#262 -- Halloween II (1981)
Director: Rick Rosenthal
Everyone who knows me even a little bit knows that I've never been a huge fan of Halloween. It's weird, since I'm such a huge fan of slasher movies. You'd think I'd be in love with the one that started it all. But no. I remember watching the movies when I was a kid, and I just thought they were boring, and they never scared me. But when I re-watched the first one last year, I gained some more respect for it. I realize that the film-making is brilliant; I was just never a fan of its killer. Now, re-watching this one for the first time since I was say, twelve, I've gained even more respect for Michael. I think all of my hatred for him stemmed from the fact that he and Jason were somewhat nemesis when I was growing up. I guess it's good that I'm older now, and I can see (almost) where everyone is coming from. Most of the respect I now have comes from the beginning of the movie. It takes place on the same day as the first, right after Dr. Loomis shot Michael six times, only for him to get up and walk away. There's a scene right at the beginning that's from Michael's point of view. You can hear his labored breathing as he slithers through the darkness of the neighborhood, but other than that, he seems like the six gunshots didn't phase him a bit. Yeah, I've always known that he's indestructible, but that's the norm with pretty much every slasher out there. It wasn't until this scene that I realized just how strong he is.
Dr. Loomis was terrified after he failed to kill Michael. No one else believed his story; they thought that he just "missed" him, and only thought he shot him. But then they saw someone walking around with the same mask, and the person turned and walked away when he saw them notice. So they killed him. Ran him over, squished him between two vehicles, and blew him up. But it was not Michael--shocker. Still on the loose, he made his way to the hospital that Laurie was transported to, and began yet another killing spree trying to get to her.
There's something else I realized while watching this that I never noticed before. I'd always thought Michael just used that knife over and over, which is one of the reasons I found him incredibly dull. In this one, he utilized several different weapons, including scalpels, hammers, boiling water, and even his bare hands. The kills weren't brutal, which was typical for the earlier ones. That's another reason I thought the movies were boring. My first experience with horror movies was Friday the 13th, and those kills were pretty brutal. So when I saw this, I thought, "this isn't right." By that point, I was so used to seeing blood everywhere that I thought anything else was just boring. I still think there should be more blood, but I do realize what the film-makers were trying to produce. They relied more on chilling scenes than a bunch of gore. They used shadows, the implied, and the viewers' imaginations to get the scares in. Which is cool, I guess.
Another thing I liked about the movie was its theme song. No, not the main song. But during the opening scene, as well as the end credits, they played Mr. Sandman by The Chordettes. If you're not familiar with the song, look it up, and you'll think it's pretty funny too. It just doesn't fit. Michael is definitely no dream, and I sure as hell wouldn't be praying to someone to bring him to me. It's a strange song choice, but I liked it. Probably just because I love that song. This is also the movie where we found out that Laurie was Michael's sister, so that was a pretty big deal. Though the characters did reveal this crucial plot point rather casually, I'm sure it shocked audiences everywhere when it was first released. Now, of course, everyone knows, so it's no shocker at all.
So, I do think that my initial opinions on this franchise were a bit rushed. I saw them at an age where I wasn't able to appreciate them for what they were. I do appreciate them now, and my respect only grows each time I watch one of them over again. No, they're still not my favorites. I'm still not a gigantic Halloween fan, but I'm starting to like them more than I used to. I'm glad that I'm able to make a mature assessment of the films, so now I don't feel like the only weirdo who doesn't like them.