Part 2- The One in the Hospital
If you're going to do a sequel, I think it's a nifty idea to set it directly after the events of the previous movie. Halloween 2 (1981) picks up exactly where the first film ended, with Michael Myers getting up after not only being shot 6 times by Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence), but also falling from a 2nd story balcony. The Shape disappears in the night, and will almost immediately continue his bloody spree.
Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is taken to the hospital, where a majority of the film takes place. The problem with this setting is that it requires quite a bit of forgiveness on the part of the audience. A quiet neighborhood, we can accept easily. But a hospital with 1 patient, 1 doctor and 4 nurses? Hmm. Spending time wondering where everyone is means less time involved in the story.
While written once again by John Carpenter and Debra Hill, Halloween 2 was the directorial debut of Rick Rosenthal. It's not a terrible movie, and I've seen far worse movie sequels (in fact, I think I'll be seeing some later today...), but there's some shots lifted straight from the original flick to lesser effect here. Michael is much more a simple psycho killer here, despite Dr. Loomis laying it on pretty damn thick this time about what an inhuman monster he is. We know all about the killer at this point- there's not much mystery left to him. He doesn't stalk anymore, he's not "everywhere and nowhere"...he's just another killer on a rampage. The murders are beginning to get a little extravagant, as well...the nurse drowned in the boiling waters of the hot tub (which didn't burn Michael's hand because why...?) and the nurse who's had all of her blood drained come to mind.
This movie also introduces the concept of Laurie Strode as Michael's sister- apparently she was adopted by the Strode family after Michael was committed to the asylum. Yawwwwwn... To my mind, this completely diminishes the power of the Michael Myers character established in the first film. I thought he was "pure evil", without reason or any concept of meaning of life and death? Nope, he's just a guy who wants to kill his sister. The bloody writing of "SAMHAIN" on the blackboard at an elementary school is meant to give Michael some sort of official affiliation with the Devil, I guess, but it feel very tacked-on and pointless.
I remember liking this movie way back when I was a kid. It certainly scared me then, though now it more or less just invokes warm fuzzy memories. It's possible, too, that Halloween 2 was my first exposure to Night of the Living Dead, which is seen on a few televisions during the course of the film. There's still some parts of this that I really like- Michael walking right through the glass door of the hospital...the blood dripping from the eyes of his mask after Laurie shoots him, then Michael blindly slashing the air with the scalpel...and of course, of course, the cowboy walking the streets of Haddonfield, listening to the news on the giant boombox atop his shoulder. I wonder how this movie would've turned out had Carpenter directed it himself.
When Dr. Loomis blows himself and Michael up at the end, surely they're both undeniably dead, right? Hmm...how can I still have 6 movies left to watch? Snack time!