Friday, March 19, 2010

Halloween 2 (2009) I Think I Missed A Class

You ever have one of those dreams where you know you're long past high school - or in my case, college - and you know it, but suddenly you're back there searching in vain for a classroom in order to take a test you're sure you missed all those years ago?

That's kind of how I felt watching Rob Zombie's Halloween 2.

Now, I'll preface this by saying I believe Zombie's got incredible potential to go down as an influential and important voice in horror filmmaking. I actually liked his version of Halloween once I accepted that John Carpenter's original version will always been seen as the measuring stick of modern slasher horror. I felt it was a decent remake/reimagining.

Halloween 2 just felt about an hour and a half too long. I appreciate what Zombie was trying to do. It just left me feeling like I missed an important test in college, and years later, can't find the classroom.

The first twenty minutes or so of the movie were, I have to say, pretty damn good. The image of Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor Compton) wandering the streets of Haddonfield after the gruesome climax of the first remake was striking. Laurie's surgery to repair her broken body was wince-inducing, but not out of place. Michael Myers (Tyler Mane aka Big Sky - obscure early 90's wrestling reference!) escapes his ambulance after the inept workers slam into a cow while discussing necrophilia.

Laurie awakens and finds Annie (Danielle Harris) in her own hospital room, still in grave condition. The nurse escorts her out, but leaves to answer an emergency call. In what I thought was a brilliantly taut series of scenes, Michael goes on his rampage in the hospital, slaughtering the nurse and several others off-screen as he pursues Laurie. It's very similar to the original version by Carpenter, but as you may know, that entire movie took place in the hospital. Just as Michael finally catches up to Laurie in a guard shack, we're provided the truth: it's been a dream, and it's actually two years later. Michael is presumed dead, although no body was found. Laurie and Annie survived, but are both scarred, physically and emotionally. They live with Annie's father, Sheriff Brackett (the great Brad Dourif) and have become hardened, even when Laurie tries to confide in her therapist (Margot Kidder).

From here, the movie gets...well...I don't know. It's like I said, I felt like I missed a class somewhere and started getting anxious when I couldn't find the classroom to take the test. Michael is indeed alive and living like a rabid hobo in some abandoned barn. He's also hallucinating his long-dead mother (Sherri Moon Zombie) and his younger self. It's them that compel adult Michael to pursue Laurie because she's family and they need to be "together." There are dream sequences, party scenes, oodles of post-teenage angst, and interesting cameos from people like Howard Hesseman and Daniel Roebuck.

I feel like I should break tradition on the recap here. This movie has been reviewed so many times in the horror blog community, and I've found it to be one of the most polarizing films. A lot of people really don't like it. It's safe to say it makes some people quite angry. Yet there are those who really do like it, and they'll defend it to the end. For me to give a rundown of the events in the movie would be pretty repetitive.

I came away from the experience feeling like questions I didn't have or want to ask were answered quite loudly. I didn't really want to know everything about what drove Michael. That was the draw of the first two original Halloween films. Michael was a juggernaut, a force of nature. We felt what Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis in her amazing role) felt: confusion, the instinct to stay alive, and most of all, unfathomable fear. No psychoanalysis, no elaborate backstory, no wild visuals. And no white horse.

The cast is really good, especially Dourif. To me, he felt like the one true character I could feel sympathy for. His reaction to SPOILER Annie's death was heartbreaking. Harris and Compton are also very good. While I love Malcolm McDowell, his Dr. Loomis was far, far away from what I always liked about the character. In this, he was brash, arrogant, and lecherous. I could write it off as this was his reaction to his near-death experience with Michael in the first film, but it was tough.

Seriously, I like Rob Zombie. I have a lot of respect for him as a creative person, although I'm sure there might be some who disagree with me. That's okay, too. Everyone will have an opinion, and I can definitely respect that as well. I don't feel this was the best showcase of his talents. I'm hoping down the line, we'll get to see what Zombie's capable of. If it's anything like the first part of Halloween 2, right up until Laurie awakens violently from her dream, then he'll have a fine career.

Ironic that the director's name is "Zombie" when I'm trying to rescue survivors from that very undead thing in this crazy world. Heh.

And hey, remember how I said Big Sky was an obscure wrestling reference? Well, here: enjoy Tyler Mane a.k.a. Big Sky as he wrestled for WCW in the 90's...

Speaking of zombies, the movie I'll be reviewing next time comes from our friends in Norway, and I'll be taking a look at Dead Snow.

Oh, and there's still time: go vote for my strange self over at the Mr. Horror Blogosphere Contest at my buddy Chuck's great blog, Zombies DON'T Run. If you've already voted, great! If you voted for me, thank you so much, and drop me a message so I can thank you personally when it's all said and done.

Until later, watch the skies. I might be there.

HorrorBlips: vote it up!


  1. I thought as a sequel to his universe, this was the right direction to go in minus the bogus dream sequences. What can I say? I actually liked it. I liked the changes to the character, they made it distinctly Robs. Not his best by any means, but more enjoyable than the first now that he could break away from the constraints of making a remake

  2. Honestly, that's an excellent argument in favor of the movie. It seems to split the horror community almost down the middle. I can say that I admire that he had the balls to mold a tried and true franchise into his vision.

  3. Excellent observations about the film. I loved it and like you said realized this a movie you're probably gone to really like, or hate.
    Great writing sir.

  4. Although I am a not a fan of this film, that was a nice write up.

    And I liked how you mentioned Mane as Big Sky. I always forget he wrestled in WCW.

  5. Thanks!

    forest - The first 20 minutes or so, I thought was excellent, but after that it just kind of dropped. Some people really love it and some really hate it.

    Geof - Every time I see Mane in a movie, I think of when I first saw him in WCW!