×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Halloween II

"Halloween II" resuscitates knife-wielding slayer Michael Myers while lying creatively comatose.

With:
Dr. Samuel Loomis - Malcolm McDowell Michael Myers - Tyler Mane Deborah Myers - Sheri Moon Zombie Sheriff Lee Brackett - Brad Dourif Laurie Strode - Scout Taylor-Compton Annie Brackett - Danielle Harris Mya Rockwell - Brea Grant Uncle Meat - Howard Hesseman Nancy McDonald - Mary Birdsong Young Michael - Chase Vanek Barbara Collier - Margot Kidder Weird Al Yankovic - Al Yankovic Harley David - Angela Trimbur

Unreliably billed as the “final chapter” of an eternal nightmare, “Halloween II” resuscitates knife-wielding slayer Michael Myers while lying creatively comatose, even by the standards of a sequel to a remake. Repellent not only in content but in visual style, writer-director Rob Zombie’s hatchet job on the series he revived so artfully two years ago plays like a violent act of euthanasia upon the huge, brain-dead body of work inspired by the 30-year-old “Halloween.” Engineered to make a quick killing, the Dimension release likely won’t haunt theaters for long, and certainly not for the eight weeks until All Hallow’s Eve.

Zombie’s first “Halloween,” which grossed a solid $58 million domestically, was effective in many ways, not least for its blunt sociological bent — transforming the “pure evil” of John Carpenter’s original into the vengeful victim of ordinary child abuse. In place of this, all “Halloween II” has are the killer’s surreal visions of a white horse — images that are meant to be psychological but just look silly, particularly in the dark, sludgy Super 16 aesthetic the director has chosen to replace his prior film’s lushly composed, vividly hued widescreen 35mm.

After a flashback to young Myers (Chase Vanek) having rare moments of calm in the company of his loving mom (Sheri Moon Zombie), the sequel commences in the immediate aftermath of the previous film’s carnage, as lone survivor Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) is discovered in a bloodied, catatonic state by Illinois sheriff Brackett (Brad Dourif) and is rushed to intensive care.

Meanwhile, Myers (now played by Tyler Mane), presumed dead, escapes from a coroner’s vehicle after it conveniently crashes and makes his way to the hospital in Haddonfield, thus allowing Zombie to butcher the Carpenter-written “Halloween II” from 1981. Cut to a year later, and Laurie, now a punk-styled record-store employee, remains plagued by bad dreams despite the work of her therapist (Margot Kidder, in a brief but welcome role).

As the mask-clad Myers continues carving up random caricatures of horror-film victims, poor Laurie becomes borderline psychotic at the discovery, via a bestselling book by publicity-grabbing Dr. Loomis (hammy Malcolm McDowell), that she’s the killer’s younger sister. Eventually it’s clear — as much as anything is clear in Zombie’s bloody mess — that Myers means to reconstitute the core of his family, with dearly departed Mom as a well-preserved ghost.

Like all of Zombie’s films, including “House of 1,000 Corpses” and its brilliant sequel, “The Devil’s Rejects,” “Halloween II” isn’t a horror film so much as a form of punishment, not scary so much as sick-making. The difference is that this pic, understandably withheld from reviewers, appears lackadaisically conceived in visual terms and generally slapped together, an impression borne out by the end credit list of “additional photography” in Connecticut and Los Angeles, each shoot with its own crew.

At least Zombie’s cut-rate sequel isn’t stupider than the “Halloween II” of 28 years ago. Alas, it isn’t smarter, either.

Carpenter’s classic synth score — chillingly deployed by Zombie throughout his previous entry — appears here only in the final minutes. Elsewhere on the soundtrack, the selection of 10cc’s upbeat “The Things We Do for Love” is nothing if not ironic, particularly as Zombie’s thing looks to have been done for other reasons.

Halloween II

Production: A Dimension Films release of a Malek Akkad production. Produced by Akkad, Andy Gould, Rob Zombie. Executive producers, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Matthew Stein, Andy La Marca. Directed, written by Rob Zombie.

