Halloween II
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75 of 83 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2007
In putting together this sequel, the powers-that-be decided to combine several of the strongest elements from the original film(Michael Myers, Dr. Loomis, the strong Halloween atmosphere)with the standard pace of an early 80's slasher film(people getting killed every 5-10 minutes.) For me, this is the ideal combination. There has not been a slasher movie since that I have liked more than this one.

Dr. Loomis is my favorite horror hero, and Michael Myers my favorite horror villain. They both enjoy some of their finest moments in this installment. I find this version of Myers creepier than the later incarnations, where he has suddenly grown into something resembling an nfl lineman. There is something in the deliberate movements, and the angular figure, that is decidedly inhuman.

And Dr. Loomis elevates all of this to a far higher level than it could ever have achieved otherwise.His strength,courage, and iron will make him a hero. So does his moral anguish over seeing innocent people butchered. But there is also something in his personality that makes him the ideal adversary for the Bogeyman.Of course, as a psychiatrist, he feels professional responsibility. But it goes well beyond that. There is some part of his imagination that is obsessed with Myers, and some part of his humanity that is appalled by him. These feelings, taken in concert with his naturally heroic nature, make him the perfect combatant for Myers.

Donald Pleasance was perfect as Loomis, and this may have been his strongest performance. He simply commands the screen. This is, for my money, the greatest performance in the history of horror films. He combines incomparable screen presense with an unforgettable delivery. Imagine some of his lines in the hands of a more pedestrian actor. They'd be diminished, perhaps to the point of being rendered gibberish.

But with Donald Pleasance, they become lyrical, darkly poetic, profound.......

Dr. Sam Loomis......he anchors the series, and takes it to a level it could never have APPROACHED without him.

This movie has the ideal pace. The story is divided between Myers stalking people at the hospital, and Dr. Loomis working with the local police to track him down. Slowly, methodically, Michael Myers begins to remove the employees of the hospital, as he makes his way towards Laurie Strode.As always, he operates like a hunter, or sportsman. Several of his victims are given opportunities to save themselves, as they were in the first film. This is what sets Myers apart from typical killers-he is rather like an artist of the macabre. If it's too easy, he almost seems to regard it as beneath him. Of all the killings, my favorite is the nurse in the room with the aquarium. That whole scene is beautifully shot and lit, with the aquarium casting all sorts of reflections across the darkened room, and the cadaverous face of Myers gradually coming into view over the doomed girl's shoulder.The murder of the security guard is effective, as well.

The atmosphere is perfect. The long, winding hallways are ideal for a movie of this sort.There are just so many places where Michael Myers could be. The effect is only intensified as the night wears on and the primary lights are extinguished.The music is great, too. It incorporates the basic Halloween theme, but it has been altered enough to set it apart from any of the other films. It's not really a tangible thing: all of the elements just work for me.The doomed people, congregated in the dark hospital. The Bogeyman, always lurking in the shadows.Dr. Loomis, making his way ever closer to the scene of the slaughter.This is a film I never get tired of watching.
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2012
This isn't just an ordinary re-release, it's a fan's dream come true! You might say, it out does Universal's 30th AE (sort of, read on)! What's it include? Well:

Audio commentary with director Rick Rosenthal
Audio commentary with stunt co-ordinator/actor Dick Warlock
The Nightmare Isn't Over - The Making Of Halloween II, featuring Rick Rosenthal, Lance Guest, Dick Warlock, Alan Howarth, Dean Cundey and more..
Horror's Hallowed Grounds: Revisiting the original shooting locations
Still Gallery
Theatrical Trailer, TV and Radio Spots

And for the Coup De Grace, a second disc contaning the famed TV Cut with additional/alternate footage (although the R-Rated material is edited out). The TV cut will be on a DVD disc for both format releases.

Now don't start getting rid of your 30th AE just yet! Although the CE is pretty awesome and includes the Deleted (TV) Scene and Alternate Ending via the TV Cut, it misses out on the movie documentary Terror In The Aisles, so you're gonna want to hold on to it. And for those who still own the original Universal (or Goodtimes) DVD, the CE will be available on DVD too so you can put throw the old disc(s) in the trash! Make no mistake, the CE of Halloween II is the second Blu-ray release of the film you'll need and the only Halloween II DVD release you'll ever need!
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57 of 71 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2011
I have seen this film in excess of 300 times-perhaps 400-by now. I mention that for one reason..........namely, that you simply cannot watch something that many times unless you really enjoy the process of watching it. For instance, once you've seen something a half dozen times or so, all pretense of suspense is lost. There is no longer any suspense, because you know exactly what is going to happen. You're not waiting to see how it ends, because you know how it ends. Eventually, you know how each and every SCENE ends.

