Halloween II: 30th Anniversary Blu-ray Review

Halloween II 30th AnniversaryBy Dan Slaten, MoreHorror.com

Somehow, despite being a huge fan of the Halloween series (pre-Rob Zombie), the release of the Halloween II 30th Anniversary Edition Blu-Ray slipped under my radar until now. Is it worth a purchase if you already have Halloween II in some other format? If you’re a devoted fan of the movie I’d say yes.

First of all, you finally get the film on Blu-Ray, and secondly, there are some decent special features included on the disc, like deleted scenes and an alternate ending. (Don’t expect any huge revelations or life changing moments in any of this material, though; there was a reason it got left on the cutting room floor in the first place.) Finally, there is the inclusion of the 1984 film Terror in the Aisles as a bonus feature – yes an entire movie. (But more on that later.)

Halloween II isn’t the classic that the original Halloween is, but it at least picks up right where the first film left off and, for the most part, resembles it in both look and feel.

Dr. Loomis has just shot Michael Myers six times, but the masked killer gets up as if nothing has happened, brushes off his Dickie’s jumpsuit, and walks on down the street to do some more killing. This, of course, causes the good Dr. more than just a little distress and leads to the first truly great moment in the film, where a deranged Dr. Loomis runs down the street screaming “I shot him six times! I shot him six times! I shot him in the heart!” Poor Dr. Loomis begins to become unhinged at this point, and he would be haunted by this for the rest of his Michael Myers-chasing life, becoming just a little bit nuttier with each subsequent sequel. (Why he didn’t just retire to Florida instead of chasing after an unkillable force of evil, I will never know.)

It’s also at this point where we, the viewers, realize definitively for the first time that Michael Myers is some sort of undead superbeing, like a braniac zombie in a William Shatner mask. (Yes, that is the sound of cash registers cha-chinging you hear in the distant background as the producers see the possibility for sequels is now unlimited.) In the first film he was just some deranged serial killer returning home for a run of the mill Halloween murder spree. Once he got shot six times at the end of that movie and disappeared, all bets were off. But now, with the guy walking around and opening every unlocked front (or back) door in Haddonfield it’s pretty clear he is, as Dr. Loomis so eloquently shouts it, “not human.”

The action soon shifts to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital, where Myers stabs a doctor in the eye with a needle, bashes a security guard in the head with the wrong end of a hammer, melts the skin off a naked lady in a scalding hot tub, and basically kills everything that moves in whatever method seems most convenient. To say that the blood and gore in this one are ratcheted up from the first movie is a bit of an understatement.

The big reveal in Halloween II comes when we find out that Michael Myers is actually Laurie Strode’s brother. This at least gives Myers a motive for the massive bloodshed he’s unleashing as he chases Laurie all night, and it gives the series as a whole a larger mythology to build around in the ensuing sequels. None of this makes Jamie Lee Curtis’s Laurie Strode feel any better, though, as she spends the movie whimpering and hobbling and being chased while she waits for Loomis or Lance “The Last Starfighter” Guest to save the day.

Of course, Laurie survives the night, and Michael is at least stopped, if not killed, in a gas explosion caused by Dr. Loomis. At first glance, it appears that both Loomis and Myers were killed in the fire, but by now, we all know better than that. You can’t kill a beast like Michael Myers, and it’s going to take a lot more than a massive explosion to kill somebody like Dr. Loomis.

So that’s Halloween II in a nutshell, but what about this Terror in the Aisles documentary that’s tacked on to the disc as a bonus feature? Is this thing any good?

Terror in the Aisles is a 1984 documentary about horror films hosted by Donald Pleasance and Nancy Allen, who sit in a crowded theater and offer insight into the horror movie experience while watching clips from a number of classic horror films. Some of the films included are Halloween, Friday the 13th, Night of the Living Dead, Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Shining, and The Exorcist. For a die-hard horror fan it’s fun to sit through Terror in the Aisles and see if you can name all of the movies the clips are from. It’s also fun to watch and listen to Donald Pleasance talk about horror films; even though he played the good guy in the Halloween films, he could be pretty creepy without trying very hard. This isn’t a film I would buy on its own – it’s the kind of movie you’re probably only going to watch once – but it’s good enough to add some real value to the Halloween II Blu-Ray.

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