Halloween 2 (2009): Ending on a low note.

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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.

Halloween 2 1

Hello there, Mr. Saville.

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.

All

A

Fucking

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.

Still rockin' the power point presentations

Still rockin’ the power point presentations

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.

Much, much worse than getting to ride a donkey on Scarborough beach

Much, much worse than getting to ride a donkey on Scarborough beach

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.

ZZ Top were less than convinced the new drummer would work out

ZZ Top were less than convinced the new drummer would work out

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:

Orangutan of Doom

Thank fuck it’s over.

Series assessment:

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.

A very, very sorry note to finish the series on.

A very, very sorry note to finish the series on.

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.

About sums it up

Thanks Rob.

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,

Jarv.

Halloween logo

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About Jarv

Workshy cynic, given to posting reams of nonsense on the internet and watching films that have inexplicably got a piss poor reputation.

25 responses to “Halloween 2 (2009): Ending on a low note.”

  1. tombando says :

    Sounds awful, can’t imagine wading thru all these.

    • Jarv says :

      It’s dire. However bad you think it could be, it’s actually worse. This was the shittest series I’ve done, by a long chalk, and the only one that rivals Frank’s hellraiser mess.

      It turns out that I’ve actually seen the alternate DVD ending. The theatrical one is allegedly even worse. Fucking hell.

      • Echo the Bunnyman says :

        I think Halloween is probably the worst case in the horror genre of a franchise where utter tripe followed a legitimately great movie.

        So, you saw an alternate ending? What was it, because I saw this back in the theater (at a screening) and I remember thinking the whole thing was so disjointed, that I originally got the demented feeling Zombie might have been suggesting that Laurie had gone so legitimately crazy after her first tango with Michael, that it had been all in her head from the beginning (of part II). Of course, the idea that TSC could do the same horrible things the hulking Mane could do is absurd, so I ultimately just chalked up that feeling to generally incompetent filmmaking on behalf of Zombie. Did the alternate ending dillute that concept, or play it up?

        Have you seen Lords of Salem? It ticks me off because he always proves he has the ability to make interesting scenes or set-ups, but his thematic ideas are so legitimately crappy and he’s so undisciplined when he gets going, that he flushes any legitimate creepiness he generates. LOS is probably his worst example of this, because it started with actual promise and swirled so far down the bowl it became almost unwatchable.

      • Jarv says :

        Yes- the ending I saw had Laurie gunned down, and she never put the mask on it. It still finished in the crazy ward though. Fucking horrible honk.

        I’ve not seen LOS but have no desire to at all.

  2. Xiphos0311 says :

    Is Sherri Moon Zombie supposed to Gandalf The White with Shadow Fax in that pic?

    • Jarv says :

      Your guess is as good as mine. I have absolutely no idea what the fuck she’s playing at or what the horse has to do with the price of onions.

  3. fcine929 says :

    Something about ‘The Shape’ is primal and bone chilling. Reportedly, they knew they hit on it when Frank Castle walked in with the alterations to that first Shatner mask. But like you said, it only really works once. The ending of that first one was perfect. He is the boogey man. He’s every boogey man. But after the initial, inexplicable killing spree, there’s nowhere else to go with it except another killing spree. If anything, you want to do another play on the idea of the boogeyman and what he means. I think it’s the primal nature of thinking that you’re seeing a menace in the woods, the savannah, whatever – and then the light glints off of it in such a way that you realize you’re about to be eaten. Hence, ‘The Shape’. That it’s tied to a human figure is something I’d have to research more and probably will after writing this. Anyway, as much as you hated having to endure these movies (and from the sound of it, I’ll NEVER watch the Zombie series, although I’ve seen all the others except Resurrection), I’ve really enjoyed this series.

    • Jarv says :

      Thanks very much for the comment.

      I completely agree- Carpenter’s masterstroke was hiding The Shape at the corner of our vision for the entire film- he’s there, and we’re aware of him, and it’s unsettling in an non-tangible way. It stood 2 films, just, but beyond that there’s nothing there and to try to expand on the concept was what bought the death of the series. Rob Zombie’s efforts actually made me miss druid cults and stupid runic sigils and so forth.

      In my mind 1, 2 and H20 tell the story of Laurie Strode v the Shape and they’re really all you need from the series (even if the drop in quality is dizzying). I’m dreading what they’ll come up with next.

