Halloween II (1981) starring Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Charles Cyphers, Jeffrey Kramer, Lance Guest, Pamela Susan Shoop directed by Rick Rosenthal Movie Review

Halloween II (1981)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween II (1981)

Halloween 2 Minutes After

It had been some time since I last watched "Halloween" so before putting myself through the first of the many sequels I decided to watch the original again. Now in some ways that was a good move because it refreshed my mind as to how things ended ready for the sequel to pick up straight away from because whilst there were 3 years between the making of the first and second "Halloween" it is not even minutes between the stories. But at the same time rewatching "Halloween" was a bad move because it is still a great horror movie ripped with atmosphere and tension and sadly "Halloween II" whilst a solid horror movie fails to live up to the first movies high standards.

So as already mentioned "Halloween II" basically follows on from the exact point that Halloween" left off, with just a few minutes recap as we witness Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) put 6 bullets in Michael (Dick Warlock) before he falls from the window. But when Dr. Loomis checks where Michael fell he has gone and so with the aid of the police start hunting him down again whilst Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) is taken to hospital to have her wounds treated. But it doesn't take long for Michael to not only start killing more people but make his way to the hospital as he hunts Laurie down for a reason which even shocks Dr. Loomis when he discovers it.

Donald Pleasence in Halloween II (1981)

I don't know whether writers John Carpenter and Debra Hill decided to make a sequel because they thought they had a good idea for how to continue the story of whether it was on the insistence of the studio who saw how profitable the first movie was and demanded a second. For what ever the reason "Halloween II" just doesn't have the same impact as the first movie and in fairness the story itself isn't that bad. The fact that things pick up exactly where the first movie left off is brilliant and with Michael hunting Laurie down to the hospital gives us a new location for him to relentlessly walk through. Plus there is the big revelation as to why Michael is so determined to kill Laurie whilst also killing anyone else who gets in his way.

But the trouble for me is that "Halloween II" just lacks that edgy atmosphere which made "Halloween" so creepy and unsettling. The thing is that we have scenes of Michael lurking in the background and we also have scenes of him killing various people in a typical slasher manner but it just doesn't feel as ominous as first time around. And the reason for me why, well partly because what we get is Michael lurching around like the living dead through various corridors whilst an inordinate amount of time is spent on Dr. Loomis and his hunt for him. But also because the "Halloween" music has had a reworking and whilst still the same the use of the synth sound lessons its impact.

What also doesn't help matters is that "Halloween II" ends up characterless because whilst we have Laurie, Dr. Loomis and Michael all the characters we meet in this second movie are wafer thin victims. There is no getting to know any of them and with some of them doing some typical stupid things it makes them very weak. And if I was to be honest whilst Jamie Lee Curtis remains the best thing about "Halloween II" her character spends most of the movie in a traumatised state so doesn't really have much to do until the end.

What this all boils down to is that whilst "Halloween II" is a solid horror sequel it is also a disappointing one which fails to regain the atmosphere of the first movie. But then it is still a lot better than so many of the sequels even now 30 years after it was released.