- Movie Rating -

Halloween II (1981)

| October 30, 1981

I don’t blame anyone for wanting to make Halloween II.  There is money floating in the air with a title like that, especially after the original came out of nowhere in the fall of 1978, made somewhere around $70,000,000 off of a $300,000 budget, making it the most successful sleeper hit of all time.  I was caught up in the delighted fury over that film, so much so that it ended up on my ten-best list, something that its subsequent imitators – even the good ones – haven’t even approached. 

Alas, the sequel sits upon the ground and wallows in the muck that has drowned those imitators.  It is indistinguishable.  It is dreary.  It is repetitive.  It runs like slasher movie clockwork.  Just about the only thing that it isn’t is scary or thrilling.

The movie takes place on the same night as the original, beginning with that film’s final shock and then taking place only an hour or so later.  You’ll remember that as that film closed, the killer was shot by the police detective (Donald Pleasance) and fell off the second-floor balcony.  Then, as the detective peers down to the body – it’s gone!  The killer is still out there!

Yeah, he’s still out there, but no one has wised up.  Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis, again) is in a state of shock at a local hospital while the police detective has, this time, taken up the role of a screaming prophet of doom.  Meanwhile, new unsuspecting victims open their doors or allow themselves to be left alone.  There is a depressing pattern of this movie for helpless victims to be alone, then scared by either the cat or some wise-acre hiding in the dark, then – whammo! – the killer strikes.  Over and over again this is the pattern.

What makes it worse is that the killings aren’t thrilling.  The gore-factor is ramped up here so that we get lots of creative killings but we feel nothing for the victims.  I don’t remember a single character’s name.  I remember a vague description – the nurse, the old lady, the sheriff, the horny guy at the desk, the girl who gets scalded to death.  Nothing involving a character, just a tired pronoun.

I came away from Halloween II feeling sad.  I was sad that whatever clever and creative passion went into the first movie is completely lost here.  I was sad that nobody seemed to care if this movie was as special as its predecessor.  I was sad that I was watching just another bland horror run through.  The first film was one of the best of the year.  The second is one of the worst of any year.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1981) View IMDB Filed in: Uncategorized