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Halloween II Rated R
Dimension Films / Sony
Theatrical Release Date: August 28, 2010
Home Release: January 12, 2010
Director: Rob Zombie

Halloween II by James Klein for UnRated Magazine [October 24, 2010]
Halloween II Halloween II

I actually saw Rob Zombie's Halloween II in theaters when it came out a year ago. This is the review of the unrated, 119 minute version with a completely different ending.

Not being a big fan of remakes, I had speculations about the Halloween remake but I was fond of Zombie's The House of 1,000 Corpses and it's sequel, The Devil's Rejects. Both films had some major flaws but had a certain amount of raw energy that I enjoy in my horror movies. I have always preferred disturbing horror to monster movies or haunted house movies (but I still love the hell out of those movies too). When Halloween came out, it was a great half movie. Loved the first half by giving some interesting back story on Michael Myers but the second half kind of falls flat into remake territory. Now, Zombie is able to sequelize (is that a word?) his own remake and make it all on his own. And, like all his films, it has its flaws but I still enjoyed it.

The movie starts as soon as the first film ends and Laurie Strode is a complete mess. The once virgin, girl next door is now a punk rocking, foul mouthed, schizo with a bad temper. She now lives with her friend Annie and her father, the sheriff of Haddenfield (played by Brad Dourif who gives the film its best performance. One sequence involving his daughter is gut wrenching and tear jerking. Performances this good are unfounded and are never written like this). Dr. Loomis has also changed and he is now a self-centered author capitalizing on Michael Myers victims with his books and press meetings. And Myers of course is not dead and he returns to find his sister and end it all.

The version I saw in theaters decided to edit out all the best parts in my opinion. There is some great, dramatic scenes with Laurie and Annie and how they are drifting apart as friends and are still tormented by what had happened to them. Laurie now sees a psychiatrist (Margot Kidder) who is trying hard to help her. In the theatrical version, Kidder has a cameo. In the unrated version, the scenes are longer and we now see Laurie has become a delusional liar and desperately needs prescription drugs to block the bad memories out. Why were these scenes taken out? Running at almost two hours, this is the "epic" slasher film. The dramatic scenes work very well and are so well acted and captivating, that whenever Myers showed up to kill off a few people, I was getting bored. I would love to see what Zombie could do with a thriller or a dark drama.

This is also one of the most graphic and depressing slasher films I have ever seen. Characters don't just get stabbed and die. They cough blood, they can't speak, they convulse, they cry, they crawl, they vomit, it's all very realistic and the make up effects are some of the most disgusting I have seen in a recent Hollywood movie. While some will say the violence is exploitive, I feel the violence works better for being realistic. By making the brutality of Myers slayings as real as they can be, it makes the dramatic scenes all the more better. It is also honest as death is not as quick as it is in the movies. Violence should almost always be portrayed realistically. Horror can be scary with the whole "boo" tactic, but to me, being disturbed or troubled is much more scary. I felt this alot during Halloween II.

Halloween II still has some major flaws. Logistically, how does Myers know where Laurie is going to be? How can he track her? Also, Zombie adds these really silly dream sequences throughout the film of a young Michael Myers and his dead mother with a white horse. These scenes literally make no sense and is laughably bad. The only reason these scenes are in the film is that Zombie has to put his wife Sherri Moon Zombie in every movie he makes. Since she died in the first film, he added these stupid sequences which almost ruin it. I am also not a fan of how they handled Dr. Sam Loomis's character. He is such a piece of shit now and when he tries to redeem himself, it's too little too late and doesn't work. Malcolm McDowell does he best in the role but it doesn't work for me. And Zombie's trademark of everyone talking dirty and swearing every other word continues and it is distracting.

Now the ending...the unrated version is different. Why did Zombie shoot two endings? Well, neither one of them I cared for but I think the unrated version plays a bit better with the outcome and Myers does finally speak but the theatrical version at least has Dr. Loomis try and redeem himself. Both endings are unsatisfying.

One last note: does anyone have the blu ray of this? The picture was awful with too much grain.

Halloween II is a very different kind of slasher film, utilizing alot of great aspects but allowing alot of bad ones as well. The film is very gory and each death scene is realistic. Even head snapping and strangulation is graphic thanks to the sound effects and performances. The unrated version is much better though and it does help to watch both films back to back as I did tonight.


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