on July 2, 2008
in this two disc collection, you'll find the only two Halloween films Universal Studios produced, the decent Halloween II and the odious Halloween III: Season of the Witch. so why did i give this product five stars? because i'm a Halloween fan and i know any other fan of the series will want to get this.
Halloween II picks up where John Carpenter's classic left off. unstoppable killer Michael Myers is still on the loose, carving his way through victims on a bloody path that leads to the hospitalized Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis). a large portion of the film takes place in a hospital, which is somewhat dismaying because a hospital isn't a very fitting setting for a movie that takes place on Halloween night. and the blood and violence is ratcheted up considerably this time around, after its predecessor inspired a boom of gore-filled holiday slasher copycats that Halloween II had to keep pace with. the ending is explosive and seemingly final, leading to...
Halloween III: Season of the Witch, the misunderstood child of the franchise. Halloween III was an experiment in sequel-making, the result of Carpenter's choice to end the Michael Myers saga which seemingly petered out at the end of Halloween II. Carpenter and partner Debra Hill were approached by Universal for another Halloween film, so they decided to turn the series into a sort of anthology in the same vein as The Twilight Zone, where each installment was its own self-contained story but involving the dark holiday in some way. with the aid of famous screenwriter Nigel Kneale, they concocted a story involving an evil novelty company using Halloween masks in an attempt to invoke Halloween's mystical past by murdering millions of children on Halloween night. the film shares some aesthetic similarities to the previous two films (the opening credits involving the visage of a jack o'lantern and mysterious, calm killers whom seem to be able to walk faster than a normal person can run) but the comparisons really end there. the film shares more in common with Invasion of the Body Snatchers, sharing a disastrous, wide-spread conspiracy threat that the world needs to be alerted about before it's too late.
the film is incredibly flawed (apparently, the evil plot which takes effect at 9 PM throught the country, but time zones didn't seem to be a major factor in the plot's planning), but the film can be admired as a cautionary tale of commercialism gone mad and technology made for our enjoyment and benefit being used against us.
both these films can be seen as the trial-and-error genesis of the movie sequel. one film adheres to the repetitive-yet-popular nature of most sequels, while the other film completely abandons popular movie sequel formula. Halloween fans will definitely like this product, but film buffs and students of film can find plenty to learn from with these two movies.
There have been many sequels to John Carpenter's 1978 classic, "Halloween", including an uncalled for remake that spawned its own sequel. But, I don't think I could give a higher recommendation to any of the sequels than I can to this particular pair, except maybe "H2O", which wasn't a masterpiece but at least dealt with the original victim character of Laurie Strode. However, before I go into WHY I recommend these two sequels, let me give the customary brief synopses.
"Halloween II", from 1981, picks up right where the original classic film left off. On that same fateful Halloween night in 1978, Michael Myers is still on the loose, Dr. Loomis is still in hot pursuit, and Laurie Strode is still fighting to stay alive, this time from largely from a hospital bed. The movie itself is little more than an extension of the hunt for Michael and an increase to his body count, a story-less plot that is the main reason I don't like slasher film sequels (and many slasher film originals) and tend to lean towards monster-type horror films. However, read on to find out why I feel this one can be one of the more enjoyable Halloween sequels.
"Halloween III: Season of the Witch" is a complete change of tactics from the creators of the film series. Leaving Michael Myers for dead, this 1982 film was meant to turn the Halloween franchise into something that the Myers fans didn't allow. A shame too, because it would have meant completely new horror stories set on the holiday in each new installment. The first and only one in this attempt at turning Halloween into an anthology series, "Halloween III" is about a doctor who travels to a strange little town to investigate a mysterious death. While there, he and the daughter of the deceased strike up a romance and uncover a disturbing plot by a mad warlock to exterminate countless children and their families through murderous Halloween masks. Horror films always fit well around Halloween, but this much maligned sequel is one of the few that I consider a must-watch near or on October 31st.
So, why do I recommend these two installments of the Halloween franchise above all the other sequels? Let's start with Halloween 2. As a standalone film, this doesn't work. It just doesn't. It is nothing more than an extension of the ending of the original John Carpenter masterpiece. This really is nothing more than a feature-length extension of that film's climax. There's no plot. There are new characters, but they don't amount to much in the long run. What makes this film work is that, with the returning cast, writers, and crew members, you can watch this film right after the original as though it is one long movie, and in that way it works well; especially if you enjoy all the chasing around of slasher films, which I admit gets a little boring for me, but with the superior style and cast of this film compared to the many lame copycats, it is still entertaining. This one also has the big reveal of Laurie's relationship to Michael, which I assume was only cooked up to give this one more importance. Admittedly, even John Carpenter and co-writer Debra Hill didn't want to make this story-less sequel, but they manage to keep it interesting with the great visuals and dialogue, and a classically disturbing scene about the whole razorblades in the candy scare that was prominent at the time. So, basically, this is a great one to directly follow (and I mean immediately) a viewing of the original film. Together, it's like an extended cut version of "Halloween". Though, if you don't have the original film handy, then no point viewing this one. Recommended as the "Halloween" 1978 companion.
