Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Halloween II

Rob Zombie has become something of a whipping boy in the horror film fan community. Although I recognize how his over-the-top attitude towards violence on film would turn some people off, I’ve had a more positive view of his work. I liked House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects (the former more than the latter, which seems to be the reverse of most opinions), and while I wasn’t thrilled with the Halloween remake (I could have sworn I reviewed that, but I can’t find it. Oh well, I’ll get to it sooner or later.) I didn’t react with the cries of “Sacrilege!” hurled by those who believe he defiled John Carpenter’s legacy. Now comes Halloween II and…whoa. It is a mess.

The movie kinda sorta takes up right where the last one left off. I qualify this because Halloween II is one of those movies which shows things happening that later turn out to be a dream. I hate that technique, by the way. All the survivors return from the first film, which isn’t saying a lot, since that’s Laurie, Annie, Sheriff Brackett and Professor Loomis. Laurie has been more or less adopted by the Bracketts, for which she is not grateful in the least, and the three live together in a house with the ambience of a poorly maintained public restroom, haunted by their past tragedies. Professor Loomis, meanwhile, has written a book on the Haddonfield murders and joyfully cashed in on Michael Meyers. He’s a complete douchebag, and there are several scenes of him abusing his personal assistant, which may have been intended to be funny. In the absence of any actual humor, it is difficult to tell.

Also returning is Michael Myers’ mother, played by Sheri Moon Zombie, the director’s wife. What’s that? You say she died in the first film? Well, right, but one thing this movie loves more than dream sequences is flashbacks. If you cut the flashbacks and the dreams from the movie, it would go from slightly over two hours to eighty minutes, and be better for it. Ms. Zombie also haunts Michael Meyers, along with the younger Michael Meyers (?) and a white horse. I hope you didn’t come here to get an explanation for what the white horse meant, because I haven’t a clue. All I know is, we get endless shots of Mom leading the damn thing to and fro. Maybe they are trying to say if young Michael had gotten the pony he always wanted, he wouldn’t have gutted 500 people.

The rest of the plot is Michael Meyers isn’t really dead (he’s just become a Jeremiah Johnson looking dude) and he kills everybody he meets. Poor Annie, apparently she survived the first massacre just so she could die in the second one. There is some goobledygook about Laurie being Michael’s sister, therefore Ghost Mom wants her to be killed so that…something. Who the hell knows.

My main criticism of the first movie is intensified here, namely there isn’t a remotely likeable character in the bunch. Laurie Strode in particular is a fantastically annoying, whining ingrate. By the time you get to the end of the movie, you’re ready to knife her yourself. Forget about Zombie besmirching the legacy of John Carpenter, he sure doesn’t do Rick Rosenthal (the director of the first Halloween sequel) any favors here.

This is worth seeing only if you are interested in how someone could screw up as simple a concept as a slasher film.


Fred Trigger said...

I havent seen either. However, I am surprised you like "House of 1000 Corpses" more than "The Devils Rejects". I felt House felt more like a Texas Chainsaw Massacre ripoff, while Devils was a very original concept, I thought. Especially with the sheriff turning the tables on the villains.

KentAllard said...

I'm a contrarian at heart, Both "House" and "Rejects" look like high art next to Halloween II, though.