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Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN II (H2) "Unrated" Review, Response & Thoughts On Its Bad Reputation

In response to HorrorBid's recent fantastic "House of Horror" Podcast Halloween Retrospective, where the duo of Joe and Tom broke down all 10 Halloween films, I felt compeled to write a response and a review of Rob Zombies HALLOWEEN II. While this was posted in the shows comments many have asked for it to become a separate thread in hopes that a healthy debate will be started. So for those of you that asked, here it is.

HorrorBid's "House of Horror" Podcasts Joe and Tom talked about Rob Zombie being "ballsy", I have to say this is one of the "ballest" (is that a word?) episodes you guys have tackled. Commenting on Halloween films, especially the remakes, has to be one of the most controveral things you can do in the world of horror. It elicits so much emotion from people that good or bad, whatever you say is generally beat to death. Bacally you can never win for long.

I have to say I am so impressed and down right proud of you guys for how well this show (and the entire 3 episode series) were handled. You guys pull no punches, you guys don't pander or bullshit around and while I may disagree to the hill with some of your comments I never loose respect for you two because you stick to your true feelings. So, regardless of what you guys may say that I disagree with I can always keep listening because I know you truly believe it and you break it down soooooo damn well that it makes me question sometimes my thoughts on issues I had so strongly believed in even while going into the podcast. So I commend you guys for doing this and how thoroughly, respectfully and how well this turned out. I laughed and wanted to yell at the same time. Many times I would be begging for you to touch on something only to hear you mention it a few minutes later. Again, very well done.

As for Zombies films I have always stated that I really enjoyed the "re-imaging" and absolutely hated the second entry. I can remember seeing it opening night and coming out of the theater literally pissed off that Rob Zombie had screwed me, a die hard Halloween fan. I have talked so negatively about the film to the point that I would never give it another chance. Why would I go back and view something I so desperately hated? I had no reason to until I spoke to Joe and he talked me into watching the directors cut. After watching it I was almost embarrassed because I actually didn't hate the film. What had happened? Was the cut that different? While it was, there was still so much I disliked. The lack of a Halloween score, young Michael Myers recast, the "white horse". No, I still wasn't drinking the cool-aid but I didn't hate the film, in fact I re-watched Zombies original and was floored that I was more interested in the second film. But again, I still wasn't ready to say I liked it.

Then we come to today, right now. I literally put the podcast down and immediately had to write this. I apologize for not being able to listen earlier but due to an illness with my wife I have been quite out of it for the past month as time stood still for awhile. Finally getting a chance to listen tonight, I was floored by the discuson. You guys ngle handily made me a fan of "H2", I get the "white horse", I understand the Loomis character, Annie's death seems so much mor meaningful and genius and the "directors cut" ending is perfect. I am still not a fan of the young Michael or the lack of an original Halloween score but as you guys so elegantly put, Zombie was taking this to a new level. It was time to step out of the comfort of those famous mucal cords. In fact I think this film may be to cerebral for its own good. That brings me to the next paragraph.

Why do people hate Zombies "H2" so much?

Like I stated before and you guys do such a good job of picking this film apart but this has so many layers and is so deep that I think it is almost to good to be a "slasher" film or dare I say, in the Halloween series. Now before the pitchforks and torches come out, let me say I love the Halloween series. But lets face it, at its very core is a bac stalk and slash plot. Nothing more, nothing less. It's what we've been feed and what we have come to expect. By getting such a character driven story in the sequel I think it took fans (including myself) out of our comfort zone. I wanted to go into the theater to hear that famous muc, see that clasc mask and witness some stabbings. When I didn't get that I was outraged! How and why would Rob do this to us? I wasn't looking at the bigger picture. I wasn't thinking about all the films that we've say through that have been mediocre. He didn't give us more of the same, he took us in a completely different direction and again, dare I say, I think it is exactly the shot of adrenaline the franchise needed....however at the same time I think it almost killed it.

Because Zombie's "H2" is so different and so cerebral I think us fans blew it off and just wanted our old comfort zone back, to the point of not giving the film a chance again, much like I did until recently. And because Zombie took such liberties fans resent him. How dare you make him speak, how dare you unmask him, how dare you take out the muc. It as if making the Halloween world so complex he took away the fun of a mple "hack and slash" film. That is why I think fans have trouble accepting it and why they are having such a tough time with the third film. Zombie bacally destroyed any attempts and going deeper so now we are going to go back to more of a teen "hack and slash" type film. The interesting thing to see is will the fans respond well to going back to their comfort zone or over time will the appreciate the interesting and fucked up world Rob Zombie created with his veron of Haddonfield?

