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3.1 out of 5 stars
Halloween II (Unrated Director's Cut) [Blu-ray]
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37 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
The Amazonites have spoken and this movie got killed, lambasted by some as 'the worst Halloween movie', though there's no way it can approach the horror of the botched Curse or the Busta-Rhymes-was-the-best-part Resurrection.

I'm still not sure why this was given an August '09 release rather than...October/Halloween. Presumably, they didn't want to run up against the latest Saw offering, and perhaps they sensed the buzz of Paranormal Activity. Instead, they ran it against The Final Destination 3D, which still fared better.

Folks seem to love or hate the Rob Zombie Halloween excursions. Say this about Zombie...he is a horror movie fan and he tries something more personal this time around. Yes, we all know and (presumably) love the original Halloween II, where Michael Myers stalks Laurie in the eerily empty corridors of Haddonfield Memorial Hospital. And yes, we all know that it was revealed that Laurie was, in fact, Michael's sister, a plot twist conceived by John Carpenter when he ran out of ideas. So what should we expect when someone remakes 're-boots' or jump-starts a series and then remakes the sequel, too?

Yes, there are similar elements and plot points from earlier Halloween films, including the original Part II (the hospital, the sister angle, which we knew from the first Zombie installment, etc). But this is not a remake of the original Part II. Rob Zombie is going his own way with the blessing of the Akkad clan, and I think he does some interesting things story and plot-wise. There are clearly some expressionistic nods to Italian horror directors (Bava, Argento), and there's a strong nod to the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and general insanity after you've been chased by a knife-wielding lunatic. The early scenes---again, picking up right after the events of the original---are well done, if unsettling. There's the frenetic activity of the paramedics and authorities, the hospital atmosphere, the loving close-ups of emergency surgery and various injuries, and the spooky recurrence of The Moody Blues on TV. There's a very nightmarish feel to everything and the looks and sounds are appropriately unsettling. There's a focus on the trauma---the screaming! the terror! The film is much more concerned with the idea that this Laurie Strode is losing her marbles, and is hardly the wholesome and pure Laurie of the previous series. Zombie prefers some of the more disturbing elements of the material over the 'scary ones'...which in his world are nearly one and the same. There is always the risk of wallowing in the downbeat versus showing that the filmmakers actually had any fun making this. I think they did, but Halloween II definitely toes the line.

Like most horror flicks, this is not the sum of its parts, but I always give points for atmosphere and demented touches. Actually, the weakest part of the film is the stalking and slasher action itself. It is predictable, methodical, absolutely brutal, and dare I say...sometimes boring. Michael stabs...and stabs...and stabs...and then stabs again...and again...and again. We get it. Am curious what they cut, because it's a hard R rating here. No, Mr. Zombie does not ease up on the slasher gore, and we get at least one close-up of a knife in the head.

The better elements are the psychological angles (exploring...well, insanity), and the Loomis plotline. This is not the same Loomis, tireless in his effort to stop evil on two feet, but rather a burnt out, cynical, media-obsessed sellout who may or may not have an ounce of altruism left in his shell. Again, Malcolm MacDowell is excellent if underused this time. There's also a bit of plot-timeline fudging toward the end during the 'final showdown'.

The movie is demented, and extremely violent and brutal...perhaps too much in that it distracts from the fresh or different elements that Zombie tries to infuse. I still liked this better than most of the rent-a-hack horror output that comes along. Give credit to a horror fan making horror films and trying something else. Of course, you can't win in this genre. You will be condemned if you make the same old movie (which people want to see) or you'll be condemned if you try something out of left field (because people want something fresh). If you want the old Part II, go watch it, it's a different film. But lordy, this is a heck of a lot better than the latter stages of the original Halloween series.

The DVD looks and sounds great. I believe Zombie shot this on 16mm and converted it, so the images look grainier and darker...it's a very stark and appropriate look for this film. The extras include a plethora of deleted scenes, most not essential but some interesting bits, plus the inevitable alternate ending. Note that the ending here differs slightly from from what you saw in the theater (if you were such a fanatic), since this is the 'director's cut'.
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23 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2012
Format: Blu-ray
So much hate against this movie, and why? The theatrical version may be a little soft but this unrated cut is the most unrelenting and brutal movie Ive ever seen. There is nothing nice hiding in this movie. And I love it! In this version Laurie is messed up beyond repair and a total bitch to everyone she loves. More realistic considering what she went through in the first movie. Michael has been living off the land recovering from a gun shot to the face for the last 2 years until Baby...Mom says its time to go home. This is the way Michael was destined to be portrayed. Forget the naysayers who think they know good horror. They probably gave garbage like The Ring 5 stars. So anyways give it a shot and be prepared for a look into true evil!
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I have to give Rob Zombie credit, for when he makes a sequel he doesn't just make the same film over again. Zombie obviously loves the old horror film and it shows in every horror film he has made. I watched both the unrated and theatrical versions of the film and I think the theatrical moves along more smoothly and has a better ending. The gore is trimmed down slightly, but doesn't take away from this brutal film in any way.

