Halloween II
aka Halloween II: The Horror Continues (working title)

"The nightmare isn’t over…"
Rated: R/18
US Box Office Revenue: $25,533,818
International Box Office Revenue: $?,???,???

Director – Rick Rosenthal
Writers – John Carpenter & Debra Hill
Jamie Lee Curtis – Laurie Strode
Donald Pleasence – Dr. Sam Loomis
Charles Cyphers – Sheriff Leigh Brackett
Lance Guest - Jimmy Lloyd
Dick Warlock – Michael Myers

7 ¾ Pies

Reviewed by Yankee

Plot Summary

The story picks up from the last few minutes of the first film and continues from there. Michael is on the run from the police while trying to finish what he started with Laurie. Meanwhile, Dr. Loomis has to race against time to stop Michael and save Laurie before he is forced to leave Haddonfield via police escort.


I was lucky enough to catch this for the first time during the same UPN (before they were officially UPN) Halloween Marathon in the late 80’s that I saw Halloween for the first time. I was fully appreciative of the fact that it was a direct continuation of the previous story. Who can ask for better than three solid hours of Michael Myers as envisioned by John Carpenter himself?

As far as the movie itself goes, it suffers from the daunting task of having to live up to the original and if possible (which it wasn’t) surpass the original. The key to having a good sequel to a film as great as Halloween is to ignore everybody’s expectations and not try to top it. Why? Because you don’t want to diminish what the first movie has already established. I think that Carpenter already knew this because not only does he not try to top the original, but he clearly focuses on building the story FROM the material that is already there. How logical of him then to place the events of this movie to the very same night that the first occurs. The night was not over when Loomis shot Michael at the end of the first movie….and so, hence, neither was the nightmare.

Carpenter’s play at adding to the first rather then competing with it was a bold move but a good one. This is about as good as you can get when trying to take a classic stand alone movie and make it into a franchise. While it falls a little short of the quality of the first movie, it does a great job of recapturing the mood of, expanding the plot of and preserving the terror of the first movie.


Dr. Sam Loomis – I shot him six times! He’s not human!

Dr. Sam Loomis - I ought to handcuff you to the wheel, but I have a feeling I'm gonna need you in there. Can I trust you?
Marshall - What have I got to lose, except my job?

Sam Loomis - I'm sorry I left you. Are you all right?
Laurie Strode - Why won't he die?

Budd (singing) - Amazing Grace, come sit on my face / Don't make me cry / I need your pie...

Review Extras:

Kill Count: 9 (Tally: 14)
Resurrections: 2 (Tally: 5)
Coolest Kill/Gore: Karen’s demise in the hot tub (after she was nice enough to show off her beautiful breasts, tsk tsk!)
Homage: Security guard was watching Night of the Living Dead.


Originality: 1 Pie

How does a direct sequel get such a high rating when the story, main characters, majority of the setting and even theme music all come from the previous movie? That’s easy; by expanding on all of those items. By avoiding the typical attributes that make for a common sequel, Halloween II gets a high rating by in itself being a unique twist on what a sequel is, a trait that would later be followed by other genre films like Friday the 13th 2-4 and Phantasm II. A lot of movie franchises today could stand to learn from this example.


Spook Factor: ½ Pie

This one will score the same as its predecessor. While learning more about Michael takes away from the mystique that made him scary in the late 70’s, it is made up for by the more direct and aggressive nature of the deaths contained within. A great start for a new decade of slasher films.


Antagonist: 1 Pie

Now here is where the sequel actually surpasses it’s original. This is a Michael Myers that actually has purpose in his killing spree. A method to his madness, if you will. The back story took away some of his mystique but helped to enrich his character who is NOT just a mindless killing machine, but a man with motive. The glimpse into his insanity provided by even his non-violent acts make the terror all the more real.

Worthy of a good mention is how much more sinister and dark Michael’s actions are. It’s obvious that the events that unfolded have made him far angrier and determined to achieve his goals. The way he skilfully sabotages the hospital and its staff to minimize interruption was a true testament to his villainy.

