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Customer Review

86 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 2000 years later, we've come no further, August 30, 2007
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This review is from: Halloween 2 [VHS] (VHS Tape)
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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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 7, 2007 3:12:07 PM PDT
Hello G. Garner,
WOW! What an exceptionally fine review of my favorite slasher genre' film of all time. In fact I hate to use the word, "slasher" but that remains the appropriate name. I have an excellent DVD transfer of this film in widescreen which I re-watched just about a week before your review. I see where the Rob Zombie version opened BIG but I wanted to re-visit my favorite version of the movie.
I was delighted to see your unexpectedly recent review of this movie. I can't believe it's been 26 years since I first saw it in a theater. I was especially impressed with your cogent analysis of the Dr. Loomis character as realized by DONALD PLEASENCE one of my favorite character actors. I suppose aside from the HALLOWEEN series he would be most noted for playing "Blofeld" in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE. I am old enough to remember seeing him as a character actor in many TV shows in the 60's. He first drew my attention in a 1963 episode of the original OUTER LIMITS called THE MAN WITH THE POWER. I do have the entire OUTER LIMITS series on DVD. I also have the complete DANGER MAN (SECRET AGENT) series in which Pleasence appeared several times and finally, if you are a fan of his he was also notable in THE GREAT ESCAPE and gave a very fine performance in the little known NIGHT OF THE GENERALS (1967). I can't express how much I appreciate your singling out his character in this movie (and bringing back so many memories).
You mention, "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." I find this a highly insightful observation to which you add, "There is some part of his imagination that is obsessed with Myers, and some part of his humanity that is appalled by him." I think this pinpoints the film perfectly. The strength of Loomis and the paradox within him seem to throw the Myers' character into a sort of bas relief. A much deeper level of horror and terror than he could show as "The Shape." Loomis' obsession and his sacrifice allow us a glimpse into Myers' "Heart of Darkness" and a look into the abyss and seeing Loomis' actions allow us to see not only what Myers has done but what he is capable of doing. By concentrating on Loomis as you so well defined him we also get the horror of the abyss staring back at us.
Thank you for such a great review and for stirring so many memories.
Kindest regards,
"Rock Hunter"

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 7, 2007 7:58:54 PM PDT
G. Garner says:
Thank you for your comment. As you may have surmised, Loomis is my favorite fictional character, and also the one to which I can most closely relate. As I have mentioned elsewhere, I especially like the fact that he operates from an agenda of his own making. While he is a hero in the traditional sense, he is also very much at odds with contemporary American society. What I mean is simply this-he acts without seeking credit or attention. In modern America, many people seem to believe that, unless something happens on a tv or computer screen, it somehow does not count. I am more appalled with each passing day at the bizarre things that people will do in order to get their faces on television. Many make it seem as if there is no value in anything but the perceptions of others.But Dr. Loomis is willing to tarry in the shadows, where there is no one to see or appreciate him, because that's where he needs to be to combat Myers.Plus, I always got the feeling that he was rather at home, there.This leads me back to my initial point about Loomis: he is the ideal adversary for the Bogeyman. He is enough of a moralist to sacrifice himself to save others. He is possessed of adequate strength and courage to be effective as a hero.He has the force of will to keep coming, no matter how much he may suffer in the way of bodily injury or personal misunderstanding. And he is, ultimately, fascinated to the point of obsession with Michael Myers and the dilemma at hand. This is a formidable combination. I appreciate your comment, and your interest.

Posted on May 28, 2011 12:18:39 PM PDT
jfarrar says:
I am a huge fan of John carpenter movies, and especially a fan of Jamie Lee Curtis. She
is a phenominal actress. I own Halloween and H20. Donald Pleasance, another brilliant actor. I just bot Halloween II, am still waiting for it in the mail. To comment on another post that I read about halloween II being filmed mostly in the hospital. One of my fav's scenes is myers holding down the womans head in the boiling hot tub, and seeing her face charred as he brings her back up. Another scene is at the end when Lori is stuck in the room with myers, she thows the acid in his eyes,leaving him blind. Myers is wailing
the scalpul around hoping to strike her, then Dr. Loomis comes to rescue her, opening the gas tanks lines, waiting to ignite his lighter to blow up the hospital.

