversies surrounding the holiday itself."Nicholas Rogers, "Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night" (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), p. 121, ISBN 0-19-516896-8.] He points specifically to the scene in the film when a young boy in a pirate costume arrives at Haddonfield Memorial Hospital with a razor blade lodged in his mouth, a reference to the urban legend of tainted Halloween candy. [Barbara Mikkelson, "Pins and Needles", at [http://www.snopes.com/horrors/mayhem/needles.asp Snopes.com] ; last accessed April 19, 2006.] According to Rogers, "The "Halloween" films opened in the wake of the billowing stories about Halloween sadism and clearly traded on the uncertainties surrounding trick-or-treating and the general safety of the festival."Rogers, "Halloween", p. 121.]

Casting

The main cast of "Halloween" reprised their roles in the sequel with the exception of Nick Castle, who had played the adult Michael Myers in the original. Veteran English actor Donald Pleasence continued the role of Dr. Sam Loomis, who had been Michael Myers's psychiatrist for the past 15 years while Myers was institutionalized at Smith's Grove Sanitarium. Jamie Lee Curtis (then 22), once again played the teenage babysitter Laurie Strode, the younger sister of Michael Myers. Curtis required a wig for the role of long-haired Laurie Strode, as she had her own hair cut shorter.

Charles Cyphers reprised the role of Sheriff Leigh Brackett, but his character disappears from the film when his daughter Annie's (Nancy Kyes) corpse is discovered. Actor Hunter von Leer heads the manhunt for Myers in the role of Deputy Hunt. He admitted in an interview that he had never watched "Halloween" before being cast in the part. He stated, "I did not see the original first but being from a small town, I wanted the Deputy to have compassion."

Stunt performer Dick Warlock played Michael Myers (as in "Halloween", listed as "The Shape" in the credits), replacing Castle who was beginning a career as a director. Warlock's previous experience in film was as a stunt double in films, such as "The Green Berets" (1968) and "Jaws" (1975), and the 1974 television series "". [imdb name|id=0006441|name=Dick Warlock; last accessed April 19, 2006.] Warlock claims that the mask he wore was the same one as used by Nick Castle in the first film. In an interview, he explained how he prepared for the role since Myers received far more screen time in the sequel than the original. Warlock said,

" [I watched the scenes] where Laurie is huddled in the closet. Michael breaks through. She grabs a hanger and thrusts it up and into his eyes. Michael falls down and Laurie walks to the bedroom doorway and sits down. In the background we see Michael sit up and turn towards her to the beat of the music. ... Anyway, that and the head tilt were the things I carried with me into "Halloween II". I didn't really see that much more to hang my hat on in the first film." [Dick Warlock, interview with [http://www.pitofhorror.com/newdesign/halloween/warlock.html PitofHorror.com] ; last accessed April 19, 2006.]

The supporting cast consisted of relatively unknown actors and actresses, with the exception of Jeffrey Kramer and Ford Rainey. Most of the cast previously or later appeared in films or TV series by Universal Studios (the distributor for this film). Kramer was previously cast in a supporting role as Deputy Jeff Hendricks in "Jaws" and "Jaws 2" (1978). In "Halloween II", Kramer played Dr. Graham, a dentist who examines the charred remains of a boy confused with Myers. Rainey was an actor well-known for his supporting roles on television shows such as "Bonanza", "Gunsmoke", and "The Bionic Woman". He was chosen to play Haddonfield Memorial Hospital's drunk resident doctor, Frederick Mixter. [Imdb name|id=0707077|name=Ford Rainey; last accessed April 19, 2006.]

