The horror thriller Halloween II takes place, as its predecessor did, in the fictional midwestern town of Haddonfield, Illinois on Halloween, 1978. Some of the stars of the film include Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, Donald Pleasence as Dr. Sam Loomis, Charles Cyphers as Sheriff Leigh Brackett, Lance Guest as Jimmy, Hunter Von Leer as Deputy Hunt, and Dick Warlock as “The Shape”. The original music is by John Carpenter (Halloween) and Alan Howarth (Robocop 2). The director is Rick Rosenthal (Halloween: Resurrection).
The story picks up right where Halloween left off. Loomis shoots Michael Myers six times as he stumbles out the window of the Doyle house. Moments after falling, Myers gets up and flees the scene, much to the chagrin of Loomis and Laurie. The doctor heads down the block and runs into the sheriff. He tells him about the events at the Doyle house and the two of them go to find the wounded killer. A few minutes later, Laurie is taken to the hospital with Jimmy, an EMS who knows her from school. Dr. Loomis and the sheriff spot an individual who may be Michael and stop. But before they can get close enough to make sure, a car runs into him and explodes, incinerating the the man’s body beyond recognition. At this time, Deputy Hunt arrives and informs Sheriff Brackett that one of the bodies found at the Wallace house is his daughter Annie. After viewing the body, Brackett goes home to tell his wife as Deputy Hunt takes over. Meanwhile, Myers has discovered that Laurie was taken to the hospital and is on his way there. He sneaks in through the back door and begins to kill off all the hospital staff one-by-one until Laurie, Jimmy, and another nurse are left. Michael finally catches up to her just after he takes out the last nurse. A chase ensues with Laurie escaping to the parking lot where she hides in a car. On the other side of town, Loomis’s nurse Marion Chambers finds him and informs her boss that the Governor has ordered him back to Smith’s Grove. She and the doctor depart with a marshal back to the sanitarium.
Halloween II is a somewhat different style movie from its predecessor. While Halloween tried to create suspense with its viewers, its sequel attempted to stun the audience with more blood and gore. Instead of another slasher film, the sequel is classified by many to be a splatter film, which is a horror film not intended to scare the audience so much as to surprise it with so much gore that it is almost humorous. While Halloween II does have much more blood than Halloween did, this writer doesn’t believe that that is a fair category for it to be placed in. Maybe it’s the fact that by today’s standards, it is not all that gruesome, especially as compared to later films like Hellraiser and, more recently, the Saw series. Yet at the time it came out, it was considered pretty bad.
Another difference between the films is the tone of the opening theme. Throughout the Halloween series, its strength has always been its theme music. In Halloween, the opening music consists of a theme played in a 5/4 meter by a piano, whereas in the sequel, the same theme is played but with an organ instead. This writer believes that the second opening theme gives a somewhat darker image of the movie simply because of the kind of sound an organ makes as opposed to a piano. Plus “Dracula”, a popular halloween costume, is often stereotypically seen playing an organ, which may have inspired the filmmakers to include one to create a Dracula-like dark image to begin the movie with.
To wrap, Halloween II was not received all that well when it came out but, since most of the other horror movie sequels we’ve seen have been mediocre at best, is today considered to be one of the greatest ever made.