Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 10/31/00
1981 (1998) - Goodtimes
review by Dan Kelly of
The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B/C/F
Specs and Features
93 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1) single-layered, Snapper
case packaging, production notes, film-themed menu screens with
sound and animation, scene access (18 chapters), languages: English
(DD 2.0), subtitles: English, Spanish and French, Closed Captioned
When it comes to
horror sequels, Halloween II
has to have been one of the more highly anticipated follow-ups. John
Carpenter's Halloween was, up
until recently, the highest grossing independent film of all time
and the ending left itself wide open for a sequel. This film
definitely has its weak points and it stretches plausibility to the
breaking point, but I still enjoy this movie when I'm in the mood
for a mindless diversion.
Though Halloween II was
filmed three years after the first film, it picks up directly where
the first left off. Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) is whisked off to the
hospital after being chased all night by the knife-happy Michael
Myers. Meanwhile, Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) continues his search
for Myers, spouting out one corny line after another. Of course,
when Myers learns that Laurie is in the hospital, he heads there to
finish what he started.
Once in the hospital, mayhem ensues as one hospital staffer after
another is killed. These cast members are almost all dispensable,
and little effort is put forth to make them seem multi-dimensional.
They serve a very specific function - to get in the way of Michael
Myers as he tries to kill Laurie. That they do, and with each
consecutive killing, the manner in which they are killed is bloodier
and more creative than the next. That, essentially, is the film.
There's not a whole lot to it. Gone is the simplicity of the
original and, try as he may, first-time director Rick Rosenthal
cannot recreate what Carpenter did in the first.
In this installment of the series, we learn Myers' secret. The
secret, for those who have been living under a costume-drama rock
for the past twenty years, is that Myers is actually Laurie's
brother. They give you a whole timeline for the sequence of events
that led to the splitting of the Myers family, but give me a break!
This part of the story provided some ammo for future releases and
assigned a highly unnecessary motive for Myers' actions, but the
whole idea is beyond believability if you think about it. John
Carpenter himself has said that this idea came to hime while he was
awake way past his bedtime with a severe case of writer's block.
If you watch this movie in hopes of seeing more of Jamie Lee
Curtis, you will inevitably be disappointed. Her role is essentially
a cameo, and she has gone on record to voice her dissatisfaction
about being lured back for the sequel only to spend most of the film
lying in bed with little dialogue. She is merely the excuse to give
Myers a reason to kill anyone who gets in his way. Without her,
there would be no movie, but there is no space in this sort of movie
for her to show any shred of talent.
Halloween II is presented on
DVD for the first time ever in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1.
It had previously been released in a 1.85:1 ratio laserdisc in
Japan, but never in the United States. Truth be told, this isn't a
half-bad non-anamorphic picture. The film takes place completely at
night, so there's quite a bit of black in the picture. Black levels
are mostly satisfying, with only sporadic graininess and adequate
shadow detailing. The film does look just a tad bit washed out, but
otherwise the picture is completely acceptable. The print used is in
great shape with only a few scratches prevalent. The sound leaves
something to be desired, however. It's the original Dolby 2.0
Surround track, but my old VHS copy sounds quite a bit better,
believe it or not. This just isn't a very accurate representation of
the film's soundtrack. There just isn't a whole lot of depth to this
mix. It's acceptable, but could certainly have been much better.
Sadly, there are no extras. Many faithful fans know that there is a
separate cut used for broadcast television that incorporates several
deleted scenes and a slightly different ending. None of that is
included here. You also get no theatrical trailer. My understanding
is that Anchor Bay is supposedly looking to license this title for
future release. Perhaps then we'll see some real bonus material. As
if the lack of extras wasn't bad enough, we get an absolutely
horrendous piece of DVD cover artwork, that consists of three still
images from the film and a really cheap looking title font. What
happened to the jack-o'-lantern?
As far as slasher sequels go, Halloween
II is a pretty satisfactory release. There's tons more
blood here than there was in the original film. It's a little less
suspenseful, but it seems like a pretty logical (though shallow)
follow-up to the ending of the first movie. There's no way in hell
that Myers can catch these people as slow as he walks in this film,
but what can I say? It entertained me. This DVD is kinda lame, but
if you want it on disc, here you go.