A host of character actors were cast as the hospital's staff. Many were acquaintances of director Rick Rosenthal. He told an interviewer, "I'd been studying acting with Milton Katselas at the Beverly Hills Playhouse and I brought many people from the Playhouse into "Halloween 2"."Luke Ford, interview with Rick Rosenthal, March 12, 2002, at [http://www.lukeford.net/profiles/profiles/rick_rosenthal.htm LukeFord.net] ; last accessed April 19, 2006.] These included Leo Rossi, Pamela Susan Shoop, Ana Alicia, and Gloria Gifford. Rossi played the part of Budd, a hypersexual EMS driver who mocks Jimmy as a "college boy." Rossi would go on to have minor roles in television series such as "Hill Street Blues" and "Falcone" and several direct-to-video releases. [Imdb name|id=0744235|name=Leo Rossi; last accessed April 19, 2006.] [ Leo Rossi biography, at [http://www.halloweenmovies.com/filmarchive/cast/lr.htm HalloweenMovies.com] ; last accessed April 19, 2006.]

Shoop played Nurse Karen, who is scalded to death by Myers in the hospital therapy tub. Featured in the only nude scene in the film, Shoop discussed filming the scene in an interview: "Now that was hard! The water was freezing cold, and poor Leo Rossi and I could barely keep our teeth from chattering! The water was also pretty dirty and I ended up with an ear infection." [Pamela Susan Shoop interview, quoted at [http://www.lukeford.net/profiles/profiles/rick_rosenthal.htm LukeFord.net] ; last accessed April 19, 2006.] Prior to working with Rosenthal, she had made several cameo appearances on television shows such as "Wonder Woman", "B.J. and the Bear", and later made appearances on "Knight Rider" and "Murder, She Wrote". [ Pamela Susan Shoop biography, at [http://www.halloweenmovies.com/filmarchive/cast/pss.htm HalloweenMovies.com] ; last accessed April 19, 2006.] Gifford and Alicia played minor supporting roles as nurses. Ana Alicia went on to star for 8 seasons on the highly successful CBS serial, "Falcon Crest".

Actor Lance Guest played an EMS driver, Jimmy . In much the same way as the original "Halloween" had launched the career of Jamie Lee Curtis, after "Halloween II", Guest went on to star in such films as "The Last Starfighter" (1984) and "" (1987) and the television series "Life Goes On". [Imdb name|id=0346411|name=Lance Guest; last accessed April 19, 2006.] "The Last Starfighter" director Nick Castle stated in an interview, "When I was assigned to the film, Lance Guest was the first name I wrote down on my list for Alex after seeing him in "Halloween II"." Castle adds, "He possessed all the qualities I wanted the character to express on the screen, a kind of innocence, shyness, yet determination." [Nick Castle interview, quoted at [http://starfighter.photoweborama.com/iviews/guest.html Starfighter.photoweborama.com] ; last accessed April 19, 2006.]

Directing

John Carpenter refused to direct the sequel and originally approached Tommy Lee Wallace, the art director from the original "Halloween", to take the helm. Carpenter told one interviewer, "I had made that film once and I really didn't want to do it again." [John Carpenter interview, "Famous Monsters" magazine, quoted at [http://www.halloweenmovies.com/filmarchive/h2bts.htm HalloweenMovies.com] ; last accessed April 19, 2006] After Wallace declined, Carpenter chose Rick Rosenthal, a relatively unknown and inexperienced director whose previous credits included episodes of the television series "Secrets of Midland Heights" (1980–1981). In an interview with "Twilight Zone Magazine", Carpenter explains that Rosenthal was chosen because "he did a terrific short called "Toyer". It was full of suspense and tension and terrific performances."Behind the Scenes, "Halloween II", at [http://www.halloweenmovies.com/filmarchive/h2bts.htm HalloweenMovies.com] ; last accessed April 19, 2006.]

Stylistically, Rosenthal attempted to recreate the elements and themes of the original film. The opening title features a jack-o'-lantern that splits in half to reveal a human skull. In the original, the camera zoomed in on the jack-o'-lantern's left eye. The first scene of the film is presented through a first-person camera format in which a voyeuristic Michael Myers enters an elderly couple's home and steals a knife from the kitchen. Rosenthal attempts to reproduce the "jump" scenes present in "Halloween", but does not film Myers on the periphery, which is where he appeared in many of the scenes of the original. Under Rosenthal's direction, Myers is the central feature of a majority of the scenes. [Review of "Halloween II" at [http://www.epinions.com/mvie-review-3CAC-5F24BC7-38D7D54C-prod1 Epinions.com] ; last accessed April 19, 2006.] In an interview with Luke Ford, Rosenthal explains,

"The first movie I ever did " [Halloween II] " was a sequel, but it was supposed to be a direct continuation. It started one minute after the first movie ended. You have to try hard to maintain the style of the first movie. I wanted it to feel like a two-parter. You have the responsibility and the restraints of the style that's been set. It was the same crew. My philosophy was to do more of a thriller than a slasher movie."

