Halloween II (1981)
Now would probably be a good time to bring up the original idea for the 'Halloween' franchise. Quite basically, the original movie was made into a two-parter, largely based on fan demand, and the third movie was, at the time, supposed to tell a whole new story (which it did). However, fans being fans caused a backlash due to the idea of 'Halloween III' not carrying on Michael Myers' story. And yes, as a result, 'Halloween III' is not any part of 'Michael's Neighbourhood', except for the odd reference. I do, however, list it as a Screening Suggestion.
'Halloween II' brings us back to that fateful Halloween night in 1978, where Michael Myers (Dick Warlock) came home to Haddonfield, Illinois to wreak havoc on a few teenage girls; namely Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), who ends up surviving the events of the first film when she's rescued by Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence), who shoots Myers "six times" (it's seven when you really count), crashing through a window. He disappears immediately, and that's the end of the first chapter. After that, Laurie is taken to the hospital to recover while Loomis, along with an angry mob, and Sheriff Leigh Brackett (Charles Cyphers) attempt to hunt down the deadly "Shape" (as he's still credited, but we do know his name is Michael Myers).
Meanwhile, at the hospital, a little something seems to be blossoming between Laurie and a paramedic named Jimmy (Lance Guest). But more importantly, Michael soon learns that Laurie is at the hospital, and soon makes that his main stomping grounds for this particular chapter. As he goes after Laurie, she tries to evade him, all the while not totally understanding why he's after her. Of course, we do eventually find out what it's all about. Now, I'm about to spoil something that I really don't think counts as a spoiler anymore, so maybe skip the next paragraph if you really do care.
To make a long story short, we find out that Laurie is Michael's sister, and she was put up for adoption after the death of the Myers parents. The trend of "family" ends up being a recurring theme in the original 'Halloween' franchise, but it has since been retconned with the new movies. That petty much means that the "fork in the road" for these movies starts here. For me, it's easiest to do things in order of release date, so that's how it's gonna be. The 'Halloween' franchise is a bit of a weird one as far as things go, but I'll do my best through these to describe how things work for the non-fans.
Anyway, 'Halloween II', though not terrible, just doesn't have the same spirit that the first one does. There's something ultimately creepy and eerie about the way the first one is filmed, and this loses a lot of that charm. It also introduces "throwaway meat" to the cast, whereas any of the victims in the first 'Halloween' were characters we kind of gave a damn about. Perhaps their deaths were predictable, but when it comes to slashers, you've got to look a bit more for the charm in characters. We only like these characters because in one way or another they are fun to watch while on-screen, maybe even a little relatable. I thought you got that with the other girls in 'Halloween'. Here, we see a lot of expendables.
All in all, I think it works okay, and if you combine the two originals into one long movie, it's altogether pretty good. The thing is, when it comes to the Halloween season, my go-to titles for it are 1978's 'Halloween' and, it may surprise some, but 'Halloween III'. For yours truly, I'm altogether fine with just watching the first one and leaving it alone from there. To me, this really doesn't add much of anything, except maybe the big siblinghood reveal. I think if I'm honest, I get a bit more out of 4 and 5 than 2 here. That said, its passable if one does feel like doing the back-to-back it was meant to be. But only do so if you're ultimately curious, because I'd probably recommend just sticking with the original, if you don't want that dark and suspenseful spirit to fade away.
Body Count: 9
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