Zombie gives this film a very cool look and does create some eerie atmosphere, but I did find some elements confusing at times and that does take away from the overall experience. I wish they could have had the original actor who played young Michael in the first film as this actor just doesn't seem to be playing the same character. While the original was very withdrawn, the one in this film just seems like a regular kid. This could be due to the fact that he is only in the film as a figment of adult Michael and Angels imagination.

The kill scenes are brutal and not just because of the excessive gore, but because the set ups are genuine and that makes from some gut wrenching murders. Zombie also has a knack for placing actors that we have seen over the years in these scenes, so we feel an little more sorry for them.

The unrated version is longer and pulls us out of the action more times than needed, but it is certainly worth seeing for fans...I just preferred the theatrical. I do have one big gripe, why do they need to release the two versions separately?....I know the answer (GREED!), but it's shameful to charge fans twice for a film that isn't all that much different. I know I'm not alone when I say I want both versions, but I don't think it's worth paying the price! Both releases have a bunch of extras that are the same including outtakes, gag reel, music videos by the kooky horror band in the film and commentary.

Overall if you like Zombie or newer horror films, you will probably like this film. I happen to love old horror film,but there are some good horror films out there today and this film will stay with you like all of Zombies Horror outings.....and isn't that what good horror films should do?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2011
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
First off, let me say that i've been a big fan of John Carpenter's "Halloween" since I first saw it in 1980. Parts 2-wherever they left off...not so much. But i've always believed strongly that the original was, and is, one of the greatest horror movies ever made. Carpenter understood that mounds of gore and constant 'false' scares (the cat jumps out of the closet, etc) did nothing for a film's fear factor-in fact, the director is always far more important than the content. If you don't believe that, watch Hitchcock's "Psycho"...then watch the remake. If you can stay awake through it.
That being said, there's room in the genre for an artist that liberally piles on the carnage and shocks, as long as that artist has a vision beyond his potential paycheck for the inevitable sequel(s). Once I saw Rob Zombie's "The Devil's Rejects", I felt certain that the innovative musician had truly found his niche. He successfully created a film that could truly be called the only other possible compliment one can bestow upon a horror movie besides 'terrifying'...that compliment being 'disturbing'.
Naturally, when i heard Carpenter's classic would be getting the old 'revision' treatment, I was mildly angry. Does EVERY good-to-great motion picture need to be re-enacted for the attention deficient generation? Still, at the announcement of Zombie being given the honors, I had to assume that an essence of actual quality was likely. I also felt a bit saddened for the former 'White Zombie' frontman-just as 'Rejects' had introduced a potentially potent new force in the horror film industry, i knew there was no better way to knock people off your bandwagon than screwing up a beloved classic, especially one made by the equally admired Carpenter.
But once I finally decided to check out Mr. Zombie's remake, some 4 years after it's release, I was surprised, even shocked. This was one 're-imagining' that actually lived up to that oft-used, rarely-enacted word. Succinctly put, Rob Zombie's "Halloween" scared the bodily fluids out of me. It picked up where "Devil's Rejects" had left off in the 'disturbing' department. Monumentally graphic, but exuding a confidence lacking from other 'unstoppable serial killer of horny teenagers' flicks, I viewed each ensuing scene with dread-the good kind. By the time it was over, sleep was but a distant fantasy. Basically, it freaked me out.
So I found myself almost eager to check out Zombie's version of "Halloween II"-as little as I cared for the original film with the same title, I assumed the lack of high standards to live up to would just loosen the director's reigns even more. And after a brutally violent first act, which mostly took place in the hospital that housed poor Laurie Strode, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Zombie wasn't going to follow that cliched, limiting format that so hurt the original "II"-that is, the action remaining inside the hospital for the movie's duration.
Imagine my disappointment when, as the film dragged on, it gradually dawned on me that Zombie, in fact, had no grand vision to display. With each increasingly violent murder, it became obvious that Zombie had fallen into the ol' 'crazy masked psycho' trap-that is, depending on the audience's visceral reaction to the bloody massacres onscreen to mask the absence of any real imagination or creativity.
Unlike his previous Michael Myers treatment, I had no such reservations about going to sleep once the final credits had rolled. It wasn't awful-there were some genuinely original and shocking moments scattered amongst the dreck; but the final verdict is in, and it's clear that Rob Zombie took the money and ran. Hopefully, it won't damage what i feel is still a very bright future, and will only exist as a blip on the road to horrifying greatness for the only director who can be called 'More human than human'.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