As for "Halloween III: Season of the Witch", this is the one that is great as a standalone film. It needs no prior knowledge of the previous 2 films. This is its own story. Why do I love this one? Well, besides the fact that I would have loved the whole idea of making the film franchise an anthology series, this one is just a disturbing little film. I mean, the evil conspiracy plot of the villain is just so wicked, and he and his creations so creepy, that it's just a really fun movie! Granted, it requires an attentive viewer. It has a big Nancy Drew quality of sneaking around in the dark trying to unveil a plot, but it's full of worthwhile stuff, including the crazy death scenes, kind of attractive in a different sort of way female lead, and of course that unforgettable television commercial jingle, "Eight more days till Halloween, Halloween, Halloween; Eight more days till Halloween, Silver Shamrock!" I'm part of a small group of folks who really love this one!
So, that's the films in a nutshell. Part 2 brings back Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasence, while Part 3 stars Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin, and Dan O'Herlihy. The double feature DVD release is basically a repackaging of the two films' separate disc releases, so we happily get two separate discs here rather than a double sided, cramped one. The films are in anamorphic widescreen and unfortunately, only "Halloween 2" includes bonus features: the trailer and some text stuff. This is definitely a great way to own these two films, just make sure you already have the original 1978 classic first.
And, if you want more of the same, there are a total of 8 films in the original Halloween franchise (I'll review all of them here on Amazon this month, if I can), and if you just love Halloween themed films (like Halloween 3), I highly recommend the 2008 release "Trick `r Treat" for a really fun, creepshow-style anthology focused on one of my two favorite holidays!
on July 31, 2009
HALLOWEEN II- I love this sequel! I love how it takes place right after the original ended! Michael has been shot six times by Dr. Loomis, but he gets up and walks away! Loomis continues his hunt and Laurie Strode is taken to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital. Michael stalks the hospital in search for Laurie. Loomis finds out something about Michael that he NEVER knew. I love the showdown at the ending with Michael, Loomis, and Laurie. HALLOWEEN II is a treat for any and all fans of HALLOWEEN, horror, and slashers! I highly recommend HALLOWEEN II!!!
HALLOWEEN III: Season of the Witch- Since 1998, I've been a big hard-core HALLOWEEN fan! I love HALLOWEEN III. People just hate it, because Michael Myers is not in it...SO WHAT!!! A little temporary change never hurts anyone. I love the storyline with the warlock named Cochran making HALLOWEEN masks out of Stonehenge. I love the "Happy happy HALLOWEEN" song and Cochran's speech to Dan about the Celts and how HALLOWEEN was 3,000 years ago. I really appreciate this "sequel" yes, I called it a sequel, because it's called HALLOWEEN III!!! Another part I love is what happens to Little Buddy Kupfer when he watches the commercial and his head turns into snakes and bugs. The last part I love is the ending, it keeps you in suspense. This classic film earns the right to be called "HALLOWEEN III"
Although Michael Myers, Dr. Loomis, and Laurie Strode have been taken out, this is 100% really good HALLOWEEN material. It starts off with a man named Harry Grimbridge trying to run away from some men in business suits. In his hand, he's grasping on to a Silver Shamrock HALLOWEEN Pumpkin mask. Later, he passes out and taken to the hospital by the filling station attendant named Walter Jones. Later in the night, Harry is murdered by one of the business man. Dr. Daniel Challis wants to investigate why he was murdered. Dan has a bad relationship with his ex-wife, who is played by the actress that played Annie in original HALLOWEEN. Dan hardly spends any time with his kids. Dan and the murdered man's daughter; Ellie Grimbridge make a plan and go to Santa Mira where the Silver Shamrock company is. (For some reason, I love the scene at the bar when Dan is drinking beer and that silly cartoon is on, then the original Halloween plays.) Conal Cochran is the boss, and Dan finds out that Conal is a warlock who plans to use the popular masks as a way to kill all the children on HALLOWEEN. Dan must stop it from happening. This really is a classic in its own way. I highly recommend HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH!!!
on October 14, 2013
Great price for this Halloween Double feature. Jamie lee Curtis rocks in Halloween 2, and having part 3 is a nice treat as well. I actually like part 3 a lot for the story it is, and is a good horror movie to watch for Halloween. Both films are presented in a nice widescreen format. I have both of these on Blu-ray now, and just sold this DVD set on ebay. I was very pleased with my purchase. if you don't have Blu-ray yet, this set is the way to go to help complete your collection at a fantastic price. This set is currently at wal-mart for 5 dollars in time for Halloween right now. 2 great films, great acting, great story, and great translation to DVD. 5 stars