The decision to include more gore and nudity in the sequel was not made by Rosenthal, who contends that it was Carpenter who chose to make the film much bloodier than the original. [Bill Chambers, review of "Halloween II" at [http://www.filmfreakcentral.net/dvdreviews/halloweenii.htm FilmFreakCentral.net] ; last accessed April 19, 2006.] According to the film's official website, "Carpenter came in and directed a few sequences to clean up some of Rosenthal's work." One reviewer of the film notes that "Carpenter, concerned that the picture would be deemed too 'tame' by the slasher audience, re-filmed several death scenes with more gore."James Berardinelli, review of "Halloween II" at [http://movie-reviews.colossus.net/movies/h/halloween2.html ReelViews.com] ; last accessed April 19, 2006.] When asked about his role in the directing process, Carpenter told an interviewer:

"That's a long, long story. That was a project I got involved in as a result of several different kinds of pressure. I had no influence over the direction of the film. I had an influence in the post-production. I saw a rough cut of "Halloween II", and it wasn't scary. It was about as scary as "Quincy". So we had to do some post-production work to bring it at least up to par with the competition."

Rosenthal was not pleased with Carpenter's changes. He reportedly complained that Carpenter "ruined [my] carefully paced film." [Justin Kerswell, "Slash with Panache?", review of "Halloween II" at [http://www.hysteria-lives.co.uk/hysterialives/Hysteria/halloween2.htm Hysteria-Lives.co.uk] ; last accessed April 19, 2006.] Regardless, many of the graphic scenes contained elements not seen before in film. Roger Ebert claims, "This movie has the first close-up I can remember of a hypodermic needle being inserted into an eyeball." The film is often categorized as a splatter film rather than a slasher film due to the elevated level of gore. Film critic John McCarty writes of splatter films: " [They] aim not to scare their audiences, necessarily, nor to drive them to the edge of their seats in suspense, but to mortify them with scenes of explicit gore. In splatter movies, mutilation is indeed the message ...." [John McCarty, "The Official Splatter Movie Guide" (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989), ISBN 0-312-02958-6, quoted at [http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19810101/REVIEWS/101010336/1023 RogerEbert.com] ; last accessed April 19, 2006.] Rosenthal later directed the eighth film in the "Halloween" series, "" (2002).

Music

The film's score was a variation of John Carpenter compositions from "Halloween", particularly the main theme's familiar piano melody played in a 5/4 time rhythm. The score was performed on a synthesizer organ rather than a piano . [Alan Howarth biography, at [http://www.halloweenmovies.com/filmarchive/cast/ah.htm HalloweenMovies.com] ; last accessed April 19, 2006.] One reviewer for the BBC described the revised score as having "a more gothic feel." The reviewer asserted that it "doesn’t sound quite as good as the original piece", but "it still remains a classic piece of music.""More of the Night He Came Home", review of "Halloween II", "BBC Collective", October 23, 2003, at [http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/collective/A1910459 BBC.co.uk] ; last accessed April 19, 2006.] Carpenter performed the score with the assistance of Alan Howarth, who had previously been involved in "" (1979) and would work again with Carpenter on projects such as "Escape from New York" (1981), "The Thing" (1982) and "Christine" (1983). [imdb name|id=0397697|name=Alan Howarth; last accessed April 19, 2006.]