Lord Almighty this is gorey. old Rob the Zombie spoons out the blood and gore by the bucket. It's interesting though to watch Michael Meyers age (devolve). I don't know how they get these young (admittedly talented) actors to play in movies like this. It must be like playing out your own nightmare.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2014
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
I am a big fan of Rob Zombie. And I am a big fan of the Halloween. What I am not a big fan of is re-makes (Or even "Re-Boots" as the industry has tried to change it). I thought the first Halloween re-make was decent. And I really enjoyed Rob Zombie's other films like The Haunted World of El Superbeasto, House of 1000 Corpses, & Lords of salem. But the Halloween II Re-Make lacked ALOT.
I think Zombie made an admirable attempt in trying to create a new "Vision" with this film. But in the end he just fell short. I mean, there was no "Revelation" that the heroine was Myers sister like we did in the original, we knew it from the first one. We get no supernatural scare like we did in the original either. The Closest we come to it is Michael & His sister's "Shared" Hallucination of their mother. There was to much blood. And it lacked the scare the original Halloween II but it instead it traded brutality.
What I did like about it was Malcom McDowel as Loomis. It was nice to see Loomis with another type of personality than the one in the Original. I also enjoyed the Soundtrack witch I think is Enjoyable. There were a few laughs that I think were great given the context of the movie.
All in all, it wasn't bad but it wasn't good either
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2011
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
After watching the remake, I was looking forward to the sequel. It has elements from the original sequel, but goes off in various directions. I was not thrilled with the casting of young Michael in the first film and even less with the updated version. The depth taken to reveal more of young Michael was unnecessary and distracting. As were the spirit sequences with Michael's mother; which to me seemed forced to give Mrs. Zombie more screen time. In addition, the older Michael just didn't seem like Michael. It's definitely more gory and dirty than the first; overall long and disappointing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
Zombies films can tend to become bizzare very quickly and this movie it does so the quickest I have seen. Margo Kidder's mask like face is more hideous than Michaels, which is a shame because she cannot take it off. I guess ole Rob see's all of America as a cess pool of trashy people, barely worthy of being considered human. The original Halloween 2 has people you might care about, might want to not see killed, but this version portrays everyone as such pathetic scum that death is a release from their tortured exsistence. Death only counts if you care if the people die; here the deaths are meaningless due to the sub-human portrayal of the chars. There storyline for the entire movie must have consisted of about three sentences because there IS no story.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Two years after Michael Myers decimated Haddonfield, Laurie is no longer a good girl. The nightmares have taken their toll; she's drinking, partying, anything to forget. Dr. Loomis is coping in his own way; he's written a tell-all book about the Halloween massacre and is drinking up the media love. Only Michael is still Michael, doing what Michael does. Working his way across the countryside, killing everyone whose path he crosses, he's set on getting Laurie this time. And he has supernatural help: his mother has come back, dressed in white, riding a white horse, telling him he needs to put the family back together. And that means Laurie has to die.

Halloween II is not a faithful retelling of the original, as Zombie's Halloween was, but a completely new story under the same title. It's also a return to his grindhouse roots, with lurid sex and violence, garish colors, and far more graphic killing than in Halloween. The difference between his version of Halloween and this movie is jolting and problematic. It doesn't really work as a sequel, and would have been better made as a standalone movie, names and places changed to protect the first movie.

If you like House of 1,000 Corpses and the Devil's Rejects, then you might like this version of Halloween II, but if you're looking for something more like Zombie's first remake, you'll be disappointed.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2012
Format: Blu-ray
Well, as bad as "Remakes" & "New Versions" of movies go, they just seem to keep being made, case in point, Rob Zombie's "New Version" of Halloween II. The plot is soooo far removed from the original {& far superior} Halloween II, that it should of died a quick death right from its conception. True, you shouldn't make a remake EXACTLY like the original, but that doesn't mean you should stray TOO FAR from the original. Actor Malcolm Mc Dowell's awful portrayal of Dr. Loomis is appalling. He makes Actor Donald Pleasance's BRILLIANT portrayal of the good Doctor cringe in embarrassment. Same with Actress Scout Taylor Compton, who portrayed Laurie Strode. Actress Jamie Lee Curtis should be shaking her head at disappointment at her psycho performance. Along with the also GOD AWFUL Jason X, this movie ranks a great horror stinker, that makes the original cry in shame.
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