I reached that point, and surpassed it.........and yet I still kept watching it. For one reason........

Just about EVERY SINGLE SCENE in Halloween 2 is either perfect, or at least very, very good. This is the key. When I watch this, I will sometimes skip the scene where the ambulance driver plays the little prank on his lady friend. Not always, but sometimes.And that's it. There is not another moment in Halloween 2 that I find extraneous, even as many times as I have sat through it.No matter how often I've seen it, I never tire of it. And this holds true for virtually each and every moment in the film.

From the crucial scenes, right down to those that appear trivial, and everything in between...........they just got it right.

I have always felt that this was Donald Pleasence's finest performance as Loomis. He simply commands the screen. There is noone like him. This is also one of the most effective incarnations of Michael Myers. His posture, and mannerisms, are so rigid, so unnatural.........he comes across as the very literal embodiment of Death, itself.(notice that bizarre little pivot he does when he turns to spy on that girl through her window.)Decidedly inhuman.

There are just so many great moments in this film. It has an ambience that is all its own. For example, the part where Laurie Strode finds out exactly who it was who had been after her earlier in the evening. This was a brilliant scene, with the music and the way that the room is lit(with the hospital room darkened, and all that light flooding through the opened door when the nurse enters-very distinctive looking). Note the hushed tones, the lowered voices........much the way that people actually speak when they are in a darkened room. Or where the blonde nurse is seeking her, after she abandons her room in her dread of Myers' return. The dark office with the aquarium, as the unfortunate nurse looks in vain for the doctor........but finds someone else. All those macabre reflections, cast in every direction around the room, make it an unforgettable scene. Or the silent silhouette, lurking just behind that screen, as the nurse and paramedic plot their next move.

Want slasher 101? How about the doomed security guard, going to investigate a strange noise? You just know how that's going to end up.

A hospital is such an ideal locale for a slasher film to take place. The long, winding hallways..........all those rooms and dark corners..........It is dark, and quiet, and isolated. And those people who ARE there are going about their business, completely oblivious to the danger.

And, always on the periphery, the Bogeyman is silently lurking and waiting. While his patience is, as Loomis said, 'not human', you know that when he DOES eventually act, it will be with decisive brutality.

But it is Loomis, more than any other single factor, that serves to differentiate the Halloween series from any other slasher or horror phenomenon. He brings strength, heroism, sincerity, humanity, and a will of iron........as well as an extraordinarily distinctive, melodic manner of delivering his lines. Just imagine some of Loomis' lines in the hands of an average, contemporary actor. They'd be diminished, perhaps to the point of being rendered gibberish.

But in the hands of Donald Pleasence, they become lyrical, darkly poetic, profound.

Dr.Sam Loomis-he elevates this series to something that it NEVER could have approached without him. There is simply nobody like him.

For me, Halloween 2 is the ultimate slasher film. I love it more and more over time. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2006
Halloween 2 is a solid sequel to the 1978 horror classic Halloween directed by horror legend John Carpenter. Some sequels of the horror genre especially during the 80's failed desperatley compared to the epic original as we saw with the The Excorcist 2, but that is not the case here.

Even though Halloween 2 wasn't released till 1981; 3 years after the original this movie is supposed to be a continuation of the 1st. It takes place later on the same night as the original. Babysitter, Laurie Strode ( Jamie Lee Curtis ) is rushed to the hospital and treated for the injuries she recieved in her first encounter with Micheal.

Micheal, who mysteriously dissapeared after being shot off the balcony by Dr. Loomis ( Donald Pleasence ) continues after Laurie tracing her to the Haddonfield Memorial Hospital and doing a few classic Halloween style stalk and slash routines along the way with the now even more obsessed Dr. Loomis trying to track him down.

Halloween 2 uses the slow building tension and suspense from the first film, and adds in the gore, blood, and unique more explicite kills that the first movie lacked. It also reveals the back story of Micheal being Laurie's brother which was a good, well explained twist for the movie. Also, the large seemingly empty hospital filled with unsuspecting nurses and poor traumatized Laurie teamed with the original bone chilling music from the first adds to the movie's suspense and chill factor. Jamie Lee Curtis delivers another excellent performance proving that she can do more than just scream and run in the numerous first rate and nail biting chase scenes this movie provides but that she can also act, alot better than most other actresses of the 80's slasher genre.

