Sunday, October 25, 2009

Halloween II

Halloween II 1981
Director: Rick Rosenthal
Writers: John Carpenter and Debra Hill
Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasance, Charles Cyphers, Lance Guest, Jeffrey Kramer, Leo Rossi, Pamela Susan Shoop, Gloria Gifford and Nancy Stephens

John Carpenter's original Halloween is a classic and was very popular. So, it was inevitable that there would be a sequel and luckily this is one of those sequels that holds up with the original but does not surpass it. I think they made a very wise decision to make it a direct continuation of the first film. The way it was executed is that it feels like an organic continuation but it definitely has its own flourishes as well. With Friday the 13th coming out the year before, this series needed to up the violence considerably and actually show some of the kills and they do a good job here. The film has some great memorable kills that I always remember fondly. The cast is quite good to with Curtis and Pleasance leading the charge, but I also though Guest, Rossi and Shoop did a great job too. This is one of the top tier sequels that the Halloween franchise has had.
The plot basics are this, moments after Dr. Loomis (Pleasance) shoots Michael Myers and Myers somehow survives Laurie (Curtis) is rushed to the local hospital by a pair of paramedics (Guest, Rossi) and is patched up and put on the mend. While Loomis along with Sheriff Brackett (Cyphers) continues to look for Myers. Michael finds his way to the hospital dispatching anyone in his way and sneaks into the hospital knocking off anyone in his way between himself and his intended victim, Laurie. Loomis finds out that Laurie is actually Michael's long lost sister and he heads to the hospital to end Michael's reign of terror once and for all.
This is a expertly well crafted film. Rosenthal's directions is very tight and suspenseful. He does it in the vein of Carpenter, but also brings his own flourish to the film. The attack scenes are quick and vicious. The script by Carpenter and Hill is a great one and they make great use of the characters of Laurie and Loomis. It was also a great idea to have most of the film take place in the setting of a hospital. The cast is very good too, Curtis is very good as the distraught Laurie trying to survive intact, and keep her sanity at the same time. Pleasance as Loomis ramps up the over acting even more for this film and it is much appreciated. Guest as the paramedic who starts falling for Laurie is very good too and as far as eye candy in the film Shoop is great as the sexy nurse who gets naughty with the other paramedic. The SFX is quite good, I especially loved the hot tub death of Shoop, her makeup effects after her demise were excellent. Rosenthal also uses the same music as the original and he uses it expertly in the film. I also loved the use of the "Mister Sandman" song. It bookends the film very well. This is a great follow up to the original and I had just wished Rob Zombie's follow up had flowed as effortlessly as this film does.
This one gets 5 out of 5

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