  4. ThereWolf says :

    Sounds abysmal. Your determination to crawl through so much festering honk is admirable (as well as potentially damaging to one’s psyche).

    Well done, Jarvis.

  5. Just Pillow Talk says :

    I am happy to say I’ve seen less than half of all of these Halloweens.

    What a brutal series.

    • Jarv says :

      Terrible series. 9 films after the original. FIVE! Ood’s.

      • Jarv says :

        Ratings:

        Halloween 1: 4
        Halloween 2: 2
        Halloween 3: 2
        Halloween 4:1
        Halloween 5:OoD
        Halloween 6:OoD
        Halloween H20: 2
        Halloween 8: OoD
        Halloween remake: OoD
        Halloween 2: OoD

        Jesus that’s grim reading. And you could say I overrated H20 and 4.

      • Continentalop says :

        5 out of the last 6 were OoD. That’s quite a stretch.

      • Jarv says :

        Tell me about it. And I was generous to 4 as well. If I hadn’t known what was coming I could well have dished it one too.

      • Jarv says :

        The other thing about all the OoD’s is that you honestly can’t make a case that I was harsh with any of them. I wasn’t. Maybe, maybe you could argue that the remake was worth more- but it’s such a catastrophic failure as a Halloween film that I can’t see any way out of giving it.

  6. Continentalop says :

    I always thought a SCREAM-style movie would have worked as a sequel to HALLOWEEN. A deranged fan of HALLOWEEN decide to imitate his favorite movie on Halloween night.

    Of course instead of an unstoppable killing machine he’s a delusional loser, and instead of the clean dispatching of victims like Myers did his killings would be more like THE TORN KILLING (incompetent and brutal).

    Just an idea.

    • Continentalop says :

      I meant THE TORN CURTAIN.

    • Jarv says :

      That’s a combination of him losing a fight to Busta Rhymes (for fuck’s sakes) and the Zombie remake.

      Having said that, anything would be better than 5 of the last 6 films in the series.

      I honestly can’t think of another franchise that tries so hard to reboot itself and fails- 4 attempts in 10 films (3, 4, H20, and the remake). It’s astonishing. Each one added something shite to the series, bar 3- at least H20 conceptually made sense though.

  7. Judge Droid says :

    This is what has become of Carpenter…

    I have three rules of living: Number one, never leave home unless absolutely necessary; two, never eat fish; three, never go south of the border. Ever. Those three rules have kept me well.

    http://deadline.com/2014/10/john-carpenter-qa-halloween-sequels-michael-myers-861942/

    • Echo the Bunnyman says :

      Kind of sad, but y’know, he did have a hell of a run. If he’s not quite got his heart in it–and almost everything from Mouth of Madness on suggests he hasn’t–then he might as well just enjoy his retirement.

      • kloipy says :

        Jonah- did you see The Ward? I thought it was painfully bad. Mouth of Madness was his last good movie. It’s sad because I love Carpenter so much, and I agree he should just retire. Leave what he has of his legacy

      • Echo the Bunnyman says :

        The Ward felt like very cheap and half-hearted, like an R.L. Stine Goosebumps story. It was so painfully clunky and contrived. What was worse is that there wasn’t even a good stylistic identity for it. It could have literally been directed by anyone. In that interview Carpenter acknowledges that the “story was tricky”, aka twist-obssessed crap, and that he “probably didn’t do a very good job with it.” I think he knows he’s beyond his peak powers and would probably rather just enjoy himself than go through a process he sees as “pain” to just make crap.

      • Jarv says :

        Everything is painful to him according to that. And he’s got a bloody nerve whinging about motivation and not directing Halloween sequels considering how much to blame for 2 he is, which starts the motivation, and it was his cack-handed reshooting that upped the gore.

        Honestly, he’s so frustrating.

      • Jarv says :

        The Ward was shit. Dull.

      • Echo the Bunnyman says :

        I should clarify. I said from Mouth of Madness on, but I actually think MOM was his last solidly good movie. I should have said. everything after In the Mouth of Madness. I think that adds up to Village of the Damned, Escape from L.A, Vampires, Ghosts of Mars, those two lame eps of MOH and The Ward.

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