The movie is well paced and well directed by Rick Rosenthal..good from beginning to end, and in the shadow of a legend a worthy sequel and an all around good slasher flick.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2002
This probably should have been IT, when it came to the Halloween series. It started on that night, came full-circle, and ended on the very same night with a satisfying conclusion. How Mike got up and walked away from that and was able to make more sequals is a question that only the movie gurus can answer.
As far as the quality of the DVD is concerned, I was very much surprised, especially when I discovered that GoodTimes home video released it.
Video quality: 4 stars. The Amazon review not withstanding, I found the video quality to be excellent. This movie is over 20 yrs old so the film stock will be dated. However, my dvd player is hooked into my tv via an S-video jack and it brought an old movie back to life. I found little or no visual artifacts and a crisp, well-defined picture. This is a dark movie, was when I saw it at the theater so there are a lot of shadows and black shading throughout the movie. Still, it does have a clear quality that is actually better than I remember it having at the theater. Well done to Goodtimes.
Audio: 3 stars. Although it is in surround..it is of Pro-Logic quality. Even on 5.1 surround systems..the most surround you'll get will be out of the music soundtrack. However, that in itself is enough to suck you into the creepy atmosphere of this film. Most, if not all, sound effects are strictly mono and in front only. All-in-all a decent sounding dvd given the age of the film.
I wont go into rating the extras. This is a sequal and that's all. There are a ton of production notes that should satisfy any curious Halloween fan. The animated chapter selection was neat and totally unexpected considering what I paid for it.
Overall, an excellent DVD priced right. If youre an old-school fan like myself then you will like this. If you're new to the series, start with the first one as it will give you better background on the Michael Meyers/ Lori Strode story.
A great buy and one worth watching over and over.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 1999
For about a year after my first viewing of H2 in 1986, I never would have been able to visit a hospital after-hours without an irrepressible sense of dreading what might be lurking around every corner! 13 years and many desensitizing viewings later, I would like to say that H2 is one of the very best horror/suspense sequels out there today! It has excellent continuity with its predecessor, but with a more spookier John Carpenter score, a more mystery-laden plot, a creepier-looking mask for Michael Myers, and a higher body-count than in most of the "Halloween" movies! Michael is still the nearly-invincible killing machine who has a panoply of weapons at his disposal in this gore-ridden installment (butcher knives, scapels, medical syringes, a hammer, and even a scalding-hot hydrotherapy pool). The hospital sets greatly aid in evoking a sense of trepidation and insecurity for the audience. Michael could be anywhere at any time hidden in the dark shadows of the Haddonfield Memorial Hospital's many rooms and corridors ready to strike! The chase-sequence between him and Jaime Lee Curtis is probably the only time I still feel some terror after so many viewings of H2. That dark, red-lit hospital basement they run down to (coupled with the newly synthesized chase music) would give any unsuspecting first-time viewer nightmares for a week! It turned out that director Rick Rosenthal had a great affinity for the grim, obscure sentiment portrayed in German Expressionist art. He used this ideology, coupled with John Carpenter and Debra Hill's script saavy, to make the dimly-lit hospital sets accentuate Michael's demonic aura. Also, hearing the cheery classic song "Mr. Sandman" in H2's beginning and end credits makes a stark contrast to the blood-curdling macbre inflicted by the wrath of Myers! Great performances by Donald Pleasance and by the "Scream Queen" Jaime Lee Curtis in their original roles of Dr. Sam Loomis and Laurie Strode.
H2 is a trick-or-treater's horror film delight all year around, despite what those pompous critics thought back in 1981! If you love it like I do, get yourself the soundtrack CD and possibly the Widescreen edition for more scares!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2012
I am a fan of the Halloween franchise, good, bad or indifferent. Every one of the movies have their strong points, even the infamous Halloween III and The Curse of Michael Myers. The remakes are fine too, incredibly violent and warped as they may be. I won't waste time talking about the movie. There's plenty of reviews doing that.

The Blu Ray is a very clean visual transfer for as old as the source material is. In some ways it's a little too clean with the color enhancement, as you lose some of the "autumn midwest" feel for the plush green Los Angeles reality in a few scenes. Otherwise it's a beautiful transfer with only a few minor blemishes here and there. Overall the best visuals of any previous Halloween II release.

The opening credits looked a little different for some reason, but I can't place my finger on it. I'll have to watch my Universal DVD again to find out for sure.

