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HALLOWEEN II
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Reviewed by: Andre Manseau

Directed by: Rob Zombie

Starring:
Scout Taylor-Compton
Malcolm McDowell
Tyler Mane
Sheri Moon Zombie

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
Two years have passed since Michael Myers attacked Haddonfield. Laurie lives with Sherriff Brackett and Annie, and Loomis is out promoting a book based on the Haddonfield massacre. Unfortunately for them, Michael isn't dead and decides to stumble his way back to the city on Halloween to finish what he started.
Is it good movie?
Let me begin this review by talking about a couple of things I love. First, I love the Halloween franchise. It's got some horrible, horrible entries but I love the Shape and think that the Myers character is about as badass as it gets. I'm even a staunch defender of the Halloween remake by Rob Zombie- it's not perfect but it's more than watchable and makes a good addendum to the original.

Secondly, I'm a big fan of Rob Zombie. The Devil's Rejects is one of my favorite films of all time, and I enjoy both Corpses and Halloween as well. I think he's a smart man who has got some serious talent and I was really looking forward to seeing what he would do with his own interpretation of Halloween II.

Rob Zombie, you f*cked up pal.

I really, really, really don't like this movie. It has very few good things going for it. Let's discuss. One of my criticisms of the first movie is that Laurie Strode is an unlikeable character who you don't really pull for. Well I was way, way off in that assessment because Zombie turns her into a detestable, whiny little bitch who you'd love to see get killed. Now I know what the defense is for that statement: "she's going through post-traumatic stress disorder and her brain is all messed up". Well if that's the case, could she not have retained an ounce of likability? Laurie is an annoying, demanding, whiny, selfish twit who doesn't change a bit throughout the film. She exists to make bad decisions and to serve as Myers bait.

Secondly, my biggest hang-up is the whole "White Horse" gimmick. it comes up as a subtitle at the beginning of the film and serves as the only device that makes Myers tick. He literally sees his Mom and his little clown self walking around tugging a white horse, saying "not yet, we'll do it later". This stuff killed me. Showing a flash of it once is fine, showing it for 5-10 minutes and making it Myers' raison d'etre was brutal. And not only that, but Laurie sees it too and when she does, they can BOTH see it at the same time. There's even a scene in the movie where the visions HOLD HER DOWN! I can suspend my disbelief a little bit but this was asking a lot. The whole white horse thing was not 'art', it was merely exposition and I thought it was ineffective.

A few more things: I'm all for putting your own spin on things, but turning Dr. Loomis into a pompous jerk trying to sell books doesn't work for me. It wouldn't bother me if Don Pleasance hadn't put his heart into 6 previous movies making the character the only shining light. Good lord, the only likeable characters in this movie are the Bracketts and they're barely featured. If Laurie was diced up at the start of the film and the movie was about Myers and Annie, that would have been way better.

Let us also discuss Myers himself. Tyler Mane returns as the gargantuan killer and does an even better job this time around. People are complaining that Myers makes noise in this one- that doesn't bother me one bit. Myers is super brutal in this film and loves killing people in the face, which I appreciate. The hospital scene is awesome and sets a good pace for the movie (although it gets flushed quickly when you find out it's a dream). Unfortunately for Myers though, the character is pretty useless and is only given something to do by killing random people who get in his way as he journeys back from the wheat fields where he's been milling about eating dogs since the last movie. Seriously, if it wasn't for the stupid characters he runs into, he'd have nothing to do. Even the people he kills are all jerks, so why should I care if he hacks them up? The only meaningful kills that take place until the end of the flick come when he takes out the personnel at the Red Rabbit strip joint where his Mom used to work.

People also love to complain that Myers shouldn't take his mask off. I had no problems with bearded hobo Myers, because he's based more in reality and that's fine with me. He still wears his mask when he kills people. The problem is that if you're going to make a realistic movie you should make sure you don't have any ridiculously unrealistic parts, like the entire reason Myers is still alive. That scene is so ridiculous; Myers would actually be even more dead than he was at the end of the first one.

And then there's the ending- the unrated ending and the theatrical ending are both quite different and both pretty unsatisfying. i won't spoil them, but they really just drive the final coffin nails home, if you ask me.

Can you tell I loved this movie? If you want to know more about how I felt, feel free to check out the latest episode of my horror podcast, "Great Directors, Terrible Movies" at the following URL: http://werecomingtogetyou.podbean.com/
Video / Audio
H2 sports a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen video transfer and looks pretty mediocre. The print is really grainy and the movie is really dark, which doesn't help a bit.

Audio shows up in the industry standard 5.1 Dolby Digital track and comes through really clear and is mixed well with a great balance among the channels.
The Extras
The best feature of this disc is the Commentary Track with Zombie himself, because you get to understand just what the hell he was thinking from time to time. He's a very informative guy, although his voice is a bit monotone (weird for such a character like him). Agree or disagree, at least he tries to explain himself.

You also get 23 deleted/extended scenes, which run about 25 minutes long which should give you a hint as to how useful they are. If you guessed "not very", you'd be right, and it includes such shades of brilliance like "Beer Man" and "Vomit 1" and "Vomit 2"! Why the theatrical ending isn't here, I'll never know. To be fair though, some of this stuff should have been left in the movie because it shows Laurie as somewhat sympathetic. But who needs characters you can believe in?

Do you like Bloopers? Well you get 4 minutes of them, and they're really funny, including Sheri Moon constantly blowing lines and Malcolm McDowell being completely insane, because that's what he is.

How about 10 minutes of audition footage?

You can also enjoy 3 minutes of make-up tests for Myers and Deborah, 8 minutes of so-so standup from Uncle Seymour Coffins' Stand-Up Routines and six music videos from that guy Captain Clegg who Zombie really features prominently in this flick.
Last Call
This was a serious misstep for Rob Zombie, in my opinion. I'm sure he'll recover from it and this will make its money back but I don't plan on watching it ever again. The worst part is that I'm a huge fan of his and it's hard for me to tear him a new one like this. I get it, it's "his vision", but he doesn't even include the theme until the end credits. This one is an exercise in depression.

Rob Zombie will never make a film as good as John Carpenter's. Despite his talent, Rob Zombie doesn't have the vision to make a movie with as much style as Carpenter gave to his early films. Carpenter is a great visualist. His shots are superb and the images he gets are so memorable, Zombie is not really up to that sort of challenge. There are things in the original Halloween that are truly groundbreaking, and that credit has to go to Carpenter and Dean Cundy. Zombie does have a really great understanding of what makes those movies exciting. He's the only current director that I can think of that follows in the 70's exploitation vein and still has his own style. Not everything he does is gold,but at the very least his other films have been have been worth watching, which is more than I can say for H2.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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