Halloween 2 (2009): Ending on a low note.
It’s been long noted in the 5 years or so that we’ve been doing this that I’ll watch anything, and can usually find some enjoyment regardless of how wretched the subject matter. I’ve taken on series such as Children of the Corn that would have had the brain of a lesser man melting through boredom, and I’ve reviewed 165 schlocky low budget b-movie efforts. Therefore, when I say that I’ve struggled with this series, and damned nearly abandoned it, you get an idea about how awful this film is. I started this fucking series A YEAR AGO, and came within a gnat’s pubic hair of binning it as a rancid idea. But now I can say with some confidence that I’ve done it- I’ve now finished the Halloween films.
And it’s been a real struggle.
Contains mystifying sub-Lynchian dream sequences and spoilers below.
Picking up immediately after the first “remake” ended, we’ve got a catatonic Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor Compton) being rushed to hospital. This, actually, is a fairly decent sequence, as we’re then treated to a truncated version of Carpenter’s Halloween 2, complete with odd music choices in the form of Knights in White Satin, Ordinarily this well shot, well performed and exciting section would be enough to save the film from the rating I’m about to dish out, but unfortunately it turns out it was all a dream.
I honestly can’t over emphasise the contempt I hold this creative decision in. Instead, it turns out that Laurie is living with Annie (Danielle Harris, wasted), and has turned into a goth twat. She’s managed to find a load of slutty friends, so we’ve got some cannon fodder lined up.
Anyhoo, Loomis has become a kind of celebrity (not a bad idea this one), and a rampant ego beast. Malcolm Mcdowell chews some scenery with aplomb, but many of the lines (“I’M THE NEW LOOMIS”) make me want to punch the writer (Rob Zombie). Michael, on the other hand, is just chillin’ out in a field and has grown a frankly magnificent hobo beard. I can safely say that Tyler Mane’s beard puts in the best performance in the film, by the way.
So, one year later, he returns to Haddonfield, and slaughters pretty much everybody (sadly including Danielle Harris). The film culminates with Laurie in a shed hallucinating that she can see her mother (a returning Sheri Moon Zombie), and a young Michael. Loomis proving once and for all what a top drawer therapist he is screams witlessly at her before Michael is put down and she’s locked in a loony bin. Incidentally, the nuthouse is shot in such a way as to suggest either purgatory or heaven, being all clear lines, and Sheri is clearly kitted out like an angel. Quite what the white horse is doing there is totally lost on me.
I genuinely struggle to think of a worse film than this. A murky, ugly, boring exercise in combining sadism with embarrassingly inept cod-psychology; Halloween 2 is the total nadir of a series that frequently plumbed depths of incompetence. I said it last time: Zombie’s redneck sensibilities are completely wrong for Halloween, but he was at least constrained by having to tie in to the original in some way. This time around he’s completely off the leash, and has managed to produce something worse than the sub-student film garbage of House of 1000 Corpses. Everything about this film fucking stinks, and the misguided and boneheaded rehash of the thinking behind the climax to Halloween 4 (for fuck’s sake) is honestly about as insulting a way that the shape could check out as could possibly be imagined.
The dream imagery, that even Ridley Scott would sneer at, with the white horse and whatnot is so, so stupid, that I struggle to find a single defense of it. But, weirdly, stupidity isn’t the worst thing about it- the worst thing is how tonally jarring it is with the grungy, grimy, sleazy nonsense that surrounds it. When the climax in the shed finally comes and Laurie is having to say “I Love you Mummy” over and over again, while Mane actually looks fucking bored in the background, it somehow manages to be both boring, ill-fitting, and laughably stupid at the same time.
Halloween 2 is such a bad, bad film that I can’t help but think he did it on purpose- a giant middle-fingered salute to those that (fairly and justly) maligned his appalling attempt to defile the corpse of the franchise back in 2007. Even as a cinematic “fuck you”, it’s still terrible, and I struggle to think of a greater waste of celluloid (not to mention the memory space I was squandering for a fucking year on it) produced in a long long time.
I’ve poured hate on many of the films in this franchise, justly, but this, for the final time, really is it for the series. Halloween 2 should justifiably be named as a franchise killer, but I have no doubt that the next in line is already dusting down a stupid high concept to bring The Shape back. I do hope not.
Overall, I’ve nothing good to say about this, and even though the film crams every spare corner of the screen with boob, and decent boob at that, I’m still dishing it one of these:
Thank fuck it’s over.
I never normally bother with this, but I think the Halloween series actually deserves a quick summary of the franchise. I find it interesting, and I can’t think of another series out there that does this, that almost every other film contains a valiant attempt to get away from the biggest draw of the franchise: The Shape.
Halloween 2 was meant to be Myers’ big checkout. Carpenter and Hill wanted to produce a Halloween series featuring scary stories that were unconnected to Myers. Sadly, Halloween 3 tanked, so we had the reboot, with a returning Myers, inflicted on us.
One film in to the “new” run, and they’re attempting to get away from Myers again, by valiantly attempting to pass the torch on to wee Jamie. Halloween 5 and 6 bring in the cultists, and supernatural powers, in an effort to clearly add something to the story- that both of these are rotten films is neither here nor there.
H20, while polished and shiny, is a clear reboot and return to the original continuity- while just 2 films later Zombie attempts to reimagine it again. In total, that’s 4 attempted restarts in 10 films- with significant parts of the other films devoted to anything other than The Shape.
This, in itself, is telling. Realistically, Halloween did not have a premise strong enough to support more than 2 films (and I’m stretching that). Yet, somehow, they tested the law of diminishing returns to breaking point by managing to make 10 movies featuring the same wafer-thin premise. Everyone with eyes can see that Myers allure is that he’s inexplicable and unstoppable, and each attempt to provide rationale or backstory to him makes him less the boogeyman and more a boring run of the mill movie psycho. The added supernatural elements of the middle films do not mitigate this, instead they serve to dilute his menace, and render him both boring and confusing.
Carpenter recognised this- and was right on the money in his attempt to move the series on from Myers, and I almost wonder what might have been with it- could the anthology idea have served it better, and made each new Halloween movie an event? Well, we’ll never know now, but it strikes me that Carpenter and Hill’s vision was more suited to TV anyway- with American Horror Story arguably being the heir to their premise.
Me, I’m just glad I’m done with it, and of the series, the only one I’d honestly recommend as a film would be the first one. There are elements of 2, 3 and H20 are that are watchable, and the sheer bugnuts nature of 3 has a lot to commend it, but I’m just happy to be out.
Until next time,