The film featured the song "Mr. Sandman" performed by The Chordettes. [Soundtrack, "Halloween II", at [http://www.halloweenmovies.com/filmarchive/h2soundtrack.htm HalloweenMovies.com] ; last accessed April 19, 2006.] Reviewers commented on the decision to include this song in the film, calling the selection "interesting" and "not a song you would associate with a film like this." The song worked well to "mimic Laurie’s situation (sleeping a lot), [making] the once innocent sounding lyrics seem threatening in a horror film." Another critic saw the inclusion of the song as "inappropriate" and asked, "What was "that" about?" [Review of "Halloween II", "And You Call Yourself a Mad Scientist!" at [http://twtd.bluemountains.net.au/Rick/halloweenII.htm BlueMountains.net.au] ; last accessed April 19, 2006.]

Release

Box office

"Halloween II" premiered on October 30, 1981, in 1,211 theaters in the United States. [http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=halloween2.htm Halloween 2] at Box Office Mojo] To advertise the film, Universal printed a poster that featured a skull superimposed onto a pumpkin. This imagery is described by film historian and sociologist Robert E. Kapsis as "an unmistakable horror motif." Kapsis points out that by 1981 horror had "become a "genre non grata" with critics. The effect of this can be seen in the distributor's promotion of the film as horror while at the same time stressing that the sequel, like its predecessor, "was more a quality suspense film than a 'slice and dice' horror film." [Kapsis, "Hitchcock", p. 171.] Use of the tagline "More Of The Night HE Came Home"—a modified version of the original "Halloween" tagline—hoped to accomplish the same task.

The film grossed $7,446,508 on its opening weekend and earned a final domestic total of $25,533,818. The rights were sold to Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis and the film was distributed by Universal.Distribution, "Halloween II", at [http://www.halloweenmovies.com/filmarchive/h2distribution.htm HalloweenMovies.com] ; last accessed April 19, 2006.] While the gross earnings of the sequel paled in comparison to the original's $47 million, it was a success in its own right, besting the earnings of other films of the same genre released in 1981: "Friday the 13th Part 2" ($21,722,776), "" ($20,471,382) and "The Howling" ($17,985,893). [Box Office Mojo [http://www.boxofficemojo.com/yearly/chart/?yr=1981&p=.htm 1981 domestic grosses] chart; last accessed April 19, 2006.] Internationally, "Halloween II" was released throughout Europe, but it was banned in West Germany and Iceland due to the graphic violence and nudity; a later 1986 release on home video was banned in Norway. The film was shown in Canada, Australia, the Philippines and Japan. ["Halloween II" at [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082495/ Internet Movie Database] ; last accessed April 19, 2006.] [Censorship in Germany, at [http://www.melonfarmers.co.uk/arwcgerm.htm MelonFarmers.com] ; last accessed April 19, 2006.] ["Halloween II" Censorship History, at [http://www.eofftv.com/h/hal/halloween_2_main.htm EEOFFTV.com] ; last accessed April 19, 2006.]

In 1982, the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA, nominated the film for two Saturn Awards: Best Horror Film and Best Actor for Donald Pleasence. The film lost to "An American Werewolf in London" (1981) and Harrison Ford was chosen over Pleasence for his role in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981). [Saturn Awards, 1982, at the [http://www.imdb.com/Sections/Awards/Academy_of_Science_Fiction_Fantasy_And_Horror_Films_USA/1982 Internet Movie Database] ; last accessed April 19, 2006.] The film's performance at the box office later translated into home video sales. It was first released on VHS and laserdisc in 1982 by MCA/Universal Home Video and later by Goodtimes Home Video. From 1988, DVD editions have also been released by these companies. [http://www.halloweenmovies.com/filmarchive/h2distribution.htm Halloween ] ] An adaptation of the screenplay was printed as a mass market paperback in 1981 by horror and science-fiction writer Dennis Etchison under the pseudonym Jack Martin. Etchison's novelization was distributed by Kensington Books and became a bestseller. [Jack Martin, "Halloween II" (New York: Kensington, 1981), ISBN 0-89083-864-X.] [Dennis Etchison, Jack Dann, and Ramsey Campbell, eds., "Gathering the Bones: Original Stories from the World's Masters of Horror" (New York: Tor/Forge, 2003), p. 447, ISBN 0-7653-0179-2.]