Very interesting questions and just a great show guys. So well done. Happy Halloween Bidites and thanks for making this horror and Halloween fans day by listening to some great back and fourth about the series I love so much! Michael Myers will live forever! It doesn't matter which Michael Myers you prefer, lets all just be thankful we have so many verons to choose from.


To listen to the podcast please follow this link: viewforum.php?f=289
Horror Domain - Cursed Evil Overlord Monday 10/31/2011 at 05:09 AM | 86160
The best part about this movie is the poster.
joshk1986 Monday 10/31/2011 at 07:11 AM | 86167
I have watched Rob Zombie's H2 many times and even watched the Unrated Director's Cut a few times on DVD and my opinion never really changed. It was just terrible. Although I felt the Director's Cut was somewhat more bearable but not by much.
Pinhead Monday 10/31/2011 at 03:31 PM | 86182
LOL!!! I just posted a new topic defending this film in horror movie reviews I believe. Check it out. It's a great film and I break down why I feel that way.
the_vengeful_machete Monday 10/31/2011 at 03:56 PM | 86183
here's a review I wrote after the release of the film, which I think explains why I loathe the film so fucking much. All the pretty words in the world can't disguise a pile of shit, and no matter how far one wants to stretch to justify this films existence, I'll forever conder those attempts failures...

It took some time, but after a few years, and a half dozen viewings, I’ve slowly come to appreciate Rob Zombie’s 2007 take on John Carpenter’s timeless tale of tormented suburbia, Halloween. Rob managed to effectively build upon a solid story, and give us a peak through the cracks of years undisclosed in John’s 1978 original. He also remained true to the source material’s eerily misleading atmosphere; as middle-to-upper class American streets again transformed from noble neighborhood to savage slaughtering grounds.

The film has its flaws, but to Zombie’s credit, it’s a fair reimagining that did what a reboot should do: expanded upon an already successful story, without removing too many familiar puzzle pieces. I’d really hoped Zombie’s Halloween II would replicate the formula, and give us a more in depth vion of the 1981, Rick Rosenthal helmed Halloween II, but it was not to be. For one reason or another, Zombie ventured so far from the beaten path that his 2009 remake hardly feels like a Halloween installment at all.

First off, the structuring of the film is terrible. We’re “treated” to what feels like an introduction within an introduction (the opening ambulance scene works great as an intro, until we spill right into the hospital scene, which would have also made a fine intro, had it not been tacked onto the ass end of another intro), and from here we enter a second stage of the film that drags far too long, and introduces us to completely different characters from those introduced in Zombie’s first Halloween film.

Now, I can definitely understand Zombie’s rationale here; all parties have been involved in an extremely traumatic experience, to expect some differentials in their personalities is completely plauble, and should actually be expected. However, to take virtually every surviving character (save for Brad Dourif’s Sherriff Brackett, the only potive to be found in H2) from the first film, and flip their personalities 180 degrees just doesn’t work. Yet, that’s precisely what Zombie does.

The still somewhat innocent Laurie Strode is now addicted to pills, inclined to full blown schizophrenic behavior, and, in general, just a flat out bitch, even in the extremely rare scenes in which she appears “stable”. Annie Brackett is suffering some form of mental malfunction milar to Laurie, however her extreme’s differ, and she comes off slightly less erratic. She is however now a genuine power freak with a sharp, humorless edge about her. Of course, how could this new structure stand without a masve transformation to our original icon of hope, Dr. Loomis?

Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) has gone from focused, sympathetic doc, to complete sleazeball star seeker. His care for Laurie, Michael or any others involved has completely disappeared. He’s no longer well spoken, he’s traded that in for a crude, insulting habit of dialogue. What’s worse, nothing matter’s to this once admirable character beyond the success of his new book, which details the life of Michael Myers. Zombie not only transformed our most distinctive victims, he also massacred the film’s key figure of guidance, and it all feels rather…blasphemous. It also leaves this long time Halloween fan feeling oddly detached from one of my favorite franchises in cinematic history.

