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Initially Panned, Is Halloween II the Greatest Slasher Sequel Made?

In light of Michael Myers returning next year I thought to myself, why not bring this lent menace to the forefront of our abysmal world of mayhem. And really, what better way to do that then address the negativity once cast upon (perhaps) the greatest slasher sequel ever filmed?

When Carpenter’s direct follow-up to Halloween arrived, director Rick Rosenthal ate a masve plate of humility. Critics panned it. Fans loathed it. It seemed that, other than Halloween purists, no one enjoyed the picture. Unbelievably, this faithful sequel was destroyed by critics, and to this day, I honestly cannot fathom why. If you want to talk about atmosphere, this one had it. If you want to talk about continuity, this one had it.

Regardless of the near flawless trantion between Halloween I and II, naysayers clamored at the chance to belittle the picture. In hindght, it’s a mystery that seems better suited for the Bermuda Triangle than the cinematic world.

What we’re dealing with here is a direct extenon of the first film; there's no other two ways about it.

Myers pulls a magical disappearing act to bring Halloween to a close; Halloween II showcases the wandering psychopath moments after eating a healthy dose of lead. Now for a guy intent on dispong his family, it’s not beyond the realm of posbility that this freak might make his way to the local hospital. You know, it’s that place that most trauma victims vit?

The sequels stage is set, and plauble. Myers’ relentless killing spree is a bit over the top, but we’ve all come to understand the rule of slasher sequels: the body count grows exponentially. So I ask, where exactly does this film fall short?

The cinematography is fantastic, the lighting is superb and for the most part Halloween II mirrors the mood of its predecessor with little fault. So, I must once again ask myself: why did this film receive such backlash from critics?

Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) returns as our heroine, Donald Pleasance is back as the peace-seeking doc. In truth, all the elements required to create a fantastic sequel are there, on hand, and being exercised with efficiency. Hell, even Carpenter and frequent collaborator Debra Hill took full control of the script.

As a fan of the franchise, I can honestly say that Halloween II is one of the greatest sequels the genre has seen. It’s incredibly faithful to the original feature, it’s got all the talent onboard to transfer the required initial experience to screen, and, remarkably, manages to do so.

Sure Laurie isn’t as cute as she was in Halloween. After the frightening ordeal she endured in the first film, I’d expect that to be all but a prerequite for the follow-up.

If you’re distancing yourself from reality, Halloween II is a direct sequel that not only keeps you frozen in the latter moments of the first film, it lures you into the hope of the second, which by my account seems a remarkable evolution from the pictures predecessor.

Never mind what the naysayers claim, Halloween II is a superb sequel that keeps you glued to the chair, clinging to the hope that Laurie might somehow survive this infinite nightmare.
Matt_Molgaard Wednesday 7/13/2011 at 05:02 AM | 78514
I never really understood that either. Halloween II was PERFECT in my eyes. Most sequels are horrible, but this one was just AWESOME. Maybe the critics just didn't want horror films around and wanted to make it seem bad so other people wouldn't see it and it would fail at the box office. Really and truly, I have no clue. All I know is that it really is the best sequel the genre has ever seen IMO.
Tobyisoctopus Wednesday 7/13/2011 at 05:24 AM | 78522
I was going to say that nce this film is a lot older, people (especially critics) were super harsh on horror films but then I remembered that most critics still belittle horror films. Maybe it's better this way because we the horror community know what films we like and don't care if it gets a good rating or not. In fact if horror films would get the ratings they deserved then we would have to deal with a lot more people that supposedly "were a fan of the genre nce they can remember and saw this film before it even came out" etc. Lets keep the hipsters out of our genre guys and keep liking films like Halloween 2 because it's awesome not because some jaded person that watches way too many movies calls themselves a critic. I mean did they watch the hot tub scene? Those tits were "stupendous" and the death was awesome!
Sephit Wednesday 7/13/2011 at 07:16 AM | 78533
It might not be the best slasher sequel ever. (although i'm having a tough time thinking of one that is better) But yea - i agree. H2 is very underrated.