Critical reception

Critical reaction to the film was mixed. While film critics had largely showered praise on "Halloween", most reviews of its sequel compared it with the original and found it wanting. Roger Ebert of the "Chicago Sun-Times" wrote that "Halloween II" represented "a fall from greatness" that "doesn't even attempt to do justice to the original." Ebert also commented, "Instead, it tries to outdo all the other violent "Halloween" rip-offs of the last several years." Critic James Berardinelli offered a particularly stinging review:

"The main problem is the film's underlying motivation. "Halloween" was a labor of love, made by people committed to creating the most suspenseful and compelling motion picture they could. "Halloween II" was impelled by the desire to make money. It was a postscript—and not a very good one—slapped together because a box office success was guaranteed."
He accused Carpenter and Hill of not believing "in this project the way they believed in the original, and it shows in the final product. The creepiness of the first movie has been replaced by a growing sense of repetitive boredom." Berardinelli was not impressed by the decision to give Myers so much screen time. He says, "The Shape, who was an ominous and forbidding force, has been turned into a plodding zombie. The characters have all been lobotomized, and, in keeping with the slasher trend, the gore content is way up. There was virtually no blood in "Halloween"; "Halloween II" cheerfully heaps it on."

On the other hand, Janet Maslin of the "New York Times" compared the film to other horror sequels and recently released slasher films of the early 1980s rather than to the original. "By the standards of most recent horror films, this—like its predecessor—is a class act." She notes that there "is some variety to the crimes, as there is to the characters, and an audience is more likely to do more screaming at suspenseful moments than at scary ones." Maslin applauded the performance of the cast and Rosenthal and concluded, "That may not be much to ask of a horror film, but it's more than many of them offer." [Janet Maslin, "Movie: 'Halloween II' for Fright Fans", New York "Times", October 30, 1981, p. C8.] David Pirie's review in "Time Out" magazine gave Rosenthal's film positive marks, stating, "Rosenthal is no Carpenter, but he makes a fair job of emulating the latter's visual style in this sequel." He wrote that the Myers character had evolved since the first film to become "an agent of Absolute Evil." [David Pirie, review of "Halloween II", "Time Out" magazine, reprinted in 1991, p. 277.] Film historian Jim Harper suggests, "Time has been a little fairer to the film" than original critics. In retrospect, "many critics have come to recognise that it's considerably better than the slew of imitation slashers that swamped the genre in the eighties." [Jim Harper, "Legacy of Blood: A Comprehensive Guide to Slasher Movies" (Manchester, Eng.: HeadPress/Critical Vision, 2004), pp. 16–17, ISBN 1-900486-39-3.]

Like the original "Halloween", this and other slasher films have come under fire from feminist critics. According to historian Nicholas Rogers, academic critics "have seen the slasher movies since "Halloween" as debasing women in as decisive a manner as hard-core pornography." Critics such as John Kenneth Muir point out that female characters such as Laurie Strode survive not because of "any good planning" or their own resourcefulness, but sheer luck. Although she manages to repel the killer several times, in the end, Strode is rescued in "Halloween" only when Dr. Loomis arrives to shoot Myers. [John Kenneth Muir, "Wes Craven: The Art of Horror" (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 1998), p. 104, ISBN 0-7864-1923-7.]