Now that you’ve got a feel for the mistreatment this ensemble has received, I’ll get back to the pacing of the picture. As aforementioned the body of the film drags on endlessly, managing little more than confung viewers with the unpredictable behavior of our focal faces, and introducing the ghost of Michael’s mother, and her ghostly white horse she keeps as company. Again, I understand the idea behind these awkward “dream sequences”, as their supposed act as a bac honing beacon for Michael Myers, after all he wasn’t born a navigator, and he’s got to get back to the task of slaying the now troubled Laurie somehow; why not toss in ghostly family images to guide him (and why not drag out the process to the point of boredom)?

Wait a minute, I’ve got an idea why not: because it feels horribly contrived and convoluted as all hell! You’re probably lucky if you even grasped the concept properly, as it comes from so far out of left field it takes viewers by surprise, to say the least.

During this extended period of down time, which should be ratcheting up the action, leading up to what could have been a quality finale, we learn the Michael’s mysterious aura died in the first film. In its place is a mind numbing killing agent that manages to deliver some excellent gore (and traditionally this would please me in a major way, but for me personally the tradeoff of mystery for blood and guts was a long deal); you can’t become emotionally attached to grotesque gore, but you sure as hell can get tangled up in deep curioty and ominous mystery, but Rob buries that concept early.

By the time we reach our finale, the film’s gotten stale, and nauseating. The characters have become nearly disgusting, and as a viewer, I found myself hoping that the new Terminator veron of Michael Myers would just slaughter them all in brutal fashion and call it a wrap; if I can’t have the quality atmosphere of earlier Halloween installments, I’d rather not even attempt to continue putting up with the least likeable protagonists to invade the entire 30 plus year franchise.

However, things aren’t wrapped up in such tidy fashion, and the film’s final moments (somehow) manage to toss a little bit more confuon on the fire. At this point, as I’ve stressed, it’s clear Laurie Strode’s mental competence is long gone, but leave it to Zombie to throw in one more awkward scene that could be interpreted 20 different ways.

As the credits run – even after multiple attempts to find the qualities of this picture – I still find myself annoyed, and insulted by Halloween II. I give a nod to Zombie for leaving us with one sole character to cheer for: Sherriff Brackett, and I ncerely applaud Brad Dourif for playing the role with perfection (it’s almost as if Dourif could sense that his character might be the only shining light of the film, which drove him to provide one of the best performances of his career). But beyond the last remaining sympathetic character on screen, there’s nothing but franchise betrayal, and a complete disregard for the legend of Michael Myers to mull over here.

OVERALL SUMMARY Unlike Rob Zombie's 2007 Halloween reboot, Halloween II abandons all things familiar in regards to the franchise. The shift in the film's direction is so absurdly dramatic it's nearly imposble to find the film engaging. All the same, if you enjoy ultra violence and extreme gore, you may find something to cling to in Halloween II. A ngle star is awarded for the work of Brad Dourif, the film's only hope from the beginning.

Note: i rated the film 1/5 stars, for brad and gore, bacally
Matt_Molgaard Monday 10/31/2011 at 04:37 PM | 86188
One man's trash is another man's treasure...
the_vengeful_machete Monday 10/31/2011 at 05:50 PM | 86193
One man's trash is another man's treasure...

I try to make it a goal of avoiding dumpster diving.
Matt_Molgaard Monday 10/31/2011 at 05:59 PM | 86194
One man's trash is another man's treasure...

I try to make it a goal of avoiding dumpster diving.

Nice review and I totally felt your pain, trust me, it was hard to write what I wrote after years of literally desping the film.

But that is what's great about movies in general, they are subjective and we all have opinions. No one is ever right or wrong and we never forget that here at HorrorBid.

That is why I love having these discusons. We can argue without name calling.

