After gingerly making my way through Halloween (2018) and Halloween Kills (2021), I decided I might as well go for it and make my way through the rest of the Halloween movies. And as I’ve already seen the original Halloween (albeit last year), that meant my starting point would be Halloween II, the no-longer-canon sequel to the original Halloween film. Halloween II picks up immediately where the original film left off, and finds a traumatized Laurie Strode still pursued by Michael Myers, with the action now moved to Haddonfield’s local hospital.
Given how terrified I was by the first Halloween film, I was a little nervous going in to Halloween II. But I shouldn’t have worried, as there is a noticeable drop in terror between the first Halloween film and Halloween II. Which isn’t to say that Halloween II isn’t scary, it definitely is, but it’s not as scary as the first film, which so far bears out what others have told me about this franchise, namely that the first film is the best and it all went downhill from there.
Although as I said, Halloween II does have it’s fair share of scary moments, it just takes a while….a LONG while….for things to get interesting. Everything that happens before Michael shows up at the hospital is, well, to be honest it’s a little dull. In fact, up until a certain point, I was fully prepared to state that I was completely bored by this movie. But then Michael showed up at the hospital and things got interesting in a hurry.
The kills and scares once Michael gets to the hospital are more than a little gruesome, especially THAT scene with the therapeutic hot tub. The one big disappointment I have with the kills though is that we don’t see how the one head nurse meets her demise. Oh sure, we see the bloody aftermath, and it looks gruesome, but I want to see how she got into that position to begin with. Because of all the kills I’ve seen Michael do, that one doesn’t feel like something he would do. It’s too slow, if that makes sense. Michael, as far as I can tell, goes in for a relatively quick kill: stabbing, strangling, scalding to death. All excruciating ways to die, but it’s still relatively quick. Death by bleeding out (unless Michael tapped an artery) is going to take a while. Maybe that’s why the movie doesn’t show that part, because it wouldn’t fit with what we usually see Michael doing when he kills.
I do find it more than a little funny that Michael was able to move throughout the hospital for so long without anyone getting wise to him being there. But then again, this IS a horror movie, and it IS established to be the dead of night, so I won’t nitpick too hard on this point (but it IS funny if you think about it). Oddly enough, I think I liked Donald Pleasance’s performance in the first film better than in this one. Somehow, he just didn’t come across as good this time around.
I know it’s been long since retconned, but I do like the plot point of Laurie being revealed as Michael’s long-lost younger sister. Suddenly Michael’s ongoing obsession with killing Laurie in particular makes total sense. After all, this all started with Michael killing his older sister, it stands to reason he would want to kill his younger sister for the same twisted reasons. Even though it’s no longer canon, I like how the film drops that little bombshell into the mix, and I can only imagine that it got a big gasp out of the audience when it first hit theaters.
One other detail that interested me comes late in the film. Maybe I’m overthinking it, but knowing what I know about the plots about Halloween 4, 5, and 6…is it possible that Michael scrawling “Samhain” on the chalkboard is a tiny bit of foreshadowing for the weird Thorn plot that makes up the plot of 4-6? I don’t know if that’s even possible given the time gap between Halloween II and Halloween 4 but I feel like it could be interpreted that way.
While it’s nowhere near as good as the first film, I did enjoy Halloween II, and I can totally see how it was intended to be the definitive end for Michael’s story (though of course history had other ideas). Onward to Halloween III: Season of the Witch (aka “the weird one” in this franchise)!
Let me know what you think about Halloween II in the comments below and have a great day!
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