Shout! Factory unleashes the horror of Michael Myers on Blu-Ray.
Taking place right after the events of the original Halloween (1978), Michael Myers (Dirk Warlock) is still on the loose after taking six bullets. His doctor, Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) and Chief Sheriff Bracket (Charlie Cryphers) continue their hunt in pursuing the slasher. Meanwhile, the only survivor of Myers' rampage from the original, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is sent to the hospital to recoup from her encounter with Myers. There's just one problem, Myers knows she's there and slowly but surely the two forces will collide again.
I'm of two minds when it comes to the film, essentially having a love/hate relationship with it. On one hand, the movie continues right off the bat were the original took off. There's still this John Carpenter look to the movie, and feels in some parts the same animal as the original. Then there's a lot that just hampers the movie with so many new characters and really you know all these new characters are just fodder for Michael Myers to grind. That's my one problem. I already know this. I barely care for these set of characters, because I'm already going in knowing, “Okay this entire hospital staff is all dead meat.” Really, the new characters to me just hinder the inevitable confrontation between Jamie Lee Curtis's Laurie Strode and Michael Myers. That's the other problem I have with this; Laurie gets stuck in a romance subplot for the middle half of the film. She really just plods around and literally is pretty much not much else to do.
Donald Pleasence fairs a little bit better as the returning Sam Loomis. This is a man who knows he shot the living hell out of his deranged patient, yet said dude is still walking around. The event of the previous movie and the growing guilt of the rising body count. The fact that Loomis is racked with the guilt and becomes more unhinged bit by bit is what keeps me invested in the movie. Pleasence really is the glue for this entire movie and really the next two as well (I won't go into Halloween 6).
The scene that I really wish was expanded on or continued was a major one with Chief Bracket. I mean, we just get a brief appearance of him before he gets the news that his daughter was slain by Michael Myers. I just wish there was more to it than just a brief exchange between Loomis and Bracket. Yes, the event haunts Loomis throughout the rest of the movie, but I just wish there was more Loomis and more of Bracket's replacement, Officer Graham (Jeffery Kramer), instead of lingering with all these eventual victims of Michael Myers.
That's the big flaw of the film: the movie just is a simple slasher film. There are jumps, yes; but we already know who's going to die. There's no reason to get invested in these characters because you already know by default who the survivor amongst them will be. That's kind of why I wish there was more Graham or more police officers of Haddonfield since you knew they were “safer” compared to the rest of the staff. You be more surprised if they bought it than the staff since they're all around what Michael wants, which is Laurie. There really isn't much surprise other than finding out the answer WHY Michael Myers is on this unstoppable quest to murder Laurie Strode.
Still, even though it's a flawed slasher movie, it still is a better slasher than most out there (even better than some of the sequels that eventually followed it). There's a lot of inventive kills and again when they finally get to the climax you're back to the edge of your seat. There's also a lot of classic John Carpenter moments like in the beginning, several scenes afterward, and the music in general. Just those expecting the same kind of experience as the original will probably be disappointed. Still, those who want a more definite ending than the original, well, this movie certainly provides that.
2.5 out of 5
Picture Transfer & Sound Quality
Wow, just wow. The transfer to this movie is golden. Even though this may not be one of my favorites, Shout! Factory quite the treatment with the digital transfer. The picture and sound on this set are absolutely amazing. Several scenes throughout the movie just spring out more. Though none so much involving the Shape himself. You just see the damage wrought onto Michael Myers more from the events of the previous picture and even just how badly worn down the original Michael Myers' mask was at that time. The detail is just amazing likewise when that famous theme to the movie hits as well or during the film's climax.
Picture: 5 out of 5
Sound: 5 out of 5
One of the problems I had with the DVD release of the film was it was bare bones and really that was it. Shout! Factory's release rectifies that and then some with this Blu-Ray release. Not only does the release contain trailers, tv spots, and radio commercials for the movie, it also has various voice commentaries of the film from it's various stars (Dick Warlock, Lance Guest, and Leo Rossi) and it's director (Rich Rosenthal). Not only that, but the Blu-Ray also has a fascinating documentary of how Halloween II came together, the hurdles it had to endure with so many creative minds guiding it's process, and the aftermath the movie had with audiences.
So we got all those heaps of goodies yet Shout! Factory continues to keep dishing out more. There's also deleted scenes and an alternate ending (different from both the theatrical and television) included on the disc with director commentary.
Then there's the icing on the cake. Also included on a second disc is the television version of the movie that has various new scenes cut into the movie and an all new ending. Some fans enjoy this version more so than the actual version. Me? I see why people would enjoy it (a character who's fate was left up in the air in the theatrical cut gets a clear cut ending). Plus we get more Laurie Strode in it. Regardless, I have the same problems with both versions. Still, you get a ton of treats for this movie.
5 out of 5
Okay, I think the movie is good, but just isn't my favorite Halloween sequel. I favor a few of its successors more, and find Halloween: 20 Years Later (1998) a much more satisfying finale to the story of Michael/Laurie, but that's just my opinion. The thing is though, if you enjoy Halloween 2 and are cautious of which versions to get. Well, THIS is the version to get. You get TWO versions of the movie plus a cornucopia of extras crammed into the various two discs. This movie got a lot of love I just expect it to get. Though I can see why given this is the final time most of the people behind the original came back for a sequel. The idea feels rushed and well, the payoff isn't as spectacular for me. Still, this Blu-Ray release gives the movie more respect and love that many will find deserving.
5 out of 5
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