Interestingly, the sound is somewhat inferior to the Universal DVD. Sure, it's as crisp and clean a sound as could be expected for a movie this old, but it seems to be toned down a little more than on the DVD. For instance, the barking doberman early in the film and the late-for-work nurse knocking on the glass hospital door did not make my heart skip a few beats as on the DVD. If you're expecting it, the DVD really makes no difference. But if you're distracted, the DVD definitely wakes you up on these kinds of scenes, whereas the Blu Ray is not as likely to get your attention. The sound is a little flatter in my opinion.

Sadly, the deleted scenes are located elsewhere on the disc. They are not enhanced for 1080p like the feature presentation, but still clean despite the noticeable grain. They are not presented in their original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Instead, they are offered only in the cropped full-screen television format. The alternate ending is not included in the deleted scenes menu, though it does appear as a secondary menu option.

In my opinion the ultimate Halloween II Blu Ray edition would have the deleted scenes added back into the main feature but without the alternate ending. Perhaps yet another version will be released with these changes. I would definitely pay for another copy of this movie. After all, I have at least 4 Anchor Bay releases of Halloween, including the unrated Extended Edition. Now they did that one right: the original R-rated version (brief nudity and all) with the made for TV scenes (2.35:1 retro "1978" scenes that were shot during the filming of Halloween II in 1981) spliced in; not a true TV version but certainly a perfect extended version. Why couldn't they do the same for this one? They still can. I'll eagerly await it.

As for the other extras, I have no idea why they added Terror in the Isles as an extra but it's not a bad piece of work. I would much rather have seen original TV commercial spots, heard radio clips, and seen a "making of" documentary or at least some behind the scenes photo stills.

My conclusion: the Blu Ray is definitely worth the price. No overt disappointments. Alas, I want another release as described above. Until then, I'll hang onto my Blu Ray and my Universal DVD. I'll also snag an old copy of the Good Times Video DVD release. I love the cool moving/live action video clips on the chapter menus. Those should have been carried over to Blu Ray as well.

Worth the money.Halloween II (30th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray]
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29 of 39 people found the following review helpful
When I originally viewed this sequel, I can remeber being very impress on how the film turned out. I was weary because Carpenter didn't return to direct, but some of my worries were layed to rest after I saw that he both wrote and produced it. Rick does a very credible job directing the feature and surprisingly makes the film FEEL pretty darn close ot a Carpenter film. What I really liked about this sequel is that it takes place right, I mean RIGHT after the first film. It follows the shape (Michael Myers) as he fillows Jame Lee Curtis (who is blatenly wearing a wig) to a hospital, and then the hospital itself becomes a house of horrors. I was more than pleased with only a few complaints. I didn't like how the hospital was always dark (like the lights were never on) and how michael got two bullets straight in the eyes and continued to come (this fact was forgotten in latter poor sequels). That was a little chessy and over-the-top, but forgiveable. The only thing that could have made this film better is if Carpenter himself directed, but even with him at the helm, it might not have turned out much better than this. The next entry HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH, though has nothing to do with these first two films, is a still a good movie. Fans of Carpenter whould also give it a try but stop their. The sequels after that take their audiences for granted and the continuity errors galore as they try to connect to the first two entires.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2012
Shout! Factory's horror division, which they've christened Scream! Factory, continues to release quality Blu-ray versions of cult classics most uneducated viewers write off as B-movie schlock. One of those 1980s gems they've treated like cinema royalty is "Halloween II." Many look at this sequel as the unwanted imitator of the original that upped the gore ante and added cheap jump moments where genuine ones of suspense once were. However, there's a legion of fans out there of the franchise that carry a treaty loyalty to the film and its cast and creators. The new "Halloween II: Collector's Edition" was put together for those individuals.

"Halloween II" begins exactly at the end of the original film. Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance) runs downstairs into the front yard of the house he found Michael Myers (Dick Warlock) and Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) in. He discovers that Myers has walked off from the spot where he landed after Loomis shot him several times knocking him off the 2nd story balcony. Laurie is rushed to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital where she's admitted for treatment. Michael tracks her down to the hospital and begins killing the medical personnel one by one in his search for Laurie. Can Dr. Loomis track him down and end his reign of terror before Myers can get to his sister?

