Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Tyler Mane, Sheri Moon Zombie, Brad Dourif, Danielle Harris, and Scout Taylor-Compton.
Directed by: Rob Zombie.
Let me first say that I grew up on the original Halloween franchise and I have never even bothered with Rob Zombie’s 2007 remake. So, watching Zombie’s Halloween II stand-alone, I am going to review it based on what I know, have learned, and seen. Rob Zombie’s Halloween II rips off the original Halloween II from 1981 in its first 20 to 30 minutes or so – And that is both interesting and disgustful while the rest of the movie alone is just simply… disgustful.
Like the original Halloween II, Rob Zombie’s incarnation picks up right after the events of the 2007 remake with a bloodied and shocked Laurie Strode (played by Scout Taylor-Compton) picked up by Sheriff Brackett (played by Brad Dourif) after defeating Michael Myers. Bracket takes her to the hospital while Annie Brackett (Danielle Harris) and Dr. Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) are both picked up by paramedics and brought to the same hospital as Laurie.
On the other hand, Michael Myers has been presumed dead and picked up by a different ambulance which gets into an accident that awakens Michael and so he escapes. He makes his way to the hospital where Laurie, Annie, and Dr. Loomis were taken to and starts killing everybody there (now don’t you feel like you’ve seen this movie before?) until he finds Laurie. Cue chase sequence. Michael chases Laurie outside of the hospital in the pouring rain where she makes it to a dead end security outpost. Oh wait, next thing you know, it’s all a dream! Actually, it’s only one year after her battle with Michael in the 2007 remake, what do you know?
Laurie now resides with the Brackett family and Michael Myers’ body has vanished without a trace since the previous Halloween (although he is still believed to be dead). Laurie is always having nightmares (like the beginning of this movie) and attends therapy sessions with her doctor who happens to be Superman’s former love interest (Margot Kidder). Dr. Loomis got all greedy about the past traumatic experience and is now seizing the opportunity to base his next book on it. Michael Myers, on the other hand, is constantly plagued by visions of Deborah Myers’ (his mother, played by Sheri Moon Zombie, how convenient) ghost and a symbolic white horse. His mother instructs him to return to Haddonfield, IL and bring Laurie Strode back home for this year’s Halloween. As Michael journeys to the town and engages in a new murderous rampage, Laurie begins having a new set of hallucinations that mirror that of Michael’s which include her acting out some of his killings.
I’d have to say the only interesting part of Halloween II is the first 20 minutes or so which are practically a rehash of the original 1981 sequel’s plot that centered around a hospital. It’s actually very sad that this is the only interesting part of this so-called sequel because although it’s interesting, it’s completely unoriginal (as backwards as that may sound, but that is why it’s so sad here). The rest of Rob Zombie’s sequel/remake is as boring as the next typical horror/slasher film, let alone horror/slasher remake I might add. Rob Zombie attempts to zoom in on the connection between Michael Myers and Laurie Strobe by interlacing their psychological problems but it gets too caught up in the midst of gore and atmosphere (both of which don’t bode together very well here).
While it is clear that Mr. Zombie attempted to establish some imaginative and psychological depth, these efforts are brought down by a script that is not ounce interesting in the first place. It feels almost as if it’s just a way to ‘further’ cash in on a franchise that ended with nine films in 2002. The original 1981 sequel that was almost entirely set around a hospital was far more interesting and original than was what was born and bred here.
I can picture the pitch meeting for this one…
A studio executive paces back and forth in his office. A producer sits across from him with a list of projects and scripts that he’s looking over.
EXECUTIVE: What are some good horror projects that we can make some serious cash off of? Hmm…
PRODUCER: Well, let’s see, there’s an interesting and original script from this unknown screenwriter-
EXECUTIVE: Unknown? Nah, too risky.
PRODUCER: Good point.
EXECUTIVE: You know what? I give up. Forget the original ideas, let’s make a sequel to something we already remade. How about that Halloween flick that Rob Zombie did last year?
PRODUCER: Well, it did make $58 million as a matter of fact, it’s do-able I’d say.
EXECUTIVE: But what is it going to be about this time?
PRODUCER: Why go through all the trouble? Just remake the second Halloween film from 1981, it only makes sense, considering the way the remake ended.
EXECUTIVE: Good point. But wait a second, won’t people automatically assume we are remaking each and every ‘Halloween’ film plot-for-plot?
PRODUCER: I know – It’s a year later and Michael’s mother instructs him to return to Haddonfield to continue his pursuit of Laurie who’s now living with the Bracketts. She has lots of hallucinations, Michael kills some more people, Dr. Loomis tries to make some cash off of his connection with Myers and Boom! We got a sequel.
EXECUTIVE: So basically, the whole movie is just Michael killing people and Laurie having hallucinations – on and off, on and off. People might get bored with that…
PRODUCER: Hold it, I’ve got it! We’ll start it off like the 1981 sequel for the first 20 minutes, say it’s all a dream and then we jump into my idea. That way, it will confuse the audience into thinking they’ve seen a good movie.
EXECUTIVE: Great idea, that might actually work! Let’s call some writers…