It was quite the dilemma deciding whether Halloween II was a good film or a bad one. One thing is certain: it's a "weird" film, undoubtedly the most bizarre major studio release of the year. Rob Zombie's sequel or "vision" – as it's being touted – seems to have been envisioned with the aid of various hallucinogenics and mind-altering substances, withering away whatever was left of the original John Carpenter Halloween mythology after Rob Zombie's remake and leaving a nonsensical, uber-violent mess in its wake. This isn't a so-bad-it's-good movie, nor would I call it a just-plain-bad one; this is a so-weird-it's-good movie, a blood-drenched collage of absurdities and irrationality, which like a train wreck (a term some would use to refer to previous Zombie efforts), is hard to look away from. Little of the iconic original Halloween is left here – all that's left is Michael Meyer's mask, which itself is less recognizable beneath the grime and torn pieces – but perhaps it would be foolish to try to match the original masterpiece anyway. Zombie has crafted something entirely different; something quite frankly silly, dumb and, for lack of a more politically correct term, "retarded", but nonetheless entertaining, not in spite of, but because of this.
Picking up where the remake left off, Halloween II sees Laurie Strode recovering from her ordeal with psychopath Michael Meyers. Mentally-traumatized after both the Halloween day massacre of nearly everyone she knew and her own dispatching of Meyers – by way of shot to the head -, Laurie finds herself dreading the one-year anniversary of the serial killings, plagued with the irrational fear that the deceased Meyers will return to small-town Haddonfield to finish her off. Well, low-and-behold, Meyers is alive, and he makes it his mission to track down Laurie and finish what he started.
The general plot outline is as generic as can be, but it's hard to fathom or comprehend the insanity that occurs. Michael Meyers, the original mask-wearing soulless psychopath, the "pure evil" murderer, the "Big Cheese" of all horror movie villains, has now been transformed into a homeless vagrant who randomly eats dogs. Yep, that's right, he's a hobo that eats dogs now. When a film is remade, one expects some alterations, but this is akin to remaking Indiana Jones and turning him an extraterrestrial who molests children. There is practically no semblance of the original character...and the new ones just messed. As well, Meyer's is followed by his deceased mother, himself in child-form and a gigantic white horse, seemingly all figments of his imagination. Except they interact with Laurie as well...making them ghosts? Except Meyers isn't deceased, so it makes absolutely no sense for there to be a ghost version of him. Maybe Laurie is inexplicably psychic and seeing into Meyer's mind? Or maybe Zombie just ate a few too many shrooms. Either way, this mom-boy-horse trio follows Meyer's around as he kills various victims, instructing him on what to do next. It's as stupid as it sounds.
Dr. Loomis has also been changed significantly. The remake hinted at Loomis profiteering slightly off the Meyers incident, but here it has been taken to ridiculous proportions. He's now a prima donna celebrity who travels around in a jet black limo with his publicist, throws hissy fits at reporters and threatens to beat on woman. One sequence has Dr. Loomis appearing on a talk show alongside Weird Al Yankovic, with the famed disc-joker lampooning the doctor and Michael Meyers (making puns about whether this is the same guy who starred in Austin Powers) until Loomis finally explodes with anger on air at the hosts assertion that Meyers is a shark. If it sounds like this has nothing to do with the film, it's because it doesn't. This irrelevance not only pertains to the Weird Al scene, but all of Dr. Loomis's scenes. His entire role is a completely separate, unrelated tangent in which he gallivants around the country promoting his book. For that matter, even Laurie and Michael have about ten minutes in the way of plot. Laurie, up until the last fifteen minutes, never encounters Michael. The near entirety of Halloween II is Michael fighting random people – farmers, strippers, tough-guy scumbags – while Laurie lives her life as per usual.
The rest of the film is a compilation of pumpkin people, vans running into cows, "golden showers", discussions about fornicating with corpses, and sex with a guy in a wolf costume who sounded suspiciously like Michael Cera. It's weird, undoubtedly convoluted, but in the end it's pretty entertaining. It's punctuated with displays of head smashings, throat slittings, and other displays of excessively graphic violence. Nudity is slightly down from the first one, but there are still several scenes involving bared breasts. In the end, between all the nonsense, gore and nudity, Halloween II is a big-budgeted, toned-down Hollywood stab at a Troma movie. In other words, a pretty fun movie.
I'm one of the few who actually enjoyed Rob Zombie's remake of Halloween – a lot. For reasons I won't get into here I enjoyed it immensely, but at the same time I could completely understand why so many disliked it. It took some of the things that made the original Halloween so great in many people's eyes and switched them around completely. Those who despised the first Halloween for that reason will likely loathe this second installment with a passion. However, if one can go into Halloween II not expecting a Halloween movie – or even a reasonably scary horror – they might just have a good time. It's not "bad" per say – although it's hard to say what Zombie intended it to be – but it's enjoyable in its bizarreness. Worth checking out if you don't mind Carpenter's story being completely bastardized.
- Dylan, allhorrorfilms.com
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