Crew: Camera (color/B&W, Super 16-to-35mm), Brandon Trost; editor, Glenn Garland; music, Tyler Bates; music supervisor, Zombie; production designer, Garreth Stover; art director, Timothy "T.K." Kirkpatrick; set decorator, Lori Mazuer; costume designer, Mary McLeod; sound (Dolby/DTS/SDDS), Buck Robinson; supervising sound editor, Perry Robertson; visual effects supervisor, Mark Dornfeld/Custom Film Effects; special effects coordinators, Bob Vasquez, Ron Trost; special makeup effects, Wayne Toth; stunt coordinator, Rawn Hutchinson; assistant director, Alex Gayner; casting, Monika Mikkelsen. Reviewed at AMC Southdale 16, Edina, Minn., Aug. 28, 2009. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 105 MIN.

Cast: Dr. Samuel Loomis - Malcolm McDowell Michael Myers - Tyler Mane Deborah Myers - Sheri Moon Zombie Sheriff Lee Brackett - Brad Dourif Laurie Strode - Scout Taylor-Compton Annie Brackett - Danielle Harris Mya Rockwell - Brea Grant Uncle Meat - Howard Hesseman Nancy McDonald - Mary Birdsong Young Michael - Chase Vanek Barbara Collier - Margot Kidder Weird Al Yankovic - Al Yankovic Harley David - Angela Trimbur

More Scene

  • First Look at SAG Awards' Cuban

    First Look at SAG Awards' Cuban-Inspired After-Party (EXCLUSIVE)

    Celebrities at this year’s SAG Awards won’t have to go far for some tropical fun. Sunday’s annual post-show gala, hosted by People magazine for the 23rd year, is set to feature a Cuban-themed party space adjacent to the Shrine Auditorium. More Reviews Concert Review: Lady Gaga Outdoes Her Other Vegas Show With Masterful 'Jazz & [...]

  • DF-10956_R – Gwilym Lee (Brian May) and

    'Bohemian Rhapsody' Producer Confirms Bryan Singer's Reason for Leaving, Says 'No One' Was Attached to Play Mercury

    “Bohemian Rhapsody” producer Graham King provided insight into some of the events surrounding the Golden Globe-winning film Saturday at the Producers Guild Awards Nominees Breakfast, including director Bryan Singer’s departure from the film partway through production. “It’s an unfortunate situation, with like 16, 17 days to go and Bryan Singer just had some issues, his [...]

  • Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce

    Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce GLAAD Media Award Nominations

    Mj Rodriguez and Nico Santos are set to announce the nominees for the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards. The “Pose” star and “Crazy Rich Asians” funny man will make the announcement during a live-stream hosted by AT&T and from the AT&T Hello Lounge at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 25. More Reviews Concert Review: Lady [...]

  • Emile Hirsch, Matt SmileyEmile Hirsch hosts

    Emile Hirsch Hosts Smiley Face Art Opening at Mondrian Hotel

    Despite the rain on Wednesday night in West Hollywood, there were plenty of smiles inside the Mondrian hotel thanks to artist Matt Smiley‘s Refresh exhibition. Not only is Smiley his real last name, but several of his paintings and other pieces in the exhibit feature smiley faces. More Reviews Concert Review: Lady Gaga Outdoes Her [...]

  • Randall Park, left, and Constance Wu

    Constance Wu Wants Her 'Fresh Off the Boat' Co-Star Randall Park to Host the Oscars

    While the Academy may have decided to go hostless for this year’s Oscars, that doesn’t mean the rest of Hollywood has stopped thinking about who would be a good choice for the emceeing gig. Former host Whoopi Goldberg recently suggested Ken Jeong. More Reviews Concert Review: Lady Gaga Outdoes Her Other Vegas Show With Masterful [...]

  • 'Schitt's Creek' Stars Reveal Dream Guest

    'Schitt's Creek' Cast Reveals Dream Guest Stars: Oprah, Beyonce and ...

    “Schitt’s Creek” has big dreams. Dan Levy, who stars as David on the series, says his wish list of guest stars includes Oprah, Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Gwyneth Paltrow. “All for different reasons, none of whom we’ll get,” he cracked at the Critics’ Choice Awards. More Reviews Concert Review: Lady Gaga Outdoes Her Other Vegas [...]

  • Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bundchen

    Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen to Be Honored at UCLA Science Gala

    Science can be very glamorous. It certainly will be during Oscar week on Feb. 21 when the UCLA Institute of the Environment & Sustainability (IoES) honors Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen for environmental activism at its annual Hollywood for Science Gala. More Reviews Concert Review: Lady Gaga Outdoes Her Other Vegas Show With Masterful 'Jazz [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content