Controversy

Detractors of horror films have blamed the genre for the perceived decrease in the morality and increase in crime among America's youth. According to moral critic Peter Peeters, fragile minds are being warped by "unlimited lust and sex, horror, the gruesome world of corpses and ghosts, torture, butchery and cannibalism, violence and destruction, the unsavory details all vividly depicted and accompanied by the appropriate screams and sound effects." [Peter Peeters, "The Four Phases of Society: Where Are We Going in the 21st Century?" (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1998), p. 70, ISBN 0-275-96143-5.] A tragic incident associated with the film "Halloween II" only heightened such attitudes. On December 7, 1982, Richard Delmer Boyer of El Monte, California, murdered Francis and Eileen Harbitz, an elderly couple in Fullerton, California, leading to the trial "People v. Boyer" (1989). The couple were stabbed a total of 43 times by Boyer. According to the trial transcript, Boyer's defense was that he suffered from hallucinations in the Harbitz residence brought on by "the movie "Halloween II", which defendant had seen under the influence of PCP, marijuana, and alcohol." The film was played for the jury, and a psychopharmacologist "pointed out various similarities between its scenes and the visions defendant described." ["People v. Boyer" (1989) 48 C3d 247, transcript available [http://online.ceb.com/calcases/C3/48C3d247.htm here] ; last accessed April 19, 2006.] Boyer was found guilty and sentenced to death. The incident became known as the "Halloween" II Murders" and was featured in a short segment on TNT's "Monstervision", hosted by film critic Joe Bob Briggs. Following the trial, moral critics and libertarians came to the defense of horror films and rejected calls to ban them. Thomas M. Sipos, for instance, stated,

"It would be silly, after all, to ban horror films just because Boyer claims to have thought that he was reenacting "Halloween 2", or to ban cars because Texas housewife Clara Harris intentionally ran down and killed her husband. Nor does it make sense to ban otherwise useful items such as drugs or guns just because some individuals misuse them." [Thomas M. Sipos, "Don't Blame the Devil This Halloween", October 11, 2005, at [http://www.hollywoodinvestigator.com/pork/boyer.htm HollywoodInvestigator.com] ; last accessed April 19, 2006. ]

Alternate version

An alternate version of "Halloween II", also known as the "Rick Rosenthal Version", the "Television Version", or the "Producer's Cut", was aired on television in the early 1980s. Most of the graphic violence and gore had been edited out and several minor additional scenes had been added. This alternate version is occasionally shown on the AMC network. In 2002, AMC aired the alternate version as part of their Monsterfest Film Festival.

It has been suggested that the redacted film represents director Rick Rosenthal's original vision of the movie before John Carpenter's edits. A special edition DVD of the alternate version was planned for release in 2001, but Universal released the original theatrical version instead.

Rick Rosenthal's version is cut differently, which offered less gore, more character development, and a swifter pace, even though it has the same 92-minute running time. A pronounced difference between the alternate and theatrical versions is found in the plot. While the theatrical version has the film ending with the presumed deaths of Michael Myers and Dr. Loomis, the alternate version shows Jimmy (with a head wound but alive) in the ambulance with Laurie Strode. They hold hands and Laurie says, "We made it."

Remake

Director and metalhead Rob Zombie will not be directing the sequel to his successful 2007 remake of the horror classic Halloween. Zombie is busy working on his next effort, Rob Zombie's Tyrannosaurus Rex, for the Weinstein Company.

Julien Mauary and Alexandre Bustillo are poised to step into Zombie's boots and direct the remake's sequel. No firm production, release dates, or concrete details for that matter, have been released about this next installment in the rebooted Halloween franchise.

The three main actors from the first remake have signed to do one more film for the series, the three being Tyler Mane (Michael Myers), Malcolm McDowell (Dr. Loomis) and Scout Taylor-Compton (Laurie Strode).

References

External links

* [http://www.halloweenmovies.com Official site] of the "Halloween" series.
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* " [http://allmovie.com/cg/avg.dll?p=avg&sql=1:63109 Halloween II] " at Allmovie
* [http://www.geocities.com/madnessmike/differences_with_the_halloween_i.htm Differences with the Halloween II TV Version]
* [http://www.halloweenflash.com/DVDS/H2TVCUT.htm HALLOWEEN | TV VERSION]
* [http://www.ohmb.net/showthread.php?s=ab80f2d13dc70820909dfd822c1727a4&t=4508 History of the Producer's Cut - The Official Halloween Message Board]
* [http://www.filmedge.net/Halloween/H2.htm FilmEdge.net recaps HALLOWEEN II]


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