Posted on Sep 11, 2011 4:53:28 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 11, 2011 4:54:21 PM PDT
R. L. Matsui says:
Great review. Although this film has always been thought of, perhaps rightly, as a "quick sequel," it is legitimately a lot of fun and your analysis identifies its strongest points. "Halloween II" is atmospheric, creepy, and nice to look at. As much as I love the original film's great craftsmanship, I tend to watch this sequel a bit more often.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 13, 2012 8:49:11 AM PDT
A. Moncrieff says:
Generally agree, but I hate the score in this one. It makes me cringe.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 22, 2012 4:03:42 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 22, 2012 4:04:36 AM PDT
I'm a bit "late" in replying to your post (5 years, LOL!) but I must admit, I find it insightful & gave me a new perception of the Loomis character that I had never noticed B4. It seems Rob Zombie must (???) have read this post also cuz he, in making his H2, wrote his "Dr Loomis" (Malcolm MacDowell in a WRETCHED performance, BTW!) in contrast to everything U just wrote down here.

I always noted the Loomis character (as played by Pleasence) was a combo of concern for the innocents that were in danger with Michael escaped & on the loose while being believably terrified of his patient, at the same time. His detemination to stop Michael at all costs is well demonstrated by the fact that in the three direct confrontations he has with Michael (climax of H1, hospital main-doors & later in the operating room of H2), he pulls out his gun & shoots at Michael point-blank range, attempting to kill him withOUT hesitation, clearly demonstrating that Michael truly is a soulless monster beyond reasoning with, another contrast of Zombie's films- which is merely a reflection of today's typical Hollywood PC garbage!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 22, 2012 6:41:33 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 22, 2012 6:42:55 PM PDT
G. Garner says:
Yeah, of course, we all have our little idiosynchrasies and inconsistencies........but I still find it plausible that a man could be, by and large, heroic and honest. In that sense, Loomis is a traditional hero. His heart is usually in the right place. For example, when Loomis DOES make a mistake, it is usually because he is OVERLY zealous to do what he thinks needs to be done. (like when he chases that kid out into traffic, resulting in the boys' death-however tragic the result, Loomis' intentions were simply to make sure Myers didn't escape again.)

I can relate to such a man. I'd rather be like Loomis, who perhaps cares too much, than to fall into apathy and simply shrug everything off.

I, too, always found it revealing that Loomis fires his gun without any hesitation the INSTANT he sees Michael. You almost get the feeling that he wishes he had just gone ahead and done this before Michael had the chance to escape in the first place.

Thanks for your comment.

Posted on Sep 19, 2013 9:50:15 AM PDT
Nate Fancher says:
Wait ... 2000 years?!??! What is this, "Michael X?"

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 7, 2014 7:55:59 PM PST
G. Garner says:
If you refer to the '2000' years in my title, that was a line from the movie. One of Donald Pleasance's greatest soliloquys from this series.

Posted on Sep 8, 2014 4:57:37 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 28, 2014 11:02:58 PM PDT
Regarding your review of Halloween II:

Christopher Lee was offered Loomis, said turning down was mistake of his career.

Happily Pleasance never sickened of role (David Suchet still loves doing Hercule Poirot and SHOWS it). . Alec Guinness loathed Obe Wan Kenobe, perhaps understandable to know after being Smiley, Colonel Brighton, Prince Faisal, Fagin to know that what the obituaries would--did--say, "best known for...," when he wasn't any good to start, obvious anyone just walked through part.

Important detail was missed in movie when Loomis told Laurie born two years before murder, 15 years later--MICHAEL IS KILLING SISTERS ON HALLOWEEN WHEN THEY ARE 17!

NOT sam-HAIN like it looks, celtic, it's pronounced SOW-en, Dan O'Herlihy, Irish, pronounced it correctly in Halloween III (his little speech about it only genuinely creepy thing in that fiasco).

Right about "standard" kill people every five-10 minutes, sequence with girl on phone pointless, time-killing (pun intended), did like her speculating neighbor beating wife, then went on to OTHER matters.

Line I would have added , Nurse, "Doctor--- is afraid this will end our whole rehabilitation program," Loomis should have muttered, "And his job with it."

John Carpenter ran out of money filming first one (in the spring, noticeable mistake characters driving around still sunny after 5:00, Daylight Savings came week-end before, been dark by then), that's how ran into Moustapha Akkad, he put up the money to complete, said Carpenter sold him rights, fought in court for years. Akkad came to strange end returned to native Jordan celebrate daughter's wedding, hotel reception in blown up by terrorists, he was killed.
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