For me, Halloween and Halloween 2 go together like pees and cornbread. Love watching them back to back.There are some brutal deaths throughout, and as somebody else mentioned, those tits in the hot tub scene are amazing. haha
AgnesItsMeBilly Wednesday 7/13/2011 at 12:17 PM | 78540
I would have to say Carpenters choice of setting was a brilliant. It provided enough isolation to make the story plauble, while exacerbating the natural feeling of dread most people encounter with hospitals. There isn't a ngle time I have walked down a long, quiet hospital hallway and not thought about this film. What makes Halloween II superior as a sequel the fact that it truly felt like an evolution of the original story, not a entirely different movie.
MLeeHolmes Wednesday 7/13/2011 at 12:30 PM | 78542
I agree 100%. It's hands-down my favorite sequel in the Halloween franchise. I get stressed out every time Laurie goes out and hides in the car. And I've seen the movie countless times, but every ngle time I legitimately fear for her life. Maybe this time it will change. It's always fresh. It should have gotten better reviews. Sometimes sequels suck. But this one was spot on.
nolifefan Wednesday 7/13/2011 at 01:13 PM | 78549
The feel of Halloween II far outweighs the concept and /or the script. Something about it all is very comforting or cozy to me. Same goes for HIII though.. but Im not comparing. So I never thought about it.

It is a nice solid sequel, but I also resent how it undid the magic of the original. I'm just not jumped up on the ster angle. I usually watch this series in two ways. The first way is mply watching the original and pretending it is 1978, no explanations. And then when I move on to II, I accept the ster angle for the rest of the series.

Making her the ster took all the mystic out of Michael character and reduced him to a cliched quick throw together 80's slasher vilian. What made him so scary is that Laurie and her friends were ANYONE! They coulda been you or me! Now we know we are bacally safe as long as we arent related to him. He mply got fixated on Laurie in Part 1 because she left the key at his house! Also on Tommy Doyle... it had nothing to do with relation. He already killed his ster. There were no other sters. That whole angle really compromised the character of Michael as a whole.

When some people say that they view 1 and 2 as one film, and watch them back and back always...I don't really get it. They are completely different in appearance and style.

I always loved the opening with Pleasence. The remix of the main theme is fantastic. Like I said, this is a solid flick and I'll love it forever, just because it is a childhood favorite. Reminds me of a time back when I was 12 probably, when my friend and I had a paper route. We watched the first two in the afternoon and then left to go collect from the was creepy as hell walking around when the sun was beginning to set, going up to all those houses....

I know a few people actually like Dick Warlocks performance as Michael Myers in Part 2. However I and most people feel he really hurt the movie by his stiff robotic unnatural walk and over all movements.

I found a way too feel better about it almost a year ago but just dont remember if I mentioned it.So here it is...

Remember how Michael was shot 6 times and feel 30 feet to the ground? Well just make believe that the bullets and fall cause Michael to experience slight paralyzation. And his nerves were damaged and he lacks full body movements. Then that will explain everything you see in Part 2.
d3M0n Wednesday 7/13/2011 at 08:43 PM | 78571
100% yes it is. The rawness of the movie and the look of myers is fantastic, one of my favorites!!

Great post!!
TheShape1188 Wednesday 7/13/2011 at 08:55 PM | 78572
Halloween II is the best Horror movie sequel of all time....I've always loved how it

picks up directly after the events of the first film....Michael Myers is creepy..Hospitals are creepy..combine the two for a masterpiece!
NightShape Thursday 7/14/2011 at 02:53 PM | 78632
there are some like minded folks around these parts, and it pleases me...tremendously!
Matt_Molgaard Thursday 7/14/2011 at 07:54 PM | 78670
heartlessangel Thursday 7/14/2011 at 08:35 PM | 78678
Kudos on defending also one of my all-time favorite sequels in horror history! You summed it up perfectly stating that it's evidently an extenon of the first. And what better, more eerie setting could you get than a dismal hospital with this storyline!? Part II is packed with plot structure, constant suspense building, and quite creative execution scenes.

Many times I think critics just bash horror flicks probably because they think it's a vulnerable genre to do so as it's "getting too far from reality," but isn't that a big part of the entertainment here?? And looking back at the Oscar selections in the past...really, those are the best they can come up with? All in all, critics just like talking out of their asses attempting to stir up a bit of controversy with little to no justification.

Good read on a vintage favorite, and some creative writing you got there man!
buried13 Sunday 7/17/2011 at 02:55 PM | 78832