Halloween II (2009)
Release Date(s)2009 (September 23, 2014)
Studio(s)Dimension/Sony (Anchor Bay/Scream Factory)
- Film/Program Grade: C+
- Video Grade: B+
- Audio Grade: A+
- Extras Grade: B-
One would have to assume that part of the rationale behind remaking a movie like Halloween in the first place would be the hope of launching a new series that could potentially last as long as the original. Horror sequels were a license to print money throughout the 1980s. If you could recapture that kind of longevity today, you could field fans’ complaints all the way to the bank.
So it’s a little surprising how few of these remakes have spawned even one sequel, much less a franchise. Both the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street remakes have been non-starters so far. And when Rob Zombie returned to Haddonfield for Halloween II, he left things in such a state that any potential Halloween III has been a challenge nobody’s been willing to accept (yet).
For the first half-hour, Zombie’s Halloween II appears to be a direct remake of the original Halloween II with Michael (Tyler Mane) tracking Laurie (Scout Taylor-Compton) to the hospital and continuing his assault. But, in a move sure to infuriate some viewers, that’s revealed to be an elaborate fake-out. The movie proper occurs two years after the original. Laurie has moved in with fellow survivor Annie (Danielle Harris) and her dad, Sheriff Brackett (Brad Dourif). Laurie isn’t coping with her post-traumatic stress very well and it gets worse when she discovers she’s Michael’s sister thanks to Dr. Loomis’ new book (Malcolm McDowell returns as Loomis). As for Michael, he’s prodded by weird visions of his dead mother (Sheri Moon Zombie) and himself as a boy into going home and finishing Laurie off once and for all.
Personally, I give Halloween II a slight edge over its predecessor (although I freely admit I seem to be in the minority on that). If nothing else, it successfully breaks free from the shackles of the original series and feels like its own entity. I’ve never understood the point of remakes that hew too closely to the source material. For better or worse, Rob Zombie successfully makes these characters his own with this movie.
That said, Halloween II has more than its share of problems. Scout Taylor-Compton’s transformation into a scarred, cynical, tatted-up rebel chick is less than convincing and Zombie’s dialogue doesn’t exactly do her any favors. Probably the biggest flaw is the movie’s wildly inconsistent tone. Things are pretty much OK as long as Michael is front and center. The movie is on shakier ground during the pointlessly surreal sequences with Michael’s mom. And I love “Weird Al” Yankovic as much as the next guy but I struggle to envision a horror movie scenario where a random “Weird Al” cameo wouldn’t be considered inappropriate and distracting.
The Complete Collection presents the same Director’s Cut Blu-ray that was previously released by Sony. This is a darker, grainier movie than its predecessor and the image is well-presented in HD. The 5.1 DTS-HD audio is absolutely state-of-the-art. While not as overly stuffed with extras as the first one, Halloween II still offers up a few tasty treats including a first-rate commentary with Rob Zombie, 25 minutes worth of deleted and alternate scenes, a blooper reel, 9 minutes of audition footage (I know she hadn’t won an Oscar yet but I’m still surprised Octavia Spencer actually had to audition for her small role in this), and a few minutes of make-up test footage. You also get half a dozen music videos from the psychobilly band Captain Clegg & The Night Creatures and 8 minutes of unexpurgated stand-up routines from Halloween party emcee Uncle Seymour Coffins.
You’d have to be pretty naïve to believe that The Complete Collection box set is going to stay complete forever. Sooner or later, someone will bring Michael Myers back, either as a direct sequel to Rob Zombie’s versions or as another reboot. When that happens, I hope whoever makes the movie spends a good long time with this set and really pays attention to what works and what doesn’t. Rob Zombie got more right than wrong with his entries, even if the most devoted Myers fans were a little too close to the material to recognize that at the time.
- Adam Jahnke
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