Whereas in Halloween Michael was one-tracked and confining in his terror, in Halloween II he single-handedly turned the small quiet town of Haddonfield upside down. People actually died without meeting him!


Story: 1 Pie

Not only is there back story on the three main characters that further authenticates the first movie, but the origins of the two leads have changed from what we “knew” into something both cohesive and real. You don’t usually see such a change in a franchise until at least the third movie (or 9th). This script did a great job of complimenting a tale that was meant to be a “one-shot.” Kudos to the Carpenter/Hill team!


Acting: ½ Pie

Here is one of the areas where the movie definitely fell short. The returning cast delivered a performance that showed respect for the previous film, individual growth and powerful chemistry. Most of the new cast however, played their parts in a way that support the stereotype of B movie actors in a horror franchise where you want to see them killed. And die they do!


Directing:1 Pie

Before re-watching this for this review, I thought there was going to be a lower score, but truth be told Rick Rosenthal did a fabulous job with this. He was given the hard task of recreating the feel and vibe of the original while trying to deliver a more “modern horror” movie. I think he did as good a job as any. And man, what he did with the kill scenes was great! In the scene where Michael killed Nurse Jill Franco…when Michael came out from the shadows behind her…it was 80’s cinematic magic! Gone are the ridiculous Michael POV shots that made no sense and had since been made stale by the Friday the 13th franchise.


Soundtrack: 1 Pie

How do you take a perfect music theme, reuse it without it being a cop out AND make it better this time around? Simple, don’t change the composition, just add a few elements to enhance what’s there like some synthesized bass (a Carpenter favourite) and viola … instant success! The mix of old tracks from the original with the updated music strategically placed made the scenes all the more powerful.


Special Effects: ½ Pie

While there are considerably more special effects in this film versus the original, some of it is really bad. Most of it is acceptable but it’s hard to forgive some things.

When Michael came out of a room engulfed in flame, you can totally see how much padding the stunt actor was wearing on his suit and a pair of gloves that was non-existent before he was set on fire.

Then there is the part where Michael had both of his eyes shot out and as his eye sockets were bleeding we can still see the actor’s real eyes through the mask; to me that’s just lazy. It’s not like Dick Warlock was walking at the same time and needed to see!


Gore: ¾ Pie

Part of the “modern horror upgrade” given to this film was the inclusion of more on screen brutality and gore. Gory horror films weren’t quite main stream yet so it was hard enough to get away with it in this sequel. This would have been half a pie if not for the scene where Nurse Karen “gets it.” (No, not sex but she almost got that too!)


Replay, Rewatch, Rewind: ½ Pie

OK, let’s face it…this isn’t the first film, nor does it pretend to be. Lost here are the mystique, the freshness and the memories of what it was like to see this franchise when it started. The little bit of back story that would make it more watchable, well… those revelations are covered in the extra scenes that were shot for the extended edition of the first movie. Still, it is a fun ride and rewatchable on occasion, just not as often nor as satisfying as rewatching the first one.



A fairly solid story that builds on the legend set up in the first movie without trying to compete with it; a new level of depth for the important characters of the first movie and a taste of gore to satisfy us sickos who love horror movies.


Bad special effects and some mediocre acting by the secondary cast make you wonder if maybe there wasn’t enough money and/or time to make this a better effort.


Additional Comments

I really liked the interaction between Laurie and Jimmy (Lance Guest being the only second string actor in this movie to show some promise). In the first movie, Laurie was the mousey high school girl who may only dream of a cute boy asking her out to the dance. Here, she is a different girl due to trauma and while she hadn’t yet made the jump to social butterfly, her repertoire with slightly older Jimmy showed hope. I thought it was nice that there was a “love interest” that wasn’t really pursued. It makes the closing scene open to interpretation of where they went from there. Did Laurie get to date “The Last Starfighter?” Well done.


Final Word

All in all if you liked the first movie, this is certainly worth checking out. Sequels tend to work out better when the creative team behind the original are present. See it the way it was meant to be seen…especially when considering where the franchise goes from here….

You don't know what death is!


©2012, 2008-2011 Yank-Lime Pie. All rights reserved.