Is "Halloween II" as good as or better than its predecessor? Of course not. Is it good in its own right as an entertaining slasher film? I believe it is. Director Rick Rosenthal did what any man picking up the reigns from a master like John Carpenter would. First, he uses the same director of photography to capture the movie visually. Next, Rosenthal tries to hang on to the suspense that made the first movie a hit, but at the same time add more moments of gore to elevate it to a different level. Did it work all the time? No, it didn't.

However, it did add all sorts of iconic moments that viewers still hang on to and celebrate to this day. Moments like the blood running down Myers' mask after Laurie shoots him in the eyes; the swishing of the scalpel as he blindly swings it in front of him trying to kill whoever gets in his way; the POV shots of the killer stalking while we hear his heavy breathing under the mask; and who can forget the scene where the mother is taking her little boy to the emergency room after he bit into an apple with a razor in it? That put Halloween in a bad light from the moment it first debuted in front of an audience.

It's great to see a cast give such genuine performances in what many actors might write off as an opportunity to just pick up an easy paycheck. Jamie Lee Curtis returns in the role of Laurie Strode and isn't given a lot of dialogue to work with but does her best to deliver legitimate bursts of fear and anxiety as she crawls and stumbles around the hospital hiding from Michael Myers. Lance Guest ("The Last Starfighter") plays paramedic Jimmy who is convincingly intent on keeping Laurie safe from Myers' clutches. Donald Pleasance returns as Dr. Loomis and continues to add a level of class and drama to the film that many slasher movies of the decade sorely lacked.

The high-definition transfer of "Halloween II" delivers the movie to fans in a whole new light that I'm sure it's never been seen in. The picture is as clean and vibrant as its ever been. The 5.1 audio guarantees that John Carpenter and Alan Howarth's eerie electronic score mixed with the screams, gunshots, knife swishing, and heavy-breathing terrifyingly envelopes you.

Shout! Factory scores big points with horror aficionados when it comes to the special features for "Halloween II: Collector's Edition." It's literally packed full of treats and goodies. They include the theatrical version and television cut with extra footage not seen in theaters. Two audio commentaries feature director Rick Rosenthal, actor Leo Rossi and actor / stunt coordinator Dick Warlock talking about the film. Two exciting featurettes give fans more insight into the making of the movie. "The Nightmare Isn't Over!: The Making of 'Halloween II'" goes behind the scenes and explores the history of the film. "Horror's Hallowed Grounds: The Locations of 'Halloween II'" takes the viewer on a tour of where the movie was filmed. There are also deleted scenes and an alternate ending with commentary for both by Rick Rosenthal. A theatrical trailer, TV and radio spots, and a still gallery are found as well.

The Blu-ray release of "Halloween II: Collector's Edition" is a great gift for any fan of the popular franchise. If it was affordable to buy enough of these to drop into the buckets of trick or treaters on All Hallows Eve, you'd be the toast of your neighborhood. I honestly don't know what more they could add to this to improve on it. It's the definitive version of the movie all Michael Myers enthusiasts must get their hands on.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
"Is this some kind of joke? I've been trick-or-treated to death tonight."

"You don't know what death is!"

And then, the music...

The sequel to (at the time) the scariest and most successful independent film ever made, HALLOWEEN II is, probably, a better-looking film than the original. After all, there was a major studio behind this one--along with a new director and a disco-fied version of the original soundtrack that, surely, sounded SO COOOOL when the film was originally released. And the good news is that the movie's not half bad. Nowhere nearly as powerful as the original, it goes without saying, but entertaining enough.

Somewhere between the release of the original and the filming of this sequel, two important things happened. First, FRIDAY the 13th was released, ushering in a new era of mandatory gore for horror films. Second, Carpenter and Hill (both producing) realized that they had a lot of night left over from the end of HALLOWEEN. Consequently, new director Rick Rosenthal came in and made the sequel the second half of the same night as the first, and Michael traded in his very traditional kitchen knife for a hammer, scalpel, syringe, and .... steambath? Yikes!

The result is suspenseful, but predictable, horror fare with a lot of silliness. I liked it. Now, on to some trivia:

The ending to the first HALLOWEEN was actually re-shot nearly frame for frame for the beginning of this one (so that the film stock would match, I'm sure), but purists will notice a couple glaring differences: 1) Loomis fires seven shots from his six-shooter in this version, and 2) when the good doctor comes outside, he acts like he only realizes then--as opposed to the balcony shot in part I--that Michael has gone. Quibbles, yes, but I'm a fan.

(This review has been posted by Marcus Damanda, author of the vampire novel "Teeth: A Horror Fantasy.")
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