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Halloween II

There is a modestly clever premise at the beginning of 1981's Halloween II: As the film recaps the end of the first film it segues immediately into the new material, continuing mere moments after its predecessor's conclusion. Alas, from there on out H2 follows the tried-and-true clichés of the Slasher Film, which 1978's Halloween helped establish. Laurie Strode (a returning Jamie Lee Curtis) is being hunted by the killer Michael Myers, even though Dr. Sam Loomis (a returning Donald Pleasence) shot him seven times. While Loomis continues his hunt for the "pure evil" Myers and keeps reminding people that they don't understand just how evil he is, Laurie rests in a hospital where a new cast of victims — er, youngsters — are introduced, including Lance Guest (The Last Starfighter). Unfortunately, most of our slasher-fodder do predictably stupid things — wandering down dark hallways alone, having sex, or ignoring Loomis's advice that Myers still isn't dead. The first Halloween was a runaway success (at the time the most successful independent film ever released), making a sequel inevitable. In that light, H2 isn't that bad, or at least it's not as bad as the rest of the series (save for the absurd non sequitur that is Halloween III: Season of the Witch). But it is more of the same, while never as claustrophobic or as frightening as the original, and relying too much on gore. Halloween II was directed by Rick Rosenthal and produced and written by Debra Hill and John Carpenter (who also scored the film). Universal's DVD improves slightly upon the image and sound of the previous Goodtimes disc, presenting the film in anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) with audio in Dolby 2.0 Surround. Much like the first film, there are alternate cuts of H2 that have been shown on television, but the only extra here is a trailer. Keep-case.

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