Horror Domain - Cursed Evil Overlord Monday 10/31/2011 at 08:07 PM | 86203
its hard for me to avoid name calling when discusng this movie lmao

it's so disjointed it's embarrasng; when someone tells me (fortunately I only actually know one person who enjoyed it) that H2 was a good movie, I seriously write off their opinions, and refuse to take any future recommendations from them to heart lmao

H2 plays out like a high budget student film...and the fuckin student wasn't even GOOD at writing his script lmao

I'll honestly NEVER understand how one can enjoy this film. I see the goals, pason and intentions of RZ's first reboot; respect to the man for trying to build upon the mythos and fill in some historical holes. But I swear to god, he had to be so coked out while working on H2... I dont even think he realized he was making a "Halloween" film lmao

He sobered up, saw it and was like "oh shit, that was supposed to be a part of the Halloween franchise?!" lmao
Matt_Molgaard Monday 10/31/2011 at 08:27 PM | 86206
I never understood why people hate this so much. Im thinking what makes this movie so bad to Halloween fans? is it humanizing pure evil because they did that in Halloween 5 or how different it is. IN my my opinion H2 made more sense than anything that the franchise offered and I believe the difference helped that. showing how micheal lives and how his mind works. I think zombie put more thought into the Halloween movies than anyone in the past installments and proud to say carpenter as well.
hm4life Tuesday 11/01/2011 at 05:30 AM | 86245
I can sort of appreciate Rob Zombie's take on the Halloween series... He definitely put his own "brand" into it, which was almost a good thing. But I was personally disappointed from the get-go with the first one. Humanizing Meyers took out any potential scares out of the reboot. You can't humanize the villain. I don't want to know how f'd up Meyer's family life was. The character itself works best in being evil and completely mysterious. And when he's plugged full of holes, are we supposed to feel sorry for him? He's not supposed to be an Anti-Hero. The 2nd movie was a giant mess IMO. I mean I liked the reality of it... Dr Loomis turning into a douchebag was fairly realistic, Laurie becoming a drug addict was plauble. But the whole endeavor just seemed kind of pointless.
Jonny Sicko Friday 11/04/2011 at 05:11 PM | 86463
Halloween 2(dc) was incredible.Ealy one of my favorites in the series,and one of my fav horrors of the last decade.
matthew28 Tuesday 1/03/2012 at 12:18 AM | 88901
Thank you so much for this review. It's nice to know the story of someone who gave it a second chance, disregarded the negative reception, and found that deep down they thoroughly enjoyed it.

I'm a huge fan of all of Zombie's movies, I personally think he's a fantastic horror director/producer. I love H2, and I give credit to much of my love for it as viewing it as what it really is- a sequel to Rob's re-imagining. Not a remake of "Halloween 2", but a sequel to his fantastic remake.
AbominableDrPhibes78 Tuesday 1/03/2012 at 01:10 AM | 88905
Thank you so much for this review. It's nice to know the story of someone who gave it a second chance, disregarded the negative reception, and found that deep down they thoroughly enjoyed it.

I'm a huge fan of all of Zombie's movies, I personally think he's a fantastic horror director/producer. I love H2, and I give credit to much of my love for it as viewing it as what it really is- a sequel to Rob's re-imagining. Not a remake of "Halloween 2", but a sequel to his fantastic remake.
AbominableDrPhibes78 Tuesday 1/03/2012 at 01:10 AM | 88906
I recently re-watched all of the Halloween movies and while H2 is extremely different, there are several that in my personal opinion are far worse and more far fetched. For example... Halloween 3: Season of the Witch (no Michael Myers and killer masks) Halloween 5: Revenge of Michael Myers (psychic niece) Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (evil druid curses)
kissfreak09 Tuesday 1/03/2012 at 02:25 AM | 88910
I really enjoyed the film....Although i did not really think a clasc needed to be remade. One thing i did like was that Rob Zombie did give Micheal Myers a personalty.....He is human insted of a mute monster.
Chainsaw27 Saturday 2/04/2012 at 06:24 PM | 90174
I liked this one also more than RZ's original.

What was Rob going to do that hadn't been done already?

He took Michael and turned him into a killing machine kind of like Jason was.

Yeah this Michael isn't like John Carpenter's but that's the point.

If you want Carpenter's Michael watch that series.

If you want a more sadistic Michael then watch this series.

Are Rob's films scary?


They are brutality at work.

I did like the unrated veron over the R rated veron of this film purely for the ending of the movie.

I don't know how a Halloween 3D would play out.

If they are serious about H3D then maybe that should be the beginning of a whole new franchise.
JohnCarpenterfan Tuesday 2/28/2012 at 03:09 AM | 90868