Revisiting Halloween II (1981)

Reviewed by Marc Hopspring for TheHumbleHeckler.com

(Editor's note: Film critic Marc Hopspring reviewed this film after watching it via a malfunctioning cable box that, unbeknownst to him, randomly switched back and forth between Halloween II and True Lies. Keep this in mind when reading the following review.) 

It had been at least a decade since I'd seen Halloween II, and boy oh boy is it different from the film I remember. For starters, I had no recollection of James Cameron directing this film. And now that I know, I have to rank this as one of Cameron's worst efforts. And that's just the first of many surprises.

Halloween II is by far one of the strangest sequels ever produced. I'm not really sure how this thing is even related to the first Halloween. Despite the uncountable number of temporal and logical gaps, I have to assume this hodgepodge of narrative spaghetti was created on purpose. After all, Halloween creator John Carpenter wrote the script, which is supposedly based on a French film or something. Anyway, here's the plot: After surviving being shot six times on Halloween night 1978, Michael Myers is now--somehow!--the leader of a terrorist organization called the Crimson Jihad, and it's up to husband-and-wife team Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Dr. Sam Loomis (now played by Arnold Schwarzenegger--that's right, Ahhhh-nold) to stop Myers from sneaking a nuke into Haddonfield Memorial Hospital. This is where the film starts to lose me. I mean, why would any terrorist group want to take out a small town hospital, especially with a weapon that could destroy an entire city? Where's the logic in that? And when the hell did Laurie Strode marry Dr. Loomis?

Even worse than the nonsensical storyline is the film's schizophrenic editing style. In one scene an unmasked Myers (who is now Middle Eastern for some reason) engages in a brilliantly choreographed gun battle in a public restroom, and then in the next scene he's drowning a naked nurse in a hot tub--and the mask is back. In another confusing sequence, Laurie does a sexy striptease for Loomis (again, he's now her husband!), then out of nowhere, she's posing as a hospital patient (in a bad wig) who is forced to fight off the advances of a horny ambulance driver, only to find herself, mere moments later, fighting off the advances of Bill Paxton. And then, for reason I will never EVER understand, Arnold disguises himself as Donald Pleasance and faces off with Myers in the film's climax--a climax in which they are both blown up. Don't get me wrong, it's a find ending, but by the time the film finally got to it I was just too confused to care anymore.

When I say the film is confusing, I have never been more serious in my life. Once scene begins with an intricate chase in which Loomis, on horseback, pursues Myers, on a motorcycle, through a crowded shopping mall. Exciting, right? So then why does the scene end with a horny ambulance driver singing an X-rated version of "Amazing Grace"? The film just leaves me with too many questions. Why, for example, does Jamie Lee Curtis's makeup keep aging and de-aging her? Is this supposed to be an example of spycraft? If so, is this really supposed to confuse Myers? And why the hell is Tom Arnold in a Halloween film? When the hell did Loomis learn to fly a Harrier jet? And for what possible reason did the Crimson Jihad feel it necessary to Kill Ben Tramer? It's all so bizarre. And I haven't even mentioned the ski slope shootout that culminates with a child in a pirate costume getting gashed by a razor blade hidden in an apple. Why are trained spies hunting trick-or-treaters? One minute we're watching a bridge blow up and the next we're watching an idiot knock himself stupid after slipping in a puddle of blood. Aw ... forget it! To hell with this mess of a movie.

Halloween II is a flawed horror sequel for sure. If you're in the mood for something that makes you question your sanity, this flick's for you. Otherwise, stay far, far, away from this celluloid turd. Although, to be fair, Halloween II makes more sense than the movie I watched right after it. In that stinker, a gremlin steals a DeLorean and time-travels back to 1955 to make sure nobody gets wet or eats after midnight. Talk about nonsense.

I give Halloween II one star out of a possible five stars and all the bile my liver can produce.

(Halloween II is rated R for profanity, violence, nudity, aggressive stupidity and the graphic depiction of